2:17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” Because you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s opinion, 1 and he delights in them,” or “Where is the God of justice?” 3:1 “I am about to send my messenger, 2 who will clear the way before me. Indeed, the Lord 3 you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger 4 of the covenant, whom you long for, is certainly coming,” says the Lord who rules over all.
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, 5 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 6 of Judah and Jerusalem 7 will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past.
3:5 “I 8 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, 9 and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, 10 who refuse to help 11 the immigrant 12 and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord who rules over all.
[3:1] 2 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] 4 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.