Malachi 2

DateVersionReading Plan
@December 28, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • The Lord Rebukes the Priests
  • Judah Profaned the Covenant
  • The Messenger of the Lord


God through Malachi commands the priests to listen and take heart in giving honor to His name. If they did not, God would curse their blessings and indeed already had because they did not “lay it to heart” (Mal. 2:2). God would rebuke their offspring and bring their family line to an end. God gave this command so that the covenant with Levi would stand. These priests had turned aside from the faithfulness of the priests of old, causing many to stumble and corrupting the Levite covenant. Judah had been unfaithful to the covenant by defiling God’s sanctuary and also covering the altar with tears in response to God rejecting their offerings. God calls on them to guard themselves “in the spirit” and to live according to the principles laid out in the law (Deut. 6:5-7; Deut. 11:19; Deut. 30:19-20). He also rebukes them for shirking their marital responsibilities and divorcing their wives for selfish reasons. The LORD was wearied by their words but they did not understand how this could be. God told them that it was because they had said evil was good in His sight and by asking, “’Where is the God of justice?’” (Mal. 2:17).

There is an interesting top-down progression of covenant breakage in this chapter. God begins with the priests and the breaking of the Levite covenant and how they had caused many to stumble by their instruction. He then confronts how Judah had intermarried with foreigners, profaning His sanctuary and how they had been flippantly breaking the marital covenant. The order of address from priest to commoner seems to underscore the importance of Godly leadership. Had the priests conducted themselves properly in their calling, many of the downstream effects of may have been avoided. By holding true to the letter, they could have set the standard of practice and modeled acceptable behavior. But as it was, the priests became remiss in their duties, thus giving the people license to follow suit.

For us today (and especially men), the sentiment is much the same. We are capable of making a huge impact with how we walk with the Lord. Those around us see our manner of living as being rooted in the glorifying of our God. We will certainly stumble and do this imperfectly, but our aim and mindedness of Him should remain. It is in Him we are to abide and by His Word we are to live.

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