Wakening A Sleeping Metaphor: A New Interpretation Of Malachi 1:11 -- By: Åke Viberg

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 45:2 (NA 1994)
Article: Wakening A Sleeping Metaphor: A New Interpretation Of Malachi 1:11
Author: Åke Viberg


Wakening A Sleeping Metaphor: A New Interpretation Of Malachi 1:11

Åke Viberg

Summary

From the early history of the Christian church and onwards, interpreters have suggested that Malachi 1:11 presents a universalism, i.e, that the surrounding nations of post-exilic Judah actually worshipped YHWH as the one true God by their sacrifices. In this article I propose that neither this solution, nor any other previously proposed solution does sufficient justice to Malachi 1:11. Instead, I propose that we focus on how the author uses metaphorical language to strengthen his argument. In doing so, however, the author creates a new metaphor that continues to challenge the understanding of the reader.

I. Introduction

Interpreters have considered Malachi 1:11 one of the most difficult texts in the OT, both exegetically and theologically. A number of solutions have been offered, but none has achieved the status of a scholarly consensus.1 In this article, I will present the problem and

then briefly describe various solutions. I will examine various proposed interpretations and then argue that a more satisfying interpretation is yielded by close attention to the metaphorical nature of the statement ‘My name is great among the nations’ in v. 11a and its elaboration in v. 11b, ‘in every place incense is offered to my name.’

II. The Problem Of Malachi 1:11

In Malachi 1:6-9 the priests are criticised for neglecting their duties, and in v. 10 the author describes YHWH’s reaction to this. Then, as a contrast with vv. 6-9, the author states as follows in v. 11:2

11a

kî mimmizraḥ-šemeš wě‘ad

měbô’ô gādôl šěmî baggôyim

 

For from the rising o...

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