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Malachi chapter 3

New International Version

1 I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 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.
6 I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
7 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?'
8 Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. 'But you ask, 'How are we robbing you?' 'In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--your whole nation--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,' says the LORD Almighty. 12 Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,' says the LORD Almighty.
13 You have spoken arrogantly against me,' says the LORD. 'Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
14 You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.''
16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
17 On the day when I act,' says the LORD Almighty, 'they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
English Standard Version

1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “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.
6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 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?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
King James Version

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5 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. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 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? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. 16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
New American Standard Bible

1 'Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,' says the LORD of armies. 2 'But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap. 3 And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 '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. 6 'For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, the sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.
7 '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?’
8 'Would anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the entire nation of you! 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and put Me to the test now in this,' says the LORD of armies, 'if I do not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruit of your ground; nor will the vine in the field prove fruitless to you,' says the LORD of armies. 12 'All the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,' says the LORD of armies.
13 'Your words have been arrogant against Me,' says the LORD. 'Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is pointless to serve God; and what benefit is it for us that we have done what He required, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of armies? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up, but they also put God to the test and escape punishment.’?'
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened attentively and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and esteem His name. 17 'And they will be Mine,' says the LORD of armies, 'on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will have compassion for them just as a man has compassion for his own son who serves him.' 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
New Living Translation

1 'Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
2 'But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD. 4 Then once more the LORD will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.
5 '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.
6 'I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.
7 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?'
8 'Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! 'But you ask, 'What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?' 'You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 12 'Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
13 'You have said terrible things about me,' says the LORD. 'But you say, 'What do you mean? What have we said against you?'
14 'You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven's Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.''
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.
17 'They will be my people,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 'On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.'
Christian Standard Bible

1 "See, I am going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple, the Messenger of the covenant you delight in--see, he is coming," says the Lord of Armies. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire and like launderer's bleach. 3 He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4 And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by.
5 "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. 6 "Because I, the Lord, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.
7 "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? "
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! ""How do we rob you? " you ask."By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions. 9 You are suffering under a curse, yet you--the whole nation--are still robbing me. 10 Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way," says the Lord of Armies. "See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit," says the Lord of Armies. 12 "Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land," says the Lord of Armies.
13 "Your words against me are harsh," says the Lord.Yet you ask, "What have we spoken against you? "
14 You have said, "It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? 15 So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape."
16 At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name. 17 "They will be mine," says the Lord of Armies, "my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. 18 So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

What does Malachi chapter 3 mean?

Malachi's prophecy takes the form of a wave, which flows back and forth through several topics. Chapter and verse divisions don't make this clear. Malachi, meaning "My Messenger," delivers three main lessons, each divided into two halves. The halves are mirrored around a central point, so the prophet's ideas cycle through similar themes, forwards and backwards. Unlike other prophets, Malachi speaks in the form of a dialogue. For almost every accusation, Israel responds with doubt and apathy.

Malachi's first message, to Israel's priests, ended in Malachi 2:9. The second message, scolding Israel for her unfaithfulness, began in Malachi 2:10 and runs through Malachi 3:6. The criticism of this particular lesson comes in two parts. First, Israel is marrying those who worship other gods (Malachi 2:11). Second, the men of Israel are divorcing their Jewish wives in order to marry these pagan women (Malachi 2:14). This, God described as an act of spiritual violence, condemned in the strongest terms (Malachi 2:16). That condemnation ends the first half of Malachi's second message.

Chapter 2 verse 17 began the second half of Malachi's second message. There, Israel delivers an arrogant, dangerous set of spiritual criticisms of God. Specifically, the claims that God allows the wicked to prosper, and that He is not demonstrating His justice on earth (Malachi 2:17). This is an unwise attack on God. At the very least, each person should recognize their own sin and wickedness (Romans 3:10). Asking God to judge means asking to be judged.

Chapter 3, then, begins with God's promise to do exactly what Israel is—hypocritically—asking for. God will send a messenger to proclaim the imminent arrival of the Messiah (Malachi 3:1). And, one day, that Promised One will rule with all of God's power. This, however, will be a day of judgment and division. God's holiness and judgment is described in terms of fire and potent chemicals (Malachi 3:2). The second message of Malachi's prophecy ends with a stinging rebuke of Israel: the only reason they have not been annihilated is the unchanging faithfulness of God (Malachi 3:6).

Verse 7 begins the final message delivered to Israel by Malachi. Here, God accuses the people of "robbing" Him by withholding His required tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8). God's covenant with Israel included both blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Israel complains about their sad state, but fails to see that this is exactly what God promised them in return for unfaithfulness.

The end of Malachi chapter 3 takes a somewhat more hopeful tone. At least some of the priests and people of Israel were still faithful. They responded to Malachi's message as God intended. As a result, God makes a promise to remember their faithfulness (Malachi 3:16). Chapter 4, which is very short, transitions into a contrast of the fates of the righteous and the wicked. In context, these are those who follow God, with those who do not, respectively.

This last lesson from Malachi is an appeal for Israel to return to her former faithfulness. God's judgment is coming, sooner or later.