A Commentary On The Book Of Malachi -- By: Richard V. Clearwaters

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 06:3 (Fall 1963)
Article: A Commentary On The Book Of Malachi
Author: Richard V. Clearwaters


A Commentary On The Book Of Malachi

Richard V. Clearwaters

Where Is The God Of Heaven?

Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, had a message of rebuke regarding various sins of his day. His was also a message of hope for a greater day, with assurance that God yet lives and judges. That message may be applied today to vain singing of the doxology and meaningless church attendance, and even to the moral practices which reflect on the standards of God. The revelation of the coming Day of the Lord is even yet the hope of the elect and the threatening doom of the wicked.

A. The Author

This final inspired message which closed the canon of the Old Testament was written by a prophet about whom we know nothing outside of this one book, and about whom we know very little from what he says in this book. His name may have been given by parents, by God, by fellow prophets, or even chosen by himself for his work. It more likely was “Jehovah’s Messenger” than “My Messenger.” New Testament references to the book do not name Malachi.

The date of writing, based on internal evidences, has been placed by some at about 432 B.C. with the second visit of Nehemiah to Jerusalem; by others at about 400 B.C. There is no reason to doubt that the abuses corrected by Nehemiah were later prevalent again. Since Malachi is not mentioned in Ezra or Nehemiah, it is most likely that he lived after their time.

Only four times in the book is the author in any way reflected. Otherwise he is but the mouth of God presenting God’s rebukes unto the people. Throughout the prophecy the burden of the message of Jehovah is supreme, and the personality of the messenger is absolutely hidden. In 1:1 he names himself in the usual fashion as the prophet writing. In sections regarding the people rather than the priests, Malachi uses “we” (1:10; 2:10; 3:15), in each case presenting characteristic sins of the people (cf. Daniel’s confession in Dan. 9). That Malachi was not a priest seems further evident from 1:10. There is then a very strong play on his name and his burden from the Lord in 2:7, for a priest should be doing constantly what Malachi has been specially called to do.

B. The Nation

Internal evidence is the sole source of information about the condition of the nation in Malachi’s day. The temple had earlier been rebuilt and dedicated in 516 ...

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