Malachi 2

Note: The priests of Malachi’s day were guilty of breaking God’s covenant with Levi and his descendants.

2:1 “And now this admonition [command or rebuke] is for you, O priests [responsible for spiritual welfare of the nation; failed to fulfill their covenant obligations].

2:2 [1] If you do not listen [important for priest], and [2] if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will [see Deut. 11:26-28] send a curse upon you [we forfeit blessings when we fail to honor God], and I will curse your blessings [on the worshipers at the conclusion of worship]. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me [see sins in vv. 8-9].

Note: Do you take the time to listen to God through His Word? Is your heart inclined to honor His name?

2:3 Because of you [curse 1] I will rebuke your descendants; [curse 2] I will spread on your faces the offal [dung] from your festival sacrifices [thus making the priests ceremonially unclean; humiliation; reflection of what they were on the inside], and [curse 3] you [no longer fit to serve] will be carried off with it [lose place of service].

Note: Priests would be removed from the Temple along with dung and refuse of sacrifices.

2:4 [vv. 4-7 look back to the days when Levi fulfilled covenant] And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that [the purpose of the aforementioned judgments was to preserve the priesthood] my covenant with Levi [see Deut. 33:8-11 re: Moses’ blessing on the tribe of Levi] may continue,” says the Lord Almighty.

Note: The word “covenant” appears six times in the Book of Malachi. A covenant is a binding mutual agreement between two parties. A suzerainty treaty is a covenant in which the superior party, in this case God, dictates the terms.

2:5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life [that they might serve God] and peace [see Num. 25:10-13], and I gave them to him; this [covenant] called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name [Levi’s attitude toward God].

2:6 [fear of God motivated priests] True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He [past priests] walked with me [in close fellowship] in peace and uprightness [description of the priests’ moral life], and turned many from sin [because of godly instruction and exemplary life].

Note: How have we positively influenced others?

2:7 “For [ideally] the lips [speech] of a priest ought to preserve [guard and keep] knowledge [God’s will; so that it is not forgotten, twisted, denied, or ignored], and from his mouth [speech] men should seek [with the view of finding] instruction [“torah” or Law; see Lev. 10:11 and Hos. 4:6] — because he is [must be] the [credible] messenger [responsible for sharing the message entrusted to him] of the Lord Almighty.

2:8 But [signals a contrast between priests in Levi’s day and priests of Malachi’s day] you have turned from the way [of godliness] and by your teaching have caused many to stumble [also by being poor spiritual role models]; you have violated [corrupted or failed to live up to] the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.

Note: Do our lives build up or damage God’s kingdom?

2:9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed [guarded or kept] my ways [cf. “preserve knowledge” in v. 7] but have shown partiality [allowed bribes to taint their service] in matters of the law [misinterpreted God’s Word in favor of wrongdoers].”

2:10 Have we [Jews: members of same genetic/spiritual family] not all one Father [God or Abraham or Jacob]? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane [degrade] the covenant of our fathers [given at Sinai; specifies conduct toward God/others] by breaking faith [deceptive/ disloyal behavior; used 5 times in vv. 10-16] with one another [members of family of faith]?

Note: Some people in Malachi’s day were guilty of mistreating others under the same covenant. The first two questions in 2:10 emphasize that the people were members of God’s covenant people.

2:11 Judah [Jews of post-exilic Israel] has broken faith. A detestable thing [abomination; thing out of harmony with God’s will] has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves, by marrying [and bringing into the covenant community] the daughter [devotee(s)] of a foreign god [see Deut. 7:3].

Note: What evidence of “foreign gods” can be found in our homes today?

2:12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord cut him off [banish] from the tents [family and community] of Jacob — even though he [practices religious rituals] brings offerings to the Lord Almighty.

2:13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with [bogus] tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them [created a crisis for the worshiper] with pleasure from your hands.

2:14 You ask, “Why [people were clueless]?” It is because the Lord is acting as the witness [to the marriage covenant] between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith [divorce; and perhaps married idolaters – v. 11] with her [see 1 Pet. 3:7], though she is your partner [companionship and friendship shared in marriage], the wife of your marriage covenant [no escape clauses in this covenant].

Note: Jewish men in Malachi’s day were guilty of breaking their marriage covenant. Remember: Our dealings with others affects our relationship with God.

2:15 [truths about marriage] Has not [the Lord] made them one [God’s original intention; Gen. 2:24]? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit [a key to resisting temptations to be unfaithful], and do not break faith [divorce] with the wife of your youth.

2:16 “I hate [always] divorce [“putting away”],” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence [cruelty; mistreating a wife by sending her away; pain that results from divorce] as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith [divorce].

Note: Read about divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:8; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9; and 1 Corinthians 7:5. God hates divorce but still loves divorced persons.

2:17 [prophetic dispute: 1 = statement] You have wearied the Lord with your words. [2 = question by people] “How have we wearied Him?” you ask [challenge]. [3 = response by God] By saying [cynical accusation], “All who do evil are good in the eyes of Lord [accused God of being morally indifferent], and He is pleased [accused God of endorsing evil] with them [see Ps. 73:3-14]” or “Where is the God of justice [and why is He unconcerned about administering justice in the world; answer to this question is in Malachi 3:5]?”

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