The name Malachi means “my messenger” or “my angel.” The book of Malachi is unique in its presentation, but the literary form especially as it is structured in a chiasm. The book flows through 8 separate discourses which each have chiasms and correspond with its related section in the book’s chiasm. This outline is developed from a series I preached that will soon be posted as a audio podcast.
a. 1:1. Prologue
b. 1:2-5. God’s Unconditional Unending Love for Israel
c. 1:6-14. Rejects OT Priesthood for Gentiles to Worship
d. 2:1-9. God Curses the Priests
e. 2:10-16. Abominations Committed Profaning Holiness
e’. 2:17-3:6. Future Judgment to Purify
d’. 3:7-12. God Curses the People
c’. 3:13-18. Rejects Self-Serving for those who Serve God
b’. 4:1-3. End Time Healing
a’. 4:4-6. Epilogue
An interesting factor in this chiastic form is that after the prologue (1:1), sections b-d (1:2-2:9) relate to the priests while section e (2:10-16) is addressed to the people. The reverse side has e’ (2:17-3:6) again addressing the priests followed by d’-b’ (3:7-4:3) directed to the people, and the book closing with the epilogue (4:4-6)
Below are the discourses as they form chiastic structures with brief comments.
Mal. 1:1 “Prologue”
1:1 The Present Messenger with a Burden
This is only 1 verse so it doesn’t have a chiasm but it does correspond to the epilogue. The book opens with a burden an closes with God providing a solution to the burden.
Mal. 1:2-5 “God’s Unconditional Unending Love for Israel”
a. 1:2. God declares Unconditional, Unending Love; Apostate Israel Requests Proof
b. 1:3. God Hated Esau/Edom with Prof Provided
c. 1:4a. Edom Boasts: Pride and Self Dependence
b’. 1:4b. God will Continue to Hate Edom with Proof Provided
a’. 1:5. Israel will See the Proof of God’s Unconditional Unending Love
This chiasm can be presented simpler as 1. God loves Israel, 2. God hates prideful Edom, 3. God proves His love for Israel. In 4:1-3 we see God’s judgment as He 1. burns the wicked and proud; 2. heals Israel; and 3. wicked become ashes. It could be presented as bless, curse, bless (1:2-5) with the reverse in 4:1-3, curse, bless, curse. In 1:3-4 Edom is laid waste, desolate, thrown down; in 4:1, 3 it correlates with burned, left no root or branch, become ash.
Mal. 1:6-14 “God Rejects OT Priesthood for Gentiles to Worship”
a. 1:6. God is Master
b. 1:7-8. Priests offer Profane Sacrifices as Contemptible
c. 1:9. Beseech God’s Grace
c’. 1:10-11. Rejects Offering of Israel’s Priesthood but Accepts Gentile
b’. 1:12-13. Priests Offer Profane Sacrifices as Contemptible
a’. 1:14. God is a Great King
This passage has “Rejects Old Testament Priesthood for Gentile Worship,” and is compared to 3:13-18 which is “Rejects self serving for those who Serve God.” Correlations in these passages reveal “father/son” (1:6 cf. 3:17); “regards persons” (1:9 cf. 3:15-16); “dreadful/ fear” same Hebrew word (1:14 cf. 3:16).
Mal. 2:1-9 “God Cursed Priests”
a. 2:2-3. God Cursed Priests
b. 2:4-5. God Made Covenant with Levi’s Descendants
c. 2:6-7. Priests Should be God’s Messenger
b’. 2:8. Levi’s Descendants Corrupted God’s Covenant
a’. 2:9. God Cursed Priests
This discourse has “God curses Priests” and the reverse of the book Chiasm (3:7-12) is “God curses the People.” the literary relation is seen in 2:4-6 where Levi was the father of the priests; and 3:7 the phrase “from the days of your fathers.” 2:8 shows the priests caused a stumbling at the law and in 3:8-10 the priest;s actions caused people to cease tithing. in 2:2 God curses the priests and in 3:9 God curses the people.
Mal. 2:10-16 “Abominations Committed Profaning Holiness” (Oneness Broken Treacherously)
a. 2:10. Oneness Broken Treacherously
b. 2:11. Treacherously Taken Heathen Wives
c. 2:12-13. God Rejects Offerings
b’. 2:14. Treacherously Divorced Wives of Youth
a’. 2:15-16. Oneness Broken Treacherously
This portion has an abomination committed and the opposite in the books chiasm 2:17-3:6 is the future judgement to purify. Notable related concepts in the passages seen in God hates divorce (2:16) and that God changes not (3:6). God cuts off master and scholar (2:12) and purifies the sons of Levi (3:2-3). The braking of the marriage contract in 2:11 is comparable to the action taken place in 3:5.
Mal. 2:17-3:6 “Future Judgement to Purify [Priests]”
a. 2:17. Where Is God’s Judgement?
b. 3:1. The LORD Shall Come
c. 3:2-4. His Coming is to Purify so Priests can make a Pure Offering
b’. 3:5. The LORD Will Come
a’. 3:6. God is Longsuffering
The same connections for all the following discourses can be seen by looking above to the corresponding passages.
Mal. 3:7-12 “God Curses the People”
a. 3:7-8. Return to Me and I will Return to You
b. 3:9. Nation is Cursed with a Curse
a’. 3:10b-12. Restore Tithes and I will Restore Blessings
Mal. 3:13-18 “Rejects Self-Serving for those who Serve God” (Rebels Contrast Remnant)
a. 3:13. Ye Spoke Against Me
b. 3:14. Mournful to Serve the LORD
c. 3:15. Boast of Self-Serving
a. 3:16. They Spoke for God
b. 3:17. Serve God as Sons
c. 3:18. Discern Who Serves God
This passage is unique in not following the same chiastic structure as the other discourses.
Mal. 4:1-3 “End Time Heling”
a. 4:1. Burning Wicked and Proud
b. 4:2. Sun of Righteousness with Healing
a’. 4:3. Wicked as Ashes Trampled
Mal. 4:4-6 “Epilogue”
4:4-6 Future Messengers with Solution to the Burden