Malachi 2:1-16 August 19 2007
Malachi 2 contains what God said through the prophet
to the unfaithful priests of his day, to both priest
and people who were compromising commitments,
and to those guilty of marital sins.
So God announced He was turning from them and
bringing His curse on them (Mal.2:1-9).
God rebuked them and threatened to remove them from
the community along with rejecting their worship
God commanded them to cease such behavior and not
commit such injustice against Him or their wives
1. Stand for god’s Truth (Mal.2:1-2;89)
Mal. 2:1 “And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2:2
If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor
my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon
you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already
cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.
2:8 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. 2:9 “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.”
God wanted His people in the fifth century B.C. to live
honorably before Him and others. Therefore He commanded
to honor their obligations to Him and to one another. The
priests were to stand for God’ truth and practice it in their
Curse your blessings. It was the function of the priests to
pronounce God’s blessing on the people (Num. 6:23-27), but
their blessings will become curses so that their uniquely
priestly function will be worse than useless.
Violated the Covenant. By unfaithful teaching, but also, it
seems, by intermarriage with foreigners (Ezr 9:1; 10:18-22;
Ne 13:27-29). With Levi. (Mal.2:4-5).
Despised. In Hebrew the same word that is translated
“contemptible” in (Mal,1:7,12 ). Shown partiality. Forbidden
in (Lev 19:15). The priests were to be like God in this
respect (Deut. 10:17).
2. Set a Godly Example (Mal.2:10-12)
Mal. 2:10 Have we not all one Father ? Did not one God
create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our
fathers by breaking faith with one another? 2:11 Judah
has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed
in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the
sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a
foreign god. 2:12 As for the man who does this, whoever
he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of
Jacob —even though he brings offerings to the LORD
In these verses Malachi turned from addressing the
priests to addressing the people living in Jerusalem.
God called them to live Honorably for Him by setting
godly examples in their obligations to one another
and especially in their marriage relationships.
(Mal.2:10-16) Malachi rebukes the people —in a passage
framed by references to “breaking faith.” Two
examples of their sin are specifically mentioned:
marrying pagan women and divorce. (Mal.2:10) One
Father. (Isa 63:16). Create us. As his special people
(Isa 43:1 ). Covenant of our Fathers. The covenant God
made with their forefathers at Mount Sinai. Breaking
Faith. One could not even trust his own fellow
Israelites or the national leaders —like the priests.
Daughter of a foreign god. A pagan woman. Such
marriages were strictly forbidden in the covenant law
because they would lead to apostasy (Exodus 34:15-16;
Deut. 7:3-4; 1Kings 11:1-6; Jos 23:12-13). Ezra and
Nehemiah both wrestled with this problem (Ezr 9:1-2;
The alternative given in the NIV text (particularly
“gives testimony”) is supported, by the use of the same
Hebrew verb in Gen. 30:33; Deut. 5:20; Rom. 1:21;
1Sam.12:3; 2Sam. 1:16; Isa 3:9; Jer 14:7. On this reading,
the one to be cut off is the one who speaks in defense of
the wrongdoer. Tents of Jacob. A figurative expression
for the community (Jer 30:18).
3. Stick with Commitments (Mal.2:13-16)
Mal. 2:13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar
with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays
attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure
from your hands. 2:14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the
LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife
of your youth, because you have broken faith with her,
though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage
covenant. 2:15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh
and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was
seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit,
and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 2:16
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate
a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with
his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself
in your spirit, and do not break faith.
Weep and wail. Because the Lord does not respond
to their sacrifices with blessing, they add wailing
to their prayers.
Witness. . . Marriage covenant. Marriage was a covenant
(Proev. 2:17; Eze 16:8), and covenants were affirmed
before witnesses (see notes on Dt 30:19; 1Sa 20:23;
One. (Gen. 2:24 0. Godly offspring. Marriage “sanctifies”
the children (1Co 7:14 ). If the alternative translation
in the NIV text is taken, this verse refers to Abraham,
who “married” the foreigner Hagar in order to have a
son (Ge 16:1-4). But Abraham did not divorce Sarah,
who had suggested the union with Hagar in the first
I hate divorce. (Isa 50:1). Violence. (Mal.3:5).
The Hebrew word translated divorces in
(Mal. 2:16) means "to send way" or "get rid of." Divorce
in Judaism always came from a man dissolving the
marriage covenant established between himself and his
wife – a covenant God recognized and sanctioned.
Divorce Violates the biblical pattern of marriage as
set forth in (Gen.1:27;2:21-25), which is "one man, one
woman, one lifetime."
(Mal.2:14-16) considers divorce a sin for it
violates a marriage covenant, it ends the marital
experience of companionship and oneness, and it hinders
raising godly children. Thus God looks on divorce as
Moses allowed divorce under the condition the
wife became "displeasing" to the husband (Deut.24:1-4).
That condition probably meant the wife was guilty of
some form of sexual immorality, though some man
abused the meaning of "displeasing" to include all kinds
of reasons. Sexual immorality could bring a death
sentence. The husband’s certificate of divorce was a
safeguard against the possibility of a sentence of
death. Jesus said Moses permitted such a divorce
because of the hardness of human hearts, Nevertheless,
divorce was not in God’s plan for families