Malachi 2

You Have Made Many People Stumble

Chapter 2

1 And now, O priests,
this commandment is for you.
2 If you refuse to listen to me
and do not sincerely resolve
to give glory to my name,
says the Lord of hosts,
I will send a curse on you,
and I will turn your blessings into a curse.
Indeed, I have already done so
because you have not heeded my warning.
3 I will deprive you of the shoulder
and spread dung on your faces,
the dung of your offerings,
and I will banish you from my presence.
4 Then you will know
that I sent you this commandment
because I wish to maintain
my covenant with Levi,
says the Lord of hosts.
5 My covenant with him
was one of life and peace,
which I bestowed on him.
He revered me
and held my name in awe.
6 The instruction he offered was true,
and no dishonesty issued from his mouth.
He walked with me in integrity and uprightness,
and he turned many away from a sinful life.
7 The lips of a priest should safeguard knowledge,
and people should seek instruction from his mouth
because he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
8 But you have turned aside from the way
and caused many to stumble
as the result of your instruction.
You have destroyed the covenant of Levi,
says the Lord of hosts.
9 Therefore, I have made you despised and vile
in the eyes of all the people,
inasmuch as you have disregarded my ways
and have not been impartial
in your interpretation of the law.

Profaned Marriage[a]

10 Do we all not have the one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why then do we break faith with one another,
profaning the covenant of our ancestors?
11 Judah[b] has broken faith,
and an abominable thing has been done
in Israel and in Jerusalem.
By marrying the daughter of a foreign god,
Judah has profaned the Lord’s beloved sanctuary.
12 May the Lord banish from the tents of Jacob
any who do this,
and also deprive them of any witness or advocate
or someone to present offerings to the Lord of hosts.

You Betray the Woman of Your Youth[c]

13 And this you are to do as well:
you must cover the altar of the Lord
with tears, with weeping and moaning,
because at present he refuses to consider your offering
or to accept it with satisfaction from your hand.
14 If you ask the reason why,
it is because the Lord stands as witness
between you and the wife of your youth
with whom you have broken faith,
even though she is your partner
and your wife by a solemn covenant.
15 Did not the one God make her,
both flesh and spirit?
And what does the one God require
but God-given offspring?
Therefore, you must safeguard your own life,
and let none of you be unfaithful
to the wife of your youth.
16 For I hate divorce,
says the Lord, the God of Israel,
as well as covering one’s garment with injustice,
says the Lord of hosts.
Therefore, have respect for your own life,
and do not be unfaithful.

God Will Come and Do Justice

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.
Yet you ask, “How have we wearied him?”
By asserting, “All who do evil
are good in the eyes of the Lord;
indeed, he delights in them.”
Or by asking,
“Where is the God of justice?”

Footnotes

  1. Malachi 2:10 What importance does marriage any longer have in the setting of the covenant if it becomes the accepted thing to take an idolatrous wife or have ready recourse to divorce? The prophet is angered by these practices.
  2. Malachi 2:11 Judah: signifies here all who belong to the people of God. Centuries-long experience (beginning with Solomon: 1 Ki 11:4) had shown how dangerous marriages with foreign women were: these women, holding tightly to their various forms of worship, drew their husbands into them.
  3. Malachi 2:13 Like all the peoples of the time, Israel allowed a husband to repudiate his wife (Mt 24:1-4). The prophet is more demanding: in his eyes, marriage is a sacred bond that cannot be broken without going against the intention of the Creator (Gen 2:24). This passage leads toward the ideal that Jesus will propose (Mt 19:1-9).

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