A Commentary on Malachi Chapter 2 – Honoring God Through Righteous Living


The book of Malachi contains God’s message to the people of Israel after their return from exile in Babylon. In this prophecy, God rebukes the priests and people for their lack of faith and obedience. Malachi calls them to wholeheartedly follow and honor the Lord.

Chapter 2 focuses on the sins of the priests and the people. It contains strong warnings against spiritual apathy, unfaithfulness, divorce, and failing to honor God. The Lord demands sincere worship and righteous living. This passage reminds us that honoring God should be the priority in all areas of life.

Key Takeaways from Malachi Chapter 2

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  • God desires sincere worship and warns against empty ritualism. The priests were offering defective sacrifices and failing in their duties.
  • God made a covenant with Levi to bless the priests. But they departed from the true worship of God.
  • God hates divorce and unfaithfulness in marriage. Israelite men were divorcing their wives to marry pagan women.
  • The Lord will punish those who deal treacherously with their wives. Marriage is a holy covenant before God.
  • Many people in Israel were questioning God’s justice. But the Lord sees and will judge sin.
  • The Lord calls all people everywhere to honor Him in their worship, marriages, and lives.
A Commentary on Malachi Chapter 2 - Honoring God Through Righteous Living

Commentary on Malachi Chapter 2

Verses 1-9 – God Rebukes the Priests

“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 2:1-8)

God begins by rebuking the priests for failing to honor Him and lead the people rightly. Although they were descendants of Levi, they neglected their duties and led people astray. The priests were offering defective, worthless sacrifices which showed irreverence to God (1:6-14). Their hypocrisy and sin made worship vain, and it wearied the Lord (2:17).

The priests were supposed to guide the people in truth, turn them from sin, and reflect God’s holy character (2:6-7). But they corrupted themselves and failed as spiritual leaders. So God warns that He has already begun to curse and punish them (2:2). The reference to dung on their faces (2:3) implies removal from the priesthood according to the law (Deut. 23:13-14). God takes the negligence of spiritual leaders very seriously.

This passage reminds us that worship is not just empty ritual – it must flow from hearts that sincerely honor the Lord. And those who teach God’s Word have great responsibility to walk in His ways and lead others to do the same.

Verses 10-16 – God Hates Divorce and Unfaithfulness

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Malachi 2:10-16)

In addition to flawed worship, God condemns Israel’s unfaithfulness and corruption through intermarriage with pagans and divorce. They violated the covenant with God and dealt treacherously with one another. Though all Israelites shared one Father in God, they failed to live out covenant faithfulness in their human relationships.

The men were divorcing their Jewish wives to marry younger foreign women who worshipped idols. This compromised the purity of their worship and God’s intent for marriage. The altar of the Lord was polluted by their sins done in the name of religion.

God designed marriage to be a lifelong covenant which reflects His love and unity. The Lord witnessed the marriage vows these men broke. Divorce destroys the oneness of marriage which God has joined together. So He rejects their offerings brought with impure and faithless hearts.

This passage contains a high view of marriage. It is not just a human contract but a holy covenant before the Lord. God hates divorce because it tears apart what He has joined together. All marriages face challenges, so we must guard our hearts and remain committed to our spouses. Honoring our marriage vows pleases the Lord.

Verses 17- You Have Wearied the Lord with your words

You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17)

Here the Lord accuses the people of wearing Him out with their skeptical words. They questioned God’s justice because the wicked in Israel seemed to prosper while the righteous suffered. People were calling evil “good” based on what they saw.

This reveals a core problem – the Israelites measured God based on their circumstances. They expected unrighteousness to always be punished immediately. But the Lord works on a merciful timetable for His perfect purposes.

All sin will eventually be judged. No one gets away with evil forever. But God is patient, not wanting any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). We must walk by faith in God’s righteous character. His timing is perfect.

When we complain that God seems silent as wickedness spreads, we reveal hearts that have lost sight of His goodness and sovereignty. But He sees all and will act at the proper time to make all things right.


Malachi Chapter 2 contains strong warnings against empty religion. God desires wholehearted worship and obedience from His people. Those who serve Him must honor their commitments and walk in righteousness.

Marriage is to reflect Christ’s covenant love for the Church. So we must guard our hearts and remain faithful to our spouses. Although evil may seem to go unpunished, the Lord sees all. He will act in perfect justice.

As we wait for God’s intervention, we must live by faith in His goodness. Our words and worship should align with His holy character. Malachi calls all people to pursue sincere devotion to the Lord who desires righteousness and justice.

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