What is the meaning of Malachi 1:11?

כִּ֣י מִמִּזְרַח־שֶׁ֜מֶשׁ וְעַד־מְבוֹא֗וֹ גָּד֤וֹל שְׁמִי֙ בַּגּוֹיִ֔ם וּבְכׇל־מָק֗וֹם מֻקְטָ֥ר מֻגָּ֛שׁ לִשְׁמִ֖י וּמִנְחָ֣ה טְהוֹרָ֑ה כִּֽי־גָד֤וֹל שְׁמִי֙ בַּגּוֹיִ֔ם אָמַ֖ר ה' צְבָאֽוֹת

For from where the sun rises to where it sets, My name is honored among the nations, and everywhere incense and pure oblation are offered to My name; for My name is honored among the nations—said the LORD of Hosts. (Sefaria translation)

I’ve read it means that G-d accepts the prayers of non-Jews if they seek to connect with him, even if they do not know who G-d is.


2 Answers 2


The widespread meaning amongst the commentators is that even though idol worshippers do not worship G-d, they still recognise Him as the ultimate G-d.

Refer to Rashi who notes:

My Name is great among the nations - Our Sages stated (Menachos 110a): For they call Him the God of the gods. Even one who has an idol knows that He is the God Who is over all of them - and everywhere they donate in My Name. Our Sages, however, explained: These are the Torah scholars who are engaged in the laws of the Temple service everywhere, and likewise, every prayer of Israel that they pray anywhere is to Me as a pure oblation. And so did Jonathan paraphrase: And every time that you do My will, I accept your prayer, and My great Name is sanctified through you, and your prayer is like a pure offering before Me. This is the explanation of the verse: Now why do you profane My Name? Is it not great among the nations? As for Me, My love and My affection are upon you wherever you pray before Me, and even in exile, [offerings are] burnt and offered up to My Name. (Sefaria translation)

Malbim explains that the non-Jews acknowledged that there was a greater power over them - a אלהא דאלהיא - a G-d over gods. However, they believed that the relationship was such that He ruled like a King who delegated jobs to his ministers and servants. As such, G-d wanted them to be given honour as they are the ones who approach the king and are the means between Him and the people. In other words, their honor is the honor of the king.

Similarly, Radak notes that they acknowledge G-d as the first and greatest G-d but they see other forces as being His intermediaries.

(See Rabbi Yehonason Eibschitz in his Ahavas Yehonason for a similar approach).

The Metzudos Dovid notes that all the non-Jews acknowledge that G-d is the sole influence and reason for all. However, they believe that the running of this lowly world has instead been passed on to the constellations etc.


"Malaki" מַלְאָכִי (My-Messenger) was עֶזְרָא בֶּן שְׂרָיָה Ezra ben Serayah, who helped purify the children of Levi during the dedication of Jerusalem's 2nd Temple [Ezra 9-10].

In Malachi 1:11, הַכֹּהֲנִים HaKohanim (The-Priests) were criticized for offering prayers to HaShem during Babylonian exile while their foreign wives influenced kohanim with pagan practices like purchasing on Shabbat (Nechemiah 10:32).

Malachi 1:11 is not about G-d accepting worship from idolatrous nations. The point is that Levites throughout the world should not allow themselves to be influenced with foreign idols while still praying to HaShem, as reiterated in [Malachi 2:10].


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