Rules for Priests
1 “Priests, this rule is for you. 2 Listen to me! Pay attention to what I say. Show honor to my name. If you don’t respect my name, bad things will happen to you. You will say blessings,* blessings Words asking for good things to happen to a person who tries to obey God’s law. but they will become curses. I will make bad things happen because you don’t show respect for my name.” This is what the LORD All-Powerful said.
3 “Look, I will punish your descendants. During the festivals, you priests offer sacrifices to me. You take the dung and inside parts from the dead animals and throw them away. But I will smear the dung on your faces, and you will be thrown away with it! 4 Then you will learn why I am giving you this command. I am telling you these things so that my agreement with Levi will continue.” This is what the LORD All-Powerful said.
5 The Lord said, “I made that agreement with Levi. I promised to give him life and peace—and I gave him those things. Levi respected me and showed honor to my name. 6 He taught the true teachings and didn’t teach lies. Levi was honest, and he loved peace. He followed me and saved many people from being punished for the evil things they did. 7 A priest should know God’s teachings. People should be able to go to a priest and learn God’s teachings. A priest should be the LORD’S messenger to the people.
8 “But you priests stopped following me! You used the teachings to make people do wrong. You ruined the agreement with Levi.” This is what the LORD All-Powerful said. 9 “You don’t live the way I told you. You have not accepted my teachings. So I will cause people to hate you and think you are worth nothing.”
Judah Was Not True to God
10 We all have the same father. The same God made every one of us. So why do people cheat one another? They show that they don’t respect the agreement. They don’t respect the agreement that our ancestors made with God. 11 The people of Judah cheated other people. People in Jerusalem and Israel did terrible things. God loves the Temple, but the people in Judah didn’t respect the LORD’S holy Temple. The people of Judah began to worship a foreign goddess. 12 The LORD will remove them from Judah’s family. They might bring gifts to the LORD All-Powerful—but it will not help. 13 You can cry and cover the LORD’S altar with tears, but the Lord will not accept your gifts. He will not be pleased with the things you bring to him.
14 You ask, “Why are our gifts not accepted?” It is because the LORD saw the evil things you did—he is a witness against you. He saw you cheat on your wife. You have been married to her since you were young. She was your girlfriend. Then you made your vows to each other—and she became your wife. 15 God wants husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit. Why? So that they would have holy children and protect that spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife. She has been your wife from the time you were young.
16 The LORD, the God of Israel, says, “I hate divorce, and I hate the cruel things that men do. So protect your spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife.”
The Special Time of Judgment
17 You have taught wrong things, and it makes the LORD very sad. People were doing evil things, but you said that this pleased the LORD and that he accepted those things. And you taught that God does not punish people for the evil they do.
*2:2 blessings Words asking for good things to happen to a person who tries to obey God’s law.