My Messenger, The LORD, And The Messenger Of The Covenant: Malachi 3:1 Revisited -- By: Richard M. Blaylock

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016)
Article: My Messenger, The LORD, And The Messenger Of The Covenant: Malachi 3:1 Revisited
Author: Richard M. Blaylock

My Messenger, The LORD, And The Messenger Of The Covenant: Malachi 3:1 Revisited

Richard M. Blaylock

Richard M. Blaylock is currently a PhD student in Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also earned his M.Div. Richard has formerly served as a pastor in the Philippines and has delivered papers at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Debate continues concerning the meaning and implications of Malachi 3:1. In this contested verse, YHWH responds to the complaints and accusations of his people by saying, “Behold, I am sending my messenger, and he will clear a way before me. And suddenly, he will come to his temple; the Lord whom you are seeking and the messenger of the covenant in whom you are delighting; behold, he is coming, says YHWH of hosts.”1 No scholarly consensus exists as to (1) the presence and significance of redactions in the text,2 (2) the passage/s to which the author alludes, and (3) the number and nature of the person/s described in the verse. Each of these individual problems has elicited a variety of proposed solutions, resulting in a plethora of interpretations. In light of the current exegetical gridlock, I will argue that Malachi 3:1 (as it stands) refers to the sending of a priestly, prophetic messenger and the arrival of YHWH himself, depicted as a royal priest. I will make my case in three stages. First, I will provide a review of recent scholarship in the English-speaking world on Malachi 3:1. Next, I will “clear a way” by tackling the issues of redactions and allusions in relation to the text in question. Lastly, I will examine the verse in its context and build

on the preparatory work already accomplished in order to suggest a fresh interpretation of Malachi’s prophecy.3

Review Of Literature

Redactions And Malachi 3:1

Scholars disagree regarding the presence of editorial activity within Malachi 3:1.4 Broadly speaking, three approaches are current in the literature: (1) taking 3:1b-4 as an editorial insertion, (2) taking 3:1a as an editorial insertion, and (3) denying signs of growth in 3:1.

Taking 3:1b-4 A...
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