One of the books of The Bible, accounted as one of the Minor Prophets. In standard Christian ordering, it's the last book of the Old Testament; in the Jewish Tanakh ordering, it is the last of the prophetic books (Nevi'im) and is followed by the first of the Writings (Ketuvim), which happens to be the Book of Psalms. Its focus is on admonishing the Jews, now living under Persian rule, for lax religious practices after their return from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Structure of the book:
- Israel is loved by God (Malachi 1:1-5)
- Polluted offerings (Malachi 1:6- 14)
- Partiality to the Law of God (Malachi 2:1-9)
- Treachery of infidelity (Malachi 2:10-16)
- The coming Messenger of God (Malachi 2:17-3:5)
- Robbing God (Malachi 3:6-12)
- Harsh complaints and a Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:13-18)
- The Great Day of God (Malachi chapter 4)
This book provides examples of:
- Covered in Gunge: Or in this case, covered in dung, as God threatens to do this to the priests who don't take the command to be impartial to the Law to heart.
- Curse: God calls a curse upon the earth (or land) in regards to His sending Elijah before "the day of the Lord" comes, that either he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and vice versa, or this curse will happen. (In some translations, God threatens "utter destruction" upon the earth.)
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: God invokes this trope with Himself in Malachi 1:6:A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says the Lord of Hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name.
- Fire Purifies: Malachi 3:2-4, regarding the Lord's coming:But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiners fire and like fullers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, and they will present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
- Foreshadowing: In traditional Christian interpretation, Malachi 3:1 prophesies about the coming of John the Baptist, who would prepare the way of Jesus' first coming.
- God Test: God actually encourages His people Israel to test Him in regards to bringing the full tithe to the storehouse instead of withholding it in Chapter 3, saying that He will pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.
- Good for Bad: God in Malachi 1:14 says "cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and vows, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished." Basically saying that God does not like people conning Him out of good sacrificial animals by offering a bad one in its place.
- Jewish Complaining: What God has to put up with concerning the people of Israel with their attitude of worshiping Him, as voiced in Malachi 1:13:You also say, What a weariness it is, and you snort at it, says the Lord of Hosts.
- Karma Houdini: God deals with this issue in chapter 3 when He hears His own people speaking about those who "test God and escape", that He will write "a book of remembrance" for the people who thought on and revered His name and that they will again discern the righteous and the wicked before God.
- Listing the Forms of Degenerates: In Malachi 3:5 in regards to what God is going to do when He comes:Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against the perjurers, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who turn aside the stranger, and do not fear Me, says the Lord of Hosts.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Not just that, particularly marriages with women of foreign gods by the priests, but also divorce, which Chapter 2 in this book says God hates, because it's like covering violence with a garment.
- Parental Favoritism: In the first several verses, God speaks of "loving Jacob and hating Esau" (metaphors for both Israel and Edom, respectively) and making Esau's land a wilderness and a place for jackals. It's to remind Israel that, despite all the hard things he has to say to them through his prophet, He still loves them.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The whole book is basically this to the Levitical priests, due to their mistreatment and indifferent attitude toward their duties of serving God. To wit: offering blemished sacrifices, showing partiality to the Law of God, marriages to women of foreign gods, divorcing their earlier wives for such marriages, complaining about people that "test God and escape", withholding their tithes from God. In the middle of that speech, God says that He will come and purify the sons of Levi so that they will present offerings in righteousness.
- Stop Worshipping Me: "Who is there among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on My altar in vain?" (Malachi 1:10) Basically, if you're not going to give God your best when you offer your sacrifices in worship, then why waste your time giving anything to Him for an offering?