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Bible Commentaries
Malachi 1

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verse 1

Malachi 1:1 . Cf. Zechariah 9:1; Zechariah 12:1. The compiler of the “ Book of the Twelve,” when he reached the end of Zech. (Zechariah 1-8), had still three short pieces in hand (Zechariah 9-11, 12-14, and Mal.). The first two were anonymous, and probably the third as well, but the first had an opening clause which served as a title and also as a model for titles for the other two. These the compiler supplied ( Zechariah 12:1, Malachi 1:1), added Zechariah 9-11 and Zechariah 12-14 to his eleventh book, and made his remaining pamphlet (Mal.), which had a subject and style of its own, into the twelfth.

Verses 2-5

Malachi 1:2-5 . Yahweh’ s Love for Israel.— This truth is questioned by some of the prophet’ s contemporaries, who are then reminded of the contrasted fortunes of the nations descended from Jacob and Esau. These peoples (Israel and Edom), sprung from twin brothers, and occupying adjacent lands, might have been expected to share equally in Yahweh’ s favour, but the recent “ desolation” of Edom (probably by the Nabatean Arabs, who drove the Edomites away from their old territory to the district S. of Judah, hence called Idumæ a) shows that Yahweh metes out differential treatment. He will frustrate any attempt on Edom’ s part to reoccupy its former territory, and men will recognise that Yahweh is great, not only in Israel, but beyond it. The reason for this disparate action is found in the different religious temperaments of the two peoples, which perpetuate those of their eponyms. Edom reproduced the “ profanity” of Esau; they were a people undisciplined and unspiritual, with no sense of the sanctities of life; Israel, like Jacob, had many and grave defects, yet withal a true realization of God’ s nature and will, and a sense of kinship and communion with Him ( Genesis 25:19-34 *). The mutual jealousy and hostility of the two peoples finds frequent expression in OT, e.g. Obadiah 1:10-14, Ezekiel 35, Jeremiah 49, Isaiah 34, 63.

Malachi 1:2 b and Malachi 1:3 are used by Paul in Romans 9:13.

Malachi 1:5 . ye is emphatic; mg. should be followed except for the second note in Malachi 1:4.

Verses 6-12

Malachi 1:6 to Malachi 2:16 . Israel’ s Disregard of this Love.— This section falls into two parts, one dealing with the priesthood ( Malachi 1:6 to Malachi 2:9), the other with the people ( Malachi 2:10-16). Yahweh has not received the honour due to a father from a son, or to a master from a servant. The priests (note the sudden application, Malachi 1:6) have brought His service into contempt by offering polluted “ bread” (an archaic expression for sacrificial flesh) upon His altar. They bring imperfect and inferior animals which were forbidden by the Law ( Leviticus 22:20-24) and which they would not think of offering to their Persian governor. They see no harm in this— (ye say) “ it is nothing serious” ( Malachi 1:8)— but the prophet ironically asks them whether they think God will “ accept their persons,” i.e. receive them favourably (Heb. “ lift up the face” of a suppliant). They might as well shut the Temple doors and cease from the task of offering these unworthy and unpalatable sacrifices. Yahweh prefers the religious earnestness of the Gentiles to the insincerity of Israel. Malachi 1:11 is not a prediction (as AV and mg.) but a contrast ( cf. Malachi 1:14) existing in Malachi’ s own time; perhaps he had come into contact with the comparatively pure “ heathenism” of the Persians. His remark is an anticipation of Peter’ s word in Acts 10:35. The expression my name need not be forced so as to presuppose a Divine revelation and to refer to the Jews of the Diaspora as being more mindful of Yahweh “ among the heathen” than their lax compatriots were at Jerusalem. This would involve our interpreting “ incense” and “ offering” in the sense of prayer and praise. Nor need we with early Christian writers like Justin ( Trypho, § 41) and Irenæ us (IV. xvii. 5) see here a prediction of the Eucharist. Malachi’ s point is that among the Gentiles there were monotheists, and that when offerings were presented to God as One, they were accepted by Yahweh as presented to Him. In contrast to their earnestness the priests of Israel not only offer unworthy gifts, but regard the service of the sanctuary as a bore, a mere wearisome routine. They “ snuff at,” i.e. sniff at or despise the altar ( Malachi 1:13; cf. Psalms 10:5, Haggai 1:9). The laity are included ( Malachi 1:14) in the charge of disrespect amounting to deceit— a man vows a valuable male animal and then redeems his vow by offering an inferior or blemished beast. Malachi 2:1-9 turns again to the priests and shows how unworthy they are as descendants of Levi, whose covenant fear of God had issued in faithful and reverent service ( Malachi 2:6). Unless a speedy and thorough reformation is forthcoming, Yahweh will send His curse upon them and openly disgrace them; nay, this retribution is so certainly determined that it may be regarded as already brought about ( Malachi 2:9).

Malachi 1:6 . Read, with LXX, “ a servant feareth his master.”

Malachi 1:7 . In that ye say, not literally but virtually; “ ye act as though” (so in Malachi 1:12).

Malachi 1:8 . with thee: LXX, “ with it.”

Malachi 1:9 . this: these unworthy offerings. Follow mg. in first note, text in second.

Malachi 1:10 . an offering: the Heb. word ( minḥ?â h) is properly a complimentary present such as might be offered by a political subject. It came to be used of tribute offered to God sometimes in a general sense (including animals), sometimes (as in P) specifically of the cereal or “ meal” offering ( Leviticus 2:1-3 *). Here the context makes it clear that the wider sense is intended.

Malachi 1:11 . Incense is offered: lit. “ it is incensed (or burnt), it is offered.” Perhaps “ it is offered” is a gloss on the rare expression that precedes. Bead, “ and a reverent offering is made into sweet smoke in my name.”

Malachi 1:12 . Cf. on Malachi 1:7.— the fruit thereof, even his meat: the two expressions are not dissimilar in the Heb. One may be a gloss. “ Meat” is archaic for “ food.”

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Malachi 1". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/malachi-1.html. 1919.
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