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Malachi 3:13

ESV “Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’
NIV You have spoken arrogantly against me,' says the LORD. 'Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
NASB Your words have been arrogant against Me,' says the Lord. 'Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
CSB "Your words against me are harsh," says the Lord.Yet you ask, "What have we spoken against you? "
NLT You have said terrible things about me,' says the Lord. 'But you say, ‘What do you mean? What have we said against you?’
KJV Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

What does Malachi 3:13 mean?

Malachi is unique among the prophets for using a dialogue, rather than simple declaration. Unfortunately, Israel's responses to God's accusations are not flattering. Between verses 13 and 14, God shows that Israel has been overtly disrespectful to Him. The Hebrew word translated as "hard," "harsh," or "stout" is hoz'qu, which literally means "strong." In context, the term means "arrogant" or "courageous." This is not simply complaining; this is blasphemy. And yet, at this point in history, Israel is so spiritually numb that they do not recognize their own sin.

A key problem facing Israel was a lack of respect for the Mosaic covenant. The promises between God and Israel, made through Moses, included both positive and negative consequences (Deuteronomy 28). If the people obeyed, they would experience blessings. If they were defiant, they would be cursed. Verse 14 shows the same error Israel has demonstrated previously in Malachi: they disobey God, then blame Him when bad things happen. This is hardly a problem unique to ancient Israel; modern people do exactly the same thing on a daily basis.
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