Now this command* is for you priests! If you will not listen and if you will not take it to heart to honor me, says the Lord Almighty, then I will place a curse on you and I will curse your blessingsin fact I have already cursed them because you haven't taken what I said to heart. Watch out! I am going to penalize your descendants. I will spread manure on your faces from the animals you sacrifice, the manure from your religious festivals, and you will be thrown out with it. Then you will know that I sent you this command so that my agreement with Levi can continue, says the Lord Almighty. My agreement with him was one of life and peace, which I gave to him, and respecthe respected me. He stood in awe of me. He taught the people the truth; nothing in his teaching was false. He walked with me in peace and did what was right, and he helped many to turn way from sin. A priest should explain the truth about God,§ they should go to him to be taught, for he is the Lord Almighty's messenger.
But you have turned from my way. You have made many people to fall into sin. By your teaching you have broken the agreement with Levi, says the Lord Almighty. So I have destroyed any respect you had, and humiliated you before all the people. For you have not kept my ways, and have shown favoritism in what you teach.*
10 Don't we all have one Father? Didn't one God create us? So why are we unfaithful to each other, violating the agreement made by our forefathers? 11 The people of Judah have been unfaithful and have committed a disgusting sin in Israel and Jerusalem. For the men of Judah have defiled the Lord's Temple (which he loves) by marrying women who worship idols. 12 May the Lord expel the family of any man who does this from the nation of Israel! May there be no one left to bring an offering to the Lord Almighty!§
13 Something else you do is to pour out your tears on the Lord's altar weeping and moaning because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or doesn't want to accept them.
14 Why not?” you ask. Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife exchanged when you were young.* You were unfaithful to her, your wife and partner joined to you by marriage contract.
15 Did he not make you one, and give some of his Spirit to you? And what does he want? Children of God. So watch what you do, and don't be unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young. 16 For I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel, for it's a violent attack on the wife, says the Lord Almighty. So watch what you do, and don't be unfaithful.
17 You have worn the Lord out with your words.§
How have we worn him out?” you ask.
By saying everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he is happy with them, or by asking, where is the Lord's justice?
* 2:1 “Command” in the sense of instructions to follow, a warning. 2:3 Or “rebuke.” 2:4 “Levi”: this refers not only to Levi, but to his descendants as priests. § 2:7 “A priest should explain the truth about God”: literally, “A priest should guard knowledge.” * 2:9 Or “You have not brought blessings to people through your teaching.” 2:11 “A disgusting sin”: or “an abominable thing.” 2:11 “Temple”: literally, “holiness.” § 2:12 There is much debate over the meaning of the Hebrew text here. * 2:14 Some believe that these priests not only divorced their wives but then married foreign women. 2:15 This is one of the most obscure verses in the Old Testament, and consequently there are many very different interpretations. Some take this line to refer to the man and wife become one flesh, as noted in Genesis. Others see the “not one” as the subject of the sentence and so another possible translation would be something like: “No one would have acted like that if he had a remnant of the spirit.” Some have seen the “one” as referring to Abraham as the father of Israel, and the fact that he divorced Hagar may have cited as a precedent by some for their divorces. The response then would be that Abraham was protecting the “children of God” through Isaac. Whatever the case, it seems best to leave some of the ambiguity present, though in the context of discussing marriage relationships it would seem that the original design for marriage in Eden would be a relevant aspect for Malachi to mention. 2:16 “A violent attack on the wife”: literally, “covers his garment with violence.” § 2:17 This may be a reference to mindless repetitions of prayers.