“Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.” (Malachi 2:11)
Treachery against the LORD'S holiness is the second indictment concerning the faithlessness of the people. The men were divorcing their original spouses and marrying the heathen women of the surrounding nations. The LORD labeled this act “an abomination.” At one point in Israel's history, Judah had shown love for the holiness of God. Righteousness and justice were prevalent under king David. Solomon spent seven years erecting a memorial (the temple) to God's holiness. At one point, Judah was a haven for those who truly feared and loved God. Even just a few years back from Malachi's day, Judah witnessed a love for God's holiness under Joshua, Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; yet, they had come to the point of profaning the very holiness which they had loved. The Lord called these illegitimate unions marriages to the daughter of a strange god. The hearts of the people had wandered from the true God; therefore, the infidelity that followed is no surprise. Behind every sin is a wandering from the true God. Wandering from the holiness of God and seeking alliances with the wicked is something with which Israel had struggled in the past. Under the ministry of Ezra, both the rulers and the people had marriages with the unconverted heathen (Ezra 9:1-2). This specific sin surfaced again during the governorship of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:23-27), and now, just before the close of the Old Testament, it once again rears its ugly head. Though a believer may not physically commit adultery with someone, any wandering from God's desires is considered spiritual adultery. Loving anything more than God is adultery. This truth is taught in James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” A Christian may pride himself in the fact that he has never committed physical adultery, yet, in this very act, he has cast himself into the “bed of pride” and thus had relations with “the daughter of a strange god.” Spiritual adultery is what first took place in the hearts of these Israelites. The physical adultery was simply a manifestation of it.