Malachi 3

 

הִנְנִי שֹׁלֵחַ מַלְאָכִי וּפִנָּה־דֶרֶךְ לְפָנָי וּפִתְאֹם יָבוֹא אֶל־הֵיכָלוֹ הָאָדוֹן אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּםמְבַקְשִׁים   3:1

 וּמַלְאַךְ הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּם חֲפֵצִים הִנֵּה־בָא אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃

Mala. 3:1   “Behold, I am sending My messenger,

                             and he shall clear a path before Me,

                    and suddenly the Master, Whom you will have been seeking,

                             shall come to His Temple.

                    And the messenger of the covenant, whom you will have been desiring,

                             behold, he comes,” says the Lord of hosts.

וּמִי מְכַלְכֵּל אֶת־יוֹם בּוֹאוֹ וּמִי הָעֹמֵד בְּהֵרָאוֹתוֹ כִּי־הוּא כְּאֵשׁ מְצָרֵף וּכְבֹרִית מְכַבְּסִים׃   3:2

Mala. 3:2   “But who will be enduring the day of his coming?

                             And who will be standing upon his appearance?

                    For he will be like the fire of a refiner

                             and like the soap of those who wash.”

To me, the statement in the third English line of this verse implies a measure of discomfort that the messenger will bring with him, but the fourth line indicates that his refining will be like a thorough (pleasant?) bath.  Perhaps, the two implications relate to differing groups of individuals, those requiring more trying refining and those needing less.

וְיָשַׁב מְצָרֵף וּמְטַהֵר כֶּסֶף וְטִהַר אֶת־בְּנֵי־לֵוִי וְזִקַּק אֹתָם כַּזָּהָב וְכַכָּסֶף וְהָיו לַיהוָה מַגִּישֵׁי מִנְחָה   3:3

 בִּצְדָקָה׃

Mala. 3:3   And he shall remain, refining and purifying silver,

                            and he shall purify the sons of Levi,

                    purge them as gold and as silver,

                            and they shall be for the Lord,

                    bringing offering in righteousness.

וְעָרְבָה לַיהוָה מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלִָם כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמֹנִיּוֹת׃   3:4

Mala. 3:4   Then the offering of Judah and of Jerusalem

                            shall be pleasant to the Lord,

                    as the days of old, and as ancient years.

וְקָרַבְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם לַמִּשְׁפָּט וְהָיִיתִי עֵד מְמַהֵר בַּמְכַשְּׁפִים וּבַמְנָאֲפִים וּבַנִּשְׁבָּעִים לַשָּׁקֶר וּבְעֹשְׁקֵי    3:5             אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם וּמַטֵּי־גֵר וְלֹא יְרֵאוּנִי אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃ שְׂכַר־שָׂכִיר

Mala. 3:5   “And I shall come near to you to make judgment,

                            and I shall be a quick Witness

                    against sorcerers and against adulterers

                            and against those swearing falsehood

                    and against those defrauding a wage earner, a widow, or an orphan,

                            and those perverting a stranger

                    and those who will not revere Me,” says the Lord of hosts.

The Lord appears to have turned His attention temporarily to Judah as opposed to just the priests.  The transition seems to occur in v. 3:4.

כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה לֹא שָׁנִיתִי וְאַתֶּם בְּנֵי־יַעֲקֹב לֹא כְלִיתֶם׃   3:6

Mala. 3:6   “For I, the Lord, do not change,

                            that you, sons of Jacob, are not ended.”

Along with its wonderful promise, this verse offers strong support for my contention that plural second-person pronouns apply to the individuals in a group.  The Hebrew pronoun I translate as you and the verb I translate as are not ended are both plural and they are addressed to the sons (individuals) of Jacob.

לְמִימֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם סַרְתֶּם מֵחֻקַּי וְלֹא שְׁמַרְתֶּם שׁוּבוּ אֵלַי וְאָשׁוּבָה אֲלֵיכֶם אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת   3:7

 וַאֲמַרְתֶּם בַּמֶּה נָשׁוּב׃

Mala. 3:7   “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from

                             and not kept My ordinances.

                   ‘Return to Me and I shall return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts.

                             But you have said, ‘By what way shall we return?’”

הֲיִקְבַּע אָדָם אֱלֹהִים כִּי אַתֶּם קֹבְעִים אֹתִי וַאֲמַרְתֶּם בַּמֶּה קְבַעֲנוּךָ הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וְהַתְּרוּמָה׃   3:8

Mala. 3:8   “Would any man rob God?

                             But you are robbing Me.

                   And you say, ‘In what way do we rob You?’

                             The tithe and the heave offering!”

I am intrigued by the Lord’s answer at the end of this verse.  It’s as if Malachi has suddenly turned his emphasis to ritual rather than to the moral law, the latter having been his primary focus until now.  He will soon get back to it though.

בַּמְּאֵרָה אַתֶּם נֵאָרִים וְאֹתִי אַתֶּם קֹבְעִים הַגּוֹי כֻּלּוֹ׃   3:9

Mala. 3:9   “You are being cursed with curse,

                              yet you, this nation, all of it, are robbing Me.”

הָבִיאוּ אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּעֲשֵׂר אֶל־בֵּית הָאוֹצָר וִיהִי טֶרֶף בְּבֵיתִי וּבְחָנוּנִי נָא בָּזֹאת אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת   3:10       אִם־לֹא אֶפְתַּח לָכֶם אֵת אֲרֻבּוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וַהֲרִיקֹתִי לָכֶם בְּרָכָה עַד־בְּלִי־דָי׃

Mala. 3:10   “Bring the entire tithe to the treasure house

                               that there may be food in My house,

                      and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts.

                               “Surely I will open the windows of heaven for you

                      and pour out a blessing for you

                               until there is more than enough.”

וְגָעַרְתִּי לָכֶם בָּאֹכֵל וְלֹא־יַשְׁחִת לָכֶם אֶת־פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה וְלֹא־תְשַׁכֵּל לָכֶם הַגֶּפֶן בַּשָּׂדֶה אָמַר   3:11

 יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃

Mala. 3:11   “And I will rebuke the devourer for you

                               and it shall not destroy the fruit of the earth for you;

                      nor will the vine in the field drop prematurely for you,”

                               says the Lord of hosts.

וְאִשְּׁרוּ אֶתְכֶם כָּל־הַגּוֹיִם כִּי־תִהְיוּ אַתֶּם אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃   3:12

Mala. 3:12   “And all the nations shall call you blessed,

                               for you shall be a land of delight,” says the Lord of hosts.

חָזְקוּ עָלַי דִּבְרֵיכֶם אָמַר יְהוָה וַאֲמַרְתֶּם מַה־נִּדְבַּרְנוּ עָלֶיךָ׃   3:13

Mala. 3:13   “Your words have been hard against Me,” says the Lord.

                               “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against you?’”

אֲמַרְתֶּם שָׁוְא עֲבֹד אֱלֹהִים וּמַה־בֶּצַע כִּי שָׁמַרְנוּ מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ וְכִי הָלַכְנוּ קְדֹרַנִּית מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃   3:14

Mala. 3:14   “You say, ‘Serving God is vain,’ and,

                               ‘What profit is it that we keep His charge,

                      that yet we walk mournfully because of the Lord of hosts?’

וְעַתָּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַשְּׁרִים זֵדִים גַּם־נִבְנוּ עֹשֵׂי רִשְׁעָה גַּם בָּחֲנוּ אֱלֹהִים וַיִּמָּלֵטוּ׃   3:15

Mala. 3:15   ‘And, now we are calling arrogant ones blessed;

                                also workers of wickedness are built up;

                      even if they try God, yet they are delivered.’

Were the words in vss. 3:14 and 3:15 voiced only by the Jews of Malachi’s time, or are they also words many of us speak or think today?  Unfortunately, I hear these words expressed in our time as well.  When will we learn?  Where is the wisdom?

אָז נִדְבְּרוּ יִרְאֵי יְהוָה אִישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵהוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁב יְהוָה וַיִּשְׁמָע וַיִּכָּתֵב סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן לְפָנָיו לְיִרְאֵי יְהוָה   3:16

וּלְחֹשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ׃

Mala. 3:16   Then those fearing the Lord spoke together,

                               one to another,

                       and the Lord listened and He heard,

                               and a book of remembrance was written before Him

                       for those fearing the Lord and for the thinkers of His name.

וְהָיוּ לִי אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות לַיֹּום אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה סְגֻלָּה וְחָמַלְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר יַחְמֹל אִישׁ עַל־בְּנֹו   3:17   אֹתֹו׃ הָעֹבֵד

Mala. 3:17  “And they shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,

                               “for the day that I will be preparing a treasure,

                     when I shall have compassion on them

                               as one would have compassion on his son who is serving him.”

וְשַׁבְתֶּם וּרְאִיתֶם בֵּין צַדִּיק לְרָשָׁע בֵּין עֹבֵד אֱלֹהִים לַאֲשֶׁר לֹא עֲבָדוֹ׃   3:18

Mala. 3:18   Then you shall turn back

                               and perceive between a righteous one and a wicked one,

                      between a servant of God and one who is not His servant.

Most bibles of which I am aware end Chapter 3 after this verse, and include the next five verses in a separate Chapter 4.  Jewish bible publishers, however, continue this chapter until the end of the book of Malachi.

כִּי־הִנֵּה הַיּוֹם בָּא בֹּעֵר כַּתַּנּוּר וְהָיוּ כָל־זֵדִים וְכָל־עֹשֵׂה רִשְׁעָה קַשׁ וְלִהַט אֹתָם הַיּוֹם הַבָּא אָמַר   3:19      יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יַעֲזֹב לָהֶם שֹׁרֶשׁ וְעָנָף׃

Mala. 3:19   “For behold, the day is coming,

                                burning like a furnace,

                       and all arrogant ones and every worker of wickedness shall be stubble,

                               when the day that is coming shall burn them,”

                       says the Lord of hosts,

                               “which shall not leave root or branch for them.”

וְזָרְחָה לָכֶם יִרְאֵי שְׁמִי שֶׁמֶשׁ צְדָקָה וּמַרְפֵּא בִּכְנָפֶיהָ וִיצָאתֶם וּפִשְׁתֶּם כְּעֶגְלֵי מַרְבֵּק׃   3:20

Mala. 3:20   “But a sun of righteousness shall shine for you,

                               who are revering My name,

                      with healing in its wings,

                               and you shall go forth and spring about as calves of the stall.”

וְעַסּוֹתֶם רְשָׁעִים כִּי־יִהְיוּ אֵפֶר תַּחַת כַּפּוֹת רַגְלֵיכֶם בַּיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃   3:21

Mala. 3:21   “And you shall tread the wicked down,

                                for they shall be ashes beneath the soles of your feet,

                      on the day that I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.

זִכְרוּ תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה עַבְדִּי אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אוֹתוֹ בְחֹרֵב עַל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים׃   3:22

Mala. 3:22   “Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant,

                                 that I commanded him in Horeb,

                      statutes and ordinances on behalf of all Israel.”

הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי שֹׁלֵחַ לָכֶם אֵת אֵלִיָּה הַנָּבִיא לִפְנֵי בּוֹא יוֹם יְהוָה הַגָּדוֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא׃   3:23

Mala. 3:23   “Behold, I am going to send Elijah, the prophet to you,

                                 before the arrival of the great and terrifying day of the Lord.”

וְהֵשִׁיב לֵב־אָבוֹת עַל־בָּנִים וְלֵב בָּנִים עַל־אֲבוֹתָם פֶּן־אָבוֹא וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ חֵרֶם׃   3:24

Mala. 3:24   “And he shall turn the heart of fathers to children,

                                 and the heart of children to their fathers,

                      so I will not come and utterly smite the land.”

 

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