Rules for Priests
2 “Priests, this ·command [warning] is for you. 2 Listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. Honor my name,” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. “If you don’t, I will send a curse on you and on your blessings. I have already cursed them, because you don’t ·pay attention to what I say [take my warning to heart].
3 “I will ·punish [discipline; rebuke] your descendants. I will smear your faces with ·the animal insides [offal; entrails; or dung] left from your feasts, and you will be thrown away with it. 4 Then you will know that I am giving you this ·command [warning] so my ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with Levi will continue,” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 5 “My ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with ·the Levites [L him; C Levi] was to bring life and peace so they would ·honor [fear] me. And they did ·honor [fear] me and ·fear me [L stood in awe of my name; Prov. 1:7]. 6 ·They taught the true teachings [True law/instruction/L Torah was in his mouth] and ·spoke no lies [no iniquity was found on his lips]. With peace and ·honesty [integrity] they ·did what I said they should do [walked with me], and they kept many people from sinning.
7 “·A priest [L The lips of a priest] should ·teach what he knows [preserve/guard knowledge; Deut. 33:10], and people should ·learn the teachings [seek instruction] from ·him [L his mouth], because he is the messenger of the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 8 But you priests have ·stopped obeying me [L turned from the way/path]. With your teachings you have caused many people to ·do wrong [stumble]. You have ·broken [corrupted] the ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with ·the tribe of Levi [L Levi]!” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 9 “You have not been careful to ·do what I say [follow my ways/paths], but instead you ·take sides [show favoritism/partiality] in ·court [legal] cases. So I have caused you to be ·hated [despised] and ·disgraced [humiliated] in front of everybody.”
Judah Was Not Loyal to God
10 ·We all have the same [L Do we not have one….?] father; the ·same [one] God created us. So why do people ·break their promises to [betray] each other and ·show no respect for [profane; defile] the ·agreement [covenant; treaty] our ·ancestors [fathers] made with God [Ex. 19–24]? 11 ·The people of Judah [L Judah] have ·broken their promises [been unfaithful]. They have done ·something God hates [an abomination/detestable thing] in Israel and Jerusalem: ·The people of Judah [L Judah] ·did not respect [desecrated] the ·Temple [sanctuary; or holy things] that the Lord loves, and the men of Judah married ·women who worship [L the daughter of] foreign gods. 12 Whoever does this might bring offerings to the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], but the Lord will still cut that person off from the ·community of Israel [L tents of Jacob].
13 This is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with your tears. You ·cry [weep] and moan, because he does not ·accept [look with favor on] your offerings and is not pleased with what you bring. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord ·sees how you treated [L is the witness between you and] the wife ·you married when you were young [L of your youth]. You ·broke your promise [have been unfaithful] to her, even though she was your partner and ·you had an agreement with her [your wife by solemn covenant]. 15 ·God made [L Did not God make…?] husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose—so they would have ·children who are true to God [godly offspring].
So ·be careful [L guard yourself in your spirit], and do not ·break your promise [be unfaithful] to the wife ·you married when you were young [L of your youth].
16 The Lord God of Israel says, “·I hate divorce. And I hate the person who [or The one who hates and divorces] ·does cruel things as easily as he puts on clothes [L covers his clothes in violence],” says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
So be ·careful [on your guard]. And do not ·break your trust [be unfaithful].
The Special Day of Judging
17 You have ·tired [wearied] the Lord with your words.
You ask, “How have we ·tired [wearied] him?”
You did it by saying, “·The Lord thinks [L In the Lord’s eyes] anyone who does evil is good, and he is pleased with them.” Or you asked, “Where is the God ·who is fair [of justice]?”