Malachi 2 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Rules for Priests
2 “Priests, this rule is for you. 2 Listen to me! Pay attention to what I say. Show honor to my name. If you don’t respect my name, bad things will happen to you. You will say blessings,[a] but they will become curses. I will make bad things happen because you don’t show respect for my name.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful said.
3 “Look, I will punish your descendants. During the festivals, you priests offer sacrifices to me. You take the dung and inside parts from the dead animals and throw them away. But I will smear the dung on your faces, and you will be thrown away with it! 4 Then you will learn why I am giving you this command. I am telling you these things so that my agreement with Levi will continue.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful said.
5 The Lord said, “I made that agreement with Levi. I promised to give him life and peace—and I gave him those things. Levi respected me and showed honor to my name. 6 He taught the true teachings and didn’t teach lies. Levi was honest, and he loved peace. He followed me and saved many people from being punished for the evil things they did. 7 A priest should know God’s teachings. People should be able to go to a priest and learn God’s teachings. A priest should be the Lord’s messenger to the people.
8 “But you priests stopped following me! You used the teachings to make people do wrong. You ruined the agreement with Levi.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful said. 9 “You don’t live the way I told you. You have not accepted my teachings. So I will cause people to hate you and think you are worth nothing.”
Judah Was Not True to God
10 We all have the same father. The same God made every one of us. So why do people cheat one another? They show that they don’t respect the agreement. They don’t respect the agreement that our ancestors made with God. 11 The people of Judah cheated other people. People in Jerusalem and Israel did terrible things. God loves the Temple, but the people in Judah didn’t respect the Lord’s holy Temple. The people of Judah began to worship a foreign goddess. 12 The Lord will remove them from Judah’s family. They might bring gifts to the Lord All-Powerful—but it will not help. 13 You can cry and cover the Lord’s altar with tears, but the Lord will not accept your gifts. He will not be pleased with the things you bring to him.
14 You ask, “Why are our gifts not accepted?” It is because the Lord saw the evil things you did—he is a witness against you. He saw you cheat on your wife. You have been married to her since you were young. She was your girlfriend. Then you made your vows to each other—and she became your wife. 15 God wants husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit. Why? So that they would have holy children and protect that spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife. She has been your wife from the time you were young.
16 The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “I hate divorce, and I hate the cruel things that men do. So protect your spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife.”
The Special Time of Judgment
17 You have taught wrong things, and it makes the Lord very sad. People were doing evil things, but you said that this pleased the Lord and that he accepted those things. And you taught that God does not punish people for the evil they do.
Malachi 2 New International Version (NIV)
Additional Warning to the Priests
2 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants[a]; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Breaking Covenant Through Divorce
10 Do we not all have one Father[b]? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove him from the tents of Jacob[c]—even though he brings an offering to the Lord Almighty.
13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[d] So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”[e] says the Lord Almighty.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
Breaking Covenant Through Injustice
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.
“How have we wearied him?” you ask.
By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”