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Sunday, July 14th, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
Malachi 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

Verse 1

Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible


These last three prophets in the Old Testament are from the period following the Babylonian captivity which we often call the "Restoration Period" or post-exilic period. The common message of these prophets was: return to the right ways of the Lord.

Haggai and Zechariah were particularly concerned with the rebuilding of the temple which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians nearly 70 years before. The people had been tending to their personal affairs and neglecting the temple and other spiritual responsibilities.


Malachi was the last writing prophet to serve God under the Law of Moses. The material within the book parallels the situation described in Nehemiah 13. Nehemiah had served as governor during the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and a few years following. He had returned to Persia to serve the king and in chapter 13 he has returned to serve as governor a second time.

The sins dealt with in Malachi are those found in Nehemiah 13 and thus Malachi may be dated about 433 BC.

Background: The priests were lax and wicked, offerings were being neglected, divorce was common, and justice was being perverted. Malachi’s intense love for God and the people of God moved him to speak with great urgency in the streets and market places. Malachi uses a "question-answer" method of preaching.

Malachi challenged the apathy and disloyalty of the people. Poverty and hard times had come. The people were questioning the love of God because of their difficulties and the prophet placed the blame where it really belonged. It was the sin of the people--not the lack of divine love--which was at the root of the problems (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2).

Outline of Malachi: The book opens with an affirmation of the love of God for his people (Malachi 1:1-5) and shows how that love has been spurned (Malachi 1:6-2:9). A specific rebuke of the people of Malachi’s day for their widespread profanation of marriage is given (Malachi 2:10-16). Finally, the prophet looks forward to the coming of the Messiah.

A Major Message From Malachi:

One of problems besetting the people of Malachi’s day is a major problem of our society as well. It is the heartache of unjustified divorce and remarriage. Both the Old and New Testaments allow divorce and remarriage in one extreme case, Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9.

A problem in Malachi’s day was that some had married unlawfully to start with and needed to put away those wives (Ezra 10:10-12; Nehemiah 13:23-31; Deuteronomy 7:3-4). Another problem was some men were beginning to cast aside their lawful wives, and such had to be dealt with also, Malachi 2:14-15.

God’s severe attitude toward all such tampering with a divine institution is evident in the statement of the prophets (Mal. 2:16).


A Bag With Holes

"Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." (Haggai 1:6)


1. The historical background to Haggai (Cf. ch. 1).

2. An overview of Haggai’s work and results.

a. Sixteen years of wasted efforts and fruitless labors.

b. Like sand castles by the sea. (1 Corinthians 3:13).

3. Am I building on a foundation of wood, hay and stubble? Am I putting into a bag with holes?

4. When is life a bag of holes where all efforts are wasted?


1. In Christ we have all spiritual blessings, Ephesians 1:3.

2. Every life outside of Christ is a bag with holes, Psalms 127:1


1. What price is too great to pay for the safety, welfare and education of our children? Rom. 1:16; Psa. 119:104

2. How Solomon saw it -- (1 Kings 4:29-35; Ecclesiastes 1:18)


1. How those of Haggai’s day lived -- ch.1 vs. 2 Samuel 7:2

2. Jesus’s declaration in Matthew 6:33


1. Alexander the Great -- 1 Timothy 6:7

2. Church at Laodicea -- Revelation 3:17 (Abe Lincoln comment)

3. How can we lay up treasures?

4. In Christ we are rich. James 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Timothy 6:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:6; Colossians 3:16.


1. A place where our labor is not in vain! (Revelation 14:13; Hebrews 6:10)

2. David’s observation of prosperity. Psalms 73:17-19. Prosperity without God is putting into a bag with holes.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Verse Comments

Malachi 1:1

[Personal notes from the wide margin of my ASV Bible. Taken in my FHU class under E. Claude Hall.

Recommended Commentaries: Pulpit, Coffman, & Barnes]

Malachi = “My Messenger”, angel of Yahweh. Malachi was a reformer.

GME = “Prophet of the Universal Worship of God.”

1:1 This verse acts as a title or heading to the book of Malachi as a whole.

1:1 Burden = message. oracle The term massa is sometimes translated as “burden” (e.g., NKJV) because it comes from the word nasa, meaning “to lift, carry.” In using this word, the author may mean either that the prophetic word is a burden that the prophet must carry or that the message is a burden the audience must bear.

1:1 Is “Malachi” a name, or simply “my messenger”? We believe this is his name, the author of this book is not anonymous. Literally = “by the hand of Malachi.”

Verse 2

Mal. 1.2

1:2–5 Malachi is written in a disputation style. The pattern is used to raise a point made by certain individuals, and then offer a contradiction in a point-counterpoint formula. There are six cycles of disputation in Malachi. Each cycle begins with Yahweh making a statement of truth concerning His character. A hypothetical audience then offers a rebuttal in the form of a question. Each cycle ends with Yahweh responding by presenting supporting evidence. Other examples of the disputation pattern include Isaiah 40:27-28; Jeremiah 2:23-37; Ezekiel 12:21-28; and Micah 2:6-11.

1:2 I have loved you The term ohav (“love”) is a technical term in ancient Near Eastern treaty and covenant texts indicating choice or election to covenant relationship, especially in the so-called suzerainty documents. Here, the term speaks of Yahweh’s confirmation of His covenant with Abraham to Jacob rather than Esau (see Gen 28:13–15; 35:9–12). Normally, the oldest son would have been favored.

1:2 Lesson on Ingratitude. Man often fails to appreciate God’s love and questions it.

1:2 Lesson: “Look what God has done for you.”

1:2 Note the question-answer method of Malachi’s teaching. A dialectic feature (a contrast of contradictions.) Assertion-objection-rebuttal (7 times: 1:2-3; 1:6-7; 2:10-16’ 2:17; 3:7; 3:8; 3:13). There are 23 questions in 55 verses (wg).

Verse 3

Mal. 1.3

1:3 God’s special care for Israel. cf. Rom. 9:13.

1:3 Jacob = worshiper of God; Esau = robber (Edom)

I have hated The term sanethi, meaning “hate,” is an ancient Near Eastern covenant term. It is used here to denote rejection.

jackals of the desert A canine somewhat similar to a wolf, though smaller in size. These nocturnal scavengers howl with an eerie wail.

Verse 4

Mal. 1:4

1:4 Lesson: Wickedness is cursed by God.

1:4 Border of wickedness = “the land of iniquity”

Verse 5

Mal. 1.5

1:5 (And v.11) All men should worship the God revealed in the Scriptures.

Verse 6

Mal. 1.6

1:6-14 Defective Worship

1:6 Fifth commandment. Israel dishonored the ancient covenant.

1:6 The Lord will be magnified from beyond the borders of Israel. By the execution of his judgments upon the wicked; (cf. The oracles against the nations in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos. These were fulfilled prophecies.)

1:6 A son honors his father The term kavod, meaning “honor,” “glory,” or “majesty,” is often used as an attribute of God (see Exodus 33:18; Isaiah 3:8).

his master The word adon, or “master,” is the root word of Adonai, a title for God meaning “my master.”

1:6 O priests = To whom is this message chiefly directed. Religious leaders. They had become corrupt, thought they were innocent but unconscious of their sins.

1:6-7 Lesson: Sin has an opiate power.

Verse 7

Mal. 1.7

1:7 Bread = flesh.

Table of the Lord = altar where sacrifices were made.

Sounds like the table of shewbred, where the priests were to put fresh bread each week.

1:7 Contemptible = “despised”

1:7 presenting defiled food The priests were responsible for offering sacrifices to Yahweh using animals of the highest quality.

table of Yahweh The altar.

Verse 8

Mal. 1.8

1:8 Blind for sacrifice = Deut. 15:21; Leb. 22:19-20. Suppose to offer that without blemish– the best of their flock.

1:8 lame and the one who is ill The law prohibited the use of imperfect animals for offerings to Yahweh (see Deut 15:21). The priests are being reprimanded for their lax attention to proper sacrificial practices.

your governor The political leader in Judah who was appointed by the Persian king.

show you favor Literally, “would He lift your face?”

Verse 9

Mal. 1.9

1:9 Insincere Repentance (Irony)

1:9 Your = refers to the priests.

1:9 i.e. the evil of offering blemished animals.

1:9 Regard your persons = i.e. will God show favor to any one because you interceded for him?

Verse 10

Mal. 1.10

1:10 Sarcasms

1:10 ASV “Oh that there were one among you that would shut the doors, that ye might not kindle fire on mine altar in vain!”

1:10 Worship right or Not at all!

1:10 Who also among you will shut the temple doors Or, close the gates of the temple so that the priests could no longer offer unclean sacrifices.

Verse 11

Malachi 1:11

1:11 Universal Worship of God in the Messianic Age pictured in Jewish terminology (all day long.)

1:11 Incense = Worship in the messianic age pictured in Jewish terminology (see end of Amos also).

1:11 Pure offering = The only pure offering for the sin of the world in all history = the blood of Christ.

[See notes and Coffman regarding the “th”suffix = present tense here.

Verse 12

Mal. 1.12

1:12 But ye = contrast - priests with gentiles of v. 11.

1:12 Profaned = corrupted it, not sacred., not by words but by actions.

1:12 Table = altar

Verse 13

Mal. 1.13

1:13 What weariness = “an intolerable burden.” The priests performed their duties without heart or faith.

1:13 This is a weariness The priests viewed the sacrificial system as an oppressive burden, especially in light of the fact that the remnant was in a state of extreme poverty. FBS

1:13 Snuffed = snorted, (pictured as a horse or cow blows through its nose at something it didn’t like.)

1:13 Which was torn = ASV “which was taken by violence,” i.e. stolen, or unjustly.

1:13 God says, “Should I accept that kind of worship?”

Verse 14

Mal. 1.14

1:14 Reason given for the curse.

1:14 Deceiver = 1) Offers a female on pretense he doesn’t have a male. 2) Vows and pays in blemished sacrifice..

1:14 Dreadful = ASV “terrible” - held in awe and reverence.

great king This title is full of covenantal implications; it was commonly used in ancient Near Eastern treaty texts to identify the suzerain.

1:14 Lesson: He whom the Gentiles honor will not permit his own people to profane his name.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Malachi 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/malachi-1.html. 2021.
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