Introduction and God’s Election of Israel, 1-5

1:1 What follows is divine revelation. The word of the LORD came to Israel through Malachi:
1:2 “I have shown love to you,” says the LORD, but you say, “How have you shown love to us?”
“Esau was Jacob’s brother,” the LORD explains, “yet I chose Jacob 1:3 and rejected Esau. I turned Esau’s mountains into a deserted wasteland and gave his territory to the wild jackals.”
1:4 Edom says, “Though we are devastated, we will once again build the ruined places.” So the LORD who rules over all responds, “They indeed may build, but I will overthrow. They will be known as the land of evil, the people with whom the LORD is permanently displeased. 1:5 Your eyes will see it, and then you will say, ‘May the LORD be magnified even beyond the border of Israel!’ ”

“I chose Jacob and rejected Esau” – ‘Heb “and I loved Jacob, but Esau I hated.” The context indicates this is technical covenant vocabulary in which “love” and “hate” are synonymous with “choose” and “reject” respectively (see Deut 7:8; Jer 31:3; Hos 3:1; 9:15; 11:1).’ (NET Bible note)

‘The comparison is harsh, but drives home the fact that Israel’s election is based on nothing but the sovereign love of God. But why should Edom have been singled out as the example of divine curse? Though the early history of the relationship between Edom and Israel was a mixture of enmity and peaceful coexistence, the Edomites came to represent the epitome of evil when they used the Babylonian destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 587 B.C. as an opportunity to plunder the land (Lam. 4:21–22; Ps. 137:7; cf. Isa. 34:5–9; 63:1–6).’ (Harper’s Bible Commentary)

‘Although he had despised his birthright (Gen. 25:29–34) and married unwisely (Gen. 27:46), Esau became wealthy and powerful in his own land of Edom (Gen. 32:3–8; 33), and he never carried out his vow to kill Jacob for cheating him out the blessing due to him as the firstborn (Gen. 27:41; 33). Meanwhile, beloved, chosen Jacob was living as a dependent in the household of his father-in-law, far from the land he had been promised. While Jacob’s descendants lived and were enslaved in Egypt, Esau’s descendants were chiefs in the land of Edom (Gen. 36:1–30; Deut. 2:4–5). Long before the Israelites put their first king on the throne, Edom was a monarchy (Gen. 36:31–39). Being God’s loved and chosen people did not guarantee Israel’s political independence or domestic security. Jacob and his descendants, however, did have the assurance of God’s presence with them in Haran (Gen. 28:15; 31:5–7, 42), in Egypt (Gen. 46:3–4), and on the way to the promised land (Exod. 33:14–17). God did make Jacob’s descendants a great nation and gave them the land of Canaan, as promised.’ (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

According to The Hard Sayings of the Bible, this expression is idiomatic.  God’s ‘hatred’ of Esau is to be understood in terms of choosing, preferring, and favouring Jacob.  ‘Loving less’, if you will.  Jacob had a distinctive call; Esau did not.  A similar use of this idiom is found in Jacob’s attitude towards his wives Rachel and Leah: according to Genesis 29:31, 33 Jacob hated Leah, whereas Genesis 29:30 states that he loved Rachel more than Leah.  the same usage in found in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13. Matthew 10:37 says, “Anyone who loves … more than me,” while the parallel in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate … ”

The Sacrilege of Priestly Service, 6-14

1:6 “A son naturally honors his father and a slave respects his master. If I am your father, where is my honor? If I am your master, where is my respect? The LORD who rules over all asks you this, you priests who make light of my name! But you reply, ‘How have we made light of your name?’ 1:7 You are offering improper sacrifices on my altar, yet you ask, ‘How have we offended you?’ By treating the table of the LORD as if it is of no importance! 1:8 For when you offer blind animals as a sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer the lame and sick, is that not wrong as well? Indeed, try offering them to your governor! Will he be pleased with you or show you favor?” asks the LORD who rules over all. 1:9 But now plead for God’s favor that he might be gracious to us. “With this kind of offering in your hands, how can he be pleased with you?” asks the LORD who rules over all.
1:10 “I wish that one of you would close the temple doors, so that you no longer would light useless fires on my altar. I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD who rules over all, “and I will no longer accept an offering from you. 1:11 For from the east to the west my name will be great among the nations. Incense and pure offerings will be offered in my name everywhere, for my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD who rules over all. 1:12 “But you are profaning it by saying that the table of the Lord is common and its offerings despicable. 1:13 You also say, ‘How tiresome it is.’ You turn up your nose at it,” says the LORD who rules over all, “and instead bring what is stolen, lame, or sick. You bring these things for an offering! Should I accept this from you?” asks the LORD. 1:14 “There will be harsh condemnation for the hypocrite who has a valuable male animal in his flock but vows and sacrifices something inferior to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD who rules over all, “and my name is awesome among the nations.”
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