The priests teach wrong things
1 The Lord Almighty says this to the priests:
2 ‘Listen carefully to what I say to you. You must respect my name properly. If not, I will punish you. I will no longer bless you but I will curse you. I am already doing that because you do not respect my name as you should.
3 I will punish your descendants. When you offer an animal as a sacrifice at your festivals, I will cover your faces with its dirty bits. Then they will throw you away with all the other dirty bits. Those are the bits that I cannot accept as clean.’
2:3The dirty bits of the animals were the things that were inside its stomach. Those things could not be part of the sacrifice that they offered to God. They had to take those bits away and put them on the heap of rubbish.
4 The Lord Almighty says, ‘When I punish you like that, you will know that I have warned you. Then the covenant that I made with Levi and his descendants, the priests, can continue. 5 I promised to give them a good life with many blessings. Levi received what I promised to him. He served me, and he respected me, as a priest should do. 6 He taught my true message. He did not teach people anything that was bad. He lived in a good and honest way as he served me. He helped many people to stop doing wrong things.
2:4Levi was one of Jacob's sons. From his family, God chose the first priest, Aaron. God promised to bless the priests if they obeyed him.
7 Priests should help people to know the truth about God. People should ask the priests to teach them, because the Lord Almighty has chosen priests to speak his message. 8 But you priests do not serve me in the right way. What you teach causes many people to do wrong things. In that way, you have spoiled the covenant that I made with Levi.’
That is what the Lord Almighty says.
9 ‘So, I have caused all the people to insult you. They no longer respect you, because you do not obey my rules. When you teach my people, you are kind to some of them but you cheat others.’
2:9The priests may have been more kind to rich people than they were to poor people.
Judah's people do not obey God
10 You know that we all have one Father. It is God himself who made all of us. But now we turn against each other. We do not respect the covenant that God made with our ancestors.
2:10Malachi was talking to the Israelites. Their ancestors were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God changed Jacob's name to become ‘Israel’.
11 Judah's people have turned against God. As a result, people have done very bad things in Jerusalem, and in all Israel. You have spoiled the holy place, the temple that the Lord loves. You have turned away from the Lord and you worship foreign gods. 12 I pray that the Lord will remove all people like that from among his people. Not one of them will continue to belong to the family of Jacob. They will no longer be able to offer gifts to the Lord Almighty.
2:11Judah was one of the sons of Jacob. He was ancestor of the Israelite tribe called Judah.
2:11Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah.
2:11God's temple was in Jerusalem.
2:12the family of Jacob is another way to say the Israelites.
13 Also, you weep so much that your tears cover the Lord's altar! You cry because the Lord no longer accepts your gifts. He is not happy with the gifts that you offer to him.
14 You ask, ‘Why is the Lord not happy with our gifts?’ The Lord knows that you men have not done the right thing with your wives. When you married as a young man, you promised to take care of your wife always. But you have sent her away, when the law says that you must stay with her as your wife. 15 The Lord has joined you together, as a man with his wife. Your body and your spirit belong to him. Why did God put you together? He wanted you to have children who would belong to him. So, think carefully about how you live. Do not leave the wife that you married when you were a young man.
16 The Lord God of Israel says this: ‘If a man sends his wife away from him, I hate that! He has been cruel to his wife when he should take care of her. So be very careful! Remember your promise to take care of your wife.’
That is what the Lord Almighty says.
17 The Lord has become tired as he listens to your words.
You ask, ‘Why is he tired? What have we done to cause that?’ You say, ‘The Lord thinks that all people who do evil things are good! He does not punish them but he is happy with them.’ You also say, ‘God is not here to bring justice!’