7 For the lips of a Kohen guard knowledge, And men seek rulings from his mouth; For he is a messenger of the lord of Hosts.
kee sif-TAY kho-HAYN yish-m’-ru DA-at v’-to-RAH y’-vak-SHU mi-PEE-hu KEE mal-AKH a-do-nai tz’-va-OT HU
ז כִּי־שִׂפְתֵי כֹהֵן יִשְׁמְרוּ־דַעַת וְתוֹרָה יְבַקְשׁוּ מִפִּיהוּ כִּי מַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה־צְבָאוֹת הוּא׃
2:7 For the lips of a Kohen guard knowledge
Malachi explains that the priests’ responsibilities extend beyond service in the Beit Hamikdash to include teaching Hashem’s law to the people. Knowledge is not just conveyed; it is guarded and preserved so that the message is transmitted faithfully. That can be done only if the Kohanim themselves are men of integrity and truth. Just as water can be contaminated if kept in a rusty container, God’s teaching must be protected and spread by men about whom it can be said “nothing perverse was on his lips; he served Me with complete loyalty” (verse 6).