An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.
"I have loved you," says the LORD. But you ask: "How have You loved us?" "Wasn't Esau Jacob's brother?" [This is] the LORD's declaration. "Even so, I loved Jacob,
but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and [gave] his inheritance to the desert jackals."
Though Edom says: "We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins," the LORD of Hosts says this: "They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked country and the people the LORD has cursed forever.
Your own eyes will see this, and you yourselves will say: The LORD is great, [even] beyond the borders of Israel.
"A son honors [his] father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is [your] fear of Me? says the LORD of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name." Yet you ask: "How have we despised Your name?"
"By presenting defiled food on My altar." You ask: "How have we defiled You?" When you say: "The LORD's table is contemptible."
"When you present a blind [animal] for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick [animal], is it not wrong? Bring it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?" asks the LORD of Hosts.
"And now ask for God's favor. Will He be gracious to us? [Since] this has come from your hands, will He show any of you favor?" asks the LORD of Hosts.
"I wish one of you would shut the [temple] doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless [fire on] My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of Hosts, "and I will accept no offering from your hands.
"For My name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting. Incense and pure offerings will be presented in My name in every place because My name will be great among the nations," says the LORD of Hosts.
But you are profaning itwhen you say: "The Lord's table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible."
You also say: "Look, what a nuisance!" "And you scorn it," says the LORD of Hosts. "You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?" asks the LORD.
"The deceiver is cursed who has an [acceptable] male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective [animal] to the Lord. For I am a great King," says the LORD of Hosts, "and My name will be feared among the nations.
"Therefore, this decree is for you priests:
If you don't listen, and if you don't take it to heart to honor My name," says the LORD of Hosts, "I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.
"Look, I am going to rebuke your descendants, and I will spread animal waste over your faces, the waste from your festival sacrifices, and you will be taken away with it.
Then you will know that I sent you this decree so My covenant with Levi may continue," says the LORD of Hosts.
"My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave these to him; it called for reverence, and he revered Me and stood in awe of My name.
True instruction was in his mouth, and nothing wrong was found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and fairness and turned many from sin.
For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the LORD of Hosts.
"You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of Hosts.
"So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in [your] instruction."
Don't all of us have one Father? Didn't one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Judah has acted treacherously, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the LORD's sanctuary, which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
To the man who does this, may the LORD cut off any descendants from the tents of Jacob, even if they present an offering to the LORD of Hosts.
And this is another thing you do: you cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because He no longer respects your offerings or receives [them] gladly from your hands.
Yet you ask, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.
Didn't the one [God] make [us] with a remnant of His life-breath? And what does the One seek? A godly offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.
"If he hates and divorces [his wife]," says the LORD God of Israel, "he covers his garment with injustice," says the LORD of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.
You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you ask, "How have we wearied [Him]?" When you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the LORD's sight, and He is pleased with them," or "Where is the God of justice?"