Malachi 3:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Malachi 3:5, NIV: So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,' says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:5, ESV: “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:5, KJV: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:5, NASB: 'Then I will come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, those who oppress the wage earner in his wages or the widow or the orphan, and those who turn away the stranger from justice and do not fear Me,' says the LORD of armies.

Malachi 3:5, NLT: 'At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.

Malachi 3:5, CSB: "I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the hired worker, the widow, and the fatherless; and against those who deny justice to the resident alien. They do not fear me," says the Lord of Armies.

What does Malachi 3:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Malachi 2:17 records Israel's arrogant and hypocritical question thrown at God: "Where is the God of justice?" In short, the claim is that God is not doing enough to punish the wicked. Of course, what Israel has in mind is other nations, and other cultures, and other people. God's response here, in verse 5, is "be careful what you wish for." Asking God to deal with sin in the world means asking God to deal with the sin in us, and our own lives, first and foremost.

God's judgment will not be somewhere far away, or aimed at other nations, leaving Israel untouched. On the contrary, His judgment will begin with Israel: He will "draw near" for judgment. The sins listed in this verse can all be found condemned in the Law of Moses.

Though this book, and these words, are specifically directed at the nation of Israel, there are principles which can be applied to modern Christians. First, we need to consider our own sins before we demand that God judge the sins of others (Matthew 7:3–5). Likewise, before God's people can expect to honor Him, and serve Him, we need to experience purification. Suffering and persecution may be God's ways of "refining" His church in preparation for what lies ahead.