Malachi 2:10–17 (NKJV)
10 Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The Lord’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being awake and aware,
Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!
Malachi continues the Lord’s indictment of the corrupt priesthood by comparing these actions to Judah’s actions of marrying daughters of foreign religions and then worshipping their false gods. When one brings false worship into their relationships, it is a short leap to full-blown idolatry. Do not mix your allegiances and affections. Keep your heart pure.
13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
The prophet then moves to another sin of Judah, the sin of wanton divorce. He calls it “dealing treacherously” with one’s wife. In Biblical times, men held all the power in business and relationships. Marriages were arranged, dowries given, women were barely above slaves on the social ladder. Men could divorce their wives for just about any reason, and they were left to return to their father’s house or else fend for themselves with the shame of a divorce on their heads. The Lord God saw this as unjust and cruel, and denounced the practice. He likened it to the nations treatment of Him, as well. God longed for godly offspring, children that would perpetuate faith in God, yet the people’s “divorce” from Him would prevent that from happening. He did not want the people to deal treacherously with Him, and He did not want to be forced to deal harshly and swiftly with Him. Be faithful and do not commit adultery with another god, and do not divorce your faithful God.