Lesson 2 of 5
In Progress

Outline of Malachi

Rhetorically, much of the book is organized around questions and answers—-questions that might be posed by the people, then answered by the prophet.

1. How Have You Loved Us? (Malachi 1:2-5)

To the question, “How have you loved us?” Yahweh points out that Jacob was loved but his twin brother, Esau, was hated. Edom (made up of Esau’s descendants) is a wicked country and will be desolated.

2. Inattention to Ritual Purity and Sacrificial Issues (Malachi 1:6-2:9)

Sons should honor their fathers and servants their masters. Should not therefore Yahweh be honored? Yet the priests have despised the Lord’s name by offering stolen, sick, or maimed animals as sacrifice.

3. Disregarding the Marriage Covenant (Malachi 2:10-16)

“Have we not all one Father?” Husbands and wives share the covenant God made with them, but they profane the covenant by marrying foreigners and falling into idolatry, as well as by unnecessary divorce.

4. Where is the God of Justice? (Malachi 2:17-3:7)

The people recoil at the observed circumstances of God tolerating, and perhaps rewarding, those who engage in evil behavior. As a response, God promises to send an agent to work justice. “Who can endure the day of his coming?” Yahweh is sending “my messenger” (malaki), who will purify priests (“the descendants of Levi”), refining them like gold and silver. Return to me and I will return to you, says God.

5. The Full Tithe (Malachi 3:8-12)

“Will anyone rob God?” Rather than robbing God by bringing faulty sacrifices, the people should bring the full tithe. Then all nations will count God’s people happy. They will be a land of delight, and their names will be written in “a book of remembrance.”

6. What is the Point? (Malachi 3:13-18)

“It is pointless to serve God! And what benefit if we have done what he required?” The people finally throw up their hands to the prophet and God and ask, “What is the point?” God responds that those who fear and esteem God’s name will be written in the book of remembrance.  

7. The Great Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:1-6)

The day is coming when evildoers will be like straw, and the sun of righteousness will rise for all who revere God’s name. Before that day Yahweh will send Elijah to reunite parents and children so that the land will not be cursed.