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Malachi 1:7

ESV 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.
NIV By offering defiled food on my altar. 'But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' 'By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible.
NASB You are presenting defiled 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.’
CSB "By presenting defiled food on my altar.""How have we defiled you? " you ask.When you say, "The Lord's table is contemptible."
NLT You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. 'Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices? ’ 'You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect.
KJV Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.

What does Malachi 1:7 mean?

Leviticus 22:17–33 gave detailed instructions on proper sacrifices. Leviticus 21:6 specifically said that failing to follow these instructions would be to "profane the name" of God. Rather than follow these instructions, these priests in Malachi's time were offering improper—spiritually polluted—animals at the temple. This would have included sick, lame, or blemished animals. According to Malachi 1:8, these were not merely minor flaws. The animals being offered were so obviously inferior that they wouldn't have been accepted by other people, let alone God.

The reference to "the Lord's table" here is a reference to the altar of sacrifice, as mentioned earlier in verse 7. This is not the acacia wood table from the tabernacle mentioned in Exodus 25:23. Whether the literal altar, or the general concept of sacrifices, Malachi is referring to the contents of the offerings being brought by the priests. By using inferior and inappropriate animals, the priests are showing profound disrespect to God.

This passage also explains God's attitude towards those in positions of spiritual leadership today. The more we know about God, and the greater the responsibility we take on, the more scrutiny we are under (James 3:1). Leading people astray, especially through apathy or disrespect for God, is a serious sin (Matthew 18:6; Galatians 1:8; 1 Timothy 6:3–5).
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