Malachi 2:13-3:12

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Malachi 2




We have seen that the Israelites were guilty of offering unacceptable sacrifices to God, of unfaithfulness, and of spiritually mixed marriages.


As we move on, we see that they were also guilty of –

            D.  DIVORCE, 2:13-16


2:13-15 – (RSB) Though distressed that God no longer accepted their offering, the people refused to face up to the seriousness of divorce. Some divorced wives had been married in their youth. All divorce breaks the covenant (promise) made at the time of marriage, and remarriage violates the pattern God established at creation when He made only one wife for Adam (v. 15). Or this may mean He made them one flesh in marriage.


Malachi 2:13 And this have ye done again [i.e. and this is another thing that you do], covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more [i.e. because He does not look with favor on your offering], or receiveth it with good will at your hand [i.e. or accepts it with pleasure from your hand].


(BKC) Whose tears do these refer to? Some have suggested that these were the tears of divorced wives who were seeking justice from the Lord. But the second half of verse 13 indicates that these were the tears of the men who (after divorcing their Israelite wives to marry pagans (v. 14) found that the Lord no longer received their offerings. This fits naturally with verse 12.


Malachi 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? [i.e. for what reason?] Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously [i.e. by divorcing her]: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant [i.e. and your wife by covenant].


Malachi 2:15 And did not he make one? [i.e. Did He not make (you) one (with your wife)?] Yet had he the residue of the spirit. [i.e. Having a remnant of the Spirit?; With a portion of the Spirit in their union?] And wherefore one? [i.e. and why one? = why did He make you one with your wife?] That he might seek a godly seed [i.e. He seeks godly offspring]. Therefore take heed to your spirit [i.e. be on your guard], and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth [i.e. let no one be unfaithful to the wife of his youth by divorcing her].


Malachi 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away [i.e. that He hates (or detests) divorce]: for one covereth violence with his garment [i.e. for it covers his garment with violence], saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit [i.e. so be on your guard], that ye deal not treacherously [i.e. that you are not unfaithful (to your wife)].


2:16 – (RSB) that he hateth putting away. Lit., I hate divorce. A clear, strong statement of God’s attitude toward divorce. Whereas the law conceded and regulated it (i.e. divorce), the Lord said this was because of the hardness of man’s heart. . . .


(RSB) covereth violence with his garment. Better, violence covers his garment (a symbol of protection). Divorce removed the wife’s protection and treated her cruelly.


Not only were they guilty of offering unacceptable sacrifices to God, of unfaithfulness, of spiritually mixed marriages, and of divorce, they were also guilty of –

            E.  IMPIETY AND IMPERTINENCE, 2:17


Malachi 2:17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein [i.e. how, in what way] have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?


2:17 – (RSB) Not only had they tried to make evil ... good, but they implied that God delighted in evil because He did not dispense immediate judgment.

Malachi 3


II. The LORD’S Complaint Against Israel (continued), 1:6 - 3:15


            F.  Parenthesis: The Coming of John the Baptist, 3:1-6


Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant [i.e. Christ is the Lord and also the messenger of the covenant], whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.


The first and second comings of Christ are in view here. The first coming is preceded by the coming of John the Baptist. The first half of this verse refers to the first coming of Christ. The second half of this verse refers to the second coming of Christ.


3:1 – (RSB) messenger. John the Baptist (Matt. 11:10).


Matthew 11:7-107 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.


(RSB) his temple. The basis for our Lord’s claim to be exempt from the temple tax. See note on Matt. 17:24-27.


Matthew 17:24-2724 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him [i.e. Jesus spoke to him first], saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.


(RSB) The Lord and the messenger of the (new) covenant (Matt. 26:28) is Jesus Christ.


Matthew 26:26-28 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament [i.e. covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins.


3:2-4 – (RSB) This purifying (mentioned in verses 2-4) will occur at Christ’s second coming.


Malachi 3:2 But who may abide [i.e. can endure] the day of his coming? [i.e. The answer is that none of the wicked will endure the day of His coming.] and who shall stand when he appeareth? [i.e. Again, the answer is that none of the wicked will stand when He appears.] for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap [i.e. launderer’s soap]:


3:2 – (RSB) a refiner’s fire purifies, and fullers’ (launderers’) soap cleanses.


(BKC) The Lord’s coming will purify Israel by purging out the wicked.


(BKC) Often the prophets spoke of the day of the Lord in connection with the judgment that would be poured on the nations and would effect Israel’s deliverance. . . . Malachi, however, made no mention of the other nations. He concentrated on this day as a time of judgment on Israel and especially on the Levites, her leaders and teachers.


(BKC) The figures of a refiner’s fire (that burned out the dross from metal ores) and launderer’s soap emphasize the effectiveness of God’s spiritual purging of the nation. . . . The result would be a pure class of Levites. Refined like gold and silver, they will bring offerings in righteousness . . . as in days gone by. This will contrast with Israel’s unacceptable offerings of which Malachi wrote (Mal. 2:12-13).


Malachi 3:3 And he [i.e. the Messiah] shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.


Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant [i.e. pleasing, acceptable] unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.


Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment [i.e. for judgment]; and I will be a swift witness [i.e. I will be quick to testify] against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers [i.e. perjurers], and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages [i.e. against those who exploit wage-earners], the widow, and the fatherless [i.e. orphans], and that turn aside the stranger [i.e. those who turn away an alien] from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.


(BKC) The judgment of Israel will not be limited to Levites; it will include the whole nation. . . .God’s removing these sinners from Israel will be His answer to the nation’s question about His justice (Mal. 2:17).


3:5 – (RSB) Specific violations of the law included sorcery (cf. Ex. 22:18), adultery (cf. Ex. 20:14), false swearing (cf. Lev. 19:12), withholding wages (cf. Lev. 19:13), oppressing the widow and orphan (cf. Ex. 22:22-24), and injustice to a stranger (cf. Deut. 24:17).


Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed [i.e. are not destroyed].


3:6 – (RSB) Because God does not change but is faithful to His covenant, Israel survives.


(BKC) A promise is only as good as the person who makes it. God will keep His promise to the nation of Israel – it will not change – because His Word, like Himself, is immutable. This is the basis for Israel’s hope. . . .


Not only were they guilty of offering unacceptable sacrifices to God, of unfaithfulness, of spiritually mixed marriages, of divorce, and of impiety and impertinence, they were also guilty of –

            G. ROBBERY, 3:7-12


Malachi 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers [i.e. of your ancestors] ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein [i.e. how, in what way] shall we return?


Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein [i.e. how, in what way] have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.


3:8 – (RSB) Two tithes were required: an annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levites (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21) and a second tithe brought to Jerusalem for the Lord’s feast (Deut: 14:22). Every third year, however, the second tithe was kept at home and used for the poor (Deut. 14:28). One’s use of money is often a barometer of his spirituality (cf. I John 3:17 ).


I John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?


Malachi 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.


Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat [i.e. food] in mine house, and prove me now herewith [i.e. try Me in this, test Me in this], saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it [i.e. to store it].


3:10 – (RSB) From the time of King Hezekiah on . . ., special storehouses held grain brought in payment of tithes. These may have been special rooms in the Temple or a kind of lean-to against a side of the Temple.


(RSB) The blessing was such an abundance of crops that the storehouses would overflow.


Malachi 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer [i.e. any pest which destroys crops] for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field [i.e. nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field], saith the LORD of hosts.


Malachi 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land [i.e. a delightful land], saith the LORD of hosts.


This sermon is the 3rd part of the series, Study of Malachi. Other sermons in this series are: