The Book of Malachi



Background of Malachi
Time: Persian Period (Post-Exile)
Place: Yehud
Kings: None. Ruled by High Priest (Joshua) + Governor (Zerubavel)


Political Backdrop:

·       Just a little later than Zechariah and Haggai: the Temple has been rebuilt!
·       We’re back from exile!
Step 1: Assyrians are the Big Bad: Northern Kingdom falls (722BCE)
Step 2: Babylonians take over as the Big Bad: Southern Kingdom goes into exile (586BCE)
            Exile period…
539BCE: Neo-Babylonian Empire falls to Cyrus the Great (Perisan Empire)
Step 3: The Persian Empire sends us home! (538BCE)



Primary Themes of Malachi:

·       The generation of the Second Temple are just as bad as their ancestors!
o   The exile didn’t change anything…

·       Set up a series of disputes between Israel and God

·       God feels the people have abandoned proper religious practice; the people feel that God is not just and that there is no benefit to serving God.

·       Messianic hope!




Structure of Malachi


Content
Verses
Intro Verse
1:1


Dispute 1: God’s Love
1:2-5
God claims to have shown us love
2
People ask: How?
2
God answers: I chose you over Esau!
3-5


Dispute 2: Israel Offers Blemished Sacrifices
1:6-2:9
God claims Israel have shown God scorn
6
People ask: How?
6
God answers: Blemished sacrifices
7-9


Dispute 3: Israelite Men Abandoned Wives
2:10-16
God will leave Israelites who went astray with idolatrous women no descendants
10-13
People ask: Why?
14
God responds: Because you abandoned your wives
14-16


Dispute 4: Israelites Claim God Is Not Just
2:17-3:5
God claims that Israel have wearied God with their words
17
People ask: How?
17
God responds: By claiming that God is not just
17
Messianic interlude – response to justice
3:1-5


Dispute 5: Israel Has Abandoned Tithes
3:6-12
God tells Israel to turn back. People: How?
6-7
God accuses Israel of defrauding God.
8
People ask: How?
8
God responds: By not bringing tithes.
9
BUT: If you do bring them, there will be blessing!
10-12


Dispute 6: Israelites Claim Following God Has No Benefit
3:13-16
God accuses Israel of speaking harsh words against God.
13
People ask: How?
13
God responds: Because you say that there is no point in worshipping Me.
14-15
But a remnant of Israel has been faithful
16
(Links to following…)



Transition: On That Day…
3:17-24
God will care for the remnant, and the wicked will fall
17-21
Be mindful of the Torah!
22
I will send Elijah before the Day of the Lord
23-24







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