Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Malachi 1

Verses 1-5

CHART I

MALACHI

I. Jehovah’s Love Declared for Israel, Malachi 1:1-5.

a) Yet, they seem blind to His love, v. 1, 2.

b) His Love demonstrated for them, v. 3-5.

II. Priestly Conduct Denounced, Malachi 1:6 to Malachi 2:9.

a) His name they despised, v. 6.

b) Four despised charges against the priesthood:

1) They offered blind animals for sacrifices, v. 8.

2) They offered the lame (cripple) and the sick for sacrifices, v. 8.

3) They sanctioned polluted bread, molded on the altar, v. 12.

4) They complained that it was a weariness to sacrifice, in

direct harmony with the Law of the Lord, thus

compromised truth, v. 13, 14.

c) They offered strange fire upon the altar, v. 10.

III. Conduct of the People of Israel Condemned, Malachi 2:10 to Malachi 4:3. a) Because of marriage to daughters of those who

worshipped a strange, idol god, Malachi 2:11-12.

b) Because of divorce and remarriage, infidelity to wife of

their youth, Malachi 2:14-15.

c) A warning of judgment and call to repentance, Malachi 2:16 to Malachi 3:6.

d) For robbing God of tithes, a call to amend their ways, Malachi 3:7-15.

e) Jehovah rewards the faithful remnant, Malachi 3:16 to Malachi 4:3.

IV. A Final Warning, Malachi 4:4-6.

a) Israel called to honor the Law, Malachi 4:4.

b) Elijah’s coming foretold, Malachi 4:5.

c) His ministry of reconciliation from judgment, Malachi 4:6.

MALACHI ...GENERAL ANALYSIS

WHO SPEAKS?

This book was written by Malachi, whose name means "My messenger." Nothing more is revealed about him as a person. He was the last of a long line of Old Testament writing prophets, who for more than one thousand years told of the coming of the Messiah. Of the twelve minor prophets, he is the last; And of the three post exile prophets, he is the last. His last words of the Old Testament warns of a curse, while the first words of the New Testament recount the genealogy of the Christ who came to remove the curse, Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:21.

TO WHOM?

It was addressed to Israel, as a nation, Malachi 1:1; Malachi 1:5; Malachi 2:16; And it was addressed more specifically to the priests regarding their moral, ethical, and spiritual irreverence, and infidelity toward God in both their personal behavior and loose conduct in superintending sacrificial worship in a known corrupt manner before both God and the people. They took bribes, corrupt, crippled and torn sacrifices for personal profit and to please the people, Malachi 1:7-8; Malachi 1:13-14. The masses of the remnant of the people were also addressed and chided or scolded by Malachi for disobedience to God in: 1) withholding tithes, 2) divorcing the wife of their youth, 3) taking heathen, Gentile, idolatrous wives, Malachi 2:12; Malachi 2:14; Malachi 2:16; Malachi 3:7-9.

ABOUT WHAT?

Malachi writes chiefly of four things:

1) Of the Love of Jehovah for Israel, His chosen nation. 2) Of the Sins of the Priests. 3) Of the Sins of the People. 4) Of the Day of the Lord.

WHEN?

Malachi’s ministry was about 75 years after that of Haggai and Zechariah’s, 450 to 400 B.C. It was during the time Nehemiah was governor of Judah, when the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt, Nehemiah 2:17-20.

WHAT WAS THE OCCASION?

Seventy five (75) years earlier Joshua had returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, set up the altar, rebuilt the temple, restored the sacrifices, fasts, feast days, and religious rites of worship. But due to ignorant priests who knew not, studied not, taught not the commandments of God to the people, both people and priests became corrupt and wallowed in carnal disobedience to God, with little true fellowship with God; They needed this direct prophetic message, Mark 7:19; 1 Peter 3:19.

MALACHI - CHAPTER 1

THE LOVE OF JEHOVAH FOR ISRAEL

Verses 1-5:

Jehovah’s Burden Of Love Disclosed

Verse 1 asserts that what is about to be revealed, through Malachi, concerning Israel, is the burden ("massa", heavy load of care) Jehovah bears for Israel, Ezra 7:10; 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 12:6; 2 Chronicles 28:19. He is the last prophet God sent to Judah and a few people returned from captivity of the other ten tribes, until John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord.

Verse 2 affirms that the Lord-Jehovah has loved, or held in affection, the nation of Israel, above other descendants of Abraham, as disclosed Deuteronomy 4:37; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Hosea 11:1. Yet many of them were asking ignorantly, "wherein" He had loved them. He then relates His love as historically and traditionally related among them, and His choice of Jacob, as later described by Paul, Romans 9:10-13. God’s love for Jacob and hatred for Esau, relates to an old Hebrew idiom that means He loved Esau to a less degree than Jacob.

Verse 3 then relates that Jehovah hated Esau, not absolutely, but relatively, as a nation, referring more specifically to the Edomites; Esau’s offspring; He made their mountain ranges as their heritage a waste place for dragons, jackals of the wilderness, Jeremiah 49:17-18; Ezekiel 35:3; Isaiah 34:13. Several examples of love for one more than the other, where the latter is said to be hated, are found in the Scriptures: 1) Esau and Jacob, Genesis 29:30-31; Genesis 2) Jacob feelings for Leah and Rachel, Deuteronomy 21:14-15; One wife loved, one hated, or less loved; Proverbs 13:24 states "He that spareth the rod hateth his son;" and our Lord asserted that if any man came to Him and "hated not his father and his mother he could not be His disciple," simply meaning unless he loved them to a less degree than they did the Lord. Esau sold his birthright in unbelief, but Jacob believed and respected his, hence the Divine choice.

Verse 4 relates Edom’s obstinate refusal to acknowledge the Lord, even after Israel repented, returned and rebuilt the temple, while Edom bragged that she would return and rebuild their own desolate places without Jehovah. But Jehovah warned that He would cast them down, cause them to be known as the border of wickedness, forever, Isaiah 34:5. Esau’s lineage is given Genesis 25:30.

Verse 5 foretells that Israel’s eyes would see the subjection of the Edomites at her borders and the Lord’s name would be magnified, as He punished them before Israel, Psalms 107:2; Micah 5:4.

Verses 6-14

Grave Sins Of The Restoration Priests

Verses 6-14:

Specific Sins Of Priests Exposed, Condemned

Verse 6 declares a general principal, that a son honors his father and a servant his master. The Lord then makes a direct inquiry of these priests regarding their respect for Him as a father of Israel and master of His servants whom they dishonored in their deportment, Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8; Luke 6:46; Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4-8; Ephesians 6:2. The Lord then chided them directly that if He was their father, to show wherein they were honoring Him, or if He were their master to show wherein they had fear toward Him, Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 31:9; Jeremiah 35:14. He then charged them with despising His name, or taking His authority lightly, with low regard for both the letter and spirit of the Law; Yet they asked, how they had done it? They thus showed their blindness toward guilt, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. He obliged them by answering directly, as follows:

Verse 7 certifies that they were offering polluted, musty, or moulded, rotten bread upon the holy altar, Leviticus 21:6-8; Leviticus 22:25. Yet, they asked "wherein have we polluted thee?" The Lord replied that in offering the moulded, rotten bread on His altar they were saying the table of the Lord was a profane or contemptible thing. In this they witnessed that they did not know Him in the holiness of His being, Ezekiel 41:23; Numbers 28:2; God will not accept the second best, Matthew 6:33. The sacrifices were to typify the moral perfection of Jesus Christ, without spot or blemish, Hebrews 9:14; Deuteronomy 15:21.

Verse 8 challenges them to be witnesses against their own conduct, in the light of the very Law they claimed to be administering. It is evil to offer the blind in sacrifice, isn’t it? It was, and they knew it; yet they practiced it before the people. Isn’t it evil to offer in sacrifice the lame and the sick, according to the Law? He demanded of them. It was, yet they practiced it. With sarcasm the Lord asked them, why don’t you offer this kind of gifts to your governor in payment for your taxes? Job 42:8. If not, you all respect human governors more than you do the very God you claim to serve as your Father, don’t you? "Consistency thou art a jewel," and those who behave in such a manner before God evidence that they either have "no jewelry" or have about lost it all. They called Him "Lord, Lord, but did not the things He said," Mark 7:1-10; See also Leviticus 22:24.

Verse 9 recounts Malachi’s appeal to the apostate priests to beseech God, earnestly and honestly appeal to God, to be gracious to Israel. This is ironical, meaning do you think God will respond to your prayers, as willful enemies of the law? It is much as Elijah appealed to the prophets of Baal with irony, 1 Kings 18:27-29; Psalms 115:4-9; Hosea 13:9. They must first repent and turn from their carnal, covetous, corrupt ways.

Verse 10 inquires who might be among the priests who would dare shut the doors of God’s grace against them for nothing at all. Nor did they kindle fire upon his altar as they ought, 1 Corinthians 9:13; Philippians 3:18-19. They were to keep the fires eternally burning, but instead, they offered strange fire, unsanctified fire, letting it go out and starting it again at their pleasure, but in a manner displeasing to God. He would have them shut the temple door, before offering strange fire upon His altar, fire that burned polluted bread and torn animals. For with such fire He would not accept an offering or sacrifice offering from their hand; Their outward show of reverence both misled God’s people and dishonored His name before Gentiles. Better no sacrifice than vain ones, Isaiah 1:11-15; Jeremiah 6:20.

Verse 11 declares that the time comes when, from the rising to the setting of the sun, His name will be great among the Gentiles, Isaiah 59:19. And in every place (part) of the earth incense shall be offered as a pure, wholesome offering of praise to the name of the Lord, John 4:21; 1 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 8:3. For God vows that His name shall exist as great among the heathen, people, or nations, Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 66:19. Since they rejected Him He would find others who would receive and praise Him, Matthew 3:9; Psalms 141:2. See also Hebrews 13:10: Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:12.

Verse 12 again directly charges the priests with polluting or profaning the table, altar, and temple of the Lord, as in v. 7, 8. The fruit of the Lord’s table, even the meat, the sacrifice was treated by the priests, not as a sacred or holy thing, but as the common and profane, a thing of contempt to the Lord. They permitted rather than reprove. rebuke, and exhort them according to the Law, 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

Verse 13 further indicts the priests with complaints of weariness regarding their holy tasks. They became callous, carnal, ceremonial, and slothful in performing their labors, Micah 6:3; and thus they wearied the Lord; Isaiah 43:22-24. They snuffed or scowled at their own rituals. They permitted the people to bring sickly (diseased) lame or crippled and torn or wounded with sores in the flesh, not even fit or lawful to eat, in direct disobedience to the law and a contradiction of the kind of sacrifice Jesus was to be, Exodus 22:30; Ezekiel 4:14; Leviticus 7:24; Hebrews 7:26-28. Such conduct was an insult to God, James 4:17.

Verse 14 pronounces a curse upon the deceiver or hypocrite who had a male and voweth to give it, but gave instead a corrupt, sickly, crippled, or torn animal in sacrifice, Acts 5:1. Such defied God’s law; And they knew it, Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 1:10; Leviticus 22:18-20; For He is a great King whose name is dreadful among the heathen, because of His judgments, Psalms 47:2; 1 Timothy 6:15.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Malachi 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/malachi-1.html. 1985.