What does Malachi 1:1 mean?
ESV: The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
NIV: A prophecy: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.
NASB: The pronouncement of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi:
CSB: A pronouncement:The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.
NLT: This is the message that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi.
KJV: The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
NKJV: The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
Verse Commentary:
The name "Malachi" literally means "My Messenger," so this might not be the name of a specific person. The choice of this name is interesting, for several reasons. First, the priests were meant to be the messengers of God to the people. As this chapter explains, they are failing in that regard. So, for the message to come from God's self-titled "messenger" highlights the difference between those who do and do not follow God's will.

Second, this will be the last prophetic lesson given to Israel for four centuries. After that will come John the Baptist, the "messenger" predicted in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. This long period of quiet is bracketed on both ends by people specifically referred to as God's messengers.

This verse also begins with an interesting word, mas'sa, translated as an "oracle" or "burden." The Hebrew word implies the idea of "raising" something, as one would raise an alarm. Or, of "carrying" something. This is a word often used in Old Testament prophecies (Habakkuk 1:1; Nahum 1:1; Isaiah 13:1). Typically, this word is used to set up a message that is threatening or dangerous (Zechariah 9:1; Isaiah 14:28).
Verse Context:
Malachi 1:1–5 introduces this prophecy as one from Malachi, meaning ''My Messenger.'' This passage summarizes the basic spiritual problem facing Israel: apathy. God has shown His love for them, but they don’t recognize it anymore. To show how He has loved them, Malachi points to the destruction of Edom. Israel has suffered, but God has kept them through those struggles. Edom, on the other hand, has been obliterated. God's chosen people have sinned, but they haven't been destroyed, which is an act of God's love and mercy towards them.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 1 begins the first of three main messages in the book of Malachi. This is addressed to the priests, who have failed to do their duty. They are allowing improper sacrifices, they are not teaching the people, and they are acting in legalism and apathy. If the priests do not change, they will be under the curse of God. God's love for Israel is demonstrated by the counter-example of Edom. Edom's complete destruction was foretold in the book of Obadiah. This shows that God can punish disobedience with annihilation, but has not done so for Israel.
Chapter Context:
Malachi's structure is complex, and chapter divisions are not helpful in seeing the pattern. There are three primary messages in this book, the first running from Malachi 1:2 through Malachi 2:9. Most of chapter one is the first message, directed to the priests of Israel. This is an important first step, since the priests were responsible for teaching the people. Failures by the priests would inevitably lead to failures by the people. The second and third messages are delivered more generally to the nation of Israel.
Book Summary:
Malachi is the last message of prophecy given to Israel prior to 400 years of silence. Israel has rebuilt the temple, following the invasions of Babylon, but they are still under foreign oppression. Israel's spiritual condition, however, is dire. Hosea depicted Israel as prone to failure, but repentant. Later, Ezekiel exposed Israel's blatant disobedience. By the time of Malachi, Israel has passed into numbness and apathy. Unlike other Old Testament prophets, Malachi takes the form of a dialogue, where Israel responds to accusations as if unaware that they've occurred. The next prophetic voice from God would not come until the ministry of John the Baptist.
Accessed 5/18/2024 7:06:38 PM
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