Malachi 2:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Malachi 2:17, NIV: You have wearied the LORD with your words. 'How have we wearied him?' you ask. By saying, 'All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them' or 'Where is the God of justice?'

Malachi 2:17, ESV: You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

Malachi 2:17, KJV: Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

Malachi 2:17, NASB: 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 sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,' or, 'Where is the God of justice?'

Malachi 2:17, NLT: You have wearied the LORD with your words. 'How have we wearied him?' you ask. You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD's sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, 'Where is the God of justice?'

Malachi 2:17, CSB: You have wearied the Lord with your words.Yet you ask, "How have we wearied him? "When you say, "Everyone who does what is evil is good in the Lord's sight, and he is delighted with them, or else where is the God of justice? "

What does Malachi 2:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 17 begins the second half of Malachi's second lesson to Israel. The first ran from Malachi 2:10 through 2:16, and dealt with Israel's unfaithfulness to each other. Specifically, in the sins of marrying pagans and rampant divorce. This passage, beginning in verse 17, criticizes the people's spiritual ignorance and arrogance. Malachi offers several accusations against Israel, and their responses usually indicate a lack of awareness. Here, they are openly cynical of God and His goodness.

It's interesting to note that God is described as "wearied," used here in the sense of being "frustrated." This is not a new, rare, or minor problem for Israel. Rather, they have constantly complained against God. The criticisms offered here are hardly unique to Israel. In fact, these are common accusations made by unbelievers against God, even today. Both are answered in the upcoming verses.

The first complaint is that immoral people seem to be blessed. This is a mistaken complaint for several reasons. First, wicked people can benefit from the blessings of their surrounding culture. Second, this makes the mistake of comparing people to people, rather than comparing people to God. By His standards, everyone is wicked (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10). The other problem with this is perspective, which is the specific answer given in the following verses. God will judge all sin, no exceptions (Revelation 20:11–15). The wicked aren't "getting away" with anything.

The second complaint actually accuses God of moral failure. If God really is "just," the thought goes, He would be doing more to combat evil in the world. This makes the assumption that God has done nothing, or that He is not acting to combat evil now. Both are false. Worse, this is a dangerous suggestion to make. Asking God to be more proactive about sin puts us in the crosshairs as well. Those who ask God to be tougher on sin should be careful what they wish for.