Why Selected: I selected this website as it has a commentary of the first chapter of Haggai and a study on the biblical usage of sheep which is germane background reading for the term paper I am writing. The site is very well presented and attractive and very approachable.
What Learned: The most interesting part of this site was the interaction of the shepherds and the sheep. The passage evaluating the shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel 34 was particularly interesting as it also suggests a distinction between the natures of different parts of the flock. The sections upon shepherds in the time of David and the Good Shepherd were also interesting. The Haggai commentary was particularly useful for the succinct summary of the history of captivity and the wide selection of scripture given to act as the basis for the central premise of Haggai.
Would Recommend: In so far as it goes I really like this site. The approach both biblically and visually is pleasing. Clearly a lot of work has gone into what is on display. The flip-side is that the scope of the site is extremely narrow: one chapter of Haggai and shepherds. If you are studying either of those then this site is useful as a quick reference. It is really too narrow to be more generally recommended.
Why Selected: This website has a detailed verse by verse exposition of Zechariah. The commentary is at least semi-technical and arguably technical. Certainly the author's knowledge of history appears superb. I am not qualified to judge his knowledge of Hebrew but he uses it fairly frequently and with apparent confidence. The site also contains a good number of background articles.
What Learned: One of the nice features about the author's articles is that he gives a form of 'theology synopses' at the head of each article so it is easy to tell where he is coming from. His basic premise for Zechariah is that it is historic with the restoration starting to occur with the advent of Christ. One of the platforms he basis this upon is that he considers Zechariah to show that the prophecy of Ezekiel 40-43 was fulfilled in the second temple. Whilst I don't agree with all of it he has an excellent article on the 'shekinah' that essentially argues that shekinah means 'God dwelling' which, the author claims, Zechariah stated had occurred in the second temple citing Zech 8:3.
Would Recommend: I disagree with the historicist interpretive system. This is an extremely good example of a historicist approach to biblical interpretation. This is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand there is a lot of extremely good commentary and historic information. On the other it is quite capable of beginning to sow the seeds of doubt in someone's mind. That said this is most certainly not 'junk interpretation'; it is sound scholarship that deserves a response. I therefore recommend it to those deeply into apocalyptic literature.
Why Selected: This website has an extremely approachable commentary upon Zechariah. The commentary itself follows a note outline format and focuses almost exclusively upon providing scriptural references to illustrate or define parts of the text. There are also a few historic and interpretive notes. I was also interested in the Jewish Christian slant upon this very Jewish prophecy.
What Learned: This really is a note based commentary. It attempts to avoid taking and defending a particular position instead provided very brief comments and inviting the reader to follow the references. Notwithstanding a detailed reading reveals that a fairly standard dispensationalist approach is taken. One article that is worth of special mention is the one on the promises to Israel for the latter days. Again it is essentially a list categorized and lightly annotated Bible references that point out many of the promises to Israel across all of scripture. It is useful to see how Zechariah's prophecies fit into the larger framework.
Would Recommend: I certainly have no reservation recommending this site for research. I do have to state that the initial appeal of approachability and neutrality eventually led to a slight feeling of shallowness; not to the theology itself but to the amount of information available. I think that overall this site counts as a 'must see' but it probably is best viewed as an 'early introduction to' rather than a definitive resource for all you ever want to know about the subject.
Why Selected: This website is the collected writings of a printed journal that distributes serial Bible studies. It contains verse by verse expositions of all three of the post exilic prophets. The website is extremely clean and well presented and the articles are well written and conservative.
What Learned: The narrative on this website is on the lower end of semi-technical. However the commentary is fairly clearly derived from more technical sources. Many of the well known commentators are quoted. The site takes a dispensationalist stance although gently so. I particularly liked the insightful comments upon the psychological circumstances of the time. For example they point out that in Malachi there are eight charges laid by God and that in each case the Jews believe they have a valid defense. The parallels between the time and modern Christianity are clearly drawn although no attempt is made (thankfully) to claim that now is a fulfillment of the prophecies.
Would Recommend: I would strongly recommend this site to anyone interested in learning more about these three prophets. This is especially true if they wish to learn with a view to making the subject more accessible to others. The journal is distributed to encourage and promote Bible study and understanding and the website does this well. Frankly this is one of those little gems I'm astonished I didn't find sooner.
Why Selected: This website contains a detailed analysis of the first six chapters of Zechariah (essentially the night visions). I have note the index page to the chapter selections; they actually form a 600 page book that can be downloaded and read. The articles are detailed yet approachable. The author is a post tribulational pre-millenialist. This is a relatively rare combination so I wanted to see their viewpoint.
What Learned: The chapter on the women in the basket (Zech 5) was interesting; especially the idea that whilst there was one woman she had both a Jewish and a Christian side. He identifies the woman with the Harlot of Rev 17 and shows that she will eventually be the apostate church. His lengthy illustration of the woman's wiles in the corruption of Israel under Jezebel is a very interesting introduction to how she may work during the tribulation. I was also interested in his defense of Post tribulationism although that is slightly tangential to the Minor Prophets unless the Minor Prophets are your introduction to eschatology.
Would Recommend: The commentary on Zechariah given is lengthy and somewhat detailed. It is really more apologetic than technical. The aim of the author is to fight his corner (he even states this in places) rather than to give a balanced overview of the arguments in question. That said he does demonstrate a sound knowledge of both viewpoints. I found the site interesting and for anyone interested in this viewpoint it is worth reading. I'm not sure I would put it on a required reading list.