|English Standard Version (© 2001)|
The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
King James Bible
The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
American Standard Version
The burden of the word of Jehovah to Israel by Malachi.
Young's Literal Translation
The burden of a word of Jehovah unto Israel by the hand of Malachi:
Malachi 1:1 Additional TranslationsKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
The first verse contains the heading (see the introduction), "The burden of the word of the Lord," as in Zechariah 9:1 and Zechariah 12:1. On massa' (burden), see Nahum 1:1. The prophet commences his address in Malachi 1:2, by showing the love for which Israel has to thank its God, in order that on the ground of this fact he may bring to the light the ingratitude of the people towards their God. Malachi 1:2. "I have loved you, saith Jehovah; and ye say, Wherein hast Thou loved us? Is not Esau a brother of Jacob? is the saying of Jehovah: and I loved Jacob, Malachi 1:3. And I hated Esau, and made his mountains a waste, and his inheritance for jackals of the desert. Malachi 1:4. If Edom says, We are dashed to pieces, but will build up the ruins again, thus saith Jehovah of hosts: They will build, but I will pull down: and men will call them territory of wickedness, and the people with whom Jehovah is angry for ever. Malachi 1:5. And your eyes will see it; and ye will say, Great is Jehovah over the border of Israel." These four verses form neither an independent address, nor merely the first member of the following address, but the introduction and foundation of the whole book. The love which God has shown to Israel ought to form the motive and model for the conduct of Israel towards its God. אהב denotes love in its expression or practical manifestation. The question asked by the people, "Wherein hast Thou shown us love?" may be explained from the peculiarities of Malachi's style, and is the turn he regularly gives to his address, by way of introducing the discussion of the matter in hand, so that we are not to see in it any intention to disclose the hypocrisy of the people. The prophet proves the love of Jehovah towards Israel, from the attitude of God towards Israel and towards Edom. Jacob and Esau, the tribe-fathers of both nations, were twin brothers. It would therefore have been supposed that the posterity of both the Israelites and the Edomites would be treated alike by God. But this is not the case. Even before their birth Jacob was the chosen one; and Esau or Edom was the inferior, who was to serve his brother (Genesis 25:23, cf. Romans 9:10-13). Accordingly Jacob became the heir of the promise, and Esau lost this blessing. This attitude on the part of God towards Jacob and Esau, and towards the nations springing from them, is described by Malachi in these words: I((Jehovah) have loved Jacob, and hated Esau. The verbs אהב, to love, and שׂנא, to hate, must not be weakened down into loving more and loving less, to avoid the danger of falling into the doctrine of predestination. שׂנא, to hate, is the opposite of love. And this meaning must be retained here; only we must bear in mind, that with God anything arbitrary is inconceivable, and that no explanation is given here of the reasons which determined the actions of God. Malachi does not expressly state in what the love of God to Jacob (i.e., Israel) showed itself; but this is indirectly indicated in what is stated concerning the hatred towards Edom. The complete desolation of the Edomitish territory is quoted as a proof of this hatred. Malachi 1:3 does not refer to the assignment of a barren land, as Rashi, Ewald, and Umbreit suppose, but to the devastation of the land, which was only utterly waste on the western mountains; whereas it was by no means barren on the eastern slopes and valleys (see at Genesis 27:39). Tannōth is a feminine plural form of tan equals tannı̄m (Micah 1:8; Isaiah 13:22, etc.), by which, according to the Syrio-Aramaean version, we are to understand the jackal. The meaning dwelling-places, which Gesenius and others have given to tannōth, after the lxx and Peshito, rests upon a very uncertain derivation (see Roediger at Ges. Thes. p. 1511). "For jackals of the desert:" i.e., as a dwelling-place for these beasts of the desert (see Isaiah 34:13). It is a disputed point when this devastation took place, and from what people it proceeded. Jahn, Hitzig, and Koehler are of opinion that it is only of the most recent date, because otherwise the Edomites would long ago have repaired the injury, which, according to Malachi 1:4, does not appear to have been done. Malachi 1:4, however, simply implies that the Edomites would not succeed in the attempt to repair the injury. On the other hand, Malachi 1:2, Malachi 1:3 evidently contain the thought, that whereas Jacob had recovered, in consequence of the love of Jehovah, from the blow which had fallen upon it (through the Chaldaeans), Esau's territory was still lying in ruins from the same blow, in consequence of Jehovah's hatred (Caspari, Obad. p. 143). It follows from this, that the devastation of Idumaea emanated from the Chaldaeans. On the other hand, the objection that the Edomites appear to have submitted voluntarily to the Babylonians, and to have formed an alliance with them, does not say much, since neither the one nor the other can be raised even into a position of probability; but, on the contrary, we may infer with the greatest probability from Jeremiah 49:7., as compared with Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:21, that the Edomites were also subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar. Maurer's assumption, that Idumaea was devastated by the Egyptians, Ammonites, and Moabites, against whom Nebuchadnezzar marched in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, is perfectly visionary. The threat in Malachi 1:4, that if Edom attempts to rebuild its ruins, the Lord will again destroy that which is built, is equivalent to a declaration that Edom will never recover its former prosperity and power. This was soon fulfilled, the independence of the Edomites being destroyed, and their land made an eternal desert, especially from the times of the Maccabees onwards. The construction of אדום as a feminine with תּאמר may be explained on the ground that the land is regarded as the mother of its inhabitants, and stands synecdochically for the population. Men will call them (להן, the Edomites) גּבוּל רשׁעה, territory, land of wickedness, - namely, inasmuch as they will look upon the permanent devastation, and the failure of every attempt on the part of the nation to rise up again, as a practical proof that the wrath of God is resting for ever upon both people and land on account of Edom's sins.
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Isaiah 13:1 The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
Jeremiah 23:33 "When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, 'What is the burden of the LORD?' you shall say to them, 'You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.'
Nahum 1:1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
Habakkuk 1:1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
Zechariah 9:1 The burden of the word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and Damascus is its resting place. For the LORD has an eye on mankind and on all the tribes of Israel,
Malachi 2:11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.