Book summary

Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi are the three books of prophecy in the Old Testament that come after the return of God’s people from exile.

Malachi means “my messenger”. It’s unclear whether this is a person’s name or is just an abbreviation for an anonymous “messenger of the Lord”. After the return from exile, God’s people were again in spiritual decline. This oracles in this book called people and priests to repent and return to God.

Chapters 1-3 — Six oracles

Ch 1:2-5 — First oracle: God has loved Israel

  • “I have loved you,” says the Lord. (Mal. 1:2)

Ch 1:6 to 2:9 — Second oracle: Israel has dishonoured God

  • “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings.” (Mal. 2:1-2)

Ch 2:10-16 — Third oracle: God does not accept Israel’s offerings

  • Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove him from the tents of Jacob — even though he brings an offering to the Lord Almighty. (Mal. 2:11-12)

Ch 2:17 to 3:5 — Fourth oracle: God will come suddenly

  • “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Mal. 3:1)

Ch 3:6-12 — Fifth oracle: Return to God

  • “Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. (Mal. 3:7)

Ch 3:13-18 — Sixth oracle: Israel’s harsh words against God

  • “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord. (Mal. 3:13)

Chapter 4 — The day of the Lord

  • “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.” (Mal. 4:1-2)