3:2 Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, 4 like a launderer’s soap. 3:3 He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering. 3:4 The offerings 5 of Judah and Jerusalem 6 will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past.
3:5 “I 7 will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination, those who commit adultery, those who break promises, 8 and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, 9 who refuse to help 10 the immigrant 11 and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord who rules over all.
3:6 “Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, 12 you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. 3:7 From the days of your ancestors you have ignored 13 my commandments 14 and have not kept them! Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. “But you say, ‘How should we return?’ 3:8 Can a person rob 15 God? You indeed are robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions! 16 3:9 You are bound for judgment 17 because you are robbing me – this whole nation is guilty. 18
3:10 “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse 19 so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all. 3:11 Then I will stop the plague 20 from ruining your crops, 21 and the vine will not lose its fruit before harvest,” says the Lord who rules over all. 3:12 “All nations will call you happy, for you indeed will live in 22 a delightful land,” says the Lord who rules over all.
3:13 “You have criticized me sharply,” 23 says the Lord, “but you ask, ‘How have we criticized you?’ 3:14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped 24 by keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord who rules over all? 25 3:15 So now we consider the arrogant to be happy; indeed, those who practice evil are successful. 26 In fact, those who challenge 27 God escape!’”
3:16 Then those who respected 28 the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord took notice. 29 A scroll 30 was prepared before him in which were recorded the names of those who respected the Lord and honored his name. 3:17 “They will belong to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “in the day when I prepare my own special property. 31 I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 3:18 Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between 32 the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.
[3:1] 1 tn In Hebrew the phrase “my messenger” is מַלְאָכִי (mal’akhi), the same form as the prophet’s name (see note on the name “Malachi” in 1:1). However, here the messenger appears to be an eschatological figure who is about to appear, as the following context suggests. According to 4:5, this messenger is “Elijah the prophet,” whom the NT identifies as John the Baptist (Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2) because he came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Matt 11:14; 17:11-12; Lk 1:17).
[3:1] 3 sn This messenger of the covenant may be equated with my messenger (that is, Elijah) mentioned earlier in the verse, or with the Lord himself. In either case the messenger functions as an enforcer of the covenant. Note the following verses, which depict purifying judgment on a people that has violated the Lord’s covenant.
[3:8] 15 tc The LXX presupposes an underlying Hebrew text of עָקַב (’aqav, “deceive”), a metathesis of קָבַע (qava’, “rob”), in all four uses of the verb here (vv. 8-9). The intent probably is to soften the impact of “robbing” God, but the language of the passage is intentionally bold and there is no reason to go against the reading of the MT (which is followed here by most English versions).
[3:10] 19 tn The Hebrew phrase בֵּית הָאוֹצָר (bet ha’otsar, here translated “storehouse”) refers to a kind of temple warehouse described more fully in Nehemiah (where the term לִשְׁכָּה גְדוֹלָה [lishkah gÿdolah, “great chamber”] is used) as a place for storing grain, frankincense, temple vessels, wine, and oil (Neh 13:5). Cf. TEV “to the Temple.”
[3:11] 20 tn Heb “the eater” (אֹכֵל, ’okhel), a general term for any kind of threat to crops and livelihood. This is understood as a reference to a locust plague by a number of English versions: NAB, NRSV “the locust”; NIV “pests”; NCV, TEV “insects.”
[3:16] 30 sn The scroll mentioned here is a “memory book” (סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן, sefer zikkaron) in which the
[3:17] 31 sn The Hebrew word סְגֻלָּה (sÿgullah, “special property”) is a technical term referring to all the recipients of God’s redemptive grace, especially Israel (Exod 19:5; Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18). The