By April 8, 2008 Read More →

Malachi 2-3: The Last Prophets

Elijah on Mount HorebMalachi’s prophetic career is probably to be dated to 500-450 B.C.E. He calls for morality and fidelity to God’s teachings, as well as emphasizing the role of the priests as teachers of Torah. Malachi looks forward to the Day of the Lord when the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will be victorious.

2-1 And now, O priests, this charge is for you; 2 Unless you obey and unless you lay it to heart, and do honor to My name—said the Lord of Hosts—I will send a curse and turn your blessings into curses. (Indeed, I have turned them into curses, because you do not lay it to heart). 3 I will put your seed under a ban, and I will strew dung upon your faces, the dung of your festal sacrifices, and you shall be carried out to its (heap).

4 Know, then, that I have sent this charge to you that My covenant with Levi may endure—said the Lord of Hosts. 5 I had with him a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave to him, and of reverence, which he showed Me. For he stood in awe of My name.

6 Proper rulings were in his mouth,

And nothing perverse was on his lips;

He served Me with complete loyalty

And held the many back from iniquity

7 For the lips of a priest guard knowledge,

And men seek rulings from his mouth;

For he is a messenger of the Lord of Hosts.

8 But you have turned away from that course- You have made the many stumble through your rulings; you have corrupted the covenant of the Levites—said the Lord of Hosts. 9 And I, in turn, have made you despicable and vile in the eyes of the people, because you disregard My ways and show partiality in your rulings.

10 Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? 11 Judah has broken faith; abhorrent things have been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned what is holy to the Lord—what He desires—and espoused daughters of alien gods. 12 May the Lord leave to him who does this no descendants dwelling in the tents of Jacob and presenting offerings to the Lord of Hosts. 13 And this you do as well. You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, weeping, and moaning, so that He refuses to regard the obligation any more and to accept what you offer.

14 But you ask, “Because of what?” Because the Lord is a witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have broken faith, though she is your partner and covenanted spouse. 15 Did not the One make [all], so that all remaining life-breath is His? And what does that One seek but godly folk? So be careful of your life-breath, and let no one break faith with the wife of his youth. 16 For I detest divorce—said the Lord, the God of Israel—and covering oneself with lawlessness as with a garment—said the Lord of Hosts. So be careful of your life-breath and do not act treacherously.

17 You have wearied the Lord with your talk. But you ask, “By what have we wearied [Him]?” By saying, “All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord, and in them He delights-” or else, “Where is the God of justice?”

3-13 You have spoken hard words against Me—said the Lord. But you ask, “What have we been saying among ourselves against You?” 14 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? 15 And so, we account the arrogant happy- they have indeed done evil and endured, they have indeed dared God and escaped.” 16 In this vein have those who revere the Lord been talking to one another. The Lord has heard and noted it, and a scroll of remembrance has been written at His behest concerning those who revere the Lord and esteem His name. 17 And on the day that I am preparing, said the Lord of Hosts, they shall be my treasured possession; I will be tender toward them as a man is tender toward a son who ministers to him. 18 And you shall come to see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who has served the Lord and him who has not served Him.

19 For lo! That day is at hand, burning like an oven. All the arrogant and all the doers of evil shall be straw, and the day that is coming—said the Lord of Hosts—shall burn them to ashes and leave of them neither stock nor boughs. 20 But for you who revere My name a sun of victory shall rise to bring healing. You shall go forth and stamp like stall-fed calves, 21 and you shall trample the wicked to a pulp, for they shall be dust beneath your feet on that day that I am preparing—said the Lord of Hosts.

22 Be mindful of the Teaching of My servant Moses, whom I charged at Horeb with laws and rules for all Israel. 98

23 Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. 24 He shall reconcile parents with children and children with parents, so that when I come I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.

98. This mention of Moses and his Torah comes at the end of the prophets as if to conclude this canonical section with an appeal to the dependence of the prophets on the Torah—a central concept in Judaism. Some scholars, therefore, take this to be an addition by those who fixed the canon of the Prophets.

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