Malachi 3

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  • Malachi 3:1.
  • Masoretic Text: Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear the way before my face, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Look! He is coming, said YHWH of hosts.

    Septuagint: Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will look upon the way before my face, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his sanctuary, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Look! He is coming, says the Lord Almighty.

    Mark 1:2: Look! I am sending my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way [before you]. (Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27)


    The expression “before the face” denotes before the person.

    The words of Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, and Luke 7:27 are not an exact quotation of the extant Septuagint text. The quoted words indicate that the messenger is preparing the way before Christ.

    The fragmentary portion of the Dead Sea Scroll text starts with a Hebrew word that may be translated “therefore,” and thus links what follows with the preceding challenging question. This indicates that YHWH would indeed take action but that preparatory activity would precede the execution of judgment.

    The Dead Sea Scroll text differs from the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint in reading “they will come,” that is, the Lord and the messenger. Another difference is that, instead of just “he is coming,” the text reads, “he himself is coming,” with apparent reference to the “Lord.”


    YHWH’s announcement about the coming of his messenger indicates that he was very much involved in the outworking of his purpose. As the God of justice, he had not absented himself. He would execute judgment, but this judgment must first be preceded by preparatory activity.

    According to the application of the quotation from Malachi 3:1 in Mark’s account, the preparation of the way takes place before the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. As the Son of God, Jesus was the direct representative of his Father. Accordingly, the messenger, John the Baptist, did clear the way before YHWH, who was doing his work through his Son. The clearing or preparing of the way involved calling the people to repentance and to demonstrate that repentance by corresponding evidence or fruitage. (Matthew 3:1-12; 11:9-11; Mark 1:2-8; Luke 3:1-17; John 1:19-27; 10:40-42)

    In the prophecy, the speaker is clearly identified as YHWH, and he is also the one sending the messenger, which is indicated by the first person endings. From a strictly grammatical standpoint, therefore, “the Lord” (spoken of in the third person) would not be YHWH. Rather, as the application of Malachi’s words in Mark’s account indicates, he would be the Lord for whom John the Baptist served as the forerunner. Moreover, the strong reproofs directed against the priests and the people are not indicative of their “seeking” YHWH. Although they were again living in their land, they were not operating as an independent nation with a king from the royal line of David. Therefore, they would have been “seeking” the Messiah, the descendant of David, whom they believed would restore the kingdom to Israel. (Compare Acts 1:6.)

    Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house. Being the unique Son, he could prophetically be referred to as coming to “his temple.” When discussing the temple tax with Peter, Jesus revealed that, with reference to the temple, his was a special situation. (Matthew 17:24-27)

    The reading of the partially preserved Dead Sea Scroll text indicates clearly that the “Lord” and “the messenger of the covenant” are not identical. In the fulfillment, no personage is introduced as another messenger. Therefore, seemingly the “messenger” whom YHWH would send in advance is the “messenger of the covenant.” It is of note that Zechariah, the father of John, called attention to the future activity of his son in relation to the covenant. In Zechariah’s poetic expressions, this covenant is paralleled with the “oath” God swore to Abraham, providing a basis for identifying it as the covenant made with Abraham. (Luke 1:68-79)

    The concluding assurance that he is coming refers to the coming of the Lord. This is also confirmed by the words that follow.

  • Malachi 3:2.
  • Masoretic Text: And who will endure the day of his coming? And who will be the one standing at his appearing? For he [is] like the refiner’s fire and like the washer’s lye.

    Septuagint: And who will endure the day of his entering? Or who will stand at his appearing? For he is entering like the fire of a furnace and like the lye of cleaners.


    A fragmentary Dead Sea Scroll text does not have the singular initially but reads “endure them” and “they come.” Thereafter the Dead Sea Scroll text corresponds to the Masoretic Text.

    The Greek word for “lye” (póa) designates grass or herbs. In certain contexts, the grass would be the kind having cleansing properties. By extension, póa may designate the lye obtained from the ashes of the vegetation. Water was used to leach or filter the ashes to extract the alkali.


    A time of severe testing lay ahead. The coming of the Lord and, according to the Dead Sea Scroll text, also of the messenger would result in intense scrutiny of the people. Who would hold up when submitted to this unsparing examination? Who would stand approved at the Lord’s appearing? The questions implied that not many would pass the severe testing and be revealed as approved.

    The messenger, John the Baptist, through his serious proclamation, did a work of testing. Although many responded enthusiastically at the beginning, the people’s attitude toward John eventually changed. (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 3:l-18; John 5:33-35) As the Lord before whom John prepared the way, Jesus Christ, through his works, example, and teaching, tested the deep inner selves of the people, revealing their attitude and motives. The words of the aged Simeon to Mary were fulfilled: “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34, NAB)

    The refiner’s fire or the fire of a smelting furnace removes impurities from the desired metal, and lye cleans soiled clothing. Jesus’ entrance among the people proved to be like a refiner’s fire and like lye. By what he said and did, he exposed who among the people were like the worthless dross of the refining process or the dirt clinging to clothing. All who responded in faith, however, passed the test, proving themselves to be like precious metal or clothing free from filth.

  • Malachi 3:3.
  • Masoretic Text: And he will sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and like silver, and they will be to YHWH the ones bringing an offering in righteousness.

    Septuagint: And he will sit [as] a smelter and purifier as of silver and as of gold, and he will purify the sons of Levi and pour them like gold and like silver, and they will be to the Lord those bringing an offering in righteousness.


    The Lord would fill the role of a refiner and purifier of the Levites, whose service had proved to be unacceptable at the time this prophetic word was directed to them. Just as the refining and purifying process yielded pure gold and silver, the Lord’s activity would affect the Levites, particularly the priests against whom the severe censures had earlier been addressed. The result would be priestly Levites who, in righteousness, would be presenting offerings. These offerings would be unblemished and, therefore, of the kind that were YHWH’s rightful due.

    Jesus Christ is the Lord for whom John the Baptist served as the messenger. Like the refining and purifying process of gold and silver, the activity of Jesus Christ (and his working through the apostles) did produce purified Levites. Many priests became believers, and Barnabas, a Levite, played a significant role in the advancement of pure worship. (Acts 4:36, 37; 6:7; 11:19-26; 13:1-3)

  • Malachi 3:4.
  • Masoretic Text: And the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to YHWH, as [in] the days of long ago and as [in] the former years.

    Septuagint: And the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord, as [in] the days of long ago and as [in] the former years.

    Note: In Hebrew, the expression for “long ago” (‘oláhm) basically denotes time of indefinite duration. The corresponding Greek term aión means “age.”


    YHWH would be pleased with what the people of Judah and Jerusalem would be presenting as sacrifices. Their offerings would be like those of the past, sacrifices upon which YHWH had looked with approval.

    As in other cases, the prophetic message was framed in the language of the then-existing arrangement for worship. In the fulfillment, however, the arrangement for worship is the one Jesus Christ mentioned to a Samaritan woman, a worship not dependent on any fixed geographical location or edifice and the kind of offerings associated therewith. (John 4:20-24) Thousands in Judah and Jerusalem did respond in faith, accepting Jesus as Lord, the promised Messiah and Son of God. YHWH was pleased with their prayers and sacrifices of praise as manifested by the powerful working of his spirit in their midst. (Acts 4:23-31; Hebrews 13:15, 16; Revelation 8:3)

  • Malachi 3:5.
  • Masoretic Text: And I will draw near to you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, those swearing to a falsehood, and against those defrauding the hireling of [his] hire, the widow and the orphan, and those turning aside the resident alien, and [those who] do not fear me, said YHWH of hosts.

    Septuagint: And I will draw near to you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorceresses, the adulteresses, those swearing by my name to a lie, those withholding the hire of a hireling, those oppressing the widow, those maltreating orphans, those turning aside the judgment of a proselyte, and those not fearing me, says the Lord Almighty.


    The reading of the Septuagint is more specific than the Masoretic Text. Also, whereas the Masoretic Text uses the masculine plural (“sorcerers” and “adulterers”), the Septuagint has the feminine plural (“sorceresses” and “adulteresses”).

    Practically no part of this verse is preserved in any discovered Dead Sea Scroll fragment. Instead of “YHWH of hosts,” however, the partially preserved Dead Sea Scroll text reads “YHWH God.”

    The Greek term for “sorcerer” (pharmakós) designates a “mixer of potions.” The use of drugs often accompanied the use of spells and enchantments.

    The Hebrew word designating a “resident alien” (ger) is broader in meaning than is the Septuagint equivalent “proselyte” (prosélytos).


    These words provide the answer to the challenging question, “Where is the God of justice?” YHWH had not distanced himself, but was fully aware of the people’s conduct. He was in the process of drawing near to execute adverse judgment. That judgment would not be delayed indefinitely, for YHWH would prove to be a speedy witness, testifying against the lawless ones. As a witness, he would also carry out the execution of the deserved punishment. (Compare Deuteronomy 17:7.)

    Judgment would be directed against those guilty of engaging in occult practices, committing adultery, swearing falsely in God’s name to injure the innocent or shield the guilty, withholding wages (not paying them at the end of the day) for work performed, depriving widows of their rights, abusing orphans, and trampling on the rights of resident aliens. All of these acts were serious violations of God’s law. (Exodus 20:7, 14; 22:18, 21, 22; 23:1, 6, 7, 9; Leviticus 19:12, 13; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 22:22-27; 24:17, 18) The lawless ones did not fear YHWH, totally disregarding their accountability to him for their actions. Their complete lack of reverential awe would not be left unpunished. (Deuteronomy 4:10; 6:1, 2)

  • Malachi 3:6.
  • Masoretic Text: For I, YHWH, have not changed, and you, sons of Jacob, have not been destroyed.

    Septuagint: For I [am] the Lord your God, and I have not changed. And you, sons of Jacob, have not abstained from the iniquities of your fathers.


    The variation in the Septuagint is to be attributed to a different understanding of the root word for “finish,” “end,” “destroy,” or “consume.” If the final letter of the root is regarded as ending in an aleph (’), the word means “abstain,” “keep away from,” “hold oneself off,” and “be far from.” If the root ends in a he (H), it has the significance conveyed in modern translations—“you have not ceased to be” (Tanakh), “you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (NIV), and “you, O children of Jacob, have not perished” (NRSV). Although the rendering is different, what the Septuagint says harmonizes with Israelite history. In view of 1:2-5, however, the preferable meaning seemingly is “not ceased to be.”

    To complete the thought, the wording of the Septuagint includes part of verse 7.


    YHWH had remained true to his covenant promises. His love for his people had remained constant (1:2-5). YHWH’s unchangeableness was confirmed by the continued existence of Jacob’s descendants. This was not on the basis of any merit on their part.

  • Malachi 3:7.
  • Masoretic Text: From the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept [them]. Return to me, and I will return to you, said YHWH of hosts. And you say, “How shall we return?”

    Septuagint: You have perverted my statutes and have not kept [them]. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty. And you said, “How should we return?”

    Note: In the fragmentary Dead Sea Scroll text, “you say” (in the concluding sentence) is second person singular, but this appears to be a scribal error. Both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint have the plural.


    Throughout their history as a people, the Israelites had repeatedly deviated from faithful adherence to the divinely given commandments. As the unchangeable God, YHWH, through his messenger, appealed to the people to return to him, forsaking their wayward course and conforming to his righteous ways. Their return—their repentance and abandonment of divinely disapproved conduct—would result in YHWH’s returning to them, granting them his favorable attention and blessing.

    The stylistic question, “How shall we return?” implies that the people were blind to their transgressions. They seemed puzzled that they were being called to account for their attitude and actions.

  • Malachi 3:8.
  • Masoretic Text: Will man rob God? For you are robbing me. And you say, “How have we robbed you?” [In] the tithe and the offering.

    Septuagint: Will a man deceive God? For you are deceiving me. And you will say, “How have we deceived you?” Because the tithes and the firstfruits are [still] with you.


    The common view is that the Hebrew root for “rob” consists of the three letters qoph, beth and ayin (QB‘). In The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, translated from the German and edited under the supervision of M.E.J. Richardson, the following is stated: “...the meaning is disputed; either 1. to walk behind one another (KBL); or 2. to rob, steal;...for Mal 3:8f the decision is difficult; within the context ‘to betray’ is more acceptable than ‘to rob.’” Note that the first suggested meaning corresponds more to the Septuagint reading, the word pternízo having the sense of “going behind the back of somebody to deceive.” The Hebrew root for “betray” or “deceive” consists of the identical letters but in a different order (‘QB), which basically denotes “to grab by the heel.” This root is part of the name Jacob, meaning “heel grabber” or “supplanter.”

    For the Septuagint significance of “deceive,” the case of Ananias and Sapphira provides an illustration. (Acts 5:1-11)

    In the Septuagint, the reply to the stylistic question is not as elliptical as in the Masoretic Text. The tithes and offerings were still with the people, evidently indicating that they had not been brought in full to the temple.


    The initial question highlights the folly of man’s trying to rob (or deceive) God. How could anyone imagine getting by with this? Yet, the people had made themselves guilty of robbery (or deception). The stylistic question introduces an implication of unbelief on their part. This is followed by the answer that their robbing (or deception) involved tithes and offerings.

    Evidently the people had failed to contribute the complete tenth (3:10), which served to support temple services. Accordingly, the robbery (or deception) consisted in withholding what was YHWH’s rightful due for his “house” or temple. In view of the later mention of “the fruit of the ground” (3:11), the offerings were probably firstfruits (as indicated by the Septuagint reading). In this case, too, the robbing (or deception) apparently involved not presenting the offering required by the law and thus withholding part of YHWH’s share for his temple. (Numbers 15:18-20; 18:11-13; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Proverbs 3:9, 10)

  • Malachi 3:9.
  • Masoretic Text: With a curse you are being cursed, and you are robbing me—the whole nation.

    Septuagint: And looking away, you look away, and you are deceiving me. An end has been made of the nation.


    The Hebrew root for “curse” consists of the letters aleph, resh and resh (’RR), and the root for “look away,” “look at,” or “turn attention to” consists of the letters resh, aleph and he (R’H). It does not appear that the similarity of the roots is sufficient to account for the difference in the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint.

    The preserved portion of the Dead Sea Scroll text is closer to the Septuagint reading and does not support the note in the St. Petersburg Codex (according to Ginsburg) that the Sopherim changed the text regarding the cursing. An English rendering of the Dead Sea Scroll text is: “You are looking on appearances.” (The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible)

    It would seem that the Septuagint reading “an end has been made of the nation” resulted from a misreading of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew root meaning “finish,” “complete,” “bring to an end,” or “come to an end” consists of the letters kaph, lamed and he (KLH). The Masoretic Text reads kaph, lamed and waw (KLW). The two letters kaph and lamed (KL) mean “all.” The waw (W) is a third person masculine suffix, referring back to the word “nation,” which is a masculine noun. In English, the suffix would be translated “it” (the nation—all of it, that is, the whole nation).

    Manuscripts of the Septuagint, however, read both “nation” (éthnos) and “year” (étos), with “year” being the word found in more recent manuscripts. Perhaps copyists made this change, which does not contradict the rest of the message.

    The variations in the reading of the Masoretic and Dead Sea Scroll texts and the Septuagint make it difficult to determine how this verse is to be understood. The commentary basically follows the Masoretic Text.

    Regarding the Hebrew term rendered “robbing,” see the note under 3:8.


    Because of their failures, the people did not experience YHWH’s blessing. Accordingly, they were under a curse. (Compare Deuteronomy 28:15-18.) Furthermore, they had “looked away” from YHWH, not observing his law faithfully. With reference to tithes and offerings, they were guilty of robbing him or trying to deceive him. The nation as a whole had transgressed.

  • Malachi 3:10.
  • Masoretic Text: Bring all of the tithe into the storehouse, and let [there] be food in my house. And test me in this, said YHWH of hosts, if I will not open to you the hatches of the heavens and pour upon you a blessing until [there is] no lack.

    Septuagint: And you have brought all the yield into the storehouses, and [it] will be his spoil in his house. Now consider in this, says the Lord Almighty, if I will not open to you the hatches of heaven and pour out upon you my blessing until [there is] sufficiency.


    The Septuagint represents the bringing of the yield into the storehouses as an accomplished act and does not link this to YHWH’s house nor does it include the aspect of “testing.” This reading is not supported by the Dead Sea Scroll text. The fragmentary Dead Sea Scroll text departs only in minor ways from the Masoretic Text (“every tithe,” not “all of the tithe”; “my houses,” not “my house”; the definite article precedes “blessing”).


    YHWH, through his messenger, admonished the people to bring the whole tithe, not holding anything back. The agricultural products (grain, wine, and olive oil) would then be stored, not in the temple itself, but in storage chambers. (Compare Nehemiah 13:10-12.) The Dead Sea Scroll reading “houses” suggests that separate buildings served as storehouses. These “houses” would start filling up with the agricultural products, and so there would be “food” in YHWH’s house or houses.

    On account of meager harvests, the people may have held back from contributing their tithes, feeling that they could not afford to part with such a large portion of their limited yields. Therefore, despite the then-existing situation, YHWH, through his messenger, invited the people to make a test, contributing the full amount and then waiting for a favorable response.

    Severe droughts likely had contributed to poor harvests. YHWH’s opening of the windows or hatches of the heavens probably is to be understood of his turning his favorable attention to his people as would be manifest by rains pouring down form the sky in sufficient amount to assure bountiful harvests. The blessing would be so abundant that the point would not be reached when the supply would be insufficient.

  • Malachi 3:11.
  • Masoretic Text: And I will rebuke the devourer for you, and it will not destroy the fruit of the ground for you, and the vine in the field will not abort for you, said YHWH of hosts.

    Septuagint: And I will appoint food for you and by no means destroy the fruit of the land for you, and by no means will the vine in the field fail you, says the Lord Almighty.


    There are two different Greek words for “not.” The second one serves as an intensifier, and the sense of the Greek may be expressed as “by no means.”


    Through his prophet, YHWH assured the people of his blessing, provided they followed through with their tithes. No more would they have their crops consumed by the “devourer” (voracious locusts and other insects collectively), nor would the grapes fall from the vines before reaching maturity or fail to bear.

  • Malachi 3:12.
  • Masoretic Text: And all the nations will pronounce you fortunate, for you will be a land of delight, said YHWH of hosts.

    Septuagint: And all the nations will pronounce you fortunate, for you will be a desired land, says the Lord Almighty.


    On becoming aware of the bountiful harvests the people were enjoying because of having ample rainfall and being spared locust and other insect invasions, inhabitants of surrounding lands would recognize the Israelites as being fortunate, divinely blessed, favored, or in an enviable state of happiness. A land yielding abundantly would be desirable—a “land of delight.”

  • Malachi 3:13.
  • Masoretic Text: Your words have been strong against me, said YHWH. And you have said, “What have we spoken against you?”

    Septuagint: You have made your words heavy against me, says the Lord. And you have said, “How have we spoken against you?”


    Apparently those finding fault with YHWH were observing merely the outward forms of worship but felt that he owed them his favorable attention. Not seeing any evidence of his blessing on them, they considered him unjust, especially since lawless ones were prospering materially. These faultfinders evidently believed that their “strong,” “heavy” or “harsh” words of complaint were justified. The stylistic question put in their mouths implied that they did not consider the possibility of having spoken against YHWH.

  • Malachi 3:14.
  • Masoretic Text: You have said, “Serving God [is] vanity. And what gain [has there been] when we kept his obligation and walked as in mourning before the face of YHWH of hosts?”

    Septuagint: You have said, “The one serving God is vain. And what great [thing is it] that we kept his obligations and went as suppliants before the face of the Lord Almighty?”


    In the Septuagint, the one serving God is referred to as being “vain.” This could mean that such a person does not attain to anything beneficial and so amounts to mere emptiness.

    The Hebrew expression for “as in mourning” is derived from a root meaning “dark.”

    Both in Hebrew and in Greek, the words “before the face” denote “in the presence of.”


    The faultfinders complained that serving God was vain or meaningless, bringing no reward. They maintained that they had conducted themselves within the framework of the restraints imposed on them by the law. They also “walked as in mourning,” probably meaning that they fasted. In thus making themselves miserable before YHWH, they believed that he should respond to them favorably as suppliants. (Compare Isaiah 58:3-5.)

  • Malachi 3:15.
  • Masoretic Text: “And now we pronounce insolent ones fortunate. Also, the doers of wickedness are built up. Also, they tested God and have escaped.”

    Septuagint: “And now we pronounce strangers fortunate. And all doers of lawlessness are built up, and they have resisted God and escaped.”


    The difference in the Hebrew letters resh (R) and daleth (D) is very slight, making misreading possible. Evidently this accounts for the Septuagint reading “strangers” instead of “insolent ones.”

    In the Septuagint, the verb anoikodomoúntai is either passive voice (they are built up) or middle voice (they are rebuilding). A rendering of verse 15 with “they are rebuilding” would suggest that, although practicing lawlessness, all were successfully engaging in rebuilding.


    Enviously, the complainers looked upon the success of the lawless ones. The wicked did not put themselves through the unpleasant routine of walking about as mourners and did not consider themselves hampered in fulfilling their desires by any requirements of the law. They did what they pleased and, yet, prospered.

    Therefore, the faultfinders pronounced the lawless ones fortunate, as those finding themselves in an enviable position. In the estimation of the complainers, the lawless ones were being “built up,” prospering materially. By disregarding his law, the wicked defied or opposed YHWH, challenging or testing him as to whether he would act against them, but nothing happened. The lawless ones escaped unharmed.

  • Malachi 3:16.
  • Masoretic Text: The fearers of YHWH then spoke, [each] man to his companion, and YHWH took note and heard, and a scroll of remembrance was written before him for the fearers of YHWH and those giving thought to his name.

    Septuagint: The fearers of the Lord spoke against these things, each one to his companion. And the Lord took note and heard and wrote a scroll of remembrance before him for those fearing the Lord and revering his name.


    Those who had a wholesome fear of or reverential regard for YHWH did not side with those whose worship was but an outward expression devoid of inner godliness. These fearers of YHWH had as their companions others who shared their reverential attitude. The communication with their companions must have reflected deep appreciation for YHWH and his love, compassion, care, and justice. Likely expressions from various psalms, proverbs, the law, and the words of the prophets were part of their conversation.

    YHWH gave favorable attention to the words of the reverential ones. He “heard” them and made a permanent record as if having their words written in a scroll of remembrance. This assured those revering YHWH of future help, rewards, and blessings. The reverential ones were concerned not to bring any reproach on God’s name, according the highest regard to the person represented by the name.

  • Malachi 3:17.
  • Masoretic Text: And they will be mine, said YHWH of hosts, [my] possession, in the day that I am making. And I will spare them as a man spares his son who is serving him.

    Septuagint: And they will be mine, says the Lord Almighty, in the day which I make into a possession. And I will choose them in the manner a man chooses his son who is serving him.

    Note: The order of the Hebrew words is, “in the day that I am making possession.” This is also the word order in the Septuagint.


    YHWH, through his messenger, assured the reverential ones that they would belong to him, indicating that they would enjoy his favor, help, and protection. Translators have commonly linked the word “possession” with the fearers of YHWH. “And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action.” (NAB) “And on the day that I am preparing, said the LORD of Hosts, they shall be my treasured possession.” (Tanakh) By placing a comma after “make” and taking the Greek word eis (“into”) as an indicator of purpose (“for”), the meaning of the Septuagint would be the same. “And they will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day that I make, for a possession.” This would be similar to the words of Psalm 118:24: “This [is] the day YHWH has made.” Without the comma, the word “possession” would be descriptive of the day, that is, “the day which YHWH makes into his possession” or his special day for taking action.

    On the day for the execution of his judgment, YHWH would “spare,” “have compassion on,” or “choose” to preserve those who revere him. His treatment of them would be comparable to that of a father when dealing with an obedient or responsive son.

  • Malachi 3:18.
  • Masoretic Text: And you will return and see [the difference] between the righteous and the wicked, between the one serving God and the one not serving [him].

    Septuagint: And you will return and see [the difference] between the righteous and between the lawless, and between the one serving God and the one not serving [him].


    At the time YHWH executes his judgment, the distinction between the righteous and the wicked would be manifest. The expression “return and see” is probably to be understood as meaning “again see” (NAB, NIV) or “once more...see” (NRSV). No question of identity would then exist. The righteous or upright person, the one serving or obeying God, would survive the day of judgment, but the wicked one, the person acting contrary to divine direction, would not be spared.