Malachi 3 – “Cleansing the People”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God will purge the people of their sins, reward them if they act righteously, and send Elijah to announce the Day of the Lord.

II. Photo
God’s messenger will purge the people of their sins: “He shall act like a smelter and purger of silver; and he shall purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they shall present offerings in righteousness.” (v. 3)

III. Select Verses
1-3: Behold, I am sending My messenger to clear the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek shall come to His Temple suddenly. As for the angel of the covenant that you desire, he is already coming. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can hold out when he appears? For he is like a smelter’s fire and like fuller’s lye. He shall act like a smelter and purger of silver; and he shall purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they shall present offerings in righteousness.
8: Ought man to defraud God? Yet you are defrauding Me. And you ask, “How have we been defrauding You?” In tithe and contribution.
10: Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, and let there be food in My House, and thus put Me to the test — said the LORD of Hosts. I will surely open the floodgates of the sky for you and pour down blessings on you
13-15: You have spoken hard words against Me — said the LORD. But you ask, “What have we been saying among ourselves against You?” You have said, “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His charge and walking in abject awe of the LORD of Hosts? And so, we account the arrogant happy: they have indeed done evil and endured; they have indeed dared God and escaped.”
22: Be mindful of the Teaching of My servant Moses, whom I charged at Horeb with laws and rules for all Israel.
23: Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the LORD.

IV. Outline
1. Announcement: God’s messenger is coming
2-3. The messenger will purge the people
4. The people will return to days of old
5. God will purge the people
6-7a. God urges the people to return to him
7b-12. God urges the people to bring the tithe
13-15. A common belief: serving God is worthless
16-21. God will repay those who worship him
22. Exhortation regarding Moses’ law
23-24. Elijah will come before the Day of the Lord

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/newton/images/alch-pouringhotliquid-l.jpg

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