Malachi 1:2

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,

Malachi 1:2 in Other Translations

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,
2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How have you loved us?""Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob
2 “I have always loved you,” says the LORD . But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?” And the LORD replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob,
2 God said, "I love you." You replied, "Really? How have you loved us?"
2 "I have loved you," says the Lord. But you ask: "How have You loved us?" "Wasn't Esau Jacob's brother?" [This is] the Lord's declaration. "Even so, I loved Jacob,

Malachi 1:2 Meaning and Commentary

Malachi 1:2

I have loved you, saith the Lord
Which appeared of old, by choosing them, above all people upon the face of the earth, to be his special and peculiar people; by bestowing peculiar favours and blessings upon them, both temporal and spiritual; by continuing them a people, through a variety of changes and revolutions; and by lately bringing them out of the Babylonish captivity, restoring their land unto them, and the pure worship of God among them: Yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us?
the Targum renders it, "and if ye should say"; and so Kimchi and Ben Melech; which intimates, that though they might not have expressed themselves in so many words, yet they seemed disposed to say so; they thought it, if they said it not; and therefore, to prevent such an objection, as well as to show their ingratitude, it is put in this form; and an instance of his love is demanded, which is very surprising, when they had so many; and shows great stupidity and unthankfulness. Abarbinel renders the words, "wherefore hast thou loved us?" that is, is there not a reason to be given for loving us? which he supposes was the love of Abraham to God; and therefore his love to them was not free, but by way of reward to Abraham's love; and consequently they were not so much obliged to him for it: to which is replied, [was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord;
Jacob and Esau were brethren; they had one and the same father and mother, Isaac and Rebekah, and equally descended from Abraham; so that if one was loved for the sake of Abraham, as suggested, according to Abarbinel's sense, the other had an equal claim to it; they lay in the same womb together; they were twins; and if any could be thought to have the advantage by birth, Esau had it, being born first: but before they were born, and before they had done good or evil, what is afterwards said of them was in the heart of God towards them; which shows that the love of God to his people is free, sovereign, and distinguishing, ( Genesis 25:23 ) ( Romans 9:11-13 ) : yet I loved Jacob;
personally considered; not only by giving him the temporal birthright and blessing, and the advantages arising from thence; but by choosing him to everlasting life, bestowing his grace upon him, revealing Christ unto him, and making him a partaker of eternal happiness; and also his posterity, as appears by the above instances mentioned; and likewise mystically considered, for all the elect, redeemed, and called, go by the name of Jacob and Israel in Scripture frequently; for what is here said of Jacob is true of all the individuals of God's people; for which purpose the apostle refers to this passage in ( Romans 9:13 ) , to prove the sovereignty and distinction of the love of God in their election and salvation: and this is indeed a clear proof that the love of God to his people is entirely free from all motives and conditions in them, being before they had done either good or evil; and therefore did not arise from any goodness in them, nor from their love to him nor from any good works done by them: the choice of persons to everlasting life, the fruit of this love, is denied to be of works, and is ascribed to grace; it passed before any were wrought; and what are done by the best of men are the effects of it; and the persons chosen or passed by were in an equal state when both were done; which appears by this instance: and by which also it is manifest that the love of God to men is distinguishing; it is not alike to all men; there is a peculiar favour he bears to own people; which is evident by the choice of some, and not others; by the redemption of them out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; by the effectual calling of them out of the world; by the application of the blessings of grace unto them; and by bestowing eternal life on them: and it may be further observed, that the objects of God's love have not always the knowledge of it; indeed they have no knowledge of it before conversion, which is the open time of love; and after conversion they have not always distinct and appropriating views of it; only when God is pleased to come and manifest it unto them.

Malachi 1:2 In-Context

1 A prophecy: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.
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.”
4 Edom 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.
5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD—even beyond the borders of Israel!’

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 4:37
  • 2. ver 6,7; Malachi 2:14,17; Malachi 3:7,13
  • 3. S Jeremiah 46:27; Romans 9:13*
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