Covenant in Malachi

The word “covenant” (Hb. berit) in the OT entails four essential components: (1) a relationship (2) with a nonrelative that (3) involves obligations and (4) is established through an oath. It is used seven times in Malachi (out of a mere 1,193 words): a rate 10 times greater than almost every other OT book (except for Deuteronomy, Joshua, Hosea, and Obadiah). This may explain why Malachi goes out of his way to identify marriage as a “covenant” (Proverbs is the only other book to do so explicitly). Malachi is also the only book to use the designation, “the messenger [or angel] of the covenant.”

Reference Partners in Covenant Qualities in Covenant
2:4–5, 8 Covenant between the Lord and Levi, of perpetual priesthood; corrupted in 2:8 A covenant of life, peace, and reverence for the Lord (cf. Num. 25:12–13); broken covenant resulted in abasement of priesthood
2:10 Covenant of “our fathers” with the Lord Expectation of fidelity of Judah, Israel, Jerusalem to an exclusive relationship with the Lord, implicates community relationships
2:14 Marital covenant between husband and wife The Lord as witness, involving faithful relationship, the Spirit, and godly offspring
3:1 The messenger of the covenant (between God and his people) The Lord as witness; future orientation, as the Lord’s longed-for presence results in purity in the community

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