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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Malachi 2

Verses 1-17

Malachi 2:1-2 . Oh ye priests if ye will not hear the Lord will send a curse upon you. Sins in the sanctuary are always put among the most grievous sins. Eli’s sons lost the ark, the Hebrew priests filled the temple with idols, and the Lord sent the Chaldeans to burn it. I was in France at the beginning of the revolution, and heard strong words uttered against the clergy. They had sixty priests in St. Maloes; they were accused of strutting about in robes and silk stockings, from one house of infamy to another. They lost their altar, for “men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” A nation must become infidel when the priests are infidel.

Malachi 2:7 . The priests’ lips should keep knowledge. The Lord here speaks not of what the priests were, but of what they ought to be; for instead of keeping knowledge for the people, they were grossly ignorant, and negligent of their duty. He would therefore make them contemptible and base before all the people, as in Malachi 2:9. No man is so much despised as an ignorant and profane minister. The pastor of a christian church ought to be a regenerate man, of holy conversation, and “mighty in the scriptures.” He should have a fountain of eloquence in his own breast, should be possessed of talent and of science, able to instruct the ignorant, and face an ungodly world. He should ever have his eye on his ministry, and make the care of souls his sole delight.

Malachi 2:11-15 . Judah hath dealt treacherously. The prophet here gives a full stroke at the sins of Judah, in putting away their wives for pretences, and consorting with heathen concubines. To divorce a woman for infirmity is a greater affliction added to a less.

(1) Has not the husband and the wife one Father and Creator?

(2) Did he not make them one flesh in paradise?

(3) Did he not breathe into man a living soul, and breathe the residue of the spirit into the woman?

(4) Are not the children ruined, branded, and alienated, by such divorces?

(5) Will not God himself be a witness against the wretch who divorces his wife on slight pretences? Yes, he will testify against the breach of covenant.

(6) If this cunning man think to build a patriarchal house by such divorces, God here says, that he will cut him off, and drive him from the tabernacles, or the cities of Jacob, as the Chaldaic reads.


Marriage must be without spot, else our children are unclean. The promises of the residue of the Spirit are to us and to our children. We must therefore seek a holy seed, and train them up and present them to the Lord.

God is offended when the sacred laws of marriage are broken, either by divorce or polygamy, or in any other manner whatever, as well as when we marry persons guilty of idolatry. Malachi shows that all those disorders are contrary to the first institution of marriage, since God created but one man and one woman at the beginning; and this point our Lord settles still more plainly in the gospel, where he proves, by the first institution after the creation, that marriage is a holy state, and an indissoluble bond, which equally binds the wife and the husband.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Malachi 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.