¶ And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
.2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
- Priests Looking back to chapter 1 we discover why they
needed a "commandment." They had made spiritual things as less important
than secular things mal0106. See
2 - Curse on blessings For not taking God seriously. The promise of blessing was withdrawn. Compare 3:10.
3 - Corrupt your seed Because of their unfaithfulness, God's Spirit would be withheld and their children would be unfaithful. "Dung" is toilet waste – a serious thought for all who handle spiritual things.
And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant
might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
.5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
|4, 5 - Covenant God is ready to open for us, His covenant relationship. It is the way of "life and peace." The Lord gave Levi's posterity (children) the responsibility of dealing with sacred things. This began when Moses hesitated to talk and God gave part of the leadership responsibility to his brother, Aaron ex0414. Aaron, as well as Moses, was from the tribe of Levi nu2659. He was the first high priest ex28. On the covenant of peace being given to them, see nu2510ff.
|.6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
|Law of truth This "law" here in Levi's mouth is the "torah" or books of Moses. The core of this standard of faithfulness was the ten commandments spoken from Sinai ex20. Shortly after the speaking, God wrote the the commandments on stone tablets. When Moses descended the mountain with them, he discovered the apostasy of the gold calf. The commandments had been brazenly broken. Only the tribe of Levi came to the "Lord's side" when Moses called for commitment ex3226. Thus the Levites (represented here as "Levi") were made guardians of the law. Is the law also the source of truth? ps119142.
|.7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
the law at his mouth The priests were those who knew and preserved
the instruction of the Lord. They were to teach it.
Messenger A solemn responsibility hg0113. For the predicted NT messenger see mal0301.
|.8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
Instead of drawing the people to the Lord in obedience, they had done the
Way Compare ac2204.
|.9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
Contemptible See 1sa0230.
Been partial in the law Or "shown partiality in your instruction" (RSV). We find that when Jesus came, the people didn't recognize Him. They had been taught only part of the law (the scriptures they had. See on v6). The prophecies about Christ's coming as the sacrifice were misinterpreted while those about His coming in glory were emphasized. We see more of His two comings in the next chapter. Compare da0725.
¶ Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do
we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant
of our fathers?
.11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
11 . . . Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. (RSV)
- Hath not one God created us? Certainly
a lesson for all of us. With Christ as creator and redeemer – gifts beyond
measure – how can we despise anyone else? ac1726.
11 - Abomination ... married Pagan abominations assimilated into the worship of the true God is like marrying into a pagan family. Holy things are corrupted. Compare da1139.
11 - Daughter of a strange god Jezebel could have been so described. She was Ahab's wife – queen of Israel – but also the daughter of Ethbaal the Zidonain king. Baal was her spiritual father 1ki1631.
The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar,
out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto
the LORD of hosts.
.13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
.14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
- Master Literally, "the one arousing."
12 - Scholar Literally, "the one answering." Some have seen here the picture of a sentinel and soldiers. However, from the context of priests as teachers of the Scriptures v6 and their teaching only parts of it v9, we prefer the KJV reading which shows teacher and student.
13 - Covering the altar ... with tears ... crying out They were like the prophets of Baal in the time of Elijah 1ki1827ff. Their hypocritical offerings were useless to the Lord.
14 - Wife ... dealt treacherously In v11 Judah had profaned the sanctuary by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. Following that theme we see spiritual adultery of the nation and/or the priests. For the symbol, consider pr0518.
| 16 For the LORD, the
God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence
with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your
spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
.17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment [Or "justice"]?
- Putting away The Lord hates divorce. Divorce generally
results from powerful temptation with rationalization.
17 - Wearied ... with your words How often religious practice twists truth to justify wrong behavior. This happens in the emphasis on grace and advancing the idea that one cannot help sinning.
17 - Where is the God of judgment ? This certainly expresses our day when preparation for heaven is said to require only a feeling or an experience called the Holy Spirit along with a nominal acceptance of grace. Where is the God who judges before accepting us into glory? Jesus said that the last of the seven churches would have this problem. They thought they had it all but really had nothing re0317ff. The next chapter shows us this God of Judgment.