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Malachi 2:3-5

Context
2:3 I am about to discipline your children 1  and will spread offal 2  on your faces, 3  the very offal produced at your festivals, and you will be carried away along with it. 2:4 Then you will know that I sent this commandment to you so that my covenant 4  may continue to be with Levi,” says the Lord who rules over all. 2:5 “My covenant with him was designed to bring life and peace. I gave its statutes to him to fill him with awe, and he indeed revered me and stood in awe before me.

1 tc The phrase “discipline your children” is disputed. The LXX and Vulgate suppose זְרוֹעַ (zÿroa’, “arm”) for the MT זֶרַע (zera’, “seed”; hence, “children”). Then, for the MT גֹעֵר (goer, “rebuking”) the same versions suggest גָּרַע (gara’, “take away”). The resulting translation is “I am about to take away your arm” (cf. NAB “deprive you of the shoulder”). However, this reading is unlikely. It is common for a curse (v. 2) to fall on offspring (see, e.g., Deut 28:18, 32, 41, 53, 55, 57), but a curse never takes the form of a broken or amputated arm. It is preferable to retain the reading of the MT here.

2 tn The Hebrew term פֶרֶשׁ (feresh, “offal”) refers to the entrails as ripped out in preparing a sacrificial victim (BDB 831 s.v. פֶּרֶשׁ). This graphic term has been variously translated: “dung” (KJV, RSV, NRSV, NLT); “refuse” (NKJV, NASB); “offal” (NEB, NIV).

3 sn See Zech 3:3-4 for similar coarse imagery which reflects cultic disqualification.

4 sn My covenant refers to the priestly covenant through Aaron and his grandson Phinehas (see Exod 6:16-20; Num 25:10-13; Jer 33:21-22). The point here is to contrast the priestly ideal with the disgraceful manner in which it was being carried out in postexilic times.



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