King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Malachi 2

The priests reproved for neglecting their covenant. (1-9) The people reproved for their evil practices. (10-17)

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The priests reproved for neglecting their covenant

1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.

2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.

5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.

6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

The people reproved for their evil practices

10 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?

11 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.

12 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.

13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Priests. Such, hoarding up riches, dishonour God and his sacraments, as if they were temporal things to be purchased, and so they scandalize the weak. It would be well for them if they were reduced to poverty, (v. 2.) and would repent, as they will otherwise be deprived of eternal goods, having received their wages in this world, like hirelings. John x. W.

Ver. 2. Blessings, riches. The priests also blessed the people. Num. vi. 23. C.

Ver. 3. Shoulder. I will cast away the shoulder, which in the law was appointed to be your portion, and fling it at you in my anger: and will reject both you and your festivals like dung. Ch. — Heb. now reads for shoulder, zerah, “grain,” or seed. C. — “I will menace you with the shoulder, and will spread dirt on your faces, even the dirt of your feasts,” (Aquila) or “the ventricle of your festivals.” Sept. H.

Ver. 4. Levi. When this tribe was chosen does not appear. Some think that he alludes to the renewing of the covenant under Nehemias, which seems best. 2 Esd. ix. 1. 38. I then promised you life, &c. C.

Ver. 7. The angel, viz. the minister and messenger. Ch. — Priests must administer the sacraments, and likewise instruct the people, being God’s messengers. W. — The Jews were well acquainted with the law. Jer. xviii. 18. — The priests had to decide most intricate cases. Deut. xvii. 9. and xxxiii. 9. C. — The sentence of the high priest was received like that of an angel. Diod. Sic. xl. apud Phol. — If such science was required under the old law, how much more is necessary in Christian priests, whose mysteries and duties are so much more important! C. — Ignoratio scripturarum ignoratio Christi est. S. Jer. in Is. & hic.

Ver. 9. People. If priests comply not with these high functions, they are despicable here, and condemned to eternal torments. Jude 11. W. — Accepted. Heb. “raised up faces,” instead of reproving the guilty. Deut. i. 10. Lev. xix 15.

Ver. 10. Brother, in distress. 2 Esd. v. 1. S. Jerom mentions the tradition of the Jews, which supposed that the captives at their return dismissed their wives, and married young ones, though strangers. v. 11. But this is not probable. Such women were ordered to be dismissed. 1 Esd. ix. 1. and 2 Esd. xiii. 23. C.

Ver. 11. God, or one addicted to idol-worship, (H.) which was contrary to the law. Deut. vii. 3. C. — Sept. “the holy things of the Lord, by what he has loved and done for strange gods.” H.

Ver. 12. Master. Heb. “the watcher, and him who answers,” on guard. C. — Sept. “doth such things, till he be tumbled out,” &c. — Him. Sept. “and out of those who offer a sacrifice to,” &c. Such people shall be excluded from the society of God’s servants. H.

Ver. 13. With tears; viz. by occasion of your wives, whom you have put away, and who came to weep and lament before the altar. Ch. — Though divorces were tolerated, (Mat. xix. 6.) the more virtuous did not approve of them, particularly when a wife is put away who had been married in youth. See v. 10. Perhaps this corruption had crept in, like others, (C.) owing to the people’s commerce with strangers. Diod. in Photius.

Ver. 14. Covenant. The order established at first. Gen. ii. 24. Prov. ii. 17. The parties promised fidelity to each other.

Ver. 15. His spirit. Eve received a soul from God, like Adam. Heb. “One (Abraham, Chal. styled one, Ezec. xxxiii. 24.) did it not, and he had the,” &c. Sept. vary. The text is very obscure. C. See Cap. Crit. iv. p. 317. Grabe prol. — A strange god did not make women. The human race is best propagated, where polygamy and divorces are rejected. H.

Ver. 16. Garment; viz. of every man that putteth away his wife without just cause; notwithstanding that God permitted it in the law, to prevent the evil of murder. Ch. — The original may receive this sense; or the woman must blame herself if she were hateful, (Deut. xxiv. 1.) and the man acted not treacherously. C. — Sept. “iniquity shall cover your thoughts.” H. — It should be “garments,” endumata, though S. Jerom and the printed edit. read enthumemata, (C.) “thoughts.” The first part contains the objection, and the second God’s reply. S. Jer. H.

Ver. 17. Judgment. Being scandalized at the prosperity of the wicked, (H.) they deny Providence. Ps. lxxii. Jer. xii. C. — Yet the wicked are left for wise purposes, either for their amendment, or for the trial of the just. S. Aug. Ps. liv. — Those who are offended at their present success, (H.) think not of judgment nor of eternal goods. S. Jer.