1 This is the message that Yahweh gave to the prophet Malachi to give to the people of Israel.
Yahweh's love for the people of Israel
2 Yahweh says, “I have always loved you Israeli people.”
3 But you reply, “In what way have you loved us?”
Yahweh replies, “This is how I loved you: It is true that your ancestor Jacob was [RHQ] Esau's younger brother, and I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau. I caused his hilly region to become ◄desolate/a place where crops did not grow►. I caused the land which he possessed to become a desert where jackals/wolves live.”
4 The descendants of Esau who live in Edom may say, “Yes, we have been crushed/ruined, but we will rebuild houses in the ruins.”
But the Almighty Commander of the armies of angels replies, “They may build houses again, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be called 'The land where wicked people live' and their people will be called 'The people with whom Yahweh is angry forever.' ”
5 When you Israeli people yourselves see what I will do to them, you will say, “It is evident far beyond the borders of Israel that Yahweh is very great!”
6 But the Almighty Commander of the armies of angels says to the priests, “Boys honor their fathers, and servants respect their masters. So, if I am like your father and your master, why [RHQ] do you not honor and respect me? You have despised me [MTY]!”
But you ask, “◄How/In what way► have we despised you?”
7 Yahweh replies, “Instead of honoring me, you have despised me by offering sacrifices on my altar that are unacceptable to me.”
Then you ask, “What sacrifices have we given that have been unacceptable to you?”
Yahweh replies, “You think that ◄it does not matter/it is okay► if you do not respect my altar. 8 You offer for sacrifices animals that are blind. ◄Is that not wrong?/That is disgusting!► [RHQ] And you offer for sacrifices animals that are crippled or that have diseases. ◄Is that also not wrong?/That also is disgusting!► [RHQ] If you tried to give presents like that to your governor, do you think [RHQ] that he would be pleased? Would he [RHQ] accept such gifts? That is what the Almighty Commander of the armies of angels says!”
9 And he also says, “You plead with me to act mercifully toward you. But you bring to me sacrifices that are not acceptable to me, so why should I act kindly toward you?”
10 The Almighty Commander of the armies of angels also says, “I wish/desire that one of you would shut the gates of the temple courtyard, in order that no one could offer those worthless sacrifices. I am not pleased with you, and I will not accept the offerings that you bring to me. 11 People of other nations honor me [MTY] every day, from sunrise/morning until sunset/evening. All over the world people offer incense and other pure/acceptable offerings to me [MTY]. They do that because people among all the nations know that I [MTY] am very great.
12 But you priests despise me by what you do. You say, ‘It is all right if people pollute the altar by bringing sacrifices that are unacceptable.’ 13 You say ‘We are tired of burning all these sacrifices on the altar.’ You ◄turn up your noses at/act very disrespectfully toward► me. When you bring to me animals that have been stolen or ones that are crippled or that have diseases, to offer them for sacrifices, do you think that [RHQ] I should accept them?
14 I will curse anyone who tries to cheat me by solemnly promising to bring to me a perfect ram from his flock of sheep and then brings to me one that has defects. If anyone does that, I will punish him, because I am a great king; I am the Almighty Commander of the armies of angels and people of the other nations revere me [MTY], but you do not!”