1And now, priests, this commandment is for you:

If you do not listen,

2a And if you do not take to heart

giving honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts,

I will send a curse upon you

and your blessing I will curse.

In fact, I have already cursed it,

because you do not take it to heart.

3I will rebuke your offspring;

I will spread dung on your faces,

Dung from your feasts,

and will carry you to it.

4You should know that I sent you this commandment

so that my covenant with Levi might endure,

says the LORD of hosts.

5b My covenant with him was the life and peace which I gave him,

and the fear he had for me,

standing in awe of my name.

6c Reliable instruction was in his mouth,

no perversity was found upon his lips;

He walked with me in integrity and uprightness,

and turned many away from evil.

7d For a priest’s lips preserve knowledge,

and instruction is to be sought from his mouth,

because he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

8But you have turned aside from the way,

and have caused many to stumble by your instruction;

You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,*

says the LORD of hosts.

9I, therefore, have made you contemptible

and base before all the people,

For you do not keep my ways,

but show partiality in your instruction.

III. Marriage and Divorce

10* e Have we not all one father?

Has not one God created us?

Why, then, do we break faith with each other,

profaning the covenant of our ancestors?

11f Judah has broken faith; an abominable thing

has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem.

Judah has profaned the LORD’s holy place, which he loves,

and has married a daughter of a foreign god.*

12May the LORD cut off from the man who does this

both witness and advocate from the tents of Jacob,

and anyone to bring an offering to the LORD of hosts!

13This also you do: the altar of the LORD you cover

with tears, weeping, and groaning,

Because the Lord no longer takes note of your offering

or accepts it favorably from your hand.

14g And you say, “Why?”—

Because the LORD is witness

between you and the wife of your youth

With whom you have broken faith,

though she is your companion, your covenanted wife.*

15h Did he not make them one, with flesh and spirit?

And what does the One require? Godly offspring!

You should be on guard, then, for your life,

and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

16For I hate divorce,

says the LORD, the God of Israel,

And the one who covers his garment with violence,

says the LORD of hosts.

You should be on guard, then, for your life,

and you must not break faith.

IV. Purification and Just Judgment

17You have wearied the LORD with your words,

yet you say, “How have we wearied him?”

By saying, “All evildoers

are good in the sight of the LORD,

And he is pleased with them,”

or “Where is the just God?”

* [2:8] The covenant of Levi: not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. The covenant with Phinehas the grandson of Aaron (Nm 25:1113) and the Blessing of Levi (Dt 33:811) may lie in the background.

* [2:1016] Intermarriage of Israelites with foreigners was forbidden according to Dt 7:14. After the exile, attempts were made to enforce this law (Ezr 910). Foreign marriages are here portrayed as a covenantal violation (v. 10). They were all the more reprehensible when they were accompanied by the divorce of Israelite wives (vv. 1416), and God finds their sacrifices unacceptable (vv. 1314). In Mk 10:212, Jesus forbids divorce; in Mt 19:312, this ideal is maintained with the provision that unlawful marriage may be grounds for divorce (see 1 Cor 7:1016). You should be on guard, then, for your life: a warning of punishment for failure to obey God (cf. Dt 4:9; Jos 23:11; Jer 17:21).

* [2:11] Daughter of a foreign god: this unusual phrase connotes a woman who does not share the same father/creator (v. 10), since she does not share the same covenant.

* [2:14] Companion…covenanted wife: the Hebrew word haberet signifies an equal, a partner. This woman, in contrast to the daughter of a foreign god, shares with her husband the same covenant with the Lord.

a. [2:2] Lv 26:1445; Dt 28:15.

b. [2:5] Ez 37:26.

c. [2:6] Dt 33:811.

d. [2:7] Lv 10:1011; Dt 17:910; Hg 2:1113.

e. [2:10] Dt 32:6; Jb 31:15; Mt 23:9; Eph 4:6.

f. [2:11] Ezr 9:2; Neh 13:25.

g. [2:14] Gn 31:4950; Prv 5:1819.

h. [2:15] Gn 2:7, 2224.

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