Malachi 3

Chapter 3

1 Behold, I am sending my messenger[a]
to prepare the way before me.
And suddenly the Lord whom you seek
will come to the temple,
as well as the messenger of the covenant
in whom you delight.
Indeed he is coming,
says the Lord of hosts.
2 But who will be able to endure
the day of his coming,
and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire
or like a fuller’s soap.
3 He will sit refining and purifying;
he will purify the descendants of Levi
and refine them like gold or silver
so that they may in righteousness
offer due sacrifice to the Lord.
4 Thus the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem
will be pleasing to the Lord
as in the days of old,
as in the years long past.
5 Then I will draw near to you for judgment,
and I will be swift to bear witness
against the sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers,
against those who defraud the hired laborer of his wages,
against those who wrong widows and orphans,
against those who thrust aside the foreigner,
and against those who do not fear me,
says the Lord of hosts.

Make the Tithe Offering to the Lord[b]

6 For I, the Lord, do not change,
and you have not ceased to be sons of Jacob.
7 Since the days of your fathers
you have turned aside from my statutes
and have not kept them.
Return to me,
and I will return to you,
says the Lord of hosts.
Yet you ask,
“How can we return?”
8 Can a man rob God?
Yet you are robbing me.
You ask, “How do we rob you?”
In your tithes and offerings.
9 There is a curse on you all,
for your entire nation has defrauded me.
10 Bring the tithes in full into the treasury
so that there may be food in my house.
Put me thus to the test,
says the Lord of hosts,
and see if I will not open
the windows of heaven for you
and pour down blessings upon you
without measure.
11 For your sake I will forbid the locusts
to destroy the produce of your soil,
and the vines in your fields will not be barren,
says the Lord of hosts.
12 Then all nations will call you blessed,
for yours will be a land of delight,
says the Lord of hosts.

The Just Will Have Their Revenge

13 [c]You have spoken harsh words against me,
says the Lord.
Yet you ask,
“What have we said against you?”
14 You have said,
“It is useless to serve God.
What do we profit by keeping his commands
or by going about in penitential garb
before the Lord of hosts?
15 For our part,
we regard the arrogant as happy.
Evildoers not only prosper,
but when they put God to the test,
they come to no harm.”
16 Then those who feared the Lord
spoke with one another.
The Lord listened attentively,
and a book of remembrance was written before him
of those who feared him
and trusted in his name.
17 They shall be mine,
says the Lord of hosts,
my own special possession
on the day when I act,
and I will have compassion on them
as a father has compassion
on the son who serves him.
18 Then you will once again see the difference
between the just and the wicked,
between the one who serves God
and the one who refuses to serve him.
19 For look, the day that is coming
will blaze like a furnace,
and all the proud and all the evildoers
will be stubble.
And the day that is coming
will set them ablaze,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the Lord of hosts.
20 But for you who fear my name
the sun of justice will arise
with its healing rays.
You will emerge leaping
like calves released from the stall
21 and tread down the wicked.
They will be ashes
under the soles of your feet
on the day when I act,
says the Lord of hosts.

VIII: Final Exhortation and Promise

22 Remember the law of Moses my servant,
which I enjoined upon him at Horeb,
the statutes and ordinances
for all Israel.
23 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah
before the day of the Lord comes,
that great and terrible day.
24 He will reconcile parents to their children
and children to their parents,
so that I will not come
and strike the land with a curse.

Footnotes

  1. Malachi 3:1 The mysterious messenger of whom this verse speaks was probably a figure familiar to those who, at this period, attempted to imagine the final times: according to a passage added later (vv. 23-24), the reference was to Elijah, whose return was expected among the Jews. Jesus will apply the text to John the Baptist (see Mt 11:10; Mk 1:1; Lk 1:17). The messenger of the covenant is God himself; in Mt 11:10, it is Christ.
  2. Malachi 3:6 To take the tithe for the Lord up front was a way of acknowledging him as master of the land, rendering him homage, and drawing down his blessing on crops threatened by drought or by insect invasions. The produce thus brought served the needs of the temple and of the priests who saw to the performance of worship (see Num 18:21-32).
  3. Malachi 3:13 The rather harsh images at the end of this passage must be understood according to the mentality of the time. They express, in an excessive way, the hope which the just had of seeing evil someday disappear.

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