Malachi 1

Listen to Malachi 1
1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.[a]

The Lord's Love for Israel

2 1"I have loved you," says the LORD. 2But you say, "How have you loved us?""Is not Esau 3Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet 4I have loved Jacob
3 but Esau I have hated. 5I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."
4 If Edom says, "We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins," the LORD of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called 'the wicked country,' and 'the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.'"
5 6Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, "Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!"

The Priests' Polluted Offerings

6 7"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am 8a father, where is my honor? And if I am 9a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. 10But you say, 'How have we despised your name?'
7 11By offering polluted food upon my altar. 12But you say, 'How have we polluted you?' By saying that 13the LORD's table may be despised.
8 14When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.
9 And now 15entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, 16will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts.
10 17Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, 18and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name 19will be[b] great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name 20will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
12 But you profane it when you say that 21the Lord's table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised.
13 But you say, 22'What a weariness this is,' and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. 23You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD.
14 Cursed be the cheat who has 24a male in his flock, and 25vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For 26I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name 27will be feared among the nations.

Malachi 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

Malachi was the last of the prophets, and is supposed to have prophesied B.C. 420. He reproves the priests and the people for the evil practices into which they had fallen, and invites them to repentance and reformation, with promises of the blessings to be bestowed at the coming of the Messiah. And now that prophecy was to cease, he speaks clearly of the Messiah, as nigh at hand, and directs the people of God to keep in rememberance the law of Moses, while they were in expectation of the gospel of Christ.

The ingratitude of Israel. (1-5) They are careless in God's institutions. (6-14)

Verses 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 recompence 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.

Verses 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 honour 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 suffer 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 and niggardliness, 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.

Cross References 27

  • 1. Deuteronomy 7:8; Jeremiah 31:3
  • 2. [Malachi 2:14, 17; Malachi 3:7, 8, 13]
  • 3. [Amos 1:11; Obadiah 10]
  • 4. Cited Romans 9:13
  • 5. Isaiah 34:13; Jeremiah 49:10, 18; Ezekiel 35:3, 4; Joel 3:19
  • 6. Psalms 91:8
  • 7. See Exodus 20:12
  • 8. Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1
  • 9. [Luke 6:46]
  • 10. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 11. [ver. 8; Malachi 2:12; Malachi 3:3]
  • 12. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 13. [ver. 12]
  • 14. [ver. 13]; See Leviticus 22:22
  • 15. See Zechariah 7:2
  • 16. See Deuteronomy 10:17
  • 17. [Isaiah 1:13]
  • 18. [Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20; Amos 5:21]
  • 19. [Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 66:19]
  • 20. [Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 66:19]
  • 21. [ver. 7]
  • 22. Isaiah 43:23; [Malachi 3:14; Micah 6:3]
  • 23. [ver. 8; Leviticus 22:20]
  • 24. See Exodus 12:5
  • 25. [Leviticus 22:21]
  • 26. See Zechariah 14:9
  • 27. Psalms 47:2; Psalms 76:12

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Malachi means my messenger
  • [b]. Or is (three times in verse 11; also verse 14)

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO MALACHI

This book, in the Hebrew copies, is called "Sepher Malachi", the Book of Malachi; in the Vulgate Latin version, "the Prophecy of Malachi"; in the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the Prophecy of the Prophet Malachi"; According to Lactantius {a}, Zechariah was the last of the prophets; but the more commonly received opinion, and the truest, is, that Malachi was the last; hence Aben Ezra calls him Myaybnh Pwo, "the end of the prophets"; and by Kimchi he is said to be, Mbv Nwrxa "the last of them"; and sometimes, by the Rabbins, Myaybnh Mtwx, "the seal of the prophets" {b}; by whom they are all sealed up, concluded, and finished. His name signifies "my angel", as is commonly said; though Hillerus {c} makes it to signify "the angel of the Lord"; hence some have thought that he was not a man, but an angel; and so the Septuagint render ykalm dyb, in the first verse Mal 1:1, "by the hand of his angel"; and others have thought that the book takes its name, not from the author of it, but from the mention that is made of the messenger or angel of the Lord, John the Baptist, in Mal 3:1 but the more prevailing opinion is, that Malachi is the name of a man, the writer of the book, about whom the Jews have been divided. Rab Nachman says Malachi was Mordecai; and that he was so called because he was second to the king. R. Joshua ben Korcha contradicts him, and affirms Malachi is Ezra; and to him agrees the Chaldee paraphrase on Mal 1:1 which says, that Malachi, his name is called Ezra the scribe; but, as Kimchi observes, Ezra is never called a prophet, as Malachi is, only a scribe; wherefore in the Talmud {d}, where this matter is debated, it is concluded thus; but the wise men say, Malachi is his name; that is, it is the proper name of a man; there was a man of this name, that wrote this prophecy; not Mordecai, nor Ezra, nor Zerubbabel, nor Nehemiah, as some have thought; but Malachi: and if the accounts of Epiphanius {e} and Isidore {f} are to be credited, this prophet was born at Sapho, in the tribe of Zebulun; and had his name from his beautiful form, and unblemished life; and that he died very young, and was buried in his own field. The time of his prophesying is not agreed on: the Jews commonly make him contemporary with Haggai and Zechariah; they say {g} that Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, all of them prophesied in the second year of Darius; and Ganz, their chronologer {h}, places the death of these prophets together in one year; but he seems to be later than they: Haggai prophesied before the building of the temple; Zechariah about the time of it; and Malachi after it, when the temple was rebuilt, and the worship of God restored and settled; and when both priests and people were become very corrupt and degenerate, of which he complains; so that it is possible that he might live a century after the other prophets, and about four centuries before the coming of Christ, during which time prophecy ceased; though some think he lived not long before the times of Christ, which is not probable. Bishop Usher {i} makes him contemporary with Nehemiah, and places him in the year 416 B.C.; and Mr. Whiston {k} in the year 400 B.C.; Mr. Bedford {l} in the year 424 B.C.: however, this book has been always accounted authentic, and a part of the canon of the Scripture; and is confirmed by the passages cited out of it, and the references made unto it, in the New Testament, \Mt 11:10 Mr 1:2 Ro 9:1\ \Mt 17:12 Mr 9:11,12 Lu 1:17\. The general design of it is to reprove the Jews for their ingratitude to the Lord, their neglect and contempt of his worship, and breach of his laws; and to raise in the minds of the truly godly an expectation of the Messiah, and his forerunner, John the Baptist.

{a} De vera Sapientia, l. 4. c. 5. p. 279. {b} Nizzachon, p. 200. apud Hottinger. Thes. Phil. p. 489. {c} Onomastic. Sacr. p. 147, 359, 541. {d} T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 15. 1. {e} De Prophet. Vita & Interitu, c. 22. {f} De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 51. {g} T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 15. 1. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 20. p. 55. {h} Ganz, Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 18. 1. {i} Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3589. {k} Chronological Tables, cent. 12. {l} Scripture Chronology, p. 725.

\\INTRODUCTION TO MALACHI 1\\

In this chapter the Lord declares his love to the people of Israel, and proves it; and complains that the honour due unto him was not given him; which he demonstrates by various instances. The inscription is in Mal 1:1 showing the name and nature of the prophecy; the author of it; the people to whom it was sent; and the name of the person by whom. In Mal 1:2 the Lord affirms his love to the people of Israel, which they called in question; and proves it to be real, special, and distinguishing, by the instance of Jacob and Esau, two brothers; yet one, their ancestor, was loved, and the other hated; which latter is proved by the desolations made in his country, and by the fruitless attempts made to repair and rebuild; which was so clear a proof of the Lord's indignation against him, that the Israelites could not but see it, and would be obliged to confess it, to the glory of God, Mal 1:3-5 hence he passes on to observe the honour and fear that were due to him as a Father and master, which were not shown him; but, instead thereof, he was despised, and even by the priests themselves, with which they are charged, Mal 1:6 and which being objected to by them, is proved by offering polluted bread on his altar; and by polluting him, in saying his table was contemptible; and by sacrificing the blind, the lame, and the sick, unto him; things which would be justly resented, if offered to a temporal prince and governor, Mal 1:7,8 wherefore they are called upon by the prophet to pray to the Lord for grace and mercy for the people, seeing it was by their means (the priests) that these things were done; though it was questionable whether the Lord would have any regard to them, Mal 1:9 their sins being so dreadfully aggravated; and particularly, inasmuch as they did not serve in the temple, not so much as shut a door, or kindle a fire on the altar, for nothing, without being paid for it; hence the Lord declares he had no pleasure in them, nor would he accept their offerings; but would call the Gentiles by his grace, among whom his name would be great from one end of the earth to the other; and incense and pure offerings would be offered by them to him, Mal 1:10,11 and then he renews the charge against them, that they had profaned his name, by saying that his table, and the fruit thereof, were polluted, and his meat contemptible; by expressing a weariness in his worship, and a contempt of it; and by bringing the torn, the lame, and sick, as an offering to him, Mal 1:12,13 upon which such sacrificers are declared deceivers, and pronounced accursed, which they might assure themselves was and would be their case; since he was a great King, and his name dreadful among the Heathen, Mal 1:14.

Malachi 1 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.