The Lord Warns the Priests
1"Now I am giving a 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 guts from your sacrifices on your faces. And you will be carried off to the dump along with them. 4You will know that I have given you a 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. People should look for true teaching from his mouth. After all, he is my messenger. 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 of 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."
Judah Is Not Faithful to the Lord
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 long ago? We don't even keep our promises to one another.
11You have broken your promises. A hateful thing has been done in Israel and Jerusalem. The Lord loves his temple. But you have polluted it. You men have married women who worship other gods.
12May the Lord punish you who do that. It doesn't matter who you are. May the Lord who rules over all cut you off from the tents of Jacob's people. May he remove you even if you bring offerings to him.
13Here's something else you do. You flood the Lord's altar with your tears. You sob and cry because he doesn't pay attention to your offerings anymore. He doesn't accept them from your hands with pleasure.
14You ask, "Why?" It's because the Lord is holding you accountable. He watches how you treat the wife you married when you were young. You have broken your promise 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 he made the two of you one? Both of you belong to him in body and spirit. And why has he made you one? Because he was looking for godly children. So guard yourself in your spirit. Don't break your promise to the wife you married when you were young.
16"I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel. "I hate it when people do anything that harms others," says the Lord who rules over all.
So guard yourself in your spirit. And don't break your promises.
The Lord Will Judge His People
17You have worn the Lord out 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?"