1 "And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If you will not hear and if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name," says the LORD of hosts, "I will even send a curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. I have even cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 And you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, so that my covenant might be with Levi," says the LORD of hosts. 5 "My covenant was with him of life and peace, and I gave them to him for the fear with which he feared me and was afraid before my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth and iniquity was not found in his lips. He walked with me in peace and equity and turned many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have departed out of the way. You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts. 9 "Therefore, I have also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as you have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law."
10 Have we not all one father? Has one God not created us? Why do we each deal treacherously against his brother by profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the holiness of the LORD whom he loved and has married the daughter of a strange god. 12 The LORD will cut off the man who does this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him who offers an offering to the LORD of hosts.
13 And this you have done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, because he does not regard the offering anymore, or receive it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet you say, "Why?" Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously. Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant. 15 And did he not make them one, having in him the residue of the Spirit? And why one? So that he might seek a godly seed. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 "For I hate putting away," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and the one who covers violence with his garment," says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore, take heed to your spirit so that you do not deal treacherously."
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "In what have we wearied him?" When you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them," or, "Where is the God of judgment?"
This chapter contains a reproof both of priests and people for their sins. It begins with the priests (verse 1), and threatens, in case they attend not to glorify the name of the Lord, they and their blessings should be cursed, their seed corrupted, dung spread upon them, and they took away with it (verses 2-3), and the end of this commandment being sent them, of giving glory to the name of God, was that the covenant might appear to be with Levi, or him that was typified by him (verse 4), of which covenant some account is given, with the reason why the blessings of it were given to him, with whom it was (verse 5), who is described by the true doctrine he preached; by the purity of his lips; by the peaceableness and righteousness of his walk and conversation; and by his usefulness and success in turning many from sin (verse 6), and it being part of the priest's office to preserve true knowledge, and communicate it, it is the duty of the people to seek to him for it; since he is the messenger of the Lord (verse 7), but as for the priests of those times the prophet respects, they were apostates from the way of the Lord; made others to stumble at the law, and corrupted the covenant; and therefore became contemptible, base, and mean, in the sight of the people (verses 8-9), who are next reproved for their marrying with those of other nations, idolatrous persons; and using polygamy and divorces, which were a profanation of the covenant of their fathers; a piece of perfidy and treachery among themselves; an abomination to the Lord; a profanation of his holiness; and led to idolatry (verses 10-11), therefore they are threatened to be cut off from the tabernacles of Jacob, and their sacrifices to be rejected; insomuch that the altar is represented as covered with weeping and tears, because [God] disregarded [their offerings] (verses 12-13). The reason of which was, because marrying more wives than one, and these strange women, was dealing treacherously with their lawful wives; was contrary to the first creation of man, and the end of it; and therefore such practices ought to be avoided; and the rather, since putting away was hateful to the Lord (verses 14-16), and the chapter is concluded with a charge against them, that they wearied the Lord with their wicked words; [saying] that the Lord took delight in the men who did evil; and that there was no judgment, truth, or righteousness, in him (verse 17).John Calvin's Prayer for verses 1-5:
Grant, Almighty God that as you have been pleased to choose us at this day your priests, and have consecrated us to yourself by the blood of your only-begotten Son and through the grace of your Spirit,— O grant, that we may rightly and sincerely perform our duties to you, and be so devoted to you that your name may be really glorified in us; and may we be thus more and more confirmed in the hope of those promises by which you not only guides us through the course of this earthly life, but also invite us to your celestial inheritance; and may Christ your Son so rule in us, that we may ever cleave to our head, and be gathered as his members into a participation of that eternal glory into which he has gone before us.— Amen.John Calvin's Prayer for verses 6-9:
Grant, Almighty God, that since you have deigned to take us as a priesthood to yourself, and have chosen us when we were not only of the lowest condition, but even profane and alien to all holiness, and have consecrated us to yourself by your Holy Spirit, that we may offer ourselves as holy victims to you,— O grant, that we may bear in mind our office and our calling, and sincerely devote ourselves to your service, and so present to you our efforts and our labors, that your name may be truly glorified in us, and that it may really appear that we have been ingrafted into the body of your only-begotten Son; and as he is the chief and the only true and perpetual priest, may we become partakers of that priesthood with which you have been pleased to honor him, so that he may take us as associates to himself; and may thus your name be perpetually glorified by the whole body as well as by the head.— Amen.John Calvin's Prayer for verses 10-12:
Grant, Almighty God, that as we are so inclined to all kinds of wickedness, we may learn to confine ourselves within the limits of your word, and thus restrain all the desires of our flesh; and that whatever Satan may contrive to draw us here and there, may we continually proceed in obedience to your word, and being mindful of that eternal election, by which you have been pleased gratuitously to adopt us, and also of that calling by which your eternal election has been confirmed, and by which you have received us in your only-begotten Son, may we go on in our course to the end, and so cleave, by persevering faith, to Christ your Son, that we may at length be gathered into the enjoyment of that eternal kingdom which he has purchased for us by his blood.— Amen.John Calvin's Prayer for verses 13-16:
Grant, Almighty God, that though we daily in various ways violate the covenant which you have been pleased to make with us in your only-begotten Son, we may not yet be dealt with according to what our defection, and even the many defections by which we daily provoke your wrath against us, do fully deserve; but suffer and bear with us kindly, and at the same time strengthen us that we may persevere in the truth and perform to the end the pledge we have given to you, and which you required from us in our baptism, and that we may each of us so conduct ourselves toward our brethren, and husbands toward their wives, that we may cherish that unity of spirit which you have consecrated between us by the blood of your own Son.— Amen.
[v.17] - John Calvin's Prayer for this verse is included with the first three verses of the next chapter. Therefore, the prayer is in the next chapter.