The priests are corrupt. Be faithful.
you priests. Malachi targets the priests.
commandment. Or “admonition.”
VERSE 2. If you will not listen, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to my name,” says the LORD of Hosts, “then I will send the curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.
give glory to my name. The priests are commanded to honor the LORD God.
to my name. That is, “to me.”
VERSE 3. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and will spread dung on your faces, even the dung of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.
your offspring. Or “seed.”
spread dung on your faces. This would make the priests unclean. They would have to be removed from priestly service.
VERSE 4. You will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that my covenant may be with Levi,” says the LORD of Hosts.
Levi. The name of Levi is used for the descendants of Levi who made up the priestly class.
VERSE 5. “My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him that he might be reverent toward me; and he was reverent toward me, and stood in awe of my name.
VERSE 6. The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many away from iniquity.
The law of truth was in his mouth. In those days, the religious leaders were scheming in politics. They used the language of faith to manipulate their followers along particular political leanings.
However, a true spiritual leader offers authentic spiritual instruction.
A true spiritual leader does not corrupt their message with political leanings, but rather is an emissary of truth.
VERSE 7. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of Hosts.
the priest’s lips should keep knowledge. A religious leader should be all about spirituality. They should not be politicians.
they should seek the law at his mouth. The Hebrew word translated as “law” is Torah.
Priests are to teach the Law:
Deuteronomy 33:10. They shall teach Jacob your ordinances, and Israel your law. They shall put incense before you, and whole burnt offering on your altar.
VERSE 8. But you have turned away from the path. You have caused many to stumble in the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of Hosts.
you have turned aside. The political religious leaders had turned aside from the straight-and-narrow.
They misinterpreted the point of the whole religious system, which was to draw people into a relationship with the Living God.
You have caused many to stumble. When religious leaders dabble in politics, they destroy the faith of their followers. Or at least those who cannot see that they are being manipulated.
VERSE 9. “Therefore I have also made you contemptible and wicked before all the people, according to the way you have not kept my ways, but have had respect for persons in the law.
I have also made you contemptible. When religious leaders dabble in politics, they alienate their followers. Or at least the ones who can recognize their insincerity.
VERSE 10. Don’t we all have one father? Hasn’t one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
This oracle begins with three questions.
VERSE 11. Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
VERSE 12. The LORD will cut off the man who does this, him who wakes and him who answers, out of the tents of Jacob and him who offers an offering to the LORD of Hosts.
VERSE 13. “This again you do: you cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, because he doesn’t regard the offering any more, neither receives it with good will at your hand.
VERSE 14. Yet you say, ‘Why?’ Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and the wife of your covenant.
whom you have dealt treacherously. If a man acts poorly toward his wife, he not only harms her. He also harms his own relationship with God.
A godly man honors his wife.
VERSE 15. Did he not make you one, although he had the residue of the Spirit? Why one? He sought godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
VERSE 16. One who hates and divorces”, says the LORD, the God of Israel, “covers his garment with violence!” says the LORD of Hosts. “Therefore pay attention to your spirit, that you don’t be unfaithful.
NIV translation. The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
HCSB translation. “If he hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel, “he covers his garment with injustice,” says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.
This phrase is not about God hating divorce. Rather, it is about a man who hates and mistreats his wife. And then divorces her.
However, in many Bible translations, it is rendered in a very different way. The NAB, for example, puts it this way: I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel.
don’t deal treacherously. The simple mistranslation of this verse has spawned a whole culture where Christian leaders insist that spouses remain married, no matter what.
But it is not biblical to remain married no matter what. Does the LORD God approve of spousal abuse? Emotional abuse? Physical abuse? Spousal rape? Cruelty
The LORD God would not want someone to submit themselves to abuse. Rather, in an abusive situation, the only recourse is to flee.
VERSE 17. You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the LORD’s sight, and he delights in them;’ or ‘Where is the God of justice?’
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.