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Malachi chapter 2

New International Version

1 And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,' says the LORD Almighty, 'I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
3 Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,' says the LORD Almighty. 5 My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,' says the LORD Almighty. 9 So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.'
10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD remove him from the tents of Jacob --even though he brings an offering to the LORD Almighty.
13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, 'Why?' It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
15 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.
16 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.
17 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?'
English Standard Version

1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”
10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts!
13 And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 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. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
17 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?”
King James Version

1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 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. 8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 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. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 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?
New American Standard Bible

1 'And now, this commandment is for you, the priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,' says the LORD of armies, 'then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 Behold, I am going to rebuke your descendants, and I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4 Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, so that My covenant may continue with Levi,' says the LORD of armies. 5 'My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and was in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have ruined the covenant of Levi,' says the LORD of armies. 9 'So I also have made you despised and of low reputation in the view of all the people, since you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction.'
10 Do we not all have one Father? Is it not one God who has created us? Why do we deal treacherously, each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, may the LORD eliminate from the tents of Jacob everyone who is awake and answers, or who presents an offering to the LORD of armies.
13 And this is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and sighing, because He no longer gives attention to the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your marriage companion and your wife by covenant. 15 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. 16 'For I hate divorce,' says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'and him who covers his garment with violence,' says the LORD of armies. 'So be careful about your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'
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 sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,' or, 'Where is the God of justice?'
New Living Translation

1 'Listen, you priests--this command is for you! 2 Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, 'or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. 3 I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile. 4 Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
5 'The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
7 'The words of a priest's lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 8 But you priests have left God's paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 9 'So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.'
10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?
11 Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the LORD's beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols. 12 May the LORD cut off from the nation of Israel every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD's altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn't accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, 'Why doesn't the LORD accept my worship?' I'll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
15 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. 16 'For I hate divorce!' says the LORD, the God of Israel. 'To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. 'So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.'
17 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?'
Christian Standard Bible

1 "Therefore, this decree is for you priests: 2 If you don't listen, and if you don't take it to heart to honor my name," says the Lord of Armies, "I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.
3 "Look, I am going to rebuke your descendants, and I will spread animal waste over your faces, the waste from your festival sacrifices, and you will be taken away with it. 4 Then you will know that I sent you this decree, so that my covenant with Levi may continue," says the Lord of Armies. 5 "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave these to him; it called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and nothing wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and integrity and turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should desire instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of Armies.
8 "You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi," says the Lord of Armies. 9 "So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping my ways but are showing partiality in your instruction."
10 Don't all of us have one Father? Didn't one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? 11 Judah has acted treacherously, and a detestable act has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the Lord's sanctuary, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, whoever he may be, even if he presents an offering to the Lord of Armies.
13 This is another thing you do. You are covering the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands.
14 And you ask, "Why? " Because even though the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, you have acted treacherously against her. She was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant. 15 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.
16 "If he hates and divorces his wife," says the Lord God of Israel, "he covers his garment with injustice," says the Lord of Armies. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.
17 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 chapter 2 mean?

Malachi has a nuanced structure which is easily lost when looking at chapter and verse divisions. There are three main lessons delivered by Malachi, a name which literally means "My messenger." These lessons are divided into two halves. The focus of the first and second half of each lesson are mirror images of each other, so Malachi takes the form of a wave, flowing back and forth through ideas. Malachi is also unique among Old Testament prophets for taking the form of a dialogue, where God accuses Israel of specific sins, and Israel responds with doubt.

Chapter 2 (through verse 9) completes the first of Malachi's three messages, which is directed at the priests. They have been offering diseased, flawed, or unclean animals as sacrifices (Malachi 1:7–8). This is not only against the Old Testament Law, it is profoundly insulting to God. Israel's spiritual leaders know what to do, but they find it too much trouble (Malachi 1:13). As a result, God warns them that He will be honored properly, even by the—supposedly—unclean Gentiles (Malachi 1:11).

This passage completes God's oracle to the priests with a more personal threat. Insulting the name of God through disobedience and arrogance is to slight God Himself. If the priests continue to do as they have done, God will humiliate them in the eyes of the people (Malachi 2:9). He will remove them from office and allow them to be completely defiled by their own attitudes. This is phrased in rather graphic terms, with the metaphor of God smearing animal wastes on their faces (Malachi 2:3).

While this may seem harsh, the true penalty for "profaning" the name of God was supposed to be death (Numbers 18:32). So, even in judgment, God is showing mercy to those who abuse Him. The Old Testament priests were supposed to teach the people about God, as His messengers (Malachi 2:7). So, what Malachi—literally, "My messenger"— warns them about is very serious, indeed.

The second of Malachi's three messages begins in verse 10. As with Malachi's other lessons, this one begins with an accusation. Unlike the other charges, however, Israel gives no particular answer to this claim. Malachi's criticism here is that Israel is being unfaithful, to each other. Israelite men are divorcing their Jewish wives and marrying pagan women (Malachi 2:11,14).

Marrying those who reject God is blasphemy in and of itself. Adding to this national epidemic is the fact that the men of Israel are not only marrying those who worship false gods, they are breaking their commitments to Israelite women in order to do so. In this passage, God expresses absolute hatred for divorce (Malachi 2:16). The Bible is clear that God's laws regarding divorce are in no way a sign of acceptance. Rather, they are a necessity brought on by our own hard hearts (Matthew 19:8).

Sadly, the people of Israel are numb to their own sin. Worse, they blame God for the consequences of their own actions. They break God's laws, then complain that God has not blessed them (Malachi 2:17). They ignore His warnings, and grumble when He does not protect them from their own mistakes. This takes the form of a very arrogant, very dangerous question: "Where is the God of justice?" As Malachi will explain in chapters 3 and 4, God's justice is certainly coming, so Israel ought to be careful what they wish for.