Original Research - Special Collection: Foundation subjects, Old and New Testament Studies

Malachi’s concern for social justice: Malachi 2:17 and 3:5 and its ethical imperatives for faith communities

Blessing O. Bọlọjẹ, Alphonso Groenewald
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2072 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2072 | © 2014 Blessing O. Bọlọjẹ, Alphonso Groenewald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 September 2013 | Published: 17 July 2014

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Blessing O. Bọlọjẹ, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Alphonso Groenewald, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Any time humans in any culture consider primary ethical concepts, justice will be to the fore. Much seems to hinge upon it whether human society is to function with any semblance of civil order, security and harmony. When justice is pervasively trampled upon, the very fabric of liveable society crumbles. The apprehension for justice is clearly reflected in almost all of the Old Testament (OT). It is an important theological motif in the OT. This is found in such OT literature as historical, legal, prophetic and wisdom writings. This evidence thus reveals that the apprehension for the issue of justice was one of the many ways by which Israel’s multifaceted social life was knit together throughout its various ancient historical developments. No aspect of the life of Israel was excluded from this kind of apprehension for justice, and Yahweh was understood to be actively involved in its entire phase. This article examines Malachi’s fourth disputation in the light of the lawlessness alluded to in Malachi 2:17 and the corruption of personal and civil morality in Malachi 3:5. In the discussions that follow, this article examines the need for the justice of Yahweh; that is, Yahweh’s righting of past wrongs and the reversal of sinful societal order. The purpose is to enact a communal ethic for those who generously care for the neighbourhood and are firm in their devotion to Him, that is, God.

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