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 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 insulting God's name

6 The Lord Almighty says to the priests, ‘A son respects his father. A servant respects his master. If I am like your father, respect me as a father. If I am like a master, respect me as a master. 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 dirty sacrifices on my altar.

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

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 a wrong thing to do. See what would happen if you offer gifts like that to your city's officer. He will surely not accept any gift like that, says the Lord Almighty.

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.

9 Do you ask me to be kind and to forgive you? But when you offer dirty animals as your sacrifices, that 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 be able to offer useless sacrifices on my altar. I am not happy with you, says the Lord Almighty. I will not accept any more gifts from you.

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 offer incense to me. They will offer pure sacrifices to me, says the Lord Almighty. 12 But you priests do not respect my name. You say that the Lord's altar is not special. You offer food on it that has no value. 13 You also say, “It is too much trouble to serve the Lord.” You think that you are too important to do it, says the Lord Almighty.

I will not accept these dirty animals from you as sacrifices. You offer to me animals that cannot walk or that are ill. You have even robbed other people to get some of these animals, says the Lord. 14 You may have a good male animal among your sheep. You may have promised to give it to me. But then you change your mind. Instead, you offer an animal that has no value as a sacrifice to me. 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.