It's two differences in the end of Malachi 4 in KJV and ESV as follows;

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:6 - KJV)

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:6 - ESV)

6 והשיב לב אבות על בנים ולב בנים על אבותם פן אבוא והכיתי את הארץ חרם׃

חרם BLB, Strong's H2764

KJV; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse
ESV; lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction

a curse; a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something. a destruction; the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.

The two word has a different meaning. Will God cause us harm by a curse (boils, infected sores, itchy rash etc) or will he destroy us that is to annihilate man.


The operative word here is חֵרֶם (cherem) whose meaning, as per BDB is listed below in the appendix. This shows that the meaning is primarily "devotion" but when such a bad, evil or shunned thing is so devoted, it is devoted to destruction which we would now call a curse.

This, we could say that חֵרֶם could be correctly translated by "curse", or, "devoted to destruction" (or similar) and the modern versions are divided between these alternatives; none are literal saying "devoted", but all must interpret to make correct sense of the original.

APPENDIX - BDB meaning of חֵרֶם

1 devoted thing.

2 devotion, ban; — ׳ח absolute Joshua 6:17 24t. (most read חֶרֶם Zechariah 14:11, Baer חֵרֶם); חֶ֑רֶם Joshua 7:1; suffix חֶרְמִי 1 Kings 20:42; Isaiah 34:5; — thing devoted to ׳י:

1 thing hostile to theocracy, and therefore (in the strictest application) to be either destroyed, or, in the case of certain objects (e.g. silver and gold, vessels of brass and iron Joshua 6:19,24), set apart to sacred uses; especially

a. of a Canaan. city, as Jericho, including all inhabitants (except Rahab's family) and spoil Joshua 6:17,18 (twice in verse); Joshua 7:1,11,15; Achan by taking מִןהַֿחֵרֶם made (camp of) Israel ׳ח Joshua 7:12; compare Joshua 6:18, and became himself ׳ח, and was stoned and, with his family and possessions, including the spoil, was burnt Joshua 7:1,11,12,13 (twice in verse) (all J E except Joshua 7:1 P; compare Joshua 7:15; Joshua 7:24; Joshua 7:25); ׳מָעַל מַעַל בַּח committed unfaithfulness in the matter of the devoted thing is term for the sin Joshua 7:1; Joshua 22:20 (both P), compare ׳מָעַל בַּח 1 Chronicles 2:7; Saul and Israel spared Agag king of Amalek and ׳רֵאשִׁית הַח i.e. of the spoil (sheep and oxen), which should have been utterly destroyed 1 Samuel 15:21 (compare 1 Samuel 15:3; 1 Samuel 15:8; Saul rejected by ׳י for this 1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Samuel 15:26); so an idolatrous city in Israel should become ׳ח, with all its contents, and be utterly destroyed Deuteronomy 13:17 (compare Deuteronomy 13:13; Deuteronomy 13:15; Deuteronomy 13:16).

b. of individuals, one having relic of Canaanit. god in his house should become ׳ח, the relic being ׳ח Deuteronomy 7:26 (twice in verse); every human being who became ׳ח should be killed Leviticus 27:29 (twice in verse) (P; see Di).

2 apparently (so Di) anything devoted to sanctuary under specially stringent conditions Leviticus 27:28 (see Di; and compare Ezra 10:8); a field consecrated to ׳י becomes under certain conditions ׳כִּשְׂדֵה הַח Leviticus 27:21; every ׳ח is קֹדֶשׁ קָֽדָשִׁים ליהוה Leviticus 27:28, and no ׳ח that a manmay devote, whether man, beast or field, may be sold or redeemed Leviticus 27:28; every such ׳ח (as in case of metals and metal objects Joshua 6:17,19) went to Aaron and his sons Numbers 18:14 (P), to Zadokite priests Ezekiel 44:29.

3 devotion, ban, involving destruction; אִישׁ חֶרְמִי 1 Kings 20:42 man under my (׳י's) ban (of Benhadad); עַם חֶרְמִי Isaiah 34:5 (of Edom); ׳נתן לַח Isaiah 43:28 figurative of ׳יs giving over Judah to Chaldaea; ׳ח not to be in future Zechariah 14:11; ׳מֶּןאָֿבוֺא וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶתהָֿאָרֶץ ח Malachi 3:24 smite the land with a ban, i.e. utterly destroy it.

II. חֵ֫רֶם noun masculine net (as something perforated; compare Arabic perforated work, Fl in NHWBii, 208; Late Hebrew חֵרֶם net; Phoenician חרם maker of nets) — absolute ׳ח Micah 7:2; suffix חֶרְמִי Ezekiel 32:3, חֶרְמוֺ Habakkuk 1:15,16,17; plural חֲרָמִים Ecclesiastes 7:26; Ezekiel 26:5,14; Ezekiel 47:10; — hunter's net Micah 7:2; Ecclesiastes 7:26; fisherman's net Ezekiel 26:5,14; Ezekiel 32:3; Ezekiel 47:10; Habakkuk 1:15,16,17.

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