Malachi 3:1-4

Malachi 3:1-4
Presentation of the Lord ABC


See,A I am sendingB my messengerC to prepareD the wayE beforeF me,

Notes on verse 1a

A “see” = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
B “sending” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
C “messenger” = malak. “My messenger” is literally “malaki.” The name Malachi shares the same root. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
D “prepare” = panah. This is to turn, regard, appear, look, prepare.
E “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
F “before” = paneh. Related to “prepare” in v1. From panah (see note D above). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

and the LordG whom you seekH will suddenly come to his temple.I

Notes on verse 1b

G “Lord” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
H “seek” = baqash. This is to seek, ask, desire, or request. It can be any kind of searching. It can also mean to worship or pray – implies a striving for.
I “temple” = hekal. Perhaps from yakol (to be able, endure, overcome, prevail). This is a large building with public access such as a palace or temple.

The messenger of the covenantJ in whom you delightK—indeed,L he is coming, says the LordM of hosts.N 

Notes on verse 1c

J “covenant” = berit. Perhaps from barah (to eat, choose, make clear); perhaps from bar (grain, wheat); from bara (to select, purify, cleanse, test, brighten, polish). This is a compact, covenant, alliance, treaty, or league.
K “delight” = chaphets. 11x in OT. From chaphets (properly, inclined towards or bending to; figuratively, to desire, delight in, or be pleased with). This is to delight in, desire, or show favor.
L “indeed” = hinneh. Related to “see” in v1. From hen (see note A above). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
M “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
N “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.

But who can endureO the day of his coming, and who can standP when he appears?Q

Notes on verse 2a

O “endure” = kul. This is to hold in. So, it can be to contain, measure, guide, or feed. It can also mean to be able to or sustain.
P “stand” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
Q “appears” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.

For he is like a refiner’sR fire and like fullers’S soap;T 

Notes on verse 2b

R “refiner’s” = tsaraph. This is to refine, smalt, or fuse metal. It can also refer to the smelter (goldsmith or silversmith). Figuratively, this is refine in a literal or figurative sense – to test or try, make pure.
S “fullers’” = kabas. This is to trample – washing  by stomping feet. It can be fulling in a literal or figurative sense.
T “soap” = borit. Perhaps related to “covenant” in v1. 2x in OT. From bor (cleanness, purify); from barar (see note J above). This is soap, lye, vegetable alkali.

he will sitU as a refiner and purifierV of silver,W and he will purify the descendantsX of LeviY

Notes on verse 3a

U “sit” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
V “purifier” = taher. This is properly being bright, which implies being pure or clean. This word can also mean purge, cleanse, or purify. It can be clean in a ritual sense or a moral one (i.e. moral or holy).
W “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
X “descendants” = ben. This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “Levi” = Levi. Perhaps from lavah (to join, twine, unite, remain, borrow, lend). This is Levi, perhaps meaning “attached.” It can refer to Jacob’s son, his tribe, and descendants.

and refineZ them like goldAA and silver, until they presentBB offeringsCC to the Lord in righteousness.DD 

Notes on verse 3b

Z “refine” = zaqaq. 7x in OT. This is to refine, purify, or distill. Figuratively, it can mean to extract.
AA “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.
BB “present” = nagash. This is to draw, bring, or come near. It is approaching for any reason – as an attack on an enemy, in order to worship, to make an argument. It can also be used as a euphemism for sex.
CC “offerings” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).
DD “righteousness” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.

Then the offering of JudahEE and JerusalemFF will be pleasingGG to the Lord as in the days of oldHH and as in formerII years.

Notes on verse 4

EE “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
FF “Jerusalem” = Yerushalaim. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalem (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
GG “pleasing” = arab. 8x in OT. Perhaps related to arab (to bargain, barter, give or take in pledge; to braid or intermingle). This is to be pleasing, agreeable, or sweet.
HH “old” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
II “former” = qadmoni. 10x in OT. From qadmon (eastern); from the same as qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity); from qadam (to come in front or be in front; to meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise; sometimes to meet for help). This is former or eastern.

Image credit: “Molten Silver” by Lynn (Gracie’s Mom), 2006.

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