In his Systematic Theology, R. J. Rushdoony sets forth a crucial insight concerning economics that is often missed:
A man, when free from the corruption of modern humanism, will work in terms of God’s calling, and, under God, for his family, for the personal realization of his abilities, and more. These are essentially non-economic motives. Economies self-destruct when their motivating forces become essentially economic.1
Our nation’s economy, like that of many other nations, has long been motivated by essentially economic forces. The architects of modern economic policy revel in the manipulation of such forces. Such manipulation always entails a dance near the edge of self-destruction, as our economists’ mumbling about maintaining a knife-edge balance between conflicting forces cannot help but underscore.
Rushdoony cites several key passages in connection with economics in general, and monetary policy in particular, that tie the concept of justice (righteousness) and money together. The concepts of justice and money are so tightly interrelated that it is possible to diagnose how just a society is by examining the foundational nature of the money used by that society. Consider these three references Rushdoony cites:
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:35–37)
Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deut. 25:13–16)
Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. (Ezek. 45:10)
In these passages, it is clear that the opposite of a just weight is an unjust weight, constituting injustice and unrighteousness. The people of God were not even permitted to possess such false weights and measures on their person or in their home. Every measure of value (particularly monetary value) was to be just and perfect. Measures were either a delight to God or an abomination to Him, depending on whether they were just or whether they fluctuated in value (Prov. 11:1, 16:11). The money used by a society is one of its most important measures of value and becomes God’s test for justice in a nation.
Where God’s laws are preached, taught, and obeyed, these commandments are taken seriously. Regrettably, we live in an age where “the law is slacked” (Hab. 1:4), where nations are “partial in the law” (Mal. 2:9), and so the abominations spoken of in God’s Word are no longer reproved but tolerated and even endorsed.
But such waywardness in the churches, such failure and blindness emanating from our pulpits, doesn’t change God’s view of what is just and perfect and a delight to Him, versus what is abominable and unrighteous and wicked and unjust to Him. The money used in America is fiat money, not backed by gold or silver, that constitutes the “divers weight and measure” condemned as abominable in Scripture. As Rushdoony notes of the adoption of such a monetary system, “[A]ny social order which embraces fiat measures … has embraced something of radical repulsiveness to God.”2
A Surprise Discovery in Micah
It is at this point that Rushdoony’s list of Scriptures in support of just weights and measures (honest sound money) becomes very interesting. He cites a passage in Micah that equates money held in such unjust forms (fiat paper money, such as the U.S. dollar) with “the treasures of wickedness.” As Rushdoony puts it, “false measures are called ‘the treasures of wickedness,’ the essential means of falsifying the life of a society.”3
This citation from Micah occurs in the context of arguably the most quoted verse in all of Micah, namely Micah 6:8. Of all the Old Testament quotations popular today, Micah 6:8 seems to always make the top ten list. It reads, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” So, how is it that this verse has become so thoroughly severed from its context (which speaks repeatedly about how a nation handles its money supply and its relationship to justice) that nobody is aware of its original setting? How did this passage get sloganized to the point of being completely emptied of its original meaning? How did the Word of God become of none effect in our pulpits and paperback books despite such widespread, universal quotation?
Micah 6:8 has become, in effect, something of a donut hole. I submit to you that the rest of the donut (the explanatory context that elaborates on the meaning of Micah 6:8) is absolutely necessary for the complete undistorted picture to be seen. It is time to set aside donut-hole theology. Let us consider Micah 6:8 in itself and then in its original context, borrowing some of Matthew Henry’s comments as we move through this block of Scripture.4
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good …” It is God who has shown us, meaning we don’t have to figure out or create new policies in regard to what is good, etc. What is good and just has already been spelled out by the Omniscient One who knows far better than we do what is good, whose foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 1:25). Micah directs this comment to all men generally (“O man”), not just to Jews, but to Jews, Gentiles, and to us living in the twenty-first century. We are among those addressed by this verse: “O man.”
“… and what doth the LORD require of thee …” From these words we recognize that what is good is equivalent to what the Lord requires of us. What God requires is for our good and achieves good, both personally and culturally. Moreover what is required of us has been shown to us: it is not up in the air, it is not in the New Testament (or the verse would have started out with the future tense, “He will show thee, O man, what is good …”). No, God has shown: past tense. God laid it out in the Old Testament law. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).
“… to do justly …” Here is the crux of the entire matter. The Lord requires us to do justly. And He has already shown what this means and how to do it—in His law. And we shall see how Micah makes this idea connect with God’s law in the next several verses. The modern temptation to amputate this verse and show off the severed limb apart from the scriptural body it came from invariably subjects the phrase “to do justly” to all manner of speculative interpretations. All such guesswork at what “do justly” means (1) avoids mention of God’s law and (2) avoids Micah’s subsequent comments (i.e., it buries the amputee’s body to pretend the severed limb of verse 8 is open to the interpreter’s fancy). In reality, Micah is simply reasserting the command of Deuteronomy 16:20, which literally reads, “Justice, justice, shalt thou do!”
“… to love mercy …” Not merely to be merciful, but to delight in mercy.
“… and to walk humbly with thy God.” This is self-explanatory. Because modern pulpiteers seem to nail “mercy” and “walking humbly with God” in their sermons, giving their message “a strong finish,” the people in the pews don’t detect the complete sideswiping that the crucial clause “to do justly” receives at their shepherds’ antinomian hands, especially when the rest of Micah 6 isn’t discussed or put on the table.
The Rest of the Donut
Now, consider verse 9, the connecting verse to the verse Rushdoony actually quotes in his Systematic Theology: “The LORD’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” This verse speaks about a very serious situation: God is already crying out to the city. As Matthew Henry says, God warns before He wounds. He sends the voice of warning, and men of wisdom will hear the voice and discern God’s name in it (specifically, that the rumblings of disaster are not impersonal events that “just happen,” but have the impress of God’s personal wrath imprinted on the tidings on the winds of change).
The men of wisdom understand what the Lord’s voice is saying to all: “[H]ear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” I would submit that R. J. Rushdoony was one of those few men of wisdom who could see the Lord’s name in the looming financial judgments coming around the corner decades in advance. Such men, as Matthew Henry suggests, hear the rod while it’s coming. Far better to hear it coming while it is still distant, than to actually see it. Yet, it is far better to see it and take action, than to have to then feel the rod. The warnings issued by men of wisdom cover the entire advance of the rod, from the far distance (like a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand) to a disaster in our very face.
“[H]ear ye the rod” means that every rod has a voice. Matthew Henry makes it clear that it is the voice of God that is to be heard in the rod of God. “[A]nd who hath appointed it.” We must look to who appointed it, for every rod is appointed. Henry holds that Job 23:14 further elaborates on this idea: “For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me.” But this raises the question, Why should a rod be appointed for us? The next verse in Micah 6, verse 10, that R. J. Rushdoony quotes in his Systematic Theology, explains why we’ve so thoroughly earned an appointment with the rod.
Micah 6:10–11: “Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?” Here we have four concepts that mutually explain and elaborate one another. Deceitful weights involve wicked balances that result in the scant measure which constitutes treasures of wickedness. In this, Rushdoony is correct: fiat currencies are not only abominable and unjust and unrighteous, they are also the treasures of wickedness. The bag referred to is synonymous with today’s wallets, bank accounts, savings accounts, and treasuries. What is in our bags today? Deceitful weights! Small wonder Noah Webster described legal tender laws (which force people to accept fiat paper currencies in lieu of gold and silver) as “the devil in the flesh.”
Further on, Micah informs the people who use such abominations for money that “Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee” (v. 14). Micah here teaches that the origin of the destruction of a nation is in the midst of thee, that is, the nation will be broken and ruined by internal crises. God can cast a nation down using something inside the nation. National defense can protect a country’s borders from external invasion, but it cannot protect from destruction from within, which is the precise form that this rod of God, described five verses earlier, will take.
A Long-Standing, Multi-Generational Problem
The ultimate issue in Micah is reached in verse 16: “For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof a hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.” The word for at the head of the verse is equivalent to because. We read that the laws and policies of previous administrations in Israel’s distant past were a primary cause of the threatened internal ruin. Omri and Ahab, kings long gone from the scene at the time Micah wrote, still worked their political poison, for they had established wickedness by law (the statutes of Omri, etc.). As the psalmist says, “[T]he wicked frame mischief using law” (Ps. 94:20). Here is a prime example of it.
The people governed themselves by the old statutes of Omri and Ahab, assuming that since no apparent ill had arisen from following those policies, they were surely in the clear. But God has no statute of limitations on His requirements! The sin of former generations is here transmitted to subsequent ones. As Henry puts it, those who make corrupt laws may prove the ruin of children yet to be born. It was irrelevant that the statutes were of long standing (had stood the test of time for many generations), just as it was foolish to think that God had winked at the land Sabbath law (which He finally enforced after putting up with nearly 490 years of Israel’s violation of it). For our nation, or any nation, to think that the Almighty will continue to ignore long-standing open defiance of His statutes is nothing less than a death wish.
A primary sin of Ahab’s was syncretism: mixing the worship of Baal with the worship of Jehovah. Syncretism is an attempt to have one’s cake and eat it. Politicians in America are expected to follow Baal in Washington D.C. and the Lord in their private life. Such men halt between two opinions because they truly are trying to worship and follow two gods at once. Sadly, the average Christian tends to follow Baal Monday through Saturday and to make a shabby pretense of following the Lord on Sunday morning (assuming the Super Bowl doesn’t start too early).
But Elijah’s summary proclamation still rings true: if Jehovah be God, follow Him! And if we are to follow the Lord and not Baal, we must abandon our love for the treasures of wickedness that unjust weights and measures deliver into our hand. For the modern Christian, this means working assiduously for the reestablishment of honest currency, of laboring diligently to tie our money back to specie metals, so that we no longer transmit the corrupt statutes of our past on to future generations.
Where Have All the Shepherds Gone?
I will lean heavily on G. Campbell Morgan’s commentary on Jeremiah for the remainder of this discussion,5 paraphrasing his material and interweaving it with my own thoughts. My purpose is to expose the interrelationship of people and priest, the parallels between a nation and its wayward shepherds, and the key difference between worthless preaching and faithful preaching, both in Jeremiah’s time and our own.
Jeremiah poses the question, “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return” (Jer. 8:5). We find our own nation in similar straits, and the deceit we hold fast is emblazoned on virtually every television channel, newspaper headline, and all too many sermon points delivered from our pulpits.
For on the religious side of things, Jeremiah was confronted with rampant antinomianism (a rejection of God’s commandments) that was disguised as a respect for God’s commandments! “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer. 8:8–9). A more literal rendering of the second half of verse 8 is “But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely.” In other words, antinomianism reigned supreme, but was cloaked in feigned respect for God’s law. We live in the grip of the same evil today.
“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 8:11). Surely, up until now, we have lived in an era where our pulpits have largely been silent concerning the treasures of wickedness. We have lived by the donut hole of Micah 6:8 without concern for the donut out of which it was carved. “For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered” (Jer. 10:21).
National Sins Are Individual Sins Writ Large
It is needful here to interject a comment on one of the most quoted passages in Jeremiah. The ninth chapter of Jeremiah is principally addressed to the nation. But when the prophet turns to deal with the matters addressed, he switches focus to the individuals that comprise the nation. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches” (Jer. 9:23, emphasis added). As Morgan comments, even though Israel had kings and governors, the emphasis of responsibility here is laid not on such rulers but on the individuals making up the nation. The strength of a nation depends upon the individual character of its citizens. The nation puts the government into power, and the nation is ultimately responsible for its acts. National sins fall back, as to responsibility, upon individuals.
It is tempting to point to other factions as the source of our problems, and conclude that others need to repent and reform for our situation to improve, but we will perpetually hear “Thou art the man” in our ears because God holds all individually accountable to Himself. The restoration of society begins with us because judgment of society begins with us, with the house of God. That said (and it is important to affirm it), we must consider how justice failed so miserably in Jeremiah’s days.
The Loss and Recovery of God’s Message in Lawless Times
Several aspects of Jeremiah’s age mirror our own. In the first example, G. Campbell Morgan invites us to notice the peculiar choice of words in Jeremiah 22:13: “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.” The word that’s unusual here is neighbor. One would have expected laborer, except that in this instance, it is the neighbor’s services that are being extracted without wages being involved, with the ruler not giving his neighbors anything for the work he receives.
This is suspiciously similar to not only our modern tax code, but also to the hidden taxes that monetary inflation brings with it. (Monetary inflation entails debauching and devaluing a nation’s currency through fractional reserve banking and other modern engines designed to create and perpetuate unjust weights and measures in our culture.)
Jeremiah compares the current evil king to that king’s righteous father, Josiah, saying, “Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him?” (Jer. 22:15). Fancy buildings and edifices and offices in which to conduct “the people’s business” are no substitute for walking according to the pattern of justice that God requires of us (Micah 6:8). The emphasis here in verse 15 is on judgment and justice, in contrast to the current king’s primary focus: his own self-interest (paralleling the focus of congressmen and senators today).
“I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice” (Jer. 22:21). Modern nations, too, have been addressed by God through His faithful mouthpieces while they yet exhibited external prosperity, and they also refuse to listen and turn away their ear from hearing. Jeremiah, looking for someone, anyone, who might listen to God’s Word, finally breaks out plaintively with a three-fold cry to the earth itself: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!” (Jer. 22:29). That no men would listen while the rod was still distant was the tragedy of Israel. The threatened punishments came about seven years after Jeremiah predicted them.
“For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD” (Jer. 23:11). We see here the core problem: the churches of Jeremiah’s day were filled with leaders who refused to address the question of justice in a Biblical manner. As Morgan points out, they had debased the language of orthodoxy, claiming to speak in God’s name while seeking no message from God’s law. Their antinomianism was a total repudiation of God’s moral judgments. As cited earlier, the Bible experts in Jeremiah’s time “have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer. 8:9b). Having rejected God’s Word, there is no wisdom to be found in them, considered in themselves and in regard to their personal opinions. The personal opinions of pastors, when at odds with God’s law, are not only worthless, but dangerous.
In Jeremiah 23:16–17, Jeremiah warns the people to pay no attention to the teaching of the nation’s Bible scholars because “they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” If ever there was a day in which this kind of false gospel to the lawless is again being preached (in sermons heaped up unto heaven itself), it is our day and age.
Morgan reminds us that the message of these false shepherds came out of their own heart, out of the result of their own thinking, and as a consequence they lowered the nation’s moral standards. They arrived at their message as a result of their own observation of the times. But Morgan adds that no prophet of God ever finds his message by the observation of the times in which he lives. A prophet doesn’t neglect his times, but his work is to declare the Word of God to the times for their correction. We don’t catch the spirit of the age to be successful in Christian ministry. Our work, rather, is to correct the spirit of the age. Not to catch that spirit, but to know it and correct it.
But the failures in the pulpit persist. “How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart” (Jer. 23:26). The nature of their primary crime against Jehovah, which triggers the Lord’s wrath, is laid out in Jeremiah 23:30: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.” The prophets that steal my words from their neighbors are those who refuse to apply God’s law, God’s justice, to their situation. Antinomianism, the “slacking of the law” (Hab. 1:4), is nothing less than stealing God’s words from our neighbors. It is a woeful sin in those called to be ministers of truth, for the church is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth,” not the agent of truth eradication through antinomian preaching.
If Thou shalt not steal is still in effect, how much more should we fear judgment for stealing God’s words from our neighbors!
Such teaching causes God’s people to err by the teachers’ lightness: “[They] cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness … [T]herefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD” (Jer. 23:32). The empty, vain talk that is literally “bubbling up” out of these Bible scholars, although assumed by their listeners to be spiritually profitable, is anything but.
By contrast, a true Levitical ministry delivers radically different results, and truly profits the people, as we read in Nehemiah. “[Various leaders] and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:7–8). “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (v. 12). The people rejoice at having had God’s words not stolen from them, but read to them distinctly, with their leaders giving the sense, so that the people are caused to understand the reading.
Jeremiah sets down a searing indictment against the spiritual leaders who failed to follow this ordained pattern. “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jer. 23:21–22). Let’s consider these stinging words very, very carefully.
The Litmus Test
Jeremiah is saying that the proof of the leaders’ faithfulness to God’s Word is to be found in this, that God’s people would then have repented and changed their course. All the leaders had to do was to stand in God’s counsel (accept God’s Word as authoritative and act accordingly) and to cause God’s people to hear God’s words (following the pattern of Nehemiah 8). But having stolen God’s words, and delivered their own words instead, the flocks remain in their sins. By this standard, the abject failure of American Christians to lift even a finger to address the treasures of wickedness (spawned by our fiat monetary policy and lodging unchallenged in our shrinking bank accounts) is proof positive that our pastors do not stand in God’s counsel, nor do they cause God’s words to be heard by the people. If the pastors of our land had acted faithfully, we’d be in a far different situation.
But pastors don’t operate in a vacuum, either. “[L]ike people, like priest” (Hos. 4:9) reflects the idea that not only does a people get the government they deserve, they also get the spiritual leadership they prefer (2 Tim. 4:3). The individualistic references in Jeremiah 9:23 serve notice that all are complicit in perpetuating these abominations: pastors and their flocks. It is worth acknowledging that faithful ministers of God’s Word, who do not steal God’s words from their neighbor, are few and far between, but their work remains a bright light piercing the brooding darkness.
Tragically, a faithful shepherd always runs the risk of being muzzled by those who stridently charge that “the land is not able to bear all his words” (Amos 7:10). About four decades ago, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church had threatened to defrock R. J. Rushdoony for narrating a filmstrip critical of the Federal Reserve System (the primary engine enabling the Biblical abomination our nation’s money has become). Our religious denominations have no Biblically informed concept of justice. They are, however, willing to turn their misplaced judicial wrath against a “man of wisdom who saw God’s name and heard His rod, discerning who had appointed it” (Mic. 6:9), while they themselves continue to ignore the rod appointed against our “treasures of wickedness, scant measures that are abominable, wicked balances, and our bags of deceitful weights” (Mic. 6:10). They steal God’s words from their neighbors.6 None then change their ways.
Faithful preaching of God’s Word causes the turnaround in the peoples’ lives that Jeremiah solemnly affirms. Where faithful preaching is found, the people of God bend every reasonable effort to be part of the long-term effort to overhaul their nation’s monetary system and to work for just weights and measures that delight the Lord, not money that repels Him. Even the first step down the road to recovery receives the blessing of God (Haggai 1:12–13). But merely putting the words In God We Trust on a coin that God declares to be an abomination is nothing short of a brazen provocation against the Almighty. It is to spit in His eye. For this reason, God warns us all that “there is no peace.”
How do we begin to address the gaping hole we find in modern preaching? The volumes by R. J. Rushdoony are arguably the most potent resource available for equipping the people of God to once again put on the full armor of God, inclusive of the entirety of the Lord’s law-word to us. The prescient nature of Dr. Rushdoony’s insights bears testimony to his studied refusal to mount his arguments upon anything less than the concrete Word of God. In Rushdoony’s hands, the soft plush toy that God’s Word has become through weak, faithless preaching once again becomes the hammer that God’s Word was supposed to be all along (Jer. 23:29: God calls His Word “a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces”).
There is a lot of apparently impregnable rock that needs busting up in modern societies, including the imposing edifice of our utterly wicked and corrupt mountain of national monetary policy. Nothing less than the whole counsel of God, the full-sized industrial-strength hammer of God’s Word, will be sufficient to the task.
We need no more feel-good, “peace, peace” plush toys or “lightness” that “profits nothing.” We need God’s hammer, now.
Preachers: accept no substitutes.
1. R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), 1045.
4. Matthew Henry (1662–1714) authored a six-volume Complete Commentary on the whole Bible, providing an exhaustive verse-by-verse study of the Bible.
5. G. Campbell Morgan, Studies in the Prophecy of Jeremiah (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., 1969 reprint).
6. It is true that many commentators hold that the phrase “[they] steal my words … from his neighbour” refers to the false prophets plagiarizing from one another (J. P. Lange, R. P. Smith, C. F. Keil, E. H. Plumptre, etc.) rather than stealing God’s words from the people at large by shirking their duty in regard to proclaiming His law. But this notion severs the connection between verse 31 and verse 22, where God affirms that “had [they] caused my people to hear my words,” God’s people would have repented. Accordingly, “my words” is not to be understood as ironic but actual, in keeping with the prior context, while “neighbor” can be taken in the general sense established earlier in Jeremiah 22:13 and in the following discussion in Jeremiah 23:35. Note also the contrast set forth between Malachi 2:6–7 and vv. 8–9 when God speaks to the Levites: “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 did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts” (vv. 6–7), which confirms Jeremiah’s point that faithful preaching turns the people away from ungodliness. “But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law” (vv. 8–9). Failure to keep the covenant of Levi, the law-teaching ministry to God’s people, is herein indicted.