A Warning to Priests1 And now this decree is for you, O priests: 2 “If you do not listen, and if you do not take [it] to heart to honor My name,” says the LORD of Hosts, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already begun to curse them, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your descendants, ▼
▼ Or I will blight your grainand I will spread dung on your faces, the waste from your feasts, and you will be carried off with it.” 4 Then you will know that I have sent you this commandment, that My covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of Hosts. 5 “My covenant with him was [one] of life and peace, and I gave them to him; it 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 he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the LORD of Hosts.” 8 “But you have departed from the way, and your instruction has caused many to stumble. You have violated the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of Hosts. 9 “So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not kept My ways, but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Judah's Unfaithfulness10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why then do we break faith with one another so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has broken faith; an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the LORD's beloved sanctuary by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. 12 [As] for the man who does this, may the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob [everyone who is] awake and aware— even if he brings an offering to the LORD of Hosts. 13 And this is another thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and groaning, because He no longer regards your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands. 14 Yet you ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have broken faith, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Has not [the LORD] made them one, having a portion of the Spirit? And why one? Because He seeks godly offspring. Therefore guard yourselves in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and [I hate when a man] covers himself and his garment with violence,” ▼
▼ Or “For the man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protectsays the LORD of Hosts. Therefore guard yourselves in your spirit and do not break faith. 17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” By saying, “All who do evil [are] good in the sight of the LORD, and in them He delights,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
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