Malachi 3:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Malachi 3:7, NIV: Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty. 'But you ask, 'How are we to return?'

Malachi 3:7, ESV: From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

Malachi 3:7, KJV: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Malachi 3:7, NASB: 'From the days of your fathers you have turned away from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,' says the LORD of armies. 'But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

Malachi 3:7, NLT: Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 'But you ask, 'How can we return when we have never gone away?'

Malachi 3:7, CSB: "Since the days of your ancestors, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord of Armies.Yet you ask, "How can we return? "

What does Malachi 3:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse begins the last of Malachi's three major messages. Unfortunately, Israel has a long track record of disobeying God, despite all of His blessings (Deuteronomy 31:27–29). At the time Malachi delivered this prophecy, Israel was at the end of a particularly long decline. Hosea depicts Israel as prone to error, but repentant. Ezekiel shows Israel to be blatantly disobedient and unrepentant. Malachi now sees Israel as so numb and distant from God that they hardly even recognize their own mistakes.

Verse 6 was an explicit statement of God's faithfulness, despite Israel's sin (Deuteronomy 4:30–31). Here, God is calling on Israel to be faithful, so that they can experience the blessings of His covenant with them. As with the other accusations in Malachi's prophecy, Israel replies with doubt and disbelief. Their response does not mean, "what should we do," but rather means, "why would we need to come back?" In other words, they question whether they have any problems to fix in the first place. Israel has drifted so far from God that they don't even recognize that they've fallen away.