Date of Writing:  No reference to an historical event is given.  Jewish traditions are several and contradictory.  The text indicates that the Temple rituals are being performed (1:6 – 14, 3:4) and that they had a governor, not a king (1:8).  Therefore, Malachi should be placed after the return from Babylon, but before Israel fell on hard times not long after 300 BC.

Passages considered Messianic by at least some ancient rabbis:

3:1             A forerunner to the Messiah was expected.

3:4             In the days of the Messiah, sacrifices will again be acceptable to God.

3:16 – 18    God will record the names of the faithful.

4:1 – 3       The righteous shall triumph in the day of the Messiah.

4:5 – 6       This was connected to 3:1.

New Testament references to Malachi

1:2 – 3       (Romans 9:13)  Malachi’s point was that both Edom and Israel had the opportunity to return, but by the power of God, Israel was enabled, but Edom was thwarted.  Paul’s point was to show that Israel existed in the first century by the promise of God, not by their own power.

3:1             (Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2)  Jesus confirmed that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this promise.

4:6             (Luke 1:17)  The father of John the Baptist was told that his son would fulfill this promise.

The Plot

1:1 – 5       God asserts His love for Israel.

1:6 – 14     God recounts the faithlessness of the Temple service.

2:1 – 9       The Levites are cursed for their part in the problem.

2:10 – 16   God condemns marrying non-Israelites and divorce.

2:17 – 4:6  God is offended by religious indifference and skepticism, but the day of the Lord is coming.

Thought-Provoking Statements

1:6             In what way have we despised Your name?

1:8             Offer it then to your governor.  Would he be pleased?

1:13           Oh, what a weariness!

2:7             For the lips of the priest should keep knowledge, and people should see the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

2:17           Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and He delights in them.

3:8             In what way have we robbed You?