Malachi 3:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?

New Living Translation
"You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven's Armies that we are sorry for our sins?

English Standard Version
You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?

New American Standard Bible
"You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts?

King James Bible
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You have said: "It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements and walking mournfully before the LORD of Hosts?

International Standard Version
You said, 'It is futile to serve God,' and, 'What did we get out of it when we carried out his requirements and went about like mourners in the presence of the LORD of the Heavenly Armies?'

NET Bible
You have said, 'It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped by keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD who rules over all?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"You have said, 'It's pointless to serve God. What do we gain if we meet his standards or if we walk around feeling sorry for what we've done?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept his law and that we walk mournfully before the LORD of the hosts?

King James 2000 Bible
You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts?

American King James Version
You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

American Standard Version
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his charge, and that we have walked mournfully before Jehovah of hosts?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts?

Darby Bible Translation
Ye say, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we keep his charge, and that we walk mournfully before Jehovah of hosts?

English Revised Version
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his charge, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

Webster's Bible Translation
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

World English Bible
You have said, 'It is vain to serve God;' and 'What profit is it that we have followed his instructions, and that we have walked mournfully before Yahweh of Armies?

Young's Literal Translation
Ye have said, 'A vain thing to serve God! And what gain when we kept His charge? And when we have gone in black, Because of Jehovah of Hosts?
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:13-18 Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discovered themselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christ is easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God by presumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when the doom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those that feared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promoting mutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another, in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on his name. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, so good communications confirm them. A book of remembrance was written before God. He will take care that his children perish not with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy and honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath and dishonour. The saints are God's jewels; they are dear to him. He will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own for his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition of children; and he will not have his children trained up in idleness; they must do him service from a principle of love. Even God's children stand in need of sparing mercy. All are righteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve him not: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceived in our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but at the bar of Christ, every man's character will be known. As to ourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have our lot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time. But in the end all the world will confess that those alone were wise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 14. - It is vain. It brings no acknowledgment or reward. The Latin and Greek Versions have, "He is vain who serveth God." Have kept his ordinance (charge). Have done what he ordered. They are either wilfully deceiving themselves and others by pretending an obedience which they never really paid; or they think that the outward observance of certain legal requirements is all that is required. Some think that an interval of time separates this from the last section, and that meanwhile they had made some efforts at improvement, expecting, how. ever, immediate results in added blessings; and as these did not come as quickly as they hoped, they relapsed into their old distrust. Have walked mournfully; i.e. in mourning apparel, as if fasting and mourning for sin (Psalm 35:13, 14; Job 30:28). Septuagint, "Why went we as suppliants (ἱκέται)?" Before the Lord. Out of reverence and awe of Jehovah. They attributed a certain virtue to voluntary fasts, without any consideration of the spirit in which they were observed (see the reproof of such formal observances in Isaiah 58:4, etc.).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Ye have said, it is vain to serve God,.... This they said in their hearts, if not with their lips, that it was a vain thing for a man to serve God; he got nothing by it; he had no reward for it; it fared no better with him than the wicked; nay, the wicked fared better than he; and therefore who would be a worshipper of God? see Job 21:15. Abarbinel understands this also with respect to God, who is worshipped; to whom worship, say these men, is no ways profitable, nor does he regard it; see Job 35:7 and therefore it is in vain to serve him, since neither he, nor we, are the better for it:

and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance; or "his observation" (n); that is, have observed that which he commanded to be observed; this respects not any single and particular ordinance, but every ordinance of God: the Sadducees of those times seem designed, who denied the resurrection of the dead, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and so might well conclude it in vain to serve God:

and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? or "in black" (o); which is the habit of mourners; see Psalm 38:6 with an humble spirit, as Jarchi interprets it; or with humiliation (or contrition) of spirit, as the Targum, which paraphrases the whole verse thus,

"ye have said, he gains nothing who worships before the Lord; and what mammon (or riches) do we gain because we have kept the observation of his word, and because we have walked in contrition of spirit before the Lord of hosts?''

Aben Ezra and Abarbinel seem to understand this last clause of their being afflicted and suffering for the sake of religion, and which they endured in vain, seeing they were not respected and rewarded for it; but the other sense is best, which represents them as sincere penitents, and humble worshippers of God in their own account, and yet were not taken notice of by him: it seems to describe the Pharisees, who disfigured their faces, and affected down looks and sorrowful countenances (p).

(n) "observationem ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius; "observantiam ejus", Cocceius. (o) "atrate", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Stockius, p. 926; "pullati", Tigurine version; "atrati", Cocceius. (p) The word is used by Josephus ben Gorion for sincere walking, l. 6. c. 20. p. 612. Vid. Not. Breithaupt. in ib.; it is interpreted "humbly" by R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 102. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. what profit … that we … kept, &c.—(See on [1196]Mal 2:17). They here resume the same murmur against God. Job 21:14, 15; 22:17 describe a further stage of the same skeptical spirit, when the skeptic has actually ceased to keep God's service. Ps 73:1-14 describes the temptation to a like feeling in the saint when seeing the really godly suffer and the ungodly prosper in worldly goods now. The Jews here mistake utterly the nature of God's service, converting it into a mercenary bargain; they attended to outward observances, not from love to God, but in the hope of being well paid for in outward prosperity; when this was withheld, they charged God with being unjust, forgetting alike that God requires very different motives from theirs to accompany outward observances, and that God rewards even the true worshipper not so much in this life, as in the life to come.

his ordinance—literally, what He requires to be kept, "His observances."

walked mournfully—in mournful garb, sackcloth and ashes, the emblems of penitence; they forget Isa 58:3-8, where God, by showing what is true fasting, similarly rebukes those who then also said, Wherefore have we fasted and Thou seest not? &c. They mistook the outward show for real humiliation.

Malachi 3:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
Robbing God
13"Your words have been arrogant against Me," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?' 14"You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts? 15'So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.'"
Cross References
Isaiah 43:22
"Yet you have not called on me, Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, Israel.

Isaiah 58:3
Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.

Jeremiah 2:25
Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'

Jeremiah 18:12
But they will reply, 'It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.'"

Hosea 7:16
They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt.

Malachi 3:13
"You have spoken arrogantly against me," says the LORD. "Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
Treasury of Scripture

You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

It is.

Job 21:14,15 Therefore they say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the …

Job 22:17 Which said to God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

Job 34:9 For he has said, It profits a man nothing that he should delight …

Job 35:3 For you said, What advantage will it be to you? and, What profit …

Psalm 73:8-13 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they …

Isaiah 58:3 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted …

Zephaniah 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem …

ordinance. Heb. observation. and that.

Isaiah 58:3 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted …

Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, said the LORD, turn you even to me with all your …

Zechariah 7:3-6 And to speak to the priests which were in the house of the LORD of …

James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to …

mournfully. Heb. in black.

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