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Introducing Malachi


The name ‘Malachi' seems to mean ‘my messenger' or ‘the messenger of the Lord'. No identification is given of him, nor a date of his prophesying although he does refer to the temple [1:10] and sacrifices being offered [1:7,8] so he is likely to have been around in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

There are distinct links to these other books at this time; the various sins he cries out against are also similar to those pointed out in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, as we'll see below, and this book helps give an even clearer picture of the spiritual malaise that had settled on the returned exiles remnant within decades of their return. Such was the ongoing folly of Israel.

Their naivety is revealed in a number of questions they ask defensively [1:2, 1:6, 2:14, 2:17, 3:7, 3:8,3:13). A Contents list focuses on the sins the Lord highlights through Malachi together with warning to both the priesthood and the people to repent:


PART 1: Rebukes for their Sins (1): 1:1-2:17

1:1-5 Denial of being loved by God

1:6-14 Showing contempt for God by bringing damaged offerings

2:1-7 The priests dishonouring the Lord

2:8-10 Leading the people astray by poor teaching

2:11-12 The people marrying foreign women

2:13-17 Being unfaithful to God


PART 2: An Aside: Warning to Repent & Return: 3:1-7

3:1-7 A Refining-Messenger Judgment to come upon them


PART 3: Rebukes for their Sins (2): 3:8-15

3:8-12 Robbing God of His tithes

3:13-15 Speaking arrogantly of God


PART 4: A Conclusion – The Day of Judgment: 3:16-4:6

3:16-18 A Righteous Remnant revealed

4:1-6 The Coming Day of the Lord


In many ways it is a simple and straight forward book that confronts the returned exiles who have become sloppy in their attitude towards God and gives warnings of the Lord coming to bring change.



Go to   Mal 2   Mal 3   Mal 4


FRAMEWORKS: Malachi 1: The Contemptible Chosen One


v.1-5 God's love for His chosen one

v.6-14 Second-rate offerings


PART 1: Rebukes for their Sins (1): 1:1-2:17


v.1-5 God's love for His chosen one


v.1  A prophecy: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. 

v.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, 

v.3  but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” 

v.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. 

v.5  You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD—even beyond the borders of Israel!' 


[Notes: The people of Israel [Judah returned now simply referred to by their bigger name, Israel] have become so casual about their relationship with the Lord, seen in their behaviour that in so many ways goes against the Law of Moses, that they disdain God's love for them. The Lord points out that in the days of the Patriarchs He chose Jacob over Esau, even though Esau was technically the older [because He knew the potential of each of them and knew that Esau would despise his birthright etc.]. Esau had developed into the people of Edom, a godless people so often attacking Israel, and had thought much of themselves but it was Israel that would stand because of the Lord, not Edom! THAT was the sign of His love for them, that they still existed!]



v.6-14 Second-rate offerings


v.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?' 

v.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. 

v.8  When 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. 

v.9  “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the LORD Almighty. 

v.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. 

v.11  My 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. 

v.12  “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord's table is defiled,' and, ‘Its food is contemptible.' 

v.13  And 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. 

v.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.


[Notes: The priests had disdained the relationship the nation was supposed to have with the Lord, showing contempt for Him [v.6] and by offering all the substandard animals as offerings contrary to the Law [see Lev 22:17-25]. They came to find the whole sacrificial system a burden [v.13] and were so casual about it they disdained the Lord's great name [v.14]. A strong rebuke!]


Go to    Mal 1   Mal 3   Mal 4   


FRAMEWORKS: Malachi 2: Unfaithful priests


v.1-4 Dishonorable Priests

v.5-7 The Proper Role of the Priest

v.8-10 Their covenant violated

v.11,12 Unfaithfulness

v.13-17 Mock tears


v.1-4 Dishonorable Priests


v.1  “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 

v.2  If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. 

v.3  “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 

v.4  And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 


[Notes: The Lord will bring the priesthood down if they do not repent.]



v.5-7 The Proper Role of the Priest


v.5  “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 

v.6  True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 

v.7  “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 


[Notes: The priests – from the tribe of Levi – had had a special position with the Lord and these present priests from Aaron's family failed to maintain the respect and honour for the Lord that their calling demanded.]



v.8-10 Their covenant violated


v.8  But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 

v.9  “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.” 

v.10  Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another? 


[Notes: The calling of the priests and the tribe of Levi, had set them apart to the Lord and their role was to teach the people by word and by example, but they had failed to do that and so now they are disdained by the people on who they rely for their daily supplies – the tithes – see later.]



v.11,12 Unfaithfulness


v.11  Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 

v.12  As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD remove him from the tents of Jacob —even though he brings an offering to the LORD Almighty. 


[Notes: The result of their poor leading meant that the people had become casual about keeping the Law and a number had married foreign women. Such people should be removed from the people of God regardless of how spiritual they may appear bringing their offerings!]



v.13-17 Mock tears


v.13  Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 

v.14   You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 

v.15  Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 

v.16  “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. 

v.17  You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”


[Notes: They had become unfaithful to the Lord. Israel when called had been seen as a wife to the Lord (in terms of commitment) but they had drifted from the Lord and become unfaithful, not by following idols [which are not mentioned] but by simply disregarding everything about the Lord in the life of the nation. It was the equivalent of divorce. As a further expression of this they completely distorted truth [v.17] and thus anything they say about the Lord simply wearies Him.]



Go to   Mal 1    Mal 2   Mal 4




v.1-4 The Messenger of the Covenant will come

v.5 He will judge his people

v.6,7 The Lord calls them to return to Him

v.8-12 They are to return by stopping robbing God of His tithes

v.13-15 They had also spoken arrogantly against the Lord

v.16-18 A Righteous Remnant is distinguished from the wicked


PART 2: An Aside: Warning to Repent & Return: 3:1-7


v.1-4 The Refining Messenger of the Covenant will come


v.1  “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 

v.2  But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 

v.3  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 

v.4  and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. 


[Notes: There are two messengers in v.,1 considered first to be John the Baptist and then Jesus. Jesus came to restore the covenant relationship between God and His people after John had prepared them by calling for their repentance. The work of salvation brings new life, a purified life, a life where self is put to death and the individual restored to the Lord by the work of Christ on the cross.]



v.5 He will judge his people


v.5  “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty. 


[Notes: The nation need to realise they are under the eye of the Judge who will deal with all those who are blatantly abusing the Law.]



v.6,7 The Lord calls them to return to Him


v.6  “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 

v.7  Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “ But you ask, ‘How are we to return?


[Notes: The Lord may have been merciful to wayward Israel down through the centuries but [implied] they should have learned from the Exile and so should now repent of all these things the prophet is putting before them.]



PART 3: Rebukes for their Sins (2): 3:8-15


v.8-12 They are to return by stopping robbing God of His tithes


v.8  “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you? ' “In tithes and offerings. 

v.9  You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 

v.10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 

v.11  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. 

v.12  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. 


[Notes: The follow-on is a denunciation of further sins they have been committing, this time in respect of the Law of Tithing which they have clearly been ignoring. Tithing is an act of faith so he calls them to exercise faith by reinstating tithing and watch the blessing that will follow.]



v.13-15 They had also spoken arrogantly against the Lord


v.13  “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?' 

v.14  “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 

v.15  But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.'” 


[Notes: Even more, they had said it was pointless serving God because wrong doers get away with it, so why shouldn't the rest of them?]



PART 4: A Conclusion – The Day of Judgment: 3:16-4:6


v.16-18 A Righteous Remnant is distinguished from the wicked


v.16  Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 

v.17  “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 

v.18  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.


[Notes: The faithful remnant had been noted by the Lord so they will be rewarded on the Day of the Lord.]


Go to     Mal 1   Mal 2   Mal 3 


FRAMEWORKS: Malachi 4: The Great Day


v.1 A Day of Judgment will come

v.2,3 The Righteous Remnant will rise up and trample the wicked underfoot

v.4-6 Moses gave the Law, at the end Elijah will come to apply it


v.1 A Day of Judgment will come


v.1  “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 


[Notes: The day of judgment WILL come with all wrong doers held to account.]



v.2,3 The Righteous Remnant will rise up and trample the wicked underfoot


v.2  But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 

v.3  Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty. 


[Notes: The faithful remnant will be blessed and will rise up in joy putting down all who do wrong.]



v.4-6 Moses gave the Law, at the end Elijah will come to apply it


v.4  “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 

v.5  “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 

v.6  He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”


[Notes: There is a distinct link between Moses & Elijah. The Law is to be brought to the fore again and before the day of judgment comes (the spirit of) Elijah will come and bring conviction that will be life transforming. Those who refuse to respond will be destroyed.]


Go to   Mal 1   Mal 2   Mal 3   Mal 4