Malachi 1

God has loved Jacob but not Esau

1 This is the message that the Lord told to Malachi. Malachi knew that he must tell this message to the Israelites.

1:1When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.

2 ‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord.

But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

1:2God says that he loves the Israelites because they are his special people.

The Lord says, ‘I chose to love Jacob and his descendants. Esau was Jacob's brother. 3 But I have not loved Esau and his descendants.

1:3Esau and Jacob were brothers who were twins. Esau was born first. So he should have received God's special blessing. But Esau sold his blessing to Jacob.

Instead, I have caused trouble for Esau. I caused Esau's mountains to become a wilderness. Nobody uses that land any longer. Now there are only jackals, in the land that belongs to Esau.’

4 Esau's descendants in Edom may say, ‘They have destroyed our towns, but we will build our houses again.’

But the Lord Almighty says, ‘They may build again, but I will knock everything down. People will call Edom, “The Evil Land”. They will call them, “The Nation that the Lord is angry with for ever”. 5 You will see with your own eyes what I will do to them. Then you will say, “The Lord has great power, even beyond Israel's borders.” ’

1:4The people of Edom were Esau's descendants. They lived in the mountains. Then powerful enemies fought them. The Edomites had to leave their homes. Nobody lived there any longer.

The priests do not respect God

6 The Lord Almighty says this to the priests:

‘A son respects his father. A servant respects his master. If I am really your father and your master, why do you not respect me? You are my priests, but you insult my name.

1:6When an Israelite spoke about God's name, he was speaking about God himself. So to insult the name of God was to show no respect for God himself.

But then you ask, “What have we done to insult your name?”

7 You insult my name when you offer unclean sacrifices to me on my altar.

But you ask, “How have we offered unclean sacrifices to you?”

You have shown that you do not respect the Lord's altar as important. 8 You offer blind animals as a sacrifice to me. You know that is wrong. You offer to me animals that cannot walk, or animals that are ill. That is also a wrong thing to do. You would not give gifts like that to your city's ruler. If you did, he would surely not accept them. He would not be happy with your gifts.’

1:7The Israelites gave gifts as sacrifices to God. God told them in his Law how they should do that. They brought their gifts to the priests, who then made the sacrifices. Malachi says that the people and the priests were trying to cheat God. The gifts that they offered were not good and pure in the way that God said they should be.

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

9 ‘Now you ask me to be kind to you. You want me to forgive you. But when you offer unclean animals as gifts to me, I will not be happy with your gifts.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

10 ‘It would be better if one of you shut the temple doors! Then you would not be able to offer useless sacrifices on my altar. I am not happy with you. I will not accept any more gifts from you.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

11 ‘People in every nation of the whole world will respect my name. People everywhere will offer incense and pure sacrifices to worship me. They will all know that I am great.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

12 ‘But you priests insult my name. You say that the Lord's altar is not special. You think that the food which you offer to me has no value. 13 You also say, “It is too much trouble to serve the Lord.” You think that you are too important to serve me.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

‘You offer to me animals that cannot walk or that are ill. You have even robbed other people to get some of these animals. Do you think that I will accept these unclean animals from you? Will I be happy with them?’

That is what the Lord says.

14 ‘You may promise to offer to me a valuable male animal from among your sheep. But then you change your mind. Instead, you offer to me an animal that has no value. I will surely punish you when you cheat me like that. Remember that I am a great king. People of all nations in the world respect my name with fear.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.