Malachi 1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God’s Love for Jacob
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob; 3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” 4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will [c]return and build up the ruins”; thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the [d]wicked territory, and the people [e]toward whom the Lord is indignant forever.” 5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, “The Lord [f]be magnified beyond the [g]border of Israel!”
Sin of the Priests
6 “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My [h]respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 7 You are presenting defiled [i]food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? [j]Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. 9 “But now [k]will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? [l]With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. 10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the [m]gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from [n]you. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. 12 “But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’ 13 You also say, ‘[o]My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the Lord of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. 14 “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “and My name is [p]feared among the [q]nations.”
Priests to Be Disciplined
2 “And now this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 Behold, I am going to rebuke your [r]offspring, and I will spread [s]refuse on your faces, the [t]refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away [u]with it. 4 Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, [v]that My covenant may [w]continue with Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. 5 “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of [x]reverence; so he [y]revered Me and stood in awe of My name. 6 [z]True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and [aa]men should seek [ab]instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble [ac]by the instruction; you have [ad]corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. 9 “So I also have made you despised and abased [ae]before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the [af]instruction.
Sin in the Family
10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord [ag]which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents [ah]an offering to the Lord of hosts.
13 “This is [ai]another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the [aj]offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 [ak]But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And [al]what did that one do while he was seeking a godly [am]offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 For [an]I hate [ao]divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and [ap]him who covers his garment with [aq]wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
3 “Behold, I am going to send My [ar]messenger, and he will [as]clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; [at]and the [au]messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like [av]fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord [aw]offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the [ax]offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the [ay]orphan, and those who turn aside the [az]alien and do not [ba]fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts. 6 “For [bb]I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, [bc]are not consumed.
7 “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’
You Have Robbed God
8 “Will a man [bd]rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and [be]offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are [bf]robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be [bg]food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until [bh]it overflows. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not [bi]destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
13 “Your words have been [bj]arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’”
The Book of Remembrance
16 Then those who [bk]feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who [bl]fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I [bm]prepare My [bn]own possession, and I will [bo]spare them as a man [bp]spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
4 “[bq]For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2 “But for you who [br]fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. 3 You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day [bs]which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.
4 “[bt]Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will [bu]restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a [bv]curse.”
Malachi 1-4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 An oracle. The word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.[a]
Israel Preferred to Edom
2 I have loved you, says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” Is not Esau Jacob’s brother? says the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but I have hated Esau; I have made his hill country a desolation and his heritage a desert for jackals. 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says: They may build, but I will tear down, until they are called the wicked country, the people with whom the Lord is angry forever. 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the borders of Israel!”
Corruption of the Priesthood
6 A son honors his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, “How have we despised your name?” 7 By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, “How have we polluted it?”[b] By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong? Try presenting that to your governor; will he be pleased with you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. 9 And now implore the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. The fault is yours. Will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh, that someone among you would shut the temple[c] doors, so that you would not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hands. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and the food for it[d] may be despised. 13 “What a weariness this is,” you say, and you sniff at me,[e] says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in the flock and vows to give it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished; for I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations.
2 And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse on you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them,[f] because you do not lay it to heart. 3 I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence.[g]
4 Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the Lord of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction.
The Covenant Profaned by Judah
10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob anyone who does this—any to witness[h] or answer, or to bring an offering to the Lord of hosts.
13 And this you do as well: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. 14 You ask, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did not one God make her?[i] Both flesh and spirit are his.[j] And what does the one God[k] desire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and do not let anyone be faithless to the wife of his youth. 16 For I hate[l] divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
The Coming Messenger
3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[m] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
6 For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished. 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”
Do Not Rob God
8 Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. 11 I will rebuke the locust[n] for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
13 You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “How have we spoken against you?” 14 You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? 15 Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.”
The Reward of the Faithful
16 Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. 17 They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. 18 Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
The Great Day of the Lord
4 [o] See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
4 Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.[p]
Malachi 1-4 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
1 The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by the hand of Malachias.
2 I have loved you, saith the Lord: and you have said: Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau brother to Jacob, saith the Lord, and I have loved Jacob,
3 But have hated Esau? and I have made his mountains a wilderness, and given his inheritance to the dragons of the desert.
4 But if Edom shall say: We are destroyed, but we will return and build up what hath been destroyed: thus saith the Lord of hosts: They shall build up, and I will throw down: and they shall be called the borders of wickedness, and the people with whom the Lord is angry for ever.
5 And your eyes shall see, and you shall say: The Lord be magnified upon the border of Israel.
6 The son honoureth the father, and the servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts.
7 To you, O priests, that despise my name, and have said: Wherein have we despised thy name? You offer polluted bread upon my altar, and you say: Wherein have we polluted thee? In that you say: The table of the Lord is contemptible.
8 If you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? offer it to thy prince, if he will be pleased with it, or if he will regard thy face, saith the Lord of hosts.
9 And now beseech ye the face of God, that he may have mercy on you, (for by your hand hath this been done,) if by any means he will receive your faces, saith the Lord of hosts.
10 Who is there among you, that will shut the doors, and will kindle the fire on my altar gratis? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will not receive a gift of your hand.
11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And you have profaned it in that you say: The table of the Lord is defiled: and that which is laid thereupon is contemptible with the fire that devoureth it.
13 And you have said: Behold of our labour, and you puffed it away, saith the Lord of hosts, and you brought in of rapine the lame, and the sick, and brought in an offering: shall I accept it at your hands, saith the Lord?
14 Cursed is the deceitful man that hath in his flock a male, and making a vow offereth in sacrifice that which is feeble to the Lord: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the Gentiles.
2 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is to you.
2 If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, saith the Lord of hosts: I will send poverty upon you, and will curse your blessings, yea I will curse them, because you have not laid it to heart.
3 Behold, I will cast the shoulder to you, and I will scatter upon your face the dung of your solemnities, and it shall take you away with it.
4 And you shall know that I sent you this commandment, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
5 My covenant was with him of life and peace: and I gave him fear: and he feared me, and he was afraid before my name.
6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace, and in equity, and turned many away from iniquity.
7 For the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth: because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts.
8 But you have departed out of the way, and have caused many to stumble at the law: you have made void the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible, and base before all people, as you have not kept my ways, and have accepted persons in the law.
10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why then doth every one of us despise his brother, violating the covenant of our fathers?
11 Juda hath transgressed, and abomination hath been committed in Israel, and in Jerusalem: for Juda hath profaned the holiness of the Lord, which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
12 The Lord will cut off the man that hath done this, both the master, and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering to the Lord of hosts.
13 And this again have you done, you have covered the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and bellowing, so that I have no more a regard to sacrifice, neither do I accept any atonement at your hands.
14 And you have said: For what cause? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee, and the wife of thy youth, whom thou hast despised: yet she was thy partner, and the wife of thy covenant.
15 Did not one make her, and she is the residue of his spirit? And what doth one seek, but the seed of God? Keep then your spirit, and despise not the wife of thy youth.
16 When thou shalt hate her put her away, saith the Lord the God of Israel: but iniquity shall cover his garment, saith the Lord of hosts, keep your spirit, and despise not.
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words, and you said: Wherein have we wearied him? In that you say: Every one that doth evil, is good in the sight of the Lord, and such please him: or surely where is the God of judgment?
3 Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts.
2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb:
3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.
4 And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years.
5 And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.
6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 For from the days of your fathers you have departed from my ordinances, and have not kept them: Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have said: Wherein shall we return?
8 Shall a man afflict God? for you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict thee? in tithes and in firstfruits.
9 And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance.
11 And I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer, and he shall not spoil the fruit of your land: neither shall the vine in the field be barren, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts.
13 Your words have been unsufferable to me, saith the Lord.
14 And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts?
15 Wherefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and are preserved.
16 Then they that feared the Lord spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name.
17 And they shall be my special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment: and I will spare them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him.
18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.
4 For behold the day shall come kindled as a furnace: and all the proud, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall set them on fire, saith the Lord of hosts, it shall not leave them root, nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.
3 And you shall tread down the wicked when they shall be ashes under the sole of your feet in the day that I do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, the precepts, and judgments.
5 Behold I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema.
Malachi 1-4 The Message (MSG)
No More of This So-Called Worship!
1 A Message. God’s Word to Israel through Malachi:
2-3 God said, “I love you.”
You replied, “Really? How have you loved us?”
“Look at history” (this is God’s answer). “Look at how differently I’ve treated you, Jacob, from Esau: I loved Jacob and hated Esau. I reduced pretentious Esau to a molehill, turned his whole country into a ghost town.”
4 When Edom (Esau) said, “We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up and start over, good as new,” God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, ‘Land of Evil!’ and ‘the God-cursed tribe!’
5 “Yes, take a good look. Then you’ll see how faithfully I’ve loved you and you’ll want even more, saying, ‘May God be even greater, beyond the borders of Israel!’
6 “Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me!
“You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’
“By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship.
“You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’
7-8 “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
9 “Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I’ll pay attention to you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
10 “Why doesn’t one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don’t want any more of this so-called worship!
Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down, Broken, or Useless
11 “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’
12-13 “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!
14 “A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I’m a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I’ll not put up with it!”
Desecrating the Holiness of God
2 1-3 “And now this indictment, you priests! If you refuse to obediently listen, and if you refuse to honor me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, in worship, then I’ll put you under a curse. I’ll exchange all your blessings for curses. In fact, the curses are already at work because you’re not serious about honoring me. Yes, and the curse will extend to your children. I’m going to plaster your faces with rotting garbage, garbage thrown out from your feasts. That’s what you have to look forward to!
4-6 “Maybe that will wake you up. Maybe then you’ll realize that I’m indicting you in order to put new life into my covenant with the priests of Levi, the covenant of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. My covenant with Levi was to give life and peace. I kept my covenant with him, and he honored me. He stood in reverent awe before me. He taught the truth and did not lie. He walked with me in peace and uprightness. He kept many out of the ditch, kept them on the road.
7-9 “It’s the job of priests to teach the truth. People are supposed to look to them for guidance. The priest is the messenger of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. But you priests have abandoned the way of priests. Your teaching has messed up many lives. You have corrupted the covenant of priest Levi. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. And so I am showing you up for who you are. Everyone will be disgusted with you and avoid you because you don’t live the way I told you to live, and you don’t teach my revelation truly and impartially.”
10 Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together?
11-12 Judah has cheated on God—a sickening violation of trust in Israel and Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the holiness of God by falling in love and running off with foreign women, women who worship alien gods. God’s curse on those who do this! Drive them out of house and home! They’re no longer fit to be part of the community no matter how many offerings they bring to God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
13-15 And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse.
16 “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.
17 You make God tired with all your talk.
“How do we tire him out?” you ask.
By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.”
The Master You’ve Been Looking For
3 “Look! I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you’ve been waiting for. Look! He’s on his way!” A Message from the mouth of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
2-4 But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?
He’ll be like white-hot fire from the smelter’s furnace. He’ll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He’ll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He’ll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they’re fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.
5 “Yes, I’m on my way to visit you with Judgment. I’ll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.” A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
6-7 “I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“You ask, ‘But how do we return?’
8-11 “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’
“The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
12 “You’ll be voted ‘Happiest Nation.’ You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.
The Difference Between Serving God and Not Serving Him
13 God says, “You have spoken hard, rude words to me.
“You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’
14-15 “When you said, ‘It doesn’t pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.’”
16 Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.
17-18 God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”
The Sun of Righteousness Will Dawn
4 1-3 “Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.
4 “Remember and keep the revelation I gave through my servant Moses, the revelation I commanded at Horeb for all Israel, all the rules and procedures for right living.
5-6 “But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.”