The Lord Warns the Priests
1“Now I am giving this warning to you priests. 2Listen to it. Honor me with all your heart,” says the Lord who rules over all. “If you do not, I will send a curse on you. I will turn your blessings into curses. In fact, I have already done that because you have not honored me with all your heart.
3“Because of what you have done, I will punish your children. I will smear the waste from your sacrifices on your faces. And you will be carried off to the dump along with it. 4You will know that I have given you this warning. I have warned you so that my covenant with Levi will continue,” says the Lord who rules over all. 5“My covenant promised Levi life and peace. So I gave them to him. I required him to respect me. And he had great respect for my name. 6True teaching came from his mouth. Nothing but the truth came from his lips. He walked with me in peace. He did what was right. He turned many people away from their sins.
7“The lips of a priest should guard knowledge. After all, he is the messenger of the Lord who rules over all. And people seek instruction from his mouth. 8But you have turned away from the right path. Your teaching has caused many people to trip and fall. You have broken my covenant with Levi,” says the Lord who rules over all. 9“So I have caused all the people to hate you. They have lost respect for you. You have not done what I told you to do. Instead, you have favored one person over another in matters of the law.”
Breaking the Covenant Through Divorce
10People of Judah, all of us have one Father. One God created us. So why do we break the covenant the Lord made with our people of long ago? We do this by being unfaithful to one another.
11And Judah has been unfaithful. A hateful thing has been done in Israel and Jerusalem. The Lord loves his temple. But Judah has made it impure. Their men have married women who worship other gods. 12May the Lord punish the man who marries a woman like this. It doesn’t matter who that man is. May the Lord who rules over all remove him from the tents of Jacob’s people. May the Lord remove him even if he brings an offering to him.
13Here’s something else you do. You flood the Lord’s altar with your tears. You weep and cry because your offerings don’t please him anymore. He doesn’t accept them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, “Why?” It’s because the Lord is holding you responsible. He watches how you treat the wife you married when you were young. You have been unfaithful to her. You did it even though she’s your partner. You promised to stay married to her. And the Lord was a witness to it.
15Hasn’t the one God made the two of you one also? Both of you belong to him in body and spirit. And why has the one God made you one? Because he wants his children to be like him. So be careful. Don’t be unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young.
16“Suppose a man hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel. “Then he is harming the one he should protect,” says the Lord who rules over all.
So be careful. And don’t be unfaithful.
Breaking the Covenant by Treating Others Unfairly
17You have worn out the Lord by what you keep saying.
“How have we worn him out?” you ask.
You have done it by saying, “All those who do evil things are good in the Lord’s sight. And he is pleased with them.” Or you ask, “Is God really fair?”