Malachi 1:1-14 NIV
Israel Doubts God’s Love
2“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
4Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.”
But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. 5You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’
Breaking Covenant Through Blemished Sacrifices
6“A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a Father, where is the honor due Me? If I am a Master, where is the respect due Me?” says the Lord Almighty.
“It is you priests who show contempt for My Name.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for Your Name?’
7“By offering defiled food on My Altar.
“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled You?’
“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
9“Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will He accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty.
10“Oh, that one of you would shut the Temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on My Altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11My Name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to Me, because My Name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.
12“But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the Lord Almighty.
“When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord. 14“Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a Great King,” says the Lord Almighty, “and My Name is to be feared among the nations.
When Did Malachi Prophecy?
Because Malachi's name does not occur elsewhere in the Bible, some scholars indeed doubt whether "Malachi" is intended to be the personal name of the prophet. None of the other prophetic books of the Old Testament are anonymous.
The form mal'akhi, signifies "my messenger"; it occurs in Malachi 3:1 (compare to Malachi 2:7). But this form of itself would hardly be appropriate as a proper name without some additional syllable such as Yah, whence mal'akhiah, i.e. "messenger of Elohim."
Opinions vary as to the prophet's exact date, but nearly all scholars agree that Malachi prophesied during the Persian period, and after the reconstruction and dedication of the Second Temple in 516 BC (compare Malachi 1:10 ; Malachi 3:1, Malachi 3:10). The prophet speaks of the "people's governor" (Hebrew "pechah", Malachi 1:8), as do Haggai and Nehemiah (Haggai 1:1 ; Nehemiah 5:14 ; Nehemiah 12:26).
The social conditions portrayed are unquestionably those also of the period of the Restoration. More specifically, Malachi probably lived and labored during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The abuses which Malachi mention in his writings correspond so exactly with those which Nehemiah found on his 2nd visit to Jerusalem in 432 BC. Malachi was born long before that was not an alien (Nehemiah 13:7) that it seems reasonably certain that he prophesied shortly before that date, i.e. between 445 and 432 BC.
1:1-5 All advantages, either as to outward circumstances, or spiritual privileges, come from the Free Love of God, Who makes one to differ from another. All the evils sinners feel and fear, are the just recompense of their crimes, while all their hopes and comforts are from the unmerited Mercy of the Lord. He chose His people that they might be holy. If we love Him, it is because He has first loved us; yet we all are prone to undervalue the Mercies of God, and to excuse our own offences.
1:6-14 We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honor Him. But they were so scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, “The Table of the Lord is contemptible.” They despised God's name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit.
If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and if we allow vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls?
In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. Our constant mercies from God make worse our slothfulness in our returns of duty to God. A spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered to God's Name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall be a pure offering.
When the hour came, in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men now, though in a different way, profane the Name of the Lord, pollute His Table, and show contempt for His worship.