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Bible Commentaries
Malachi 1

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-14

Malachi 1:1 Title The opening verse of the book of Malachi serves as its title.

Malachi 1:1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.

Malachi 1:1 Comments The Dates of Malachi’s Ministry Douglas Stuart believes Malachi prophesied around 460 B.C. [6] He is considered the last of the Old Testament prophets because the Hebrew canon closes with the books of Malachi and Esther.

[6] Douglas Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 31, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on “General Introduction,” and “The Canonical Order of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.”

Comments The Manner in which Divine Oracles were Delivered unto the Prophets - God spoke through the Old Testament prophets in various ways, as the author of the epistle of Hebrews says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…” (Hebrews 1:1). The Lord spoke divine oracles ( מַשָּׂא ) through the Old Testament prophets in three general ways, as recorded in the book of Hosea, “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10) ( NKJV) In other words, the prophets spoke to Israel through the words they received, they described divine visions to the people, and they acted out as divine drama an oracle from the Lord.

(1) The Word of the Lord Came to the Prophets - God gave the prophets divine pronouncements to deliver to the people, as with Hosea 1:1. The opening verses of a number of prophetic books say, “the word of the Lord came to the prophet…” Thus, these prophets received a divine utterance from the Lord.

(2) The Prophets Received Divine Visions - God gave the prophets divine visions ( חָזוֹן ), so they prophesied what they saw ( חזה ) (to see). Thus, these two Hebrew words are found in Isaiah 1:1, Obadiah 1:1, Nahum 1:1, and Habakkuk 1:1. Ezekiel saw visions ( מַרְאָה ) of God.

(3) God Told the Prophets to Deliver Visual Aids as Symbols of Divine Oracles - God asked the prophets to demonstrate divine oracles to the people through symbolic language. For example, Isaiah walked naked for three years as a symbol of Assyria’s dominion over Egypt and Ethiopia (Isaiah 20:1-6). Ezekiel demonstrated the siege of Jerusalem using clay tiles (Ezekiel 4:1-3), then he laid on his left side for many days, then on his right side, to demonstrate that God will require Israel to bear its iniquities.

Malachi 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Malachi 1:2-3 Comments Divine Election - F. F. Bruce tells us that it is not so much the two individual sons of Jacob that are meant in this passage as it is the two nations. [7] In other words, God loved the nation of Israel and hated the nation of Edom.

[7] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 46.

In the same sense, it is not so much the individuals that are referred to in Genesis 25:23, when God said that “the elder shall serve the younger,” as it is the two nations that will descend from Jacob and Esau. The Scriptures reveal that Esau himself never served Jacob. During the long stretch of biblical history, Edom did in fact serve the nation of Israel a number of times.

Genesis 25:23, “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

F. F. Bruce goes on to explain that the Hebrew thought and speech is making an extreme contrast in these passages for the sake of emphasis. He explains that the Hebrew language (and Aramaic) lacks the abstract words that the Greek language later developed. He uses Luke 14:26 to illustrate this Hebrew way of saying that someone must love God far more than his earthly family.

Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

This is exactly what the parallel passage in Matthew 10:37 says when Jesus tells us that we must love Him more than our parents or children.

Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Thus, God was saying that He loved Jacob far more than his closest blood kin. This statement is meant to place emphasis upon the immeasurable love that God has for His people.

Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

Malachi 1:6 Comments In Malachi 1:6 God justifies His request for honour from Israel based upon the natural principle that a son honours his father and a servant his master. Yet Israel has not honored their God. In a similar argument, Isaiah condemns Israel for not knowing their God based upon the natural principle that a domestic beast knows its particular owner and who feeds him (Isaiah 1:2-3).

Isaiah 1:2-3, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.”

Because the Israelites, and in particular their spiritual leaders, the priests and Levites, did not honor God, they did not honour His covenant or His Words. The rest of the book of Malachi will describe how they profaned His Words. The root of all of these problems is that they did not honour Him.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Malachi 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/malachi-1.html. 2013.
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