1 Here is the Lord’s message to Israel, given through the prophet Malachi:
2-3 “I have loved you very deeply,” says the Lord.
But you retort, “Really? When was this?”
And the Lord replies, “I showed my love for you by loving your father, Jacob. I didn’t need to. I even rejected his very own brother, Esau, and destroyed Esau’s mountains and inheritance, to give it to the jackals of the desert. 4 And if his descendants should say, ‘We will rebuild the ruins,’ then the Lord Almighty will say, ‘Try to if you like, but I will destroy it again,’ for their country is named ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people are called ‘Those Whom God Does Not Forgive.’”
5 O Israel, lift your eyes to see what God is doing all around the world; then you will say, “Truly, the Lord’s great power goes far beyond our borders!”
6 “A son honors his father, a servant honors his master. I am your Father and Master, yet you don’t honor me, O priests, but you despise my name.”
“Who? Us?” you say. “When did we ever despise your name?”
7 “When you offer polluted sacrifices on my altar.”
“Polluted sacrifices? When have we ever done a thing like that?”
“Every time you say, ‘Don’t bother bringing anything very valuable to offer to God!’ 8 You tell the people, ‘Lame animals are all right to offer on the altar of the Lord—yes, even the sick and the blind ones.’ And you claim this isn’t evil? Try it on your governor sometime—give him gifts like that—and see how pleased he is!
9 “‘God have mercy on us,’ you recite; ‘God be gracious to us!’ But when you bring that kind of gift, why should he show you any favor at all?
10 “Oh, to find one priest among you who would shut the doors and refuse this kind of sacrifice! I have no pleasure in you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will not accept your offerings.
11 “But my name will be honored by the Gentiles from morning till night. All around the world they will offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “But you dishonor it, saying that my altar is not important and encouraging people to bring cheap, sick animals to offer to me on it.
13 “You say, ‘Oh, it’s too difficult to serve the Lord and do what he asks.’ And you turn up your noses at the rules he has given you to obey. Think of it! Stolen animals, lame and sick—as offerings to God! Should I accept such offerings as these?” asks the Lord. 14 “Cursed is that man who promises a fine ram from his flock and substitutes a sick one to sacrifice to God. For I am a Great King,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be mightily revered among the Gentiles.”
New International Version
Israel Doubts God’s Love
2 “I have loved(C) you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask,(D) ‘How have you loved us?’
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob,(E) 3 but Esau I have hated,(F) and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland(G) and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.(H)”
But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish.(K) They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord.(L) 5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great(M) is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’(N)
Breaking Covenant Through Blemished Sacrifices
“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.
“But you ask,(S) ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
7 “By offering defiled food(T) on my altar.
“But you ask,(U) ‘How have we defiled you?’
“By saying that the Lord’s table(V) is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals,(W) is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased(X) with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.(Y)
10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors,(AB) so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased(AC) with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept(AD) no offering(AE) from your hands. 11 My name will be great(AF) among the nations,(AG) from where the sun rises to where it sets.(AH) In every place incense(AI) and pure offerings(AJ) 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(AK) is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food(AL) is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’(AM) and you sniff at it contemptuously,(AN)” says the Lord Almighty.
“When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices,(AO) should I accept them from your hands?”(AP) 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(AQ) to the Lord. For I am a great king,(AR)” says the Lord Almighty,(AS) “and my name is to be feared(AT) among the nations.(AU)
- Malachi 1:1 Malachi means my messenger.