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Timeline Of The Prophets In The Bible

In the Hebrew canon, the Prophets are divided into (1) the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and (2) the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, or Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).

The Former Prophets contains four historical books—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The Latter Prophets includes four prophetic works—the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve (Minor) Prophets.

Churchgists is the right stop for you to obtain all the relevant information you need on major prophets in chronological order amongst others. Be sure to surf through our catalog for more information on related topics.

List of Prophets In The Bible In Order

ISAIAH“Yahweh is salvation”Judah739-685 BCIsaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 20:1;
Isaiah 36-39;
Hebrews 11:37
JEREMIAH“Yahweh exalts”Judah627-580 BCJeremiah 1:2-3; 3:6; 11:21-23; 21:1; 22:11; 24:1; 25:1-3; 25:8-12; 26:1; 27:1, etc.;
Jeremiah 37-40;
Jeremiah 52:31-33
EZEKIEL“Yahweh strengthens”Babylon592-570 BCEz 1:1-3; 24:1-2; 33:21(Jehoiachin in exile)
DANIEL“Yahweh is my judge”Babylon
606-530 BCDan 1:1-7;
Dan 1-4;
Dan 5:1ff; 6:1ff; 10:1
HOSEA“salvation”Israel760-720 BCHosea 1:1Jeroboam II
JOEL“Yahweh is God”Judah830 BC?
(if ministry at an early date)
(locust and Day of the Lord pictures in Joel)Ahaziah?
AMOS“burden bearer”Israel760 BCAm 1:1; 7:12-17; 9:11-12Jeroboam II
OBADIAH“servant of Yahweh”Judah?845 BC?(Obadiah 1-9 quoted in Jr 49:7-16)
(2 Kgs 8:20)
written against Edom (which was enemy of Jerusalem under Jehoram?)
780-760 BC2 Kings 14:25;
Jon 1:1; 3:1
Jeroboam II
MICAH“Who is like Yahweh?”Judah737-690 BCMicah 1:1Jotham
NAHUM“comfort/consolation”Judahafter 664 BC
before 612 BC
Nahum 1:1
(Fall of Nineveh)
HABAKKUK“embracer”Judah620-610 BC?Habakkuk 1:6
ZEPHANIAH“Yahweh hides/treasures/protects”Judah640-608 BCZephaniah 1:1Josiah
HAGGAI“my feast/festival”Judah (post-exile)520-516 BCHaggai 1:1; 2:10; 2:20;
Ezra 5-6
(Darius I)
ZECHARIAH“Yahweh remembers”Judah (post-exile)520-518 BCZechariah 1:1; 7:1
Haggai 1:1
(Darius I)
MALACHI“my messenger/angel”Judah (post-exile)430 BCMalachi 1:7,8,10; 3:1(Artaxerxes I)

*The prophets are listed according to their order in the Scriptures.
**All dates are approximate time periods of each prophet’s ministry.
***The Scripture references provided are those that help estimate the time periods of each prophet’s ministry.

Old Testament Prophets And Their Message

From around 800 to 400 B.C., the sixteen prophets—Isaiah through Malachi—whose writings have been preserved for us lived throughout a four-century period. The majority of them left behind chronological information that allows one to estimate, if not precisely, how long their ministry lasted. Regarding two of them (Joel and Obadiah), on the other hand, there is inconclusive evidence regarding the dates of their labor, and opinions among experts are much different on this issue.

The reader can examine these prophets in the context of their historical times by using the accompanying chart. The accurate interpretation of numerous messages and predictions necessitates examining them against the historical context of the prophets’ ministry and the events that transpired during their lifetimes.

The dates of the kings of Judah and Israel, especially the later ones, can be guessed pretty accurately. This commentary uses a rough timeline to go through the different kingdoms where these sixteen prophets came to preach. A second column lists the rulers of Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria, whose dates for this era are known with certainty. The majority of them are mentioned in the prophetic or historical books of the Bible. A list of notable occasions during this time period is given in one column; some are domestic in character, while others are political in nature, involving the nations that surrounded Israel and Judah. Only those events described in the Bible that are significant to comprehending the prophetic messages are displayed in this chart.

The evidence used to place the different prophets in the chart’s chronological places is summarized in the short paragraphs that follow.


The greatest precursor of the authors was Isaiah. The several authors of the New Testament, who cited Isaiah over ninety times, acknowledge this truth. Isaiah was a prophet from the southern kingdom who lived during a pivotal time in the history of his country. He was a key player in two historic events: (1) under Ahaz, in the conflict between Israel and Syria (chapters 7–11); and (2) under Hezekiah, in Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem (chapters 36–37). Through his personal faith in God, he inspired Hezekiah and the people, ultimately contributing to the preservation of Jerusalem.

His official call to the role of a prophet came in 740/39, the final year of King Uzziah’s reign (Chapter 6:1). His early ministry appears to have corresponded with the latter years of King Uzziah’s reign (see Introduction to Isaiah). He appears to have received a great deal of disdain from Hezekiah’s evil son, Manasseh, for acting obediently under the following three kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (chapter 1:1). Following his father’s death, which occurred about 686, Manasseh quickly removed the obedient seer from the throne. Jewish legend holds that Isaiah was divided. Hebrews 11:37 could be a reference to this incident.

Thus, Isaiah’s service from Uzziah to Manasseh had to have lasted for more than fifty years.


More people are familiar with Jeremiah’s life tale than any other prophet’s. He came from a line of priests who were originally from Anathoth. God had appointed Jeremiah to his position before he was even born (Chapter 1:5), and at a young age (Chapter 1:6, 7), he was called to be a prophet. The Hebrew word na’ar, which means “youth” or “child,” in verse (6) does not specify Jeremiah’s exact age at the time of his call, but the context of the passage in which this word appears seems to favor the interpretation that he was still very young, possibly not older than twenty. He received this call in the 13th year of King Josiah (627, according to chapters 1:2 and 25:3). Josiah was just 21 years old when he became king; hence, he was also a youthful monarch.

Jeremiah was called upon to deliver several warnings of reproof and serious prophecies of doom over his people due to their disobedience during a time of national distress. He fled into hiding during Jehoiakim’s reign after running the risk of being killed for his audacious teachings (Chapter 36:26). Jeremiah was imprisoned during Zedekiah’s rule, Judah’s final monarch, on the grounds that he had counseled his people to turn themselves up to the Babylonians (chapter 37:11–16). Nebuchadnezzar let Jeremiah remain with the remaining members of his people in the nation following the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 (chapter 40:1-6). Fearing Nebuchadnezzar’s retaliation for the assassination of Gedaliah, the new Judean ruler, the Jews of Mizpah fled to Egypt, bringing Jeremiah and his secretary Baruch with them (chapter 43:6).

Jeremiah spoke out against the idolatries the Jews were doing in Egypt (chapters 43; 44). In the land of the Nile, most likely, he perished. According to a Jewish tale, his people stoned him to death. If the prophet wrote chapter 52, a historical addendum, he must have lived up until 561, when King Evil-Merodach of Babylon released Jehoiachin from captivity (see chapter 52:31). He was eighty years old in this instance. People who believe that Jeremiah’s secretary or one of his pupils wrote chapter 52 as an inspired postscript suppose he passed away some 20 years earlier, in 580 B.C. The graphic, which uses a broken line to represent his potential ministry in the two decades prior to 560 B.C., supports both theories.


The priest and prophet Ezekiel was one of the 10,000 Jews Nebuchadnezzar exiled when he brought King Jehoiachin to Babylon in 597 B.C. Ezekiel had his first vision by “the river Chebar,” a canal close to the well-known city of Nippur in southern Babylonia, in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s exile, 593/92 (chapter 1:1–3). His claim that this fifth year in captivity was also the “thirtieth year” is puzzling. It is thought that the prophet is referring to his own age or that year as the thirty-first year calculated from the reform that happened in Josiah’s eighteenth year.

The latest of the prophet’s precisely dated messages was received in the 27th year of Ezekiel’s captivity (chapter 29:17), 571/70. Several of the prophet’s communications are dated. As a result, Ezekiel served as a minister for a minimum of 22 years, from 593/92 to 571/70. Nonetheless, several of his date prophecies could have been issued at a later time. Therefore, it is not necessary to see the year 571/70 as the conclusion of his tenure.


In 605 B.C., Daniel was brought to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s accession year (see to chapter 1:1). However, young Daniel did not demonstrate his prophetic calling until his third year in captivity, which coincided with Nebuchadnezzar’s second year (Chapters 1:5, 17; 2:1, 19). Thus, it is possible to see the year 603 as the start of Daniel’s prophetic career.

He played a prominent role in Nebuchadnezzar’s administration for a while (chapter 2:48), and the great king trusted him as an advisor. It appears that Nebuchadnezzar’s successors did not value Daniel’s assistance. But on the eve of Babylon’s destruction, he is once again discovered to be involved—this time in the interpretation of the enigmatic writings on the wall (Chapter 5). He again ascended to a prominent role of honor and authority in the recently established Persian Empire not long after this incident (Chapter 6).

The first of Daniel’s visions, described in chapter 7, occurred in Belshazzar’s first year (552 or maybe later), and the last ones, described in chapters 10–12, occurred in Cyrus’ third year, 536–35 B.C., and were all received during the latter years of Daniel’s life. Daniel was presumably given the order to finish writing his book and seal it at this point, when he was around ninety years old (Chapter 12:4, 13). Because of these factors, the protracted prophetic ministry of Daniel falls roughly between 603 and 535 B.C.


The northern kingdom of Israel was home to the prophet Hosea, who addressed Jeroboam II as “our king” (chapters 1:1; 7:5). Hosea was a younger contemporary of Amos, based on a comparison of some of his prophesies with those of Amos (cf. Hosea. 4:3 with Amos 8:8; Hosea 4:15 with Amos 5:5; and Hosea 8:14 with Amos 2:5). Hosea started his career during the reigns of Jeroboam II, ruler of Israel, and Uzziah, king of Judah (chapter 1:1). He continued his ministry until the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah (chapter 1:1). All of his words, though, were meant for the country to the north.

Since the fall of Samaria, which occurred in 723/22 B.C., is not mentioned in the book, it may be assumed that the prophet’s final word was given before Samaria was destroyed. Because of these factors, his ministry may be placed between around 755 and 725 B.C.


The prophet Joel is only identified as the son of Pethuel (Chapter 1:1). That is all that is known about him. His poetry is dynamic and striking, and his grammar is well-balanced, all of which set his writing apart. However, the prophet’s time period is not made apparent in the text. The prophet compares the horrors of the impending day of judgment to the horrific locust epidemic, a comparison that is impossible to date. Divergent opinions exist among academics on the period of Joel’s ministry. While most writers presently tend to locate him either in the post-Exilic period or during the reign of King Josiah, the older generation places him in the ninth century B.C. All three of these viewpoints are offered here since there is insufficient evidence to support any of them:

  1. A vista from the ninth century The prophet does not see the vast empires of Babylonia or Assyria in the near future. Thus, it appears that he worked before to Assyria’s involvement in Palestinian matters. It was decided that Joel’s messages were sent between these two events because the bad things that the foreigners did to Judah (chapter 3:4 and on) seem to be the same things that are talked about in 2 Kings 8:20–22 and 2 Chronicles 21:8–10, 16, while the problems that Hazael caused are only talked about in 2 Kings 12:17–18 and 2 Chronicles 24:23–24. Furthermore, it is believed that his ministry ended at the time that the high priest Jehoiada presided over the young king Joash (2 Kings 11:17–12:2). This would account for the monarch’s absence from the book while the Temple service was thriving.
  2. The perspective is from the seventh century.According to this perspective, Joel’s ministry appears to have taken place in the early years of Josiah, when Babylon was still a small kingdom and Assyrian supremacy was almost at an end. Therefore, the prophet made no mention of these two kingdoms. Joel makes no mention of a monarch, which makes sense given that Josiah ascended to the throne as a kid and must have lived under a regent. Joel mentions the people of Tyre and Sidon as Judah’s foes, yet these nations did not appear to be hostile to Judah until the last decades of Judah’s history. This further suggests that the prophet Joel lived in a later era than usual for his ministry. In addition, Greeks are mentioned in Chapter 3:6, despite their minimal involvement in Near Eastern history prior to the 7th century. For these reasons, this commentary has chosen to date Joel to the 7th century, even though there isn’t any solid evidence to support this decision.
  3. The perspective of postexilicSome scholars have used the allusion to Tyre and Sidon’s enmity, the mention of Greeks, and the lack of any mention of a monarch of Judah, Assyria, or Babylon as proof for a postexilic date for Joel. However, given the late publication of the work, it is also surprising that no mention of Persia is made. This fact weakens the justification for such a late date.


As a “herdsman” and a “gatherer of sycomore fruit,” Amos introduces himself to his audience in chapters 1:1 and 7:14. He states in the preface to his book that he served under Israel’s Jeroboam II and Judah’s Uzziah. It appears that Amos prophesied during the period when each of these kings was the only one in charge of their respective kingdoms, as only these two are named. Between 767 and 750, Uzziah ruled Judah alone, while between 782 and 753, Jeroboam ruled Israel. It is possible that Amos’ ministry ended between 767 and 753 B.C. Even though it is stated in Chapter 1:1 that he received his first heavenly communication “two years before the earthquake,” a more precise chronology is not attainable because the exact date of this occurrence is unknown. But as Zechariah 14:5 demonstrates, the memory of that earthquake must have been incredibly strong because individuals who lived 250 years later were still recalling it.

Although the prophet was a resident of Judah, he also sent messages to the Israelite kingdom. His words were critical of a number of foreign countries. He traveled to the northern kingdom’s sacred city of Bethel to give Israel dire warnings, corrections, and prophecies.


Obadiah’s little book, which has just 21 verses, is not dated, and it is unclear when it was written. Obadiah’s prophecy, which is aimed toward Edom, assumes that there has lately been plundering in Jerusalem and the taking of many Jews into captivity. Some people think the prophet is talking about King Jehoram’s capture of Jerusalem in the ninth century (2 Kings 8:20–22; 2 Chronicles 21:8–10, 16, 17); others think the prophet is talking about Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Some of the words he uses are also used in Jeremiah (Obadiah 1, 3, 4; see Jeremiah 49:14, 16) and Joel (Obadiah 15, 17; conflict; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 32). This does not really help us figure out when it happened. Here, the later date is used without regard to the earlier one.


Jonah, the prophet, was a Galilean who lived in Gath-Hepher. There is no concrete indication in his narrative of the exact timing of his journey to Nineveh. But according to 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah also foretold a prophecy about Israel’s future growth, which Jeroboam II carried out. This prophecy had to have been made either before Jeroboam (around 793 B.C.) assumed the kingdom or in the early years of his rule. Jonah was thus most likely the first of the prophets we are talking about.

Jonah’s preaching began so early—roughly 790 B.C.—that it fits quite nicely with Assyrian history. The only era that Jonah’s trip to Nineveh and its outcomes appear to fit with is Adad-nirari III’s reign (810–782). During a brief period of his rule, Assyria transitioned from a polytheistic religion to a form of monotheistic worship of Nabu.


According to chapters 1:1–14, Micah was a prophet from Moresheth-gath, which is most likely Tell ej–Judeideh in southwest Judah. It is important to distinguish him from Micaiah, the son of Imlah, who was an Israelite prophet during Ahab’s reign (9th century B.C.). Because the two men used similar terms in their statements, earlier writers sought to compare them (Micah 1:2; see also 1 Kings 22:28). However, the chronological information Micah provided contradicts this identification and shows that there is at least a century of difference between the two people. According to Micah (chapter 1:1), the kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were in power when he ended his mission. Micah’s prophetic career should presumably start after the death of his father Uzziah in 740/39, as that is when Jotham’s single reign started. As a result, he was Isaiah’s considerably younger contemporary, and his prophesies have a striking resemblance to Isaiah’s language and vocabulary (Micah 4:1–4; see also Isaiah 2:2-4). Furthermore, Jeremiah (chapter 26:18) and Micah (chapter 3:12) confirm that Micah served as a pastor under Hezekiah. Taking all of information together, we might conclude that Micah prophesied between around 740 and 700 B.C.


Chapter 1:1 refers to Nahum as the Elkoshite; nevertheless, Elkosh is not a recognized geographical name, despite attempts by commentators to associate it with Elkesi in northern Galilee, Alkush near Mosul, and a village close to Eleutheropolis in Judah. Still, it is apparent that he was a worker and a resident in the southern kingdom, and that Nineveh in particular, as well as Assyria in general, was the subject of his principal prophecy. No chronological facts are supplied, but the prophet talks of the fall of No (Chapter 3:8) as an event of the past. King Ashurbanipal destroyed the capital of Upper Egypt, also known as Thebes in Greek, in 663 B.C.; this time period serves as the upper limit for Nahum’s prophecy. However, chapter 3:7 describes the fall of Nineveh as still occurring in the future. The latest date for Nahum is therefore 612 B.C., when the combined armies of Media and Babylonia seized and destroyed Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian people. While Assyria’s authority was diminishing but still far from ending, the prophet’s detailed account of the calamity that had befallen Thebes gives the sense that the incident was still fresh in the people’s memories. Therefore, 640 B.C., about in the middle of the two boundaries denoted by the fall of Nineveh and the destruction of Thebes, would seem to be a plausible conjectural date for Nahum’s prophetic career.


Beyond his name, little is known about the prophet Habakkuk. Given that his third chapter (chapter 3:19) is devoted to the “chief singer on my stringed instruments,” it seems plausible that he was a Temple singer. Despite the absence of any chronological information in the book, several of the comments allow Habakkuk’s prophecies to be dated very precisely. Chapter 2:20 mentions the Temple’s continued existence, indicating that the book was written before Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. In addition, it is foretold that the Chaldeans will rise and invade the West, although at the time this appeared utterly unbelievable (chapter 1:5-7). This condition suits well the time prior to the formation of the Chaldean Empire under Nabopolassar, who began to govern in 626/25 B.C. and who, with the Medes, was responsible for the destruction of Assyria. For the time of Habakkuk’s prophetic activity, a date of around 630 B.C. would appear most appropriate, but before the Chaldeans had grown to be a significant force.


The prophet Zephaniah traces his lineage to a significant figure by the name of Hizkiah, who was most likely King Hezekiah of Judah (the names are the same in Hebrew). He says in chapter 1:1 that he served as a pastor for King Josiah, who ruled from 640 to 609 B.C. The fact that the fall of Nineveh, which occurred in 612, is mentioned as a future occurrence suggests that Zephaniah’s job was completed before this date. Furthermore, chapters 1:4-6, 8, 9, 12, and 3:1-3, 7 all make reference to Judah’s depravity, which was regarded as immense in his day. This suggests that the period preceding Josiah’s reform, which started in 623/22, was earlier. Based on these facts, Zephaniah appears to have been a contemporary of Habakkuk during the early years of Josiah’s reign, possibly about 630 B.C.


After a period of inactivity, Haggai’s valiant service brought the Temple restoration project back on track during Darius I’s reign (Ezra 4:24; 5:1). Four addresses, each with an exact date indicating the day, month, and year of Darius’ reign, are found in the book of Haggai. The book of Haggai’s sequential sequence suggests that the whole duration of his documented ministry was no more than 31/2 months, starting on August 29, 520 B.C. (chapter 1:1) and terminating on December 18, 520 (chapters 2:10, 20) in his final two recorded addresses. No other prophet’s writings are as precisely dated as Haggai’s.


Zechariah most likely came from a family of priests (see Nehemiah 12:12–16; see also chapter 1:1). He received his call in October or November of 520 B.C., the same year that Haggai made his debut (chapter 1:1). A few months later, several predictions were fulfilled (Zechariah 1:7–6:15). After a nearly two-year hiatus, Zechariah heard another supernatural communication on December 6, 518 (chapter 7:1), which is documented in chapters 7 and 8. The fact that the following communications and prophecies in chapters 9–14 are not dated makes it impossible for us to determine how long the prophet was active. Even though it is known that he started working in 520 and worked until 518 B.C., it is necessary to leave open when his prophetic ministry ended. Some academics may place the end of his ministry at 510. Chapters 9–14 may have been provided considerably later, suggesting that he may have worked for much longer.


Since Malachi means “my messenger,” it is unknown if this is the author’s name or merely the pen name of an otherwise unknown writer. If the latter is true, then among the Old Testament prophetic writings, his is the sole anonymous work. Malachi, however, is a legitimate name and should not be disregarded for any reason.

Malachi is the last prophetic book to be written in pre-Christian periods, in addition to being the last in the prophets’ chronological sequence. Its teachings indicate that it was written during the Persian era, following the reign of the kingdom of Judah, when a governor presided over the nation (Chapter 1:8). During the prophet’s time, the Temple was ostensibly rebuilt, and sacrifices were frequently made (Chapter 1:7–10). When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem for his second stint as governor, he saw many of the same practices that Malachi had denounced (Malachi 3:8, 9; cf. Nehemiah 13:10–12; Malachi 2:11–16; cf. Nehemiah 13:23–27).

It is regrettable that Nehemiah’s second time as governor cannot be determined, which further complicates the dating of Malachi. Chapter 5:14 details Nehemiah’s first administration, which ran from 444 to 432 B.C., until he was sent back to Persia. Before returning to Judea and learning of the atrocities detailed in Chapter 13, he spent an unspecified number of years there. The governor took strong measures to address these. This leads us to believe that although Malachi’s labor may have come after Nehemiah’s first time as governor, it actually began before he left the Persian capital and returned to Jerusalem. Consequently, the book may most likely be dated to around 425 B.C.


Generally speaking, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and promises was contingent upon Israel’s actual loyalty. God was able to partially fulfill the covenant promises because of their partial cooperation with God’s desire. However, because of their disobedience, many of the promises, especially those pertaining to the establishment of the Messianic kingdom and the proclamation of the gospel to the nations, could not be fulfilled for them. Instead, they would be fulfilled for the church on earth in preparation for Christ’s return, especially for God’s remnant people, and in the new earth.

God rejected the Jews when they rejected Him as the Messiah, and He used the Christian church as His special tool to save the world (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Corinthians 5:18–20; 1 Peter 2:9–10; etc.). As a result, all of the covenant benefits and promises were irrevocably transferred from the physical Israel to the spiritual Israel (Romans 9:4; see also Deuteronomy 18:15 and Galatians 3:27–29). Promises not yet fulfilled for the physical Israel would either never be fulfilled or would be fulfilled for the spiritual Israel of the Christian church. The second category of prophecies are those that are to be fulfilled in general, albeit not necessarily in every detail, as many of the contents of the prophecies dealt with Israel as a real country located in the area of Palestine. It is clear that such specifics could not literally apply to the Christian church, which is a spiritual “nation” dispersed around the globe. Because the prophecies of the previous categorization were, by their very nature, tightly conditional and confined to actual Israel, they cannot now be fulfilled.

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