1:1 – "my messenger" – whoever it was, he was anonymous – his "name" is a transliteration from chapter 3:1. Perhaps useful prophecy can indeed be anonymous – some God sends "known" and some unknown. 50 years after the return – what does God's messenger have to say now?
1:2 -- I love you – past, present, and future. Esau (Edom) was crushed by me but won't be restored – you were crushed but have been restored – that's "how I've loved you".
1:5 – "great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel" – and thank God he is! What they did learn in exile was not for the garbage – they knew his greatness and power off his "turf". "Your eyes shall see this and you shall say...."
1:6-12 – oh this is a rich passage – close up the church it's a disgrace to God – I'm honoured and feared among the heathen more than here – you offer garbage as a "sacrifice" to me that you wouldn't think of offering to an earthly governor, but to talk a good show – (he's a cheat) – get off the perch! Where's the respect due even to a father? Both laypeople and priests are off track.
2:1 – "and now O priests, this command is for you!" We don't hear much of that these days, but boy do we need it!
2:2 – blessings to curses – the only place where God's name was ever used (later) – a key part of worship becomes a curse – a threat to close down institutional religion when it gets so bad as this. So it is scriptural!
2:3 – "Shitty priests" – made impure by your "shitty offerings" which I'll throw back in your faces (so much for ritual purity).
2:4 -- I speak so that my covenant (for a continuous priesthood) may hold – i.e. I wanted it, you're messing it up, and there comes a point! A covenant of life and peace.
2:5ff – description of a real priest’s job and role – "the way it used to be".
2:9 – showing partiality in your institution. I stand corrected – "baloney" should have read "bull shit", it's so hard to get myself out of the way – thank you Lord.
2:10-12 – it seems that the men that were dumping their wives and picking up a cutie on the corner... along with their gods – a double affront to God as he witnessed the weddings as a renewal of his covenant. Some things don't change! A life of outward penitence is shown up by a lie of married life – therefore relationship with God is severed by them.
2:45 – the text is difficult, commentator suggests:
"Let us bear in mind that the one God has made us (or her: the wife) and sustained his life-giving Spirit in us. What then would this one God expect of us, if not an offspring worthy of him? Guard, therefore, the life you owe to his spirit and do not be unfaithful to your true wife".
2:17f – the denial of justice – "black is white and white is black, and God doesn't care anyway" is rubbish – as you'll find out in court! (And it’s social sin which comes into focus here – our dealings with each other as persons and community).
3:1f – and who can endure that gaze upon their life? I hear echoes of Christ in all this – to what extent did Christ's own self-perception arise from reading this sort of material? How much was "read back into him"?
3:6 – "how shall we return?" – bring your wallet! Get life turned around – trust me, give and it shall be given to you – hold and you shrivel up and die. "Put me to the test."
3:6 -- I don't change, you do – the whole nation of you! Return to me and I will return to you.
3:13ff – stout words against God – it is vain to serve God. Etc. – wow!
3:16ff – God sees and remembers the quietly faithful and all the blind ones perish when the heat of justice is on here and hereafter like the fruitless stubble they are.
4:3 – coming Sun of righteousness with healing – kick up heels like calves from a stall and trample all over the ashes of uselessness and the people who moulded the planet's life in that image.
4:51 – there had better be reconciliation of all generations and people with God or it will be a curse, to say the least, "a ban of utter destruction".
And so we wait with high expectation at the end of this body of literature but with something else in our literature which follows – fulfilling all this and giving mankind another chance. Thank God.