Malachi 2

Additional Warning to the Priests

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[a] ; 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.”

Breaking Covenant Through Divorce

10 Do we not all have one Father[b] ? 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[c] —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.[d] 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,”[e] says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

Breaking Covenant Through Injustice

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?”

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 57

  • 1. ver 7
  • 2. Jeremiah 13:17
  • 3. Matthew 15:7-9; John 5:23; 1 Timothy 6:16; Revelation 5:12-13
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 11:26; S Deuteronomy 28:20
  • 5. Numbers 6:23-27
  • 6. S Exodus 29:14; S Leviticus 4:11; S Job 9:31
  • 7. 1 Kings 14:10
  • 8. S Numbers 3:12
  • 9. Deuteronomy 33:9; Psalms 25:10; Psalms 103:18; S Matthew 26:28; S Luke 22:20; Hebrews 7:22
  • 10. S Numbers 25:12
  • 11. S Deuteronomy 14:23; S Deuteronomy 28:58; Psalms 119:161; Hebrews 12:28
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 33:10
  • 13. S Genesis 5:22
  • 14. Luke 2:14; S John 14:27; Galatians 5:22
  • 15. S Psalms 25:21
  • 16. Jeremiah 23:22; S Romans 11:14; James 5:19-20
  • 17. S Jeremiah 18:18
  • 18. S Leviticus 10:11; S 2 Chronicles 17:7
  • 19. S Numbers 27:21; S 2 Chronicles 36:15; Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2
  • 20. S Exodus 32:8; Jeremiah 2:8
  • 21. S Jeremiah 18:15
  • 22. Jeremiah 33:21; S Ezekiel 22:26
  • 23. S Hosea 4:6
  • 24. S 1 Samuel 2:30; S Psalms 22:6; S Jeremiah 51:37
  • 25. S Psalms 35:4; Jeremiah 3:25; Acts 8:32-33
  • 26. S Exodus 18:16; S Leviticus 19:15; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11
  • 27. S 1 Samuel 2:17
  • 28. S Exodus 4:22; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 6:4,18; Luke 11:2; 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • 29. S Job 4:17; Isaiah 43:1
  • 30. Exodus 19:5; S 2 Kings 17:15; Jeremiah 31:32
  • 31. S Zephaniah 3:3-4
  • 32. S Isaiah 1:13; S Isaiah 48:8
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 4:37
  • 34. S Nehemiah 13:23
  • 35. S Exodus 34:16; Ezra 9:1; Jeremiah 3:7-9
  • 36. S 1 Samuel 2:30-33; S Ezekiel 24:21
  • 37. S Numbers 24:5; 2 Samuel 20:1
  • 38. S Malachi 1:10
  • 39. S Jeremiah 11:11
  • 40. Psalms 39:12
  • 41. Psalms 66:18; Jeremiah 14:12
  • 42. Isaiah 58:2
  • 43. S Malachi 1:2
  • 44. S Genesis 21:30; S Joshua 24:22
  • 45. S Proverbs 5:18
  • 46. S Ezekiel 16:8; Hebrews 13:4
  • 47. S Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6
  • 48. S Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Corinthians 7:14
  • 49. S Deuteronomy 4:15
  • 50. S Isaiah 54:6; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 13:4
  • 51. S Deuteronomy 24:1; Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:4-9; Mark 10:4-5
  • 52. S Genesis 6:11; Genesis 34:25; S Proverbs 4:17; S Isaiah 58:4
  • 53. Psalms 51:10
  • 54. S Isaiah 1:14; Isaiah 43:24
  • 55. S Malachi 1:2
  • 56. Psalms 5:4
  • 57. S Genesis 18:25; S Job 8:3; S Ezekiel 18:25

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or "will blight your grain"
  • [b]. Or "father"
  • [c]. Or 12"May the " Lord"remove from the tents of Jacob anyone who gives testimony in behalf of the man who does this"
  • [d]. The meaning of the Hebrew for the first part of this verse is uncertain.
  • [e]. Or "“I hate divorce,” says the " Lord", the God of Israel, “because the man who divorces his wife covers his garment with violence,”"

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

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