Malachi 2

Listen to Malachi 2

The Lord Rebukes the Priests

1 "And now, 1O priests, 2this command is for you.
2 3If 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 4the curse upon you and I will curse 5your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.
3 Behold, 6I will rebuke your offspring,[a] and 7spread dung on your faces, the 8dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.[b]
4 So shall you know that I have sent 9this command to you, that 10my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts.
5 My covenant with him was one of life and 11peace, and I gave them to him. 12It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name.
6 13True instruction[c] was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he 14turned many from iniquity.
7 For 15the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people[d] 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. 16You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted 17the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts,
9 and so 18I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but 19show partiality in your instruction."

Judah Profaned the Covenant

10 Have we not all 20one Father? Has not 21one God created us? Why then are we 22faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
11 Judah has been 23faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For 24Judah 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[e] of the man who does this, who 25brings an offering to the LORD of hosts!
13 And this second thing you do. 26You 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 27But you say, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD 28 was witness between you and the wife of your youth, 29to whom 30you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
15 31Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?[f] And what was the one God[g] seeking?[h]32 Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[i] in your spirit, and let none of you be 33faithless to the wife of your youth.
16 "For 34the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,[j] says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers[k] his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and 35do not be faithless."

The Messenger of the Lord

17 36You have wearied the LORD with your words. 37But you say, "How have we wearied him?"38By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them." Or by asking, 39"Where is the God of justice?"

Malachi 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

The priests reproved for neglecting their covenant. (1-9) The people reproved for their evil practices. (10-17)

Verses 1-9 What is here said of the covenant of priesthood, is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests. It is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of all happiness, both in this world and in that to come. It is an honour to God's servants to be employed as his messengers. The priest's lips should not keep knowledge from his people, but keep it for them. The people are all concerned to know the will of the Lord. We must not only consult the written word, but desire instruction and advice from God's messengers, in the affairs of our souls. Ministers must exert themselves to the utmost for the conversion of sinners; and even among those called Israelites, there are many to be turned from iniquity. Those ministers, and those only, are likely to turn men from sin, who preach sound doctrine, and live holy lives according to the Scripture. Many departed from this way; thus they misled the people. Such as walk with God in peace and righteousness, and turn others from sin, honour God; he will honour them, while those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed.

Verses 10-17 Corrupt practices are the fruit of corrupt principles; and he who is false to his God, will not be true to his fellow mortals. In contempt of the marriage covenant, which God instituted, the Jews put away the wives they had of their own nation, probably to make room for strange wives. They made their lives bitter to them; yet, in the sight of others, they pretend to be tender of them. Consider she is thy wife; thy own; the nearest relation thou hast in the world. The wife is to be looked on, not as a servant, but as a companion to the husband. There is an oath of God between them, which is not to be trifled with. Man and wife should continue to their lives' end, in holy love and peace. Did not God make one, one Eve for one Adam? Yet God could have made another Eve. Wherefore did he make but one woman for one man? It was that the children might be made a seed to serve him. Husbands and wives must live in the fear of God, that their seed may be a godly seed. The God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away. Those who would be kept from sin, must take heed to their spirits, for there all sin begins. Men will find that their wrong conduct in their families springs from selfishness, which disregards the welfare and happiness of others, when opposed to their own passions and fancies. It is wearisome to God to hear people justify themselves in wicked practices. Those who think God can be a friend to sin, affront him, and deceive themselves. The scoffers said, Where is the God of judgement? but the day of the Lord will come.

Cross References 39

  • 1. Malachi 1:6
  • 2. ver. 4
  • 3. Leviticus 26:14; See Deuteronomy 28:15
  • 4. [Malachi 3:9]
  • 5. [Psalms 69:22]
  • 6. [Joel 1:17; Haggai 2:17]
  • 7. Nahum 3:6
  • 8. [Exodus 29:14]
  • 9. ver. 1
  • 10. ver. 8; Numbers 25:12, 13; Nehemiah 13:29; [Numbers 3:45]
  • 11. See Isaiah 54:10
  • 12. [Leviticus 16:2]
  • 13. [Deuteronomy 33:10]
  • 14. [Daniel 12:3; James 5:20]
  • 15. Deuteronomy 17:9; See Leviticus 10:11
  • 16. [1 Samuel 2:17; Jeremiah 18:15; Ezekiel 22:26]
  • 17. See ver. 4
  • 18. [1 Samuel 2:30]
  • 19. Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:19
  • 20. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6
  • 21. Acts 17:26
  • 22. [Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 24:16; Isaiah 33:1]
  • 23. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 24. See Ezra 9:2
  • 25. [Malachi 1:7]
  • 26. [Zechariah 7:3]
  • 27. [Malachi 1:2]
  • 28. Malachi 3:5
  • 29. [ver. 11; Isaiah 54:6]
  • 30. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 31. Matthew 19:4, 5; See Genesis 2:24
  • 32. [Ezra 9:2]
  • 33. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 34. Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:9, 11; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10
  • 35. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 36. Isaiah 43:24
  • 37. [See ver. 14 above]
  • 38. [Malachi 3:15; Isaiah 5:20]
  • 39. [Malachi 3:1; 2 Peter 3:4]

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Hebrew seed
  • [b]. Or to it
  • [c]. Or law; also verses 7, 8, 9
  • [d]. Hebrew they
  • [e]. Hebrew any who wakes and answers
  • [f]. Hebrew in it
  • [g]. Hebrew the one
  • [h]. Or And not one has done this who has a portion of the Spirit. And what was that one seeking?
  • [i]. Or So take care; also verse 16
  • [j]. Hebrew who hates and divorces
  • [k]. Probable meaning (compare Septuagint and Deuteronomy 24:1-4); or "The Lord, the God of Israel, says that he hates divorce, and him who covers

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a reproof both of priests and people for their sins. It begins with the priests, Mal 2:1 and threatens, in case they attend not to glorify the name of the Lord, they and their blessings should be cursed, their seed corrupted, dung spread upon them, and they took away with it, Mal 2:2,3 and the end of this commandment being sent them, of giving glory to the name of God, was that the covenant might appear to be with Levi, or him that was typified by him, Mal 2:4 of which covenant some account is given, with the reason why the blessings of it were given to him, with whom it was, Mal 2:5 who is described by the true doctrine he preached; by the purity of his lips; by the peaceableness and righteousness of his walk and conversation; and by his usefulness and success in turning many from sin, Mal 2:6 and it being part of the priest's office to preserve true knowledge, and communicate it, it is the duty of the people to seek to him for it; since he is the messenger of the Lord, Mal 2:7 but as for the priests of those times the prophet respects, they were apostates from the way of the Lord; made others to stumble at the law, and corrupted the covenant; and therefore became contemptible, base, and mean, in the sight of the people, Mal 2:8,9 who are next reproved for their marrying with those of other nations, idolatrous persons; and using polygamy and divorces, which were a profanation of the covenant of their fathers; a piece of perfidy and treachery among themselves; an abomination to the Lord; a profanation of his holiness; and led to idolatry, Mal 2:10,11 wherefore they are threatened to be cut off from the tabernacles of Jacob, and their sacrifices to be rejected; insomuch that the altar is represented as covered with weeping and tears, because disregarded, Mal 2:12,13. The reason of which was, because marrying more wives than one, and these strange women, was dealing treacherously with their lawful wives; was contrary to the first creation of man, and the end of it; and therefore such practices ought to be avoided; and the rather, since putting away was hateful to the Lord, Mal 2:14-16 and the chapter is concluded with a charge against them, that they wearied the Lord with their wicked words; affirming that the Lord took delight in the men that did evil; and that there were no judgment, truth, nor righteousness, in him, Mal 2:17.

Malachi 2 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.