1 The Eternal One burdened His messenger, Malachi, with these words to deliver to Israel.
Eternal One: 2 I have loved you as someone loves his dear family.
Israelites: How have You loved us?
Eternal One: Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Even still I loved Jacob, 3 but I hated Esau.[a] I chose you, and I rejected him. I have made his highlands desolate and his inheritance for scavenging jackals in the wilderness.
Edom (vowing): 4 We are defeated now, but we will be back. We will return and rebuild out of the destruction.
Eternal One: They can build again, but I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will tear Esau’s descendants down again and again and brand them as a land of wickedness and as a people whom the Eternal will despise forever. 5 You will see what I’ve done for you with your own eyes, Jacob’s children, and you will say, “May the Eternal One be magnified beyond the border of Israel.”
6 (to the priests who despise the name of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies) A son respects his father, and a servant fears[b] his master. If I am your Father, then where is My respect from you? And if I am your glorious Master, then where is your fear of Me? From your self-centered oblivion you ask, “How have we despised Your name?” 7 As you put polluted grain offerings on My clean altar, you ask, “In what way have we polluted You?” Your actions tell your fellow priests and the people whose sacrifices you offer that you all may despise the Eternal One’s table. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, isn’t that evil? And when you present sick and lame animals, isn’t that evil? Try bringing these useless animals to your foreign governor when you need his favor; will he grant your request and lift up your face to his to dignify you? Of course not.
So said the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.
9 And now beg before the face of God and try to please Him so He might show you favor. With these offerings you present, will He lift up your face to His to show His approval?
God demands that they close the temple door; it is better to have no sacrifice than to offer service without full devotion. He wants devoted followers giving their best.
Eternal One: 10 Who among you would shut the doors that would keep Me from smelling your sacrifice and you from wasting time kindling the fire on My altar? I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, don’t delight in you. I will not accept any grain offering you present, 11 for from the rising of the sun to its descent, My name is great among the nations and in every place smoke of a pure offering rises up to Me. Even those nations whom I haven’t chosen as My own recognize My name is great—those who don’t recognize Me as the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.
12 But you, My chosen ones, are soiling My name when you say, “The table of the Lord is dirty, and the food on it is despised,” 13 and when you sigh contemptuously and say, “Don’t you see how boring all these required rituals are?” You bring stolen or dirty gifts—your own lame and sick animals or animals you found torn apart by beasts in the wilderness—to the offering. Should I accept what you present? 14 I say, cursed is the deceiver who promises to sacrifice the finest male in his flock if I grant his request but who sacrifices the imperfect one to the Lord instead. I tell you, I am a great King. My name is feared among the nations who aren’t even My own.
So says the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.