It was the purpose of the priesthood not only to facilitate the offering of sacrifices and other religious duties. It was also to know the law of God and be sure that its instruction was passed on. The Levites were to serve as examples of holy living so that all of Israel might follow that lifestyle.
Though the Levites sided with the house of David at the division of the kingdom, and they often provided moral leadership, they also fell prey to the influence of the societies around them and time itself had a habit of calming their fervor.
For these lapses in their calling, God’s punishment was certain. Chapter two does not state that if they were to change their wicked ways, God would not send punishment. Punishment was coming, and it had already begun.
The people, of course, had a role to play in the apostasy of the Levites. Lack of respect for the priesthood, attempts to change it and mold it into a more acceptable image to society at large, and ignoring their message totally were the weapons of choice. Among the ways the teaching of the priests was ignored had to do with marriage. The proliferation of divorce fulled the land with evil.
Notice these words: “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” Divorce undermines the notion of faithfulness to covenant. It creates a faulty image of “father” and deprives children of the rounded and healthy nurturing of both parents. The end is a society that does not know how to raise children, and children who do not know how to be holy – or why. It takes two godly parents to effectively raise a child. It’s the way God intended it to be. There is no better way – nor another that is as good.