Bible Commentaries
Malachi 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-17

Chapter 2

Now He addresses Himself to the priests.

And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. And if you will not hear, and if you 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 you do not lay it to heart ( Malachi 2:1-2 ).

Now, in order to get a real background to Malachi, you need to read again the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, because Malachi was prophesying during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. This was the time when the children of Israel had returned from their Babylonian captivity and were starting to rebuild the nation. We remember how they read to the people the law of the Lord, and how that the people had begun to put away their wives and began to marry the wives from the cities of Ashdod and Ammon and the Moabites. Malachi will come down on this pretty soon, but you get a historic background to Malachi in Nehemiah and Ezra, which you should reread just to put the whole prophecy in perspective.

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 ( Malachi 2:3 ).

God isn't really very gentle, is He?

And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 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 ( Malachi 2:4-5 ).

Now God established the covenant of the priesthood with the tribe of Levi, because of the fear of the Lord, the reverence that he had towards God. The covenant was of life and of peace. God's covenant with man is that of life and of peace. God has promised to you eternal life and the peace of God which passes human understanding. These are the benefits of our covenant with God. This is the covenant that He had made with Levi because of Levi's reverence for Him.

The law of truth was in his mouth, iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and in fairness, and did turn many away from iniquity ( Malachi 2:6 ).

Of course, that was the duty of the priests, to walk before the Lord honestly, in righteousness, in peace.

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 ( Malachi 2:7 ).

Now, that really is the ministry, of bringing the people the knowledge of God. For we are the messengers of the Lord. That's what we stand here to do, to proclaim to you a message from God. And that should always be what is upon our hearts whenever we step into the pulpit: I have a message from the Lord for you. As Paul the apostle said, "That which I have received from the Lord, I also delivered unto you" ( 1 Corinthians 11:23 ). That should always be the means of communication to the church. God, through His servant, proclaiming His Word, His truth to His people.

But ye are departed out of the way; [that is, the priests] you have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts ( Malachi 2:8 ).

This can be said of so much of the apostate ministry today. I have no respect for those ministers who deny the Word of God. Who deny the authority of the Word of God, who deny the authenticity of the Word of God. I don't know why they're in the ministry. They've corrupted their positions. They have turned people away from the Lord. There are many people today who are turned away from the Lord because the churches and the ministers totally failed to proclaim to them the truth of the Lord. The church became a social center, and the ministers became the head of social organizations. Their emphasis became the social program, and their messages were sweet little nothings about birds, and flowers, and butterflies, and the reviews of the latest books. But they had no message from God for the people, and the people were turned away from God because of the failure of the priests or of the ministers. "Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi," God said.

Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people ( Malachi 2:9 ),

Now, what happened is the people turned against the priesthood, and they began to treat the priests contemptibly, and rightfully so. It is interesting in Brazil how that the people have turned against the ministers. Treating them with contempt. You can't blame the people; you have to blame the ministers who were derelict in their duty of bringing the people the truth of God's Word and of God's light, and foisting upon them some social action program. There is a place for social actions, but not the church. Our place is to proclaim God's truth to the people. It is the changed people who change the society.

"Therefore have I made you contemptible and base,"

according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in [your administering of] the law. Have we not all one father? is there not just one God who has created us? then why are we dealing so treacherously against our brothers? ( Malachi 2:9-10 )

Would to God that the churches could realize that we have only one Father; we're serving only one God. Why should we have all of the divisions within the church? Why should we have, you know, this church downing that church? All of this competition, fighting, jealousies, strifes going on within the body of Christ. We should realize that there's only one God. We all serve the same Lord. God help us. If we are Baptists, or Lutherans, or Presbyterians, or Catholics, or Nazarenes, or whatever. God help us to just simply be Christians. One God, one Father. We're all brothers. God said, "How come they don't realize that? Why is there all this treachery going on between them? All the rivalry."

Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god ( Malachi 2:11 ).

So the Lord is here speaking about this treacherous thing that was going on, in that the men of Judah who had returned to rebuild the nation had begun to divorce their own wives of their youth. They began to marry these girls from Ashdod, that is, of the Philistines, from Ammon. That is the area of Moab, Jordan today. Leaving their wives and marrying these young gals from these foreign nations who were strangers to God and to the covenants of God. So He speaks about the treacherous dealings of these husbands. Actually, in the book of Nehemiah when Nehemiah saw what was going on, he called all the people together. He really laid a trip on these guys who had left the wives of their youth and had married these young gals, and had had children by them. He said, "All right, this is what you've got to do. Put away every strange wife, every man of you, you've got to put away your strange wives, and the children that were born by them." He went among them and started pulling their beards, and knocking their heads, and just really treating them rough. He was setting things in order. The last chapter of Nehemiah, interesting picture of how Nehemiah was dealing very forcibly with this thing which was such an abomination unto God. That a man would deal so treacherously with the wife of his youth when he became older.

The LORD will cut off the man that does this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles [or tents] of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. And this have you done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, and weeping, and crying out, inasmuch as he regards not the offering any more, or receives it with good will at your hand ( Malachi 2:12-13 ).

All of your tears and crying and everything else unto God doesn't alter what you have done. It does not allow God to condone what you have done.

You say, Well why? Because the LORD is the witness between you and your wife, the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet she is your companion, and the wife of your covenant ( Malachi 2:14 ).

You made a vow. You covenanted, "Till death do us part." The wife of your covenant.

And did he not make the two of you one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore [and why] one? That he might seek a godly seed ( Malachi 2:15 ).

God was seeking to preserve a godly seed for the nation Israel, in order that they might bring forth His Son into the world. That's why He commanded them not to marry outside of the race.

Therefore [He said] take heed to your spirit, let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth ( Malachi 2:15 ).

There are people who imagine that the Bible teaches against interracial marriages, but it really does not. Except for the Jews, and that was to preserve the godly seed that He might bring forth the Messiah from this nation. But there is really no prohibition in the scripture as such against interracial marriages. Again, we all have one Father, and we all serve one God. Culturally there may be difficulties, but scripturally I see none.

For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hates divorcing: for one covers violence with his garments, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously ( Malachi 2:16 ).

So God sets Himself against divorcing. He said, "I hate it." The Lord said there was only one real cause for divorce, and that was adultery, fornication.

Then the Lord said,

You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, Where did we weary him? [He said] When you say that, Every one is good in the eyes of the LORD ( Malachi 2:17 ),

"Doesn't matter, you know, every one is good. There's a spark of good in everybody." God said, "You weary Me with your words." The innate goodness of man, "Everyone is good before the Lord." There are still those today saying that. And, "God delights in all men." Where, then, is the God of judgment? God will judge the wicked, and God is wearied by this false philosophy, "Oh, everyone is good. God delights in all men." The universal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man, "No matter who you are, or what you've done, we're all the sons of God and everyone is good in the eyes of God." Then wherein is the God of judgment? Why does God speak so much about the judgment that is going to fall upon the wicked? "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Malachi 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.