A prophecy:* This message came from the Lord concerning Israel through Malachi.
I have loved you, says the Lord.
But you ask, “How have you loved us?”
Wasn't Esau Joseph's brother? the Lord responds. But I loved Joseph and despised Esau. I have made Esau's mountain homeland into a wasteland, and turned his inheritance into a desert for jackals.
The people of Edom may be saying: “We have been beaten down, but we will rebuild the ruins.”
But this is what the Lord Almighty says, They may try and build, but I will tear down. They will be called a land of wickedness, and the people those who make the Lord angry forever. You§ will see this destruction with your own eyes, and you will say, “The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.”
A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. So if I am your father, where is my honor? If I am your master, where is my respect? says the Lord Almighty to you priests who show contempt for me.
But you ask, “How have we shown contempt for you?”
By making defiled* offerings on my altar.
Then you ask, “How have we defiled you?”
By saying the Lord's table doesn't deserve respect.
When you offer a blind animal as a sacrifice, isn't that wrong? Or when you offer an animal that is crippled or sick, isn't that wrong? Would you give such gifts to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Would he be kind and show favor to you? asks the Lord Almighty.
So why don't you try being kind to God, begging him to be merciful to you? But when you bring such offerings, why should he show favor to you? asks the Lord Almighty. 10 I really wish one of you would shut the Temple doors to stop you lighting pointless fires§ on my altar! I am not pleased with you, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept offerings from you.
11 I am honored by nations from the farthest east to the distant west; everywhere people make offerings to me of incense and pure sacrifices. I am honored among the nations, says the Lord Almighty.
12 But you dishonor me when you say the Lord's table doesn't deserve respect, and that its food can be treated with contempt. 13 You say, “All this is too much trouble!” and you sniff scornfully at it, says the Lord Almighty. But when you bring animals that are stolen or crippled or sick and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept what you're giving? asks the Lord. 14 Cursed are those who cheat by vowing to bring a ram as a sacrifice and then offers an imperfect animal to the Lord. For I am a great King, says the Lord Almighty, and I am respected* among the nations!
* 1:1 Literally, “burden.” 1:2 The tense of the verb indicates not just a past action but a past action that continues in the present. 1:4 Divine anger must not be equated with human anger. Here it has the sense of God's total hostility to evil, rather than an emotional self-centered reaction. § 1:5 The people of Israel. * 1:7 “Defiled”: the concept here is that the priests have not followed the Lord's instructions as to how sacrifices were to be offered, showing a careless contempt in their worship of the Lord. 1:7 The priests may not have said so audibly but their actions show what they were saying to themselves. 1:9 This line is usually taken as ironic. § 1:10 Fires were lit on the altar to burn up the sacrifices. God is saying he doesn't want such sacrifices. They are pointless, because they do not represent any repentance on the part of the worshipers. * 1:14 Literally, “feared,” but in this instance is linked to the respect that is missing mentioned in 1:6.