The Book OF MALACHI
The period of exuberance and the energy experienced when the exiles
returned from Babylon and rebuilt the temple has given way to a
diminishing regard for obeying the law. Even priests have become
lethargic and corrupt in their religious practices. Malachi urges a
return to covenant obedience, faithful sacrifices, and tithes. He alerts
the people that God will send another messenger before the Day of the
Congregations all have their ups and downs, periods of energy and
success, too often followed by a let-down. This book addresses exactly
that situation. The effort and enthusiasm of the exiles as they returned
from Babylon and rebuilt the temple have been followed by a lethargy
and slovenliness even among priests. Malachi's message urges us today to
restore our dedication and faithfulness as we await the coming Day of
In Hebrew malaki means "my messenger." In 3:1, "See, I am sending my
messenger," the messenger is malaki. Most scholars assume the author of
this book took "malachi" as a pen name. In a double sense, "Malachi" is
the messenger bringing us this book, and his message is that God will
send another messenger in the future, as the great prophet Elijah
returning before the Day of the Lord.
The reference to "your governor" (1:8) dates the book in the postexilic
period, when Judah was ruled by governors, such as Zerubbabel and later
Nehemiah. It was probably written several decades-up to a century-after
Haggai and Zechariah, since the content of the book suggests that the
vigilance and faithfulness of returning exiles has diminished into
unfaithfulness. Indeed, it may have been written in the mid-400s B.C.E.,
around or during the time of Nehemiah's rule, since Nehemiah and
Malachi address many of the same concerns-cultic reform, faithful
tithing, divorce, and mixed marriage (Nehemiah 10:28-39, 13:10-14;
The book is an indictment of the corruption and wickedness into which
the priests and people have fallen following the rebuilding of the
temple by the exiles returning from Babylon.
We reflect on our own ministries and congregations as we read this book.
Have we lost enthusiasm following a new building, a new program, or a
change of pastors? Have we clearly defined our parish's mission and
ministry? How can we best be faithful to the covenant promises God has
made with us? Malachi urges us to avoid complacency and to strive
constantly to be faithful.
AUTHOR: Michael Rogness, Professor of Preaching and Professor Emeritus of Homiletic
The Book Of MALACHI
1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
2 I have
loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was
not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the
desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I
will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness,
and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
6 A son
honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father,
where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the
LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say,
Wherein have we despised thy name?
offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we
polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.
8 And if
ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the
lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he
be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath
been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of
10 Who is
there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do
ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you,
saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name
shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be
offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great
among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
12 But ye
have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted;
and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it,
saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the
lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of
your hand? saith the LORD.
cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and
sacrificeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith
the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
2 If ye
will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my
name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I
will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye
do not lay it to heart.
I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the
dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the
fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
6 The law
of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he
walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from
7 For the
priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at
his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
8 But ye
are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law;
ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people,
according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal
treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant
of our fathers?
hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and
in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he
loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar,
out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto
the LORD of hosts.
this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with
weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the
offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
14 Yet ye
say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the
wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is
she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore
one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your
spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one
covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore
take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we
wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight
of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of
I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and
the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the
messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come,
saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who
may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?
for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he
shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the
sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer
unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 And I
will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against
the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers,
and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and
the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and
fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and
have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith
the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine
house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not
open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I
will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the
fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the
time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have
kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD
15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD
hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before
him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up
my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that
shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked,
between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud,
yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh
shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them
neither root nor branch.
unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with
healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of
3 And ye
shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of
your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6 And he
shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of
the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a