Malachi 2:7-12

Malachi 2:7 (KJB)

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.


This verse is a three-fold responsibility of the priests.  First they are to keep knowledge.  The word “keep” carries with it the meaning of “guard, take heed or observe.”  They must have a working knowledge of the law and their responsibilities so they could teach the people correctly.  Leviticus 10:11 (KJV) And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.    Secondly, they must seek the law at his mouth, that is, they were to seek the Law as Moses did when he ran into a problem.  They would seek the Lord and get his advice on a matter they were not sure of as Moses did.  The priests were also to be the messengers of the Lord on par with the prophets.  They were to bring the message of the LORD to the people on a steady basis as a Christian brings the message of salvation to the unsaved and to help grow the people in their walk with the Lord so they would avoid sinning and transgressing the law of God.


Malachi 2:8 (KJB)

But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.


The priests had violated their offices and there were probably many who should not have been priests.  The word “departed” carries with it the meaning of “deviate, turn aside or go away.”  As a result of them going apostate, they had also caused the people to stumble, that is, to go astray from the law and transgress the law of God.  When they would expound the law, their lack of understanding had caused the people to do things in opposition to the law of God.  It is like in the churches today, an unqualified pastor will cause people to stumble and then they will go further into apostasy.  Instead of turning people from sin, they enabled people to go further into sin.  The priests had also corrupted the covenant of Levi which would be considered the covenant of the priesthood.  Nehemiah also wrote against the same problem which he encountered.  Nehemiah 13:29 (KJV) Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.  Since they voided the covenant because of sin, they could not expect the blessings of peace which would accompany this covenant unless they became obedient and cleansed the entire company of priests and only install those in the line of Levi. 


Malachi 2:9 (KJB)

Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.


Just as Israel had made the law and the table of the LORD contemptible, God is now going to make them contemptible.  The word “contemptible” means “despised or scorned.”  God has also made them “base” which carries the meaning of “lowly, humble, or dishonorable.”  It is quite amazing that God had brought them back from Babylonian captivity only a few decades before Malachi was written and they were back into their old ways of despising the Lord.  The priests were going to be loathed in front of all the people since they were the ones who should have known better instead they were leading the people astray.  They did not keep the way of the Lord which would have been holiness and righteousness and obedience to the law.  The priests were also partial in the law which means they played favorites with the people.  It was probably a quid pro quo situation that if the people wanted something then they would strike a deal with the priests who did wield much power over the people.  Today we would probably call it “pay for play” or “political favor.”


Malachi 2:10 (KJB)

Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?


Then Malachi begins to ask them some piercing questions.  Have we not all one father?  This question would be referring to the fact that God was the one who created Israel and should have been honored and revered as one does an earthly father but they treated God as inconsequential.  God is the ultimate creator of all the earth and because of that deserves the respect and admiration of the people of the world.   Malachi could also have been pointing to the fact that Abraham was also called father in different contexts because God is specifically dealing with Israel since they were the ones who saw God work mightily on their behalf.  Then Malachi asks why do they deal treacherously with each other since they are supposed to be brothers under the Lord.  They had profaned several covenants including the covenant of Sinai with their constant disobedience and the covenant of marriage by intermarrying with the pagan nations thus diluting their commitment to the LORD.


Malachi 2:11 (KJB)

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


The word “treacherous” carries with it the meaning of “faithlessly or deceiving.”  Their actions were called an abomination in Israel and in Jerusalem where the leaders of Israel had dwelt which included the Sanhedrin and the High Priest which means they were complicit in the actions of the people.  They had profaned or made common the holiness of the LORD which is probably his main characteristic and they profaned it by marrying the pagan women.  The best example of this is Solomon when he married many pagan women and they turned his heart away from the Lord.  This is what happened to Israel on their return to the land.  When they intermarried they profaned the holiness because when they married a pagan woman, it meant their allegiance was now divided between the true God and a false god and normally in that type of situation, the man would walk away from the true God as Solomon did.  This is also a big problem in the modern church where many times believers will marry unbelievers.  2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 


Malachi 2:12 (KJB)

The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.


There will be a great penalty for this and the man who marries a pagan woman will be cut off and could mean either banishment or death.  There will be punishment for this crime.  Then not only will the man who does the crime be punished for it, but the master and the scholar.  The master was the one who taught the principle that it is okay to marry a pagan woman and the scholar was the one who brought the teaching from the masters to the people.  We have this today in that masters are in the seminaries and are disseminating false teaching to the students and then when they graduate, they become scholars and bring the same false teachings to the people.  The tabernacles of Jacob may refer to the individual homes where the interfaith married couples preside or it may refer to the line of individuals who have become saved and God will remove those who are not saved from polluting the messianic line and beyond.  Revelation 2:9 (KJV) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Then God directly addresses the priests in that they too will be cut off from Israel because if the priests are making an offering for one who has broken the covenants, then they will be complicit in their sins and will be removed from the temple.