Chapter summarized: …as if God is bound to bless them (Israel), while they consider themselves to be free from any conditional obligation to God for receiving God’s blessings. (JIV).
This is the purpose-in-point for chapter 2 of Malachi. It has been stated in other narrative commentaries found in ahabiblemoments.com that man has then and now determined God is somehow our creation, not the other way around. He is obliged to love us. We are somehow not obliged to honor (fear) him. We need only to acknowledge he exists. How wrong! Even Satan and his minions acknowledge his existence.
Malachi 2:1 zeroes in on Judah’s religious leadership. This chapter applies to all, past and present, but is specific to the religious sect of Judaic Judaism. A reminder to the reader of this commentary. The Old Testament is to a nation called Israel. The New Testament is to the world as individuals. The Bible is still our guiding light and GPS.
Malachi 2:2 God through his messenger Malachi is as blunt as anyone can be in this verse. We have often reminded our readers that all promises or covenants in the Bible are conditional to “If you (we) ____ then God will___.” This verse states promise in the negative. If you will not hear, then I (God) will curse any blessings intended to be yours. This is a paraphrase but exacting. The end of verse 2 points out that this has already happened to Israel/Judah and to the Levitical leadership. The example used in chapter 2 regarding God’s chosen (elect, not select) reflects a religious attitude but there is no sincerity of true worship. Week after week people sit in their same pews without “fear” of the Lord God. Many are more concerned about protecting his or her pew seat. God is a worship symbol more than a purpose to their daily living. This was true of Judah in the time of Malachi and is true today.
Malachi 2:3 Malachi is telling the religious leadership of Judah that they will now suffer the consequence of fake, insincere God/Jehovah worship. Fact is, they have already missed their intended blessings from God. Now it will get worse. Just around the corner they will lose their independence and be removed, forced to occupy other lands. Judah will cease to exist being renamed by the Romans to Palestine. First mentioned are their descendants. God will rebuke them. Do not misunderstand the meaning and focus of this rebuke. If their descendants follow and seek God, this prophetic consequence will not apply. They will all be blessed or cursed, not in their roots, but in their fruits. Choice is still theirs. There are far too many self-proclaiming Christians who are rooted in their denominational roots with no fruits. Attendance or tithing is misunderstood as a or their root.
Malachi 2:4 “Then you shall know my covenant with Levi” [Exodus 32:29]. This chapter is specific since verse 1 tells us it is the Levite priests and leadership Malachi is addressing. According to Numbers 3:41 it is by proxy the Levites become the “the first born” of the Israelites. Their job as first born is to lead, teach, instruct, and demonstrate what and how to worship and fear the Lord God Jehovah.
JIV: There is a possible and fascinating connection with this ordination of the Tribe of Levi. In previous ahamoment articles under the file name “Which Way Did They Go,” we discuss the dispersion of Israelites over the centuries to the north, south, east, and west. One of them is which way did the Levites go. There is a country today whose currency and former name identify them as The Levitical Confederacy.” We know it as SWITZERLAND! The Levite Confederacy.
Malachi 2:5 Click on this verse. It is a continuation of verse 4 stating that God’s covenant with Levi is one of life and peace. Consider this verse in addition to the comment in the above JIV. Switzerland avoided both World Wars. [Nevil Wylie’s Britain, Switzerland and the Second World War; Oxford University Press, 2003] does not mention any attempts by either warring side to press Switzerland to take an active part in the war[s]. Levitical life and peace as promised by God through Moses over 3,500 years ago. It continued during the world wars. If these scriptures from Malachi, Exodus, and Numbers do not echo an aha-moment concurrent with history, it is difficult to understand why not.
Malachi 2:6 The 6th verse in this chapter expands upon why God put this responsibility and blessing on the Tribe of Levi. It all goes back the progenitor of the Tribe of Levi…Levi himself. Levi was anointed as the light to his own people. What is wrong here? Malachi points out the current Levitical leadership no longer had “truth in their mouths or upon their lips. They no longer walked in peace and equity within the tribes of Israel.”
Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts…”
Malachi 2:8 Now comes the reason Malachi singled out the Tribe of Levi in chapter 2.
“… you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts.”
This is the charge being brought against them by God through his messenger Malachi. They are accusations they cannot deny, but they try. These charges against the Levites continue through the end of this chapter (v8-v17).
Malachi 2:9 [ESV] “….“so I [now] make you despised and abased (despised) before all the people, because you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.” This is a direct reference and reminder of God’s specific charge to them in Leviticus 19:15. 100 plus years earlier this charge was also brought against the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel. We see this in verse 11: “…in Israel (northern kingdom) and Jerusalem (Kingdom of Judah).” “Jews have been despised by the world for many generations. Simply put…They brought it upon themselves. This does not excuse Gentile rejection of Israelis too often mistakenly identified as “Jews”.
Malachi 2:10 Here is a charge of treachery and Infidelity. The infidelity being their unfaithfulness to God and God alone. Worship of God had become a routine, a habit, a tradition, something of less priority, not a heartfelt deep relationship with him and him alone. The one father referred to in the opening of this verse is Adam. The fiasco, even in the leadership of Judah, was they wandered off and into marriages with foreigners as individuals and as a nation. They wanted to do it their way. God said they must isolate and not mix [Ezra 9:1-2; Joshua 23:7]
Numbers 36:6 states the Israelis may marry whomever they wish if it is within a clan of their father’s tribe. God knew that there would be inheritance issues of title to lands if they married outside of their tribal identity. Here is the stinger. Not only were they to marry within their own people (Israelis) but within their own tribe. For some reason God had set this DNA identifier to be for his people. WARNING: This has no connection with marriages of Gentiles including race. All races come from Adam and Eve. Societal culture has set a contrary scale of standards. Don’t be horrified. Did we not all come from Adam and Eve? Today all descended from Noah?
Malachi 2:11 Verse 11 differs from the charges and challenges of verse 10. In verse 10 it is a personal issue of marriage. In verse 11 Malachi juxtaposes the nation of Israelis with an adulterous scenario of Gentiles. God commanded marriage of Israelis to be within their tribal clans. The foreign god(s) referenced in this verse is the culture and other worship options outsiders bring into Israel if Israelis marry outsiders.
CAUTION: Depending on the translation we can read that Israelis as a nation is called “she” or “he.” Example:
For Judah has profaned The Lord’s holy institution which He [God] loves: He [Israelis] has married the daughter of a foreign god [NKJV]. The KJV, MKJV, LITV, ESV and other translations do not use the word “He.” Example from the LITV: “…for Judah has profaned the holy place of Jehovah, which He loves and
he [Judah] has married a daughter of a foreign god.” Usual practice is to refer to a nation or State as “she.” We defer to the accuracy of the YLT in this verse. It uses neither he nor she.
Malachi 2:12 may help explain why Bible versions like the NKJV use the word “HE” in the above paragraph. The identifier HE is found in verse 12… “The man who does this…” We see the word MAN is used. This should not be an issue within churches or bible study groups but the like has divided denominations. A nation cannot be cut off from itself, but an individual can be. The first line in this verse states: “may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the MAN…” who does such. Those of us who may have some degree of Israeli DNA are the consequence of a marriages outside of the Tribes and clan-ship of a tribe. In Bible times they were called Samaritans.
Malachi 2:13 Be careful. This verse smacks in the face of some denominational and individual customs and practices. It becomes an emotional display but shows no genuine worship. This is the second thing God has against (13) the [Tribe of] Levites. Bare in mind, the first thing was their fake religious practice and devotion by offering blemished sacrifices. Perhaps it was cattle or sheep with wounds or disease. Maybe something that no longer was of value to the owner. It even included sacrifices stolen from another to use as the thief’s personal offering.
An interesting word in English that sometimes does not translate well is regards. “So He does not regard the offering anymore…” The word “regard” in this verse is pânâh [H6437]. It means to face if translated directly. Within the context and content of verse 13 it means God does not face (accept) the false offerings and worship. These offerings may look good to onlookers but are not accepted by God. We might say today “face up to it.” He [God] does not see their tears, weeping and false offerings as meaning a worship of him. Their wailing, tears, perhaps tearing of clothing at the alter does not get God’s attention. It is more of a demonstration performance, not worship. It is Fake. This is true of or in some charismatic churches. A false or fake demonstration of one supposedly worshiping.
Malachi 2:14 The context of this verse if read without including the previous verse can be complex. Is this a reference to one’s marriage or is it, considering verse 13, the people of Israel have left their first love that being God…the God of their fathers in Israel’s younger years. An honest answer to this verse is God’s attitude about divorce. This is divorce at the man level and at the worship alter. Look at the verse 15.
Malachi 2:15 We are to be one in spirit, one in worship, one with God, one relationship. It boils down to what Maurer and Hengstenberg explain per this verse. Seek God meaning also seek a godly seed. Did not God make (us Israelites) one with God? He commanded they isolate from other nations and avoid mixed marriages. Israel was to be a Godly seed. There are many covenants with Israel that do not apply to those outside of Israeli DNA. Some have yet to be fulfilled.
JIV: Many seminaries try to teach students what to think instead of how to think. Liberal colleges and universities have routinely do this for many years.
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” For some this is a pill too large to swallow.
We Teach but You Decide.
Rev. Dr. Jstark