What does Malachi 3:13 mean?
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?
NKJV: “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Malachi 3:13—4:3 shows that even as the nation of Israel has been unfaithful, there are individuals among the people who are faithful. At the very least, they are willing to respond to God's correction. As a result, God promises to protect them from the upcoming wrath. This reckoning is described in dramatic, fiery terms. Part of the purpose of this particular judgment is to distinguish the wicked from the righteous. In this case, those who follow God will be healed and set free. Those who do not will be completely consumed.
Chapter Summary:
The final message, completed in chapter 4, is an appeal for God's chosen people to return. God would prefer to see them redeemed, than to be destroyed, when the end finally comes. This passage includes God's promise to send a messenger heralding the Messiah. And, that the Promised One will someday rule and conquer the wicked. In the meantime, Israel must stop ''robbing'' Him by withholding His tithes and offerings. Only God's unchanging nature has kept Israel from destruction. At the same time, God will remember those who have been faithful during these faithless times.
Chapter Context:
Malachi's first message, to the priests, ended in chapter 2. The prophecy then shifts to accuse Israel of unfaithfulness across chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3. The final message covers the last half of chapter 3 and all of the short fourth chapter. This last warning is centered on Israel's failure to pay God His tithes and offerings, as well as a promise to send Messiah to judge all sin.
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 6:31:58 PM
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