Malachi 2:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Malachi 2:15, NIV: Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

Malachi 2:15, ESV: Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

Malachi 2:15, KJV: And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

Malachi 2:15, NASB: But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And why the one? He was seeking a godly offspring. Be careful then about your spirit, and see that none of you deals treacherously against the wife of your youth.

Malachi 2:15, NLT: Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.

Malachi 2:15, CSB: Didn't God make them one and give them a portion of spirit? What is the one seeking? Godly offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, so that no one acts treacherously against the wife of his youth.

What does Malachi 2:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior verses accuse Israel of being unfaithful to each other. Specifically, men are divorcing their wives. Verse 14 explained that this is offensive to God, in part because such vows are made in His presence. Verse 15 clearly describes divorce as a spiritual failure. This claim is repeated and magnified in verse 16. The way in which these men of Israel are divorcing their wives—in order to marry pagan women (Malachi 2:11)—is especially foul. Rather than acting as protectors, these divorcing men are committing acts of spiritual violence against their wives.

Verse 15 is notoriously tricky to translate. Every language contains phrases with meanings not easily seen in the literal words. Examples from English would be phrases such as "raining cats and dogs" or "under the weather." In the case of Hebrew, we don't always have extensive context to help determine meaning. This is reflected in the various translations of this particular verse. While major translations of the Bible are extremely similar in most verses, there are many ways the words of Malachi 2:15 have been interpreted. All are centered around the same basic theme.

Regardless of the exact meaning, there is a clear sense in this verse that God is involved in the concept of marriage. This verse is specifically in the context of men being "faithless" to their wives, through divorce. In contrast, God sees marriage as a joining of spirits, according to His will, which can't be broken without spiritual damage. God has specific purposes for marriage, which are thwarted by divorce.