God has loved Jacob but not Esau
1 This is the message that the Lord told to Malachi. Malachi knew that he must tell the Israelites this message.
2 ‘I have loved you’, says the Lord. ‘But you ask, “How have you loved us?” ’
1:2God says that he loves all Israelites. They are his special people.
‘Esau was Jacob's brother’, the Lord says. ‘I have loved Jacob and all his descendants.
3 But I have not loved Esau and his descendants.
Esau is like my enemy and I have caused trouble for him. Esau's mountains are now empty. Nobody uses the land any longer. There are only jackals there now. They have the things that Esau used there.’
1:3Esau and Jacob were brothers who were born at the same time. Esau came out of his mother's body first. So he should have received God's special blessing. But Esau sold this special blessing to Jacob.
4 Edom may say, ‘Our enemies have beaten us. They have knocked our houses down. But we will build them again.’ But the Lord Almighty says, ‘They may build. But I will knock everything down. People will call Edom the Very Bad Country. They will say that the people in Edom always have trouble from the Lord. He is very angry with them. 5 You will see it with your own eyes. You will say, “Great is the Lord, even beyond Israel's borders.” ’
1:5Edom (or the Edomites) is the name of a group of people. They 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 are scorning God's name
6 ‘A son respects his father. A servant respects his master. If I am like a father, show respect for me as a father. If I am like a master, respect me as a master’, says the Lord Almighty. ‘You are priests. But you show that you scorn my name. But you ask, “How have we shown that we have scorned your name?”
7 You put food that is not clean on my altar.
But you ask, “How have we made you not clean?” You have said that the Lord's table is not important.’
1:7When an Israelite spoke about God's name, he was speaking about God himself. So to scorn the name of God was to show no respect for God.
1:7The Israelites gave gifts to God. They gave something when they wanted to thank God. They knew that they sometimes did wrong things. So, they also gave something to say sorry to God. They brought their gifts to the priests. The priests also offered their own gifts to God. But the food was not clean. That is, it was not really good food. Also, the minds of those who were giving the food were not always clean. That is, they may not have had right thoughts when they gave their gifts to God.
8 ‘You bring for sacrifice animals that cannot see. That is not right. You sacrifice animals that cannot walk. That is a wrong thing to do. You sacrifice animals that have an illness. And that is a wrong thing to do, too. Offer these to your ruler. And see what will happen. He will surely not accept you. He will not be happy with you’, says the Lord Almighty.
9 ‘Ask God to be kind to us. Explain to him that this is really important to you. Tell him often about this. But your offerings are not clean. So they will not change how God thinks. He will not accept you’, says the Lord Almighty.
10 ‘It would be better if one of you shut the temple doors! Then you would not light fires that have no value on my altar. I am not happy with you’, says the Lord Almighty. ‘I will not accept any gift from your hands. 11 My name will be great in the whole world, in every country. From the East to the West, people will respect my name. So, in every place, people will bring incense to me. They will give clean offerings to me’, says the Lord Almighty.
12 ‘But you are saying that the Lord's table is not clean. So you are scorning my name. You say that the food on it has little value. 13 And you say, “The duty that we must do is like a heavy weight on us. We do not want to do this.” You think that you are too important to do it’, says the Lord Almighty.
‘I will not accept ill animals from you as sacrifices. I will not accept hurt animals or animals that cannot walk’, says the Lord. 14 ‘Someone may have a good male as one of his animals. He may promise to give it to God. He says to God, “I will give it.” But he may then sacrifice an animal that is not clean. So God will curse him. That is because I am a great king’, says the Lord Almighty. ‘Everyone on earth will know that my name is very serious. They will respect it.’