In dealing with the priests, he declared their corruption, and indicated the line of their punishment. He charged them with profanity, in that they had despised the name of Jehovah; with sacrilege, in that they had offered polluted bread on His altar; with greed, in that none of them was found willing to open the doors of His house for nought; and with weariness, in that they had "snuffed at" the whole system of worship as "a weariness."
In a study of these accusations against the priests it is most evident that they resented the charges against them, as the recurrence of the question, "Wherein?" shows. This makes it evident that the prophet was protesting against a formalism which was devoid of reality. He therefore uttered Jehovah's threatenings against the priests. Their blessings were to be cursed, and the punishment for their corruption would be the contempt of the people.
In this declaration occurs a passage full of beauty, describing the true ideal of the priesthood.
The prophet specifically charged the people with two sins, and in each case pronounced judgment on them. He introduced this charge by enunciating the principle of the common relationship of all to God as Father, and announcing the consequent sin of dealing treacherously with each other.
The first specific sin was the mixed marriages of the people. The second was the prevalence of divorce. Finally, the whole nation was charged with accommodating doctrine to the deterioration of conduct. While failing ethically, the people were saying that notwithstanding their evil doing, Jehovah delighted in the people, and they were inquiring skeptically, "Where is the God of judgment?"
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24