Malachi 01-2 – English Standard Version

The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 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, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might 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 hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be 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 its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, 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 his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will 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. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 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. 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, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

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 fathers? 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 any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was 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 he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

Malachi 01-2 – New International Reader’s Version

This is a prophecy. It is the Lord’s message to Israel through Malachi.

“Israel, I have loved you,” says the Lord.

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

“Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” says the Lord. “But I chose Jacob instead of Esau. I have turned Esau’s hill country into a dry and empty land. I left that land of Edom to the wild dogs in the desert.”

Edom might say, “We have been crushed. But we’ll rebuild our cities.”

The Lord who rules over all says, “They might rebuild their cities. But I will destroy them. They will be called the Evil Land. My anger will always remain on them. You will see it with your own eyes. You will say, ‘The Lord is great! He rules even beyond the borders of Israel!’

“A son honors his father. A slave honors his master. If I am a father, where is the honor I should have? If I am a master, where is the respect you should give me?” says the Lord who rules over all.

“You priests look down on me.

“But you ask, ‘How have we looked down on you?’

“You sacrifice ‘unclean’ food on my altar.

“But you ask, ‘How have we made you “unclean”?’

“You do it by looking down on my altar. You sacrifice blind animals to me. Isn’t that wrong? You sacrifice disabled or sick animals. Isn’t that wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord who rules over all.

“Now plead with God to be gracious to us! But as long as you give offerings like those, how can he accept you?” says the Lord.

“You might as well shut the temple doors! Then you would not light useless fires on my altar. I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord. “I will not accept any of the offerings you bring. My name will be great among the nations. They will worship me from where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west. In every place, incense and pure offerings will be brought to me. That’s because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord.

“But you treat my name as if it were not holy. You say the Lord’s altar is ‘unclean.’ And you look down on its food. You say, ‘What a heavy load our work is!’ And you turn up your nose. You act as if you hate working for me,” says the Lord who rules over all.

“You bring animals that have been hurt. Or you bring disabled or sick animals. Then you dare to offer them to me as sacrifices! Should I accept them from you?” says the Lord. “Suppose you have a male sheep or goat that does not have any flaws. And you promise to offer it to me. But then you sacrifice an animal that has flaws. When you do that, you cheat me. And anyone who cheats me is under my curse. After all, I am a great king,” says the Lord who rules over all. “The other nations have respect for my name. So why don’t you respect it?

“Now I am giving this warning to you priests. Listen to it. Honor me with all your heart,” says the Lord who rules over all. “If you do not, I will send a curse on you. I will turn your blessings into curses. In fact, I have already done that because you have not honored me with all your heart.

“Because of what you have done, I will punish your children. I will smear the waste from your sacrifices on your faces. And you will be carried off to the dump along with it. You will know that I have given you this warning. I have warned you so that my covenant with Levi will continue,” says the Lord who rules over all. “My covenant promised Levi life and peace. So I gave them to him. I required him to respect me. And he had great respect for my name. True teaching came from his mouth. Nothing but the truth came from his lips. He walked with me in peace. He did what was right. He turned many people away from their sins.

“The lips of a priest should guard knowledge. After all, he is the messenger of the Lord who rules over all. And people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned away from the right path. Your teaching has caused many people to trip and fall. You have broken my covenant with Levi,” says the Lord who rules over all. “So I have caused all the people to hate you. They have lost respect for you. You have not done what I told you to do. Instead, you have favored one person over another in matters of the law.”

People of Judah, all of us have one Father. One God created us. So why do we break the covenant the Lord made with our people of long ago? We do this by being unfaithful to one another.

And Judah has been unfaithful. A hateful thing has been done in Israel and Jerusalem. The Lord loves his temple. But Judah has made it impure. Their men have married women who worship other gods. May the Lord punish the man who marries a woman like this. It doesn’t matter who that man is. May the Lord who rules over all remove him from the tents of Jacob’s people. May the Lord remove him even if he brings an offering to him.

Here’s something else you do. You flood the Lord’s altar with your tears. You weep and cry because your offerings don’t please him anymore. He doesn’t accept them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It’s because the Lord is holding you responsible. He watches how you treat the wife you married when you were young. You have been unfaithful to her. You did it even though she’s your partner. You promised to stay married to her. And the Lord was a witness to it.

Hasn’t the one God made the two of you one also? Both of you belong to him in body and spirit. And why has the one God made you one? Because he wants his children to be like him. So be careful. Don’t be unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young.

“Suppose a man hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel. “Then he is harming the one he should protect,” says the Lord who rules over all.

So be careful. And don’t be unfaithful.

You have worn out the Lord by what you keep saying.

“How have we worn him out?” you ask.

You have done it by saying, “All those who do evil things are good in the Lord’s sight. And he is pleased with them.” Or you ask, “Is God really fair?”