3
The Messenger of the Covenant
1#a. [3:1] Ex 23:20–22; Is 40:3; Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2; Lk 1:17; 7:27. Now I am sending my messenger—
he will prepare the way before me;#My messenger…before me: Mt 11:10 applies these words to John the Baptist; Mt 11:14 further identifies John as Elijah (see Mal 3:23). Some take God’s messenger in v. 1a to be a person distinct from “the lord” and “the messenger of the covenant” in v. 1b; others hold that they are one and the same person. Some consider “the lord” and “the messenger of the covenant” to be divine, while others hold that in the text’s literal sense he is a messianic earthly ruler.
And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple;
The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—
see, he is coming! says the Lord of hosts.
2But who can endure the day of his coming?
Who can stand firm when he appears?
For he will be like a refiner’s fire,
like fullers’ lye.
3#b. [3:3] Is 1:25; Zec 13:9. He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the Levites,
Refining them like gold or silver,
that they may bring offerings to the Lord in righteousness.
4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the Lord,
as in ancient days, as in years gone by.
5I will draw near to you for judgment,
and I will be swift to bear witness
Against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers,
those who deprive a laborer of wages,
Oppress a widow or an orphan,
or turn aside a resident alien,
without fearing me, says the Lord of hosts.
Gifts for God, Blessings for the People
6For I, the Lord, do not change,#Not change: God remains faithful to the covenant even when the human partners break it.
and you, sons of Jacob, do not cease to be.
7#c. [3:7] Zec 1:3–4; Acts 7:51. Since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside
from my statutes and have not kept them.
Return to me, that I may return to you,
says the Lord of hosts.
But you say, “Why should we return?”
8#d. [3:8] Neh 13:10–14. Can anyone rob God? But you are robbing me!
And you say, “How have we robbed you?”
Of tithes and contributions!
9You are indeed accursed,
for you, the whole nation, rob me.
10#e. [3:10] Dt 28:2, 12; 2 Chr 31:10–11; Neh 10:38; 13:12; Prv 3:9–10. Bring the whole tithe
into the storehouse,#Storehouse: the temple treasury.
That there may be food in my house.
Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts,
And see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you,
and pour down upon you blessing without measure!
11I will rebuke the locust for you
so that it will not destroy your crops,
And the vine in the field will not be barren,
says the Lord of hosts.
12#f. [3:12] Dt 28:10; Is 61:9. All the nations will call you blessed,
for you will be a delightful land,
says the Lord of hosts.
The Need To Serve God
13Your words are too much for me, says the Lord.
You ask, “What have we spoken against you?”
14#g. [3:14] Jb 21:14–15; 22:17; Ps 73:11–12; Is 58:3; Zec 7:2–7. You have said, “It is useless to serve God;
what do we gain by observing God’s requirements,
And by going about as mourners#As mourners: the adverb translated “as mourners” means something like “with a long face.”
before the Lord of hosts?
15But we call the arrogant blessed;
for evildoers not only prosper
but even test God and escape.”
16#h. [3:16] Rev 20:12. Then those who fear the Lord spoke with one another,
and the Lord listened attentively;
A record book#Record book: see note on Ex 32:32. was written before him
of those who fear the Lord and esteem his name.
17#i. [3:17] Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; Ps 103:13; 135:4. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts,
my own special possession, on the day when I take action.
And I will have compassion on them,
as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.
18Then you will again distinguish
between the just and the wicked,
Between the person who serves God,
and the one who does not.
19#j. [3:19] Is 13:9; 34:8; Jl 3:3; Zep 1:18; 2 Pt 3:7. For the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the Lord of hosts.
20#k. [3:20] Lk 1:78–79. But for you who fear my name, the sun of justice
will arise with healing in its wings;#Wings: a common symbol of the manifestation of a god in the ancient Near East is the winged sun disk found, for example, on premonarchic jar handles. Cf. Nm 6:25; Ps 4:7; 31:17; 34:6; 84:12.
And you will go out leaping like calves from the stall
21and tread down the wicked;
They will become dust under the soles of your feet,
on the day when I take action, says the Lord of hosts.
Moses and Elijah
22#l. [3:22] Ex 20; Lv 26; Dt 4:1, 5–6. Remember the law of Moses my servant,
whom I charged at Horeb
With statutes and ordinances
for all Israel.
23#m. [3:23] 2 Kgs 2:10–12; Sir 48:10; Mt 11:13–14; 17:10–13; Mk 9:9–13; Lk 1:17. Now I am sending to you
Elijah#Elijah: taken up in a whirlwind, according to 2 Kgs 2:11. Here his return seems to be foretold. A Jewish tradition interpreted this literally; the gospels saw Elijah in the person of John the Baptist (Mt 11:13–14; 17:10–13; Mk 9:9–13). the prophet,
Before the day of the Lord comes,
the great and terrible day;
24He will turn the heart of fathers to their sons,
and the heart of sons to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with utter destruction.
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