Malachi 1

1 This is the message that the Lord gave Malachi to tell the people of Israel.
2 The Lord says to his people, "I have always loved you." 1 But they reply, "How have you shown your love for us?" The Lord answers, "Esau and Jacob were brothers, but I have loved Jacob and his descendants,
3 and have hated Esau and his descendants. I have devastated Esau's hill country and abandoned the land to jackals."
4 If Esau's descendants, the Edomites, say, "Our towns have been destroyed, but we will rebuild them," then the Lord will reply, "Let them rebuild - I will tear them down again. People will call them "The evil country' and "The nation with whom the Lord is angry forever.' "
5 The people of Israel are going to see this with their own eyes, and they will say, "The Lord is mighty even outside the land of Israel!"
6 The Lord Almighty says to the priests, "Children honor their parents, and servants honor their masters. I am your father - why don't you honor me? I am your master - why don't you respect me? You despise me, and yet you ask, "How have we despised you?'
7 This is how - by offering worthless food on my altar. Then you ask, "How have we failed to respect you?' I will tell you - by showing contempt for my altar.
8 When you bring a blind or sick or lame animal to sacrifice to me, do you think there's nothing wrong with that? Try giving an animal like that to the governor! Would he be pleased with you or grant you any favors?" 2
9 Now, you priests, try asking God to be good to us. He will not answer your prayer, and it will be your fault.
10 The Lord Almighty says, "I wish one of you would close the Temple doors so as to prevent you from lighting useless fires on my altar. I am not pleased with you; I will not accept the offerings you bring me.
11 People from one end of the world to the other honor me. Everywhere they burn incense to me and offer acceptable sacrifices. All of them honor me!
12 But you dishonor me when you say that my altar is worthless and when you offer on it food that you despise.
13 You say, "How tired we are of all this!' and you turn up your nose at me. As your offering to me you bring a stolen animal or one that is lame or sick. Do you think I will accept that from you?
14 A curse on the cheater who sacrifices a worthless animal to me, when he has in his flock a good animal that he promised to give me! For I am a great king, and people of all nations fear me."

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 2

  • 1. 1.2, 3 Ro 9.13.+O+N1.2-5; Is 34.5-17; 63.1-6; Jr 49.7-22; Ez 25.12-14; 35.1-15; Am 1.11, 12; Ob 1-14.
  • 2. 1.8Deuteronomy 15.21.

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

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.