A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period: Malachi 1

“Malachi” means “My messenger”
Written in the middle of the fifth century BC

536 BC – remnant returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild nation
520-515 BC – God’s temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel (governor) and Joshua (high priest), encouraged by of Haggai and Zechariah
458 BC – Ezra reorganizes and reestablishes nation’s worship
445 BC – Nehemiah leads Hebrews in rebuilding walls of city
432 BC – Nehemiah’s second visit to Jerusalem


1:1-5 – God declares His love
Egypt, wilderness, other enemies, even when under foreign rule (cf. Daniel 1:19; Esther 2:17; Nehemiah 1:11)
Edom opposed God and His people (cf. Obadiah 10-18; Amos 1:11-12; Jeremiah 49:7-10; 25:9,21)
Chaldeans, Nabataeans, Maccabees, and Romans all captured Edom

1:6-8 – Israel despised God’s name
Defiled food/bread, specifically blind, lame, and sick sacrifices, in opposition to Law (Leviticus 22:17-25)

1:9-10 – Sarcasm and irony
God desires zeal in His people

1:11-13 – God will be honored by Gentiles, despite Israel’s irreverence
Israel expressed weariness in worship
“If people are only going through the motions without the heart being in it, such will only be endured rather than enjoyed. That which should have been a blessing has become a burden to them. Where they should have seen themselves as a blessed people with the opportunity to be a light in the nations around them, they see themselves burdened.” (J. Winfred Clark)

1:14 – “Cursed be the deceiver”
God’s name is “to be feared” (NKJV), “dreadful” (KJV), “terrible” (ASV)

Review and thought questions

1. Edom confidently asserted, “We have been impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places” (1:4). Is there anything wrong with such determination in the face of despair? Consider Psalm 127:1 and James 4:13-16 as you answer.

2. Identify some of the parallels between the religious people of Malachi’s day and the religious people of today.

3. How important is appropriate worship? What did Jesus say in Matthew 15:8-9?

4. How would you respond to someone who complains that “church is boring”? How can you guard yourself against developing a similar attitude?

5. Should a person make a vow if he has no intention of following through? What does Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 say?

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