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Resistance to the Lord through Self-deceit

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” Because you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s opinion,[a] and he delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?” “I am about to send my messenger,[b] who will clear the way before me. Indeed, the Lord[c] you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger[d] of the covenant, whom you long for, is certainly coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire,[e] like a launderer’s soap. He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering. The offerings[f] of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past.

“I[g] will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination; those who commit adultery; those who break promises;[h] and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans,[i] who refuse to help[j] the resident foreigner[k] and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.


  1. Malachi 2:17 tn Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.”
  2. Malachi 3:1 tn In Hebrew the phrase “my messenger” is מַלְאָכִי (malʾakhi), the same form as the prophet’s name (see note on the name “Malachi” in 1:1). However, here the messenger appears to be an eschatological figure who is about to appear, as the following context suggests. According to 4:5, this messenger is “Elijah the prophet,” whom the NT identifies as John the Baptist (Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2) because he came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Matt 11:14; 17:11-12; Lk 1:17).
  3. Malachi 3:1 tn Here the Hebrew term הָאָדוֹן (haʾadon) is used, not יְהוָה (yehvah, typically rendered Lord). Thus the focus is not on the Lord as the covenant God, but on his role as master.
  4. Malachi 3:1 sn This messenger of the covenant may be equated with my messenger (that is, Elijah) mentioned earlier in the verse, or with the Lord himself. In either case the messenger functions as an enforcer of the covenant. Note the following verses, which depict purifying judgment on a people that has violated the Lord’s covenant.
  5. Malachi 3:2 sn The refiner’s fire was used to purify metal and refine it by melting it and allowing the dross, which floated to the top, to be scooped off.
  6. Malachi 3:4 tn Or “gift.”
  7. Malachi 3:5 tn The first person pronoun (a reference to the Lord) indicates that the Lord himself now speaks (see also v. 1). The prophet speaks in vv. 2-4 (see also 2:17).
  8. Malachi 3:5 tn Heb “those who swear [oaths] falsely.” Cf. NIV “perjurers”; TEV “those who give false testimony”; NLT “liars.”
  9. Malachi 3:5 tn Heb “and against the oppressors of the worker for a wage, [the] widow and orphan.”
  10. Malachi 3:5 tn Heb “those who turn aside.”
  11. Malachi 3:5 sn Cf. Exod 22:21; Lev 19:33-34; Deut 10:18-19; 24:14, 17; 27:19; Jer 22:3; Zech 7:10.