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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Malachi

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

1.6–2.9 : The priests have been unfaithful to their covenant.

1.6 :

Ex 20.12 .

8 :

Blind or lame animals were unacceptable for sacrifice (Lev 1.3; 22.17–25; Deut 15.21 ).

9 :

The favor (lit. “face”) of God, that he may be gracious, there are echoes here of the classic priestly blessing of Num 6.24–26 .

10 :

Shut the temple doors to halt unacceptable worship; cf. Isa. 1.13; Am 5.21–24 .

11 :

Among the nations, this may refer to Jewish worship in the Diaspora or to worship by Gentiles (cf. Ps 102.15 ).

2.3 :

Ex 29.14; Nah 3.6 .

4 :

Levi was the priestly tribe (Num 3.45; 18.21–24; Deut 33.8–11 ). Covenant with Levi, Jer 33.21; Neh 13.29 .

5 :

Covenant of life and well‐being, Num 25.10–13 , where Heb “shalom” (here well‐being) is translated “peace.”

6–8 :

Instruction, Heb “torah.”

7 :

Lev 10.11; Deut 21.5 .

2.10–16 : The people have been unfaithful to each other.

On a literal level, this section concerns exogamous marriage (i.e., with outsiders) and divorce. It has also been read figuratively, that Judah has been faithless in its covenant with the LORD.

10 :

One father probably refers to the LORD (Deut 32.6 ), though Abraham (Isa 51.2 ) and Jacob ( 3.6 ) were also father figures (ancestors, lit. “fathers”). Covenant may refer to Sinai (Ex 19.5; Deut 4.13 ) or to Ezra 10.3 .

11 :

Abomination usually refers to idolatry (e.g., Isa 44.19 ). Daughter of a foreign god, a foreign woman. There are several biblical prohibitions of exogamous marriage (e.g., Gen 24.3–4; Deut 7.3–4 ), a special concern of the postexilic period (Ezra 9–10; Neh 13.23–29 ; contrast with the story of Ruth, a Moabite).

13–14 :

Since the LORD serves as a witness to human covenants including marriage (see Gen 31.50; Prov 2.17 ), divine sanctions were the consequences of faithless actions.

15 :

The text is difficult and the translation uncertain (see the translators' notes).

2.16 :

Though Mosaic law contains provision for divorce (Deut 24.1–4 ), the Bible generally considers marriage a sacred covenant (Gen 2.24; 31.50; Prov 2.17; Ezek 16.8; Hos 2.19; Mk 10.2–9; Eph 5.21–33 ).

2.17–3.5 : Judgment is coming.

The prophet addresses doubts about divine justice ( 2.17 ) by announcing that God's approach is imminent ( 3.1 ) and, perhaps, more than they have bargained for ( 3.5 ).

2.17 :

All who do evil, apparently, are reckoned as good, the people deduce, since these evildoers prosper (cf. Hab 1.13 ). God of justice, Gen 18.25; Isa 30.18 .

3.1 :

The identity of the messenger, one who announces the divine procession (Isa 40.3 ), is vague. Later in Malachi, the messenger is Elijah ( 4.5 ); in the New Testament, the messenger is identified as John the Baptist (Mt 11.10; Mk 1.2; Lk 1.17,76; 7.27 ). See 4.5n.

5 :

Contrast with Isa 40.1–3 , where the messenger announced news of comfort. The list of offenses is a common prophetic theme; see Isa 1.23; Jer 7.5–10; Ezek 22.7–13; Zech 7.9–10 .

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