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daniel1212av
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« Reply #4080 on: July 14, 2010, 06:11:08 AM »

Note, Those who think themselves least indebted to, and depending on, the mercy of heaven, cannot therefore think themselves guarded against the justice of Heaven. It does not follow that those who can live without rain can therefore live without God; for not the heavens only, but all other creatures, are that to us that God makes them to be, and no more; nor can any man's way of living enable him to set light by the judgments of God. This shall be the punishment - margin, This shall be the sin of Egypt, and the sin of all nations, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. The same word signifies both sin and the punishment of sin, so close and inseparable is the connexion between them (as Gen_4:7), and sin is often its own punishment. Note, Omissions are sins, and we must come into judgment for them; those contract guilt that go not up to worship at the times appointed, as they have opportunity; and it is a sin that is its own punishment, for those who forsake the duty forfeit the privilege of communion with God.

III. That those who perform the duties of gospel-worship shall have grace to adorn their profession by the duties of a gospel-conversation too. This is promised (Zec_14:20, Zec_14:21), and it is necessary to the completing of the beauty and happiness of the church. In general, all shall be holiness to the Lord.

1. The name and character of holiness shall not be so confined as formerly. Holiness to the Lord had been written only upon the high priest's forehead, but now it shall not be so appropriated. All Christians shall be living temples, and spiritual priests, dedicated to the honour of God and employed in his service.

2. Real holiness shall be more diffused than it had been, because there shall be more powerful means of sanctification, more excellent rules, more cogent arguments, and brighter patterns of holiness, and because there shall be a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of holiness and sanctification, after Christ's ascension than ever before.

(1.) There shall be holiness introduced into common things; and those things shall be devoted to God that seemed very foreign. [1.] The furniture of their horses shall be consecrated to God. “Upon the bells of the horses shall be engraven Holiness to the Lord, or upon the bridles of the horses (so the margin) or the trappings. The horses used in war shall no longer be used against God and his people, as they have been, but for him and them. Even their wars shall be holy wars, their troopers serving under God's banner. Their great men, who ride in state with a pompous retinue, shall reckon it their greatest ornament to honour God with their honours. Holiness to the Lord shall be written on the harness of their chariot-horses, as great men have sometimes their coat of arms with their motto painted on their coaches; every gentleman shall take the high priest's motto for his, and glory in it, and make it a memento to himself not to do any thing unworthy of it. Travellers shall have it upon their bridles, with which they guide their horses, as those who desire always to be put in mind of it, by having it continually before them, and to guide themselves in all their motions by this rule. The bells of the horses, which are designed to quicken them in their journey and to give notice of their approach, shall have Holiness to the Lord upon them,” to signify that this is that which we ought to be influenced by ourselves, and make profession of to others, wherever we go. [2.] The furniture of their houses too shall be consecrated to God, to be employed in his service. First, The furniture of the priests' houses, or apartments adjoining to the house of the Lord. The common drinking cups they used shall be like the bowls before the altar, that were used either to receive the blood of the sacrifices or to present the wine and oil in, which were for the drink-offerings. The vessels which they used for their own tables shall be used in such a religious manner, with such sobriety and temperance, such devotedness to the glory of God, and such a mixture of pious thoughts and expressions, that their meals shall look like sacrifices; they shall eat and drink, not to themselves, but to him that spreads their tables and fills their cups. And thus, in ministers' families especially, should common actions be done after a godly sort, however they are done in other families. Secondly, The furniture of other houses, those of the common people: “Every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to the Lord. The pots in which they boil their meat, the cups out of which they drink their wine (Jer_35:5), in these God's good creatures shall never be abused to excess, nor that made the food and fuel of lust which should be oil to the wheels of obedience,” as had formerly been, when all tables were full of vomit and filthiness, Isa_28:8. “What they eat and drink out of these shall nourish their bodies for the service of God; and out of these they shall give liberally for the relief of the poor;” then are they Holiness to the Lord, as the merchandise and the hire of the converted Tyrians are said to be (Isa_23:18 ); for both in our gettings and in our spendings we must have an eye to the will of God as our rule and the glory of God as our end. Thirdly, When there shall be such an abundance of real holiness people shall not be nice and curious about ceremonial holiness: “Those that sacrifice shall come and take of these common vessels, and seethe their sacrifices therein, making no distinction between them and the bowls before the altar.” In gospel-times the true worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth, and neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, Joh_4:21. One place shall be as acceptable to God as another (I will that men pray every where); and one vessel shall be as acceptable as another. Little regard shall be had to the circumstance, provided there be nothing indecent or disorderly, while the substance is religiously preserved and adhered to. Some think it intimates that there should be greater numbers of sacrifices offered than the vessels of the sanctuary would serve for; but, rather than any should be turned back or deferred. they shall make no difficulty at all of using common vessels, as the Levites in a case of necessity helped the priests to kill the sacrifices, 2Ch_29:34.

(2.) There shall be no unholiness introduced into their sacred things, to corrupt them: In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. Some read it, There shall be no more the merchant, for so a Canaanite sometimes signifies; and they think it was fulfilled when Christ once and again drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple. Or though those that were Canaanites, strangers and foreigners, shall be brought into the house of the Lord, yet they shall cease to be Canaanites; they shall have nothing of the spirit or disposition of Canaanites in them. Or it intimates that though in gospel-times people should grow indifferent as to holy vessels, yet they should be very strict in church-discipline, and careful not to admit the profane to special ordinances, but to separate between the precious and the vile, between Israelites and Canaanites. Yet this will not have its full accomplishment short of the heavenly Jerusalem, that house of the Lord of hosts, into which no unclean thing shall enter; for at the end of time, and not before, Christ shall gather out of his kingdom every thing that offends, and the tares and wheat shall be perfectly and eternally separated. — Henry 
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« Reply #4081 on: July 15, 2010, 07:34:33 AM »

Malachi - An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Prophecy of Malachi

God's prophets were his witnesses to his church, each in his day, for several ages, witnesses for him and his authority, witnesses against sin and sinners, attesting the true intents of God's providences in his dealings with his people then and the kind intentions of his grace concerning his church in the days of the Messiah, to whom all the prophets bore witness, for they all agreed in their testimony; and now we have only one witness more to call, and we have done with our evidence; and though he be the last, and in him prophecy ceased, yet the Spirit of prophecy shines as clearly, as strongly, as brightly in him as in any that went before, and his testimony challenges an equal regard. The Jews say, Prophecy continued forty years under the second temple, and this prophet they call the seal of prophecy, because in him the series or succession of prophets broke off and came to a period. God wisely ordered it so that divine inspiration should cease for some ages before the coming of the Messiah, that that great prophet might appear the more conspicuous and distinguishable and be the more welcome. Let us consider,  I. The person of the prophet. We have only his name, Malachi, and no account of his country or parentage. Malachi signifies my angel, which has given occasion for a conjecture that this prophet was indeed an angel from heaven and not a man, as that Jdg_2:1. But there is no just ground for the conjecture. Prophets were messengers, God's messengers; this prophet was so; his name is the very same with that which we find in the original (Mal_3:1) for my messenger; and perhaps from that word he might (though, probably, he had another name) be called Malachi. The Chaldee paraphrase, and some of the Jews, suggest that Malachi was the same with Ezra; but that also is groundless. Ezra was a scribe, but we never read that he was a prophet. Others, yet further from probability, make him to be Mordecai. But we have reason to conclude he was a person whose proper name was that by which he is here called; the tradition of some of the ancients is that he was of the tribe of Zebulun, and that he died young.  II. The scope of the prophecy. Haggai and Zechariah were sent to reprove the people for delaying to build the temple; Malachi was sent to reprove them for the neglect of it when it was built, and for their profanation of the temple-service (for from idolatry and superstition they ran into the other extreme of impiety and irreligion), and the sins he witnesses against are the same that we find complained of in Nehemiah's time, with whom, it is probable, he was contemporary. And now that prophecy was to cease he speaks more clearly of the Messiah, as nigh at hand, than any other of the prophets had done, and concludes with a direction to the people of God to keep in remembrance the law of Moses, while they were in expectation of the gospel of Christ. — Henry 

Malachi - The Book of Malachi
Commentary by A.R. Faussett

Introduction

Malachi forms the transition link between the two dispensations, the Old and the New, “the skirt and boundary of Christianity” [Tertullian], to which perhaps is due the abrupt earnestness which characterizes his prophecies. His very name is somewhat uncertain. Malachi is the name of an office, rather than a person, “My messenger,” and as such is found in Mal_3:1. The Septuagint favors this view in Mal_1:1; translate, not “by Malachi,” but “by the hand of His messenger” (compare Hag_1:13). Malachi is the last inspired messenger of the Old Testament, announcing the advent of the Great Messenger of the New Testament. The Chaldee paraphrase identifies him with Ezra wrongly, as Ezra is never called a prophet but a scribe, and Malachi never a scribe but a prophet. Still it hence appears that Malachi was by some old authorities not regarded as a proper name. The analogy of the headings of other prophets, however, favors the common view that Malachi is a proper name. As Haggai and Zechariah, the contemporary prophets, supported Joshua and Zerubbabel in the building of the temple, so he at a subsequent period supported the priest Ezra and the governor Nehemiah. Like that ruler, he presupposes the temple to have been already built (Mal_1:10; Mal_3:1-10). Both alike censure the abuses still unreformed (Neh_13:5, Neh_13:15-22, Neh_13:23-30), the profane and mercenary character of the priests, the people’s marriages contracted with foreigners, the non-payment of the tithes, and want of sympathy towards the poor on the part of the rich (Neh_6:7) implies that Nehemiah was supported by prophets in his work of reformation. The date thus will be about 420 b.c., or later. Both the periods after the captivity (that of Haggai and Zechariah, and that of Malachi) were marked by royal, priestly, and prophetic men at the head of God’s people. The former period was that of the building of the temple; the latter, that of the restoration of the people and rebuilding of the city. It is characteristic of the people of God that the first period after the restoration was exclusively devoted to the rebuilding of the temple; the political restoration came secondarily. Only a colony of fifty thousand settled with Joshua and Zerubbabel in Palestine (Ezr_2:64). Even these became intermingled with the heathen around during the sixty years passed over by Ezra in silence (Ezr_9:6-15; Neh_1:3). Hence a second restoration was needed which should mould the national life into a Jewish form, re-establishing the holy law and the holy city - a work effected by Ezra and Nehemiah, with the aid of Malachi, in a period of about half a century, ending with the deaths of Malachi and Nehemiah in the last ten years of the fifth century b.c.; that is, the “seven weeks” (Dan_9:25) put in the beginning of the “seventy” by themselves, to mark the fundamental difference between them, the last period of Old Testament revelation, and the period which followed without any revelation (the sixty-two weeks), preceding the final week standing out in unrivalled dignity by itself as the time of Messiah’s appearing. The seventy weeks thus begin with the seventh year of Artaxerxes who allowed Ezra to go to Jerusalem, 457 b.c., in accordance with the commandment which then went forth from God. Ezra the priest performed the inner work of purifying the nation from heathenish elements and reintroducing the law; while Nehemiah did the outer work of rebuilding the city and restoring the national polity [Auberlen]. Vitringa makes the date of Malachi’s prophecies to be about the second return of Nehemiah from Persia, not later than 424 b.c., the date of Artaxerxes’ death (Neh_13:6). About this time Socrates was teaching the only approach to a pure morality which corrupt Athens ever knew. Moore distinguishes six portions:

(1)   Charge against Israel for insensibility to God’s love, which so distinguished Israel above Edom (Mal_1:1-5).
(2)   The priests are reproved for neglect and profanation (Malachi 1:6-2:9).
(3)   Mixed marriages, and the wrongs done to Jewish wives, are reproved (Mal_2:10-16).
(4)   Coming of Messiah and His forerunners (Malachi 2:17-3:6).
(5)   Reproof for tithes withheld (Mal_3:7-12).
(6)   Contrast between the godly and the ungodly at the present time, and in the future judgment; exhortation, therefore, to return to the law (Malachi 3:13-4:6).

The style is animated, but less grand, and the rhythm less marked, than in some of the older prophets.

The canonicity of the book is established by the references to it in the New Testament (Mat_11:10; Mat_17:12; Mar_1:2; Mar_9:11, Mar_9:12; Luk_1:17; Rom_9:13).  — JFB
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« Reply #4082 on: July 15, 2010, 07:36:01 AM »

 
Malachi 1


 1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. 2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, {Rom 9:13;} 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. 5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.

 6 A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, [is it] not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. 9 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts. 10 Who [is there] even among you that would shut the doors [for nought]? neither do ye kindle [fire] on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. {Isa 1:11; Jer 6:20; Amos 5:21-22;} 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [shall be] offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name [shall be] great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] polluted; and the fruit thereof, [even] his meat, [is] contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness [is it]! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought [that which was] torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. 14 But cursed [be] the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I [am] a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name [is] dreadful among the heathen.
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« Reply #4083 on: July 15, 2010, 07:37:03 AM »

Malachi 1 - This chapter begins with showing the great and free favor which God had manifested to the Israelites, above what he had done to the Edomites, who are threatened with farther marks of the Divine displeasure; alluding, perhaps, to the calamities which they suffered from Judas Maccabeus and John Hyrcanus, (see 1 Maccabees 5:65, and Joseph Antiq. 13:9), Mal_1:1-5. God then reproaches his people, and especially their priests, for their ungrateful returns to his distinguished goodness, Mal_1:6. They are particularly charged with sacrificing the refuse of beasts, Mal_1:7-9, for which God threatens to reject them, Mal_1:10, and choose other nations who will show more reverence to his name and worship, Mal_1:11-14. — Clarke 

Malachi 1 - Thus prophet is sent first to convince and then to comfort, first to discover sin and to reprove for that and then to promise the coming of him who shall take away sin. And this method the blessed Spirit takes in dealing with souls, Joh_16:8. He first opens the wound and then applies the healing balm. God had provided (and one would think effectually) for the engaging of Israel to himself by providences and ordinances; but it seems, by the complaints here made of them, that they received the grace of God in both these in vain.  I. They were very ungrateful to God for his favours to them, and rendered not again according to the benefit they received (Mal_1:1-5).  II. They were very careless and remiss in the observance of his institutions; the priests especially were so, who were in a particular manner charged with them (Mal_1:6-14). And what shall we say of those whom neither providences nor ordinances work upon, and who affront God in those very things wherein they should honour him? — Henry 

Mal 1:1-5 

All advantages, either as to outward circumstances, or spiritual privileges, come from the free love of God, who makes one to differ from another. All the evils sinners feel and fear, are the just recompence of their crimes, while all their hopes and comforts are from the unmerited mercy of the Lord. He chose his people that they might be holy. If we love him, it is because he has first loved us; yet we all are prone to undervalue the mercies of God, and to excuse our own offences.

Mal 1:6-14 

We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were so scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse our slothfulness and niggardliness, in our returns of duty to God. A spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered to God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall be a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men now, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord, pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship. — MHCC

Mal 1:1-5 

The prophecy of this book is entitled, The burden of the word of the Lord (Mal_1:1), which intimates, 1. That it was of great weight and importance; what the false prophets said was light as the chaff, what the true prophets said was ponderous as the wheat, Jer_23:28. 2. That it ought to be often repeated to them and by them, as the burden of a song. 3. That there were those to whom it was a burden and a reproach; they were weary of it, and found themselves so aggrieved by it that they were not able to bear it. 4. That to them it would prove a burden indeed, to sink them to the lowest hell, unless they repented. 5. That to those who loved it and embraced it, and bade it welcome, though it was a light burden, as our Saviour calls it (Mat_11:30), yet it was a burden.
This burden of the word of the Lord was sent, 1. To Israel, for to them pertained the lively oracles of prophecy as well as those of the written word. Many prophets God had sent to Israel, and now he will try them with one more. 2. By Malachi, by the hand of Malachi, as if it were not a message by word of mouth, but a letter put into his hand, for the greater certainty.


In these verses, they are charged with ingratitude, in that they were not duly sensible of God's distinguishing goodness to them; and such a charge as this may well be called a burden, for it is a heavy one.

I. God asserts the great kindness he had, and had often expressed, for them (Mal_1:2): I have loved you, saith the Lord. Thus abruptly does the sermon begin, as if God intended, whatever reproofs should be given them, to reconcile them to his love, and to take care that they should still have good thoughts of him. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. Thus kindly does the sermon begin. God will have his people satisfied that he loves them and is ever mindful of his love. This is the same with what he said of old to the virgin of Israel, that he might engage her affections to himself (Jer_31:3, Jer_31:4): Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love. In this one word God sums up all his gracious dealings with them; love was the spring of all; he loved them because he would love them (Deu_7:7, Deu_7:8 ), loved them in their childhood, Hos_11:1. His delight was in them, Isa_62:4. “I have loved you, but you have not loved me, nor made any suitable returns for my love.” Note, God's people need to be often reminded of his love to them.

II. They question his love, and diminish the instances of it, and seem to quarrel with him for telling them of it: Yet you say, Wherein hast thou loved us? As God traces up all his favours to them to the fountain, which was his love, so he traces up all their sins against him to the fountain, which was their contempt of his love. Instead of acknowledging his kindness, and studying what they shall render, they scorn to own that they have been beholden to him, challenge him to produce proofs of his love that are material, and think and speak very slightly of the instances they have had of his kindness, as if they were so few, so small, as not to be worth taking notice of, and no more than what they had sufficiently made returns for, or at least than he had sufficiently balanced with instances of his wrath. “Have we not been wasted, impoverished, and carried captive; and wherein then hast thou loved us?” Note, God justly takes it very ill to have his favours slighted, as not worth speaking of; and it is very absurd for us to ask wherein he has loved us, when, which way soever we look, we meet with the proofs and instances of his love to us.

III. He makes it out, beyond contradiction, that he has loved them, loved them in a distinguishing way, which was in a special manner obliging. For proof of this he shows the difference he had made, and would still make, between Jacob and Esau, between Israelites and Edomites. Some read their question, Wherefore hast thou loved us? as if they did indeed own that he had loved them, but withal insinuate that there was a reason for it - that he loved them because their father Abraham had loved him, so that it was not a free love, but a love of debt, to which he replies, “Was not Esau as near akin to Abraham as you are? Was he not Jacob's own brother, his elder brother? And therefore, if there were any right to a recompence for Abraham's love, Esau had it, and yet I hated Esau and loved Jacob.
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« Reply #4084 on: July 15, 2010, 07:38:18 AM »

1. Let them see what a difference God had made between Jacob and Esau. Esau was Jacob's brother, his twin-brother: “Yet I loved Jacob and I hated Esau, that is, took Jacob into covenant, and entailed the blessing on him and his, but refused and rejected Esau.” Note, Those that are taken into covenant with God, that have the lively oracles and the means of grace committed to them, have reason to look upon these as tokens of his love. Jacob is loved, for he has these, Esau hated, for he has not. The apostle quotes this (Rom_9:13), and compares it with what the oracle said to Rebecca concerning her twins (Gen_25:23), The elder shall serve the younger, to illustrate the doctrine of God's sovereignty in dispensing his favours; for may he not do what he will with his own? Esau was justly hated, but Jacob freely loved; even so, Father, because it seemed good in thy eyes, and it is not for us to ask why or wherefore.

2. Let them see what he was now doing and would do with them, pursuant to this original difference.

(1.) The Edomites shall be made the monuments of God's justice, and he will be glorified in their utter destruction: For Esau have I hated; I laid his mountains waste, the mountains of Seir, which were his heritage. When all that part of the world was ravaged by the Chaldean army the country of Edom was, among the rest, laid in ruins, and became a habitation for the dragons of the wilderness, so perfectly desolate was it; as was foretold, Isa_34:6, Isa_34:11. The Edomites had triumphed in Jerusalem's overthrow (Psa_137:7), and therefore it was just with God to put the same cup of trembling into their hands. And, though Edom's ruins were last, yet they were lasting, and the desolation perpetual; and in this the difference was made between Jacob and Esau, and is made between the righteous and the wicked, to whom otherwise all things come alike, and there seems to be one event. Jacob's cities are laid waste, but they are rebuilt; Edom's are laid waste, and never rebuilt. The sufferings of the righteous will have an end and will end well; all their grievances will be redressed, and their sorrow turned into joy; but the sufferings of the wicked will be endless and remediless, as Edom's desolations, Mal_1:4. Observe here, [1.] The vain hopes of the Edomites, that they shall have their ruins repaired as well as Israel, though they had no promise to build their hope upon. They say, “It is true, we are impoverished; it is the common chance, and there is no remedy; but we will return and build the desolate places; we are resolved we will” (not so much as asking God leave); “we will whether he will or no; nay, we will do it in defiance of God's curse, and that sentence pronounced upon Edom (Isa_34:10), From generation to generation it shall lie waste.” They build presumptuously, as Hiel built Jericho in direct contradiction to the word of God (1Ki_16:34), and it shall speed accordingly. Note, It is common for those whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences to think to make their part good against God himself, and to build, and plant, and flourish again as much as ever, though God has said that they shall be impoverished. But see, [2.] The dashing of these hopes and the disappointment of them: They say, We will build; but what says the Lord of hosts? For we are sure his word shall stand, and not theirs; and he says, First, Their attempts shall be baffled: They shall build, but I will throw down. Note, Those that walk contrary to God will find that he will walk contrary to them; for who ever hardened his heart against God and prospered? When the Jews had rejected Christ and his gospel they became Edomites, and this word was fulfilled in them; for when, in the time of the emperor Adrian, they attempted to rebuild Jerusalem, God by earthquakes and eruptions of fire threw down what they built, so that they were forced to quit the enterprise. Secondly, They shall be looked upon by all as abandoned to utter ruin. All that see them shall call them the border of wickedness, a sinful nation, incurably so, and therefore the people against whom the Lord has indignation for ever. Since their wickedness is such as will never be reformed, their desolations shall be such as are never to be repaired. Against Israel God was a little displeased (Zec_1:15), but against Edom he has indignation, and will have for ever, for they are the people of his curse, Isa_34:5.

(2.) The Israelites shall be made the monuments of his mercy, and he will be glorified in their salvation, Mal_1:5. “The Edomites shall be stigmatized as a people hated of God, but your eyes shall see your doubts concerning his love to you for ever silenced; for you shall say, and have cause to say, The Lord is and will be magnified from the border of Israel, from every part and border of the land of Israel.” The border of Edom is a border of wickedness, and therefore the Lord will have indignation against it for ever; but the border of Israel is a border of holiness, the border of the sanctuary (Psa_78:54), and therefore God will make it to appear (though it may for a time lie desolate) that he has mercy in store for it, and thence he will be magnified; he will give his people Israel both cause, and hearts, to praise him. When the border of Edom still remains desolate, and the border of Israel is repaired and replenished, then it will appear that God has loved Jacob. Note, [1.] Those who doubt of God's love to his people shall, sooner or later, have convincing and undeniable proofs given them of it: “your own eyes shall see what you will not believe.” [2.] Deliverances out of trouble are to be reckoned proofs of God's good-will to his people, though they may be suffered to fall into trouble, Psa_34:19. [3.] Distinguishing favours are very obliging. If God rear up again the border of Israel, but leave the border of Edom in ruins, let no Israelite ask, for shame, Wherein hast thou loved us? [4.] The dignifying of Israel is the magnifying of the God of Israel, and, one way or other, God will have honour from his professing people. [5.] God's goodness being his glory, when he does us good we must proclaim him great, for that is magnifying him. It is an instance of his goodness that he has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants, and for this those that love his salvation say, The Lord be magnified, Psa_35:27. — Henry 

Mal 1:6-14 
The prophet is here, by a special commission, calling the priests to account, though they were themselves appointed judges, to call the people to an account. Let the rulers in the house of God know that there is one above them, who will reckon with them for their mal-administrations. Thus saith the Lord of hosts to you, O priests! Mal_1:6. God will have a saying to unfaithful ministers; and it concerns those who speak from God to his people to hear and heed what he says to them, that they may save themselves in the first place, otherwise how should they help to save those that hear them? It is a severe, and no doubt a just reproof, that is here given to the priests, for the profanation of the holy things of God, with which they were entrusted; and, if this was the crime of the priests, we have reason to fear the people also were guilty of it: so that what is said to the priests is said to all, nay, it is said to us, who, as Christians, profess ourselves, not only the people of God, but priests to him. Observe here,

I. What it was that God expected from them, and with what good reason he expected it (Mal_1:6): A son honours his father, because he is his father; nature has written this law in the hearts of children, before God wrote it at Mount Sinai; nay, a servant, though his obligation to his master is not natural, but by voluntary compact, yet thinks it his duty to honour him, to be observant of his orders, and true to his interests. Children and servants pay respect to their parents and masters; every one cries out shame on them if they do not, and their own hearts cannot but reproach them too; the order of families is thus kept up, and it is their beauty and advantage. But the priests, who are God's children and his servants, do not fear and honour him. They were fathers and masters to the people, and expected to be called so (Jdg_18:19, Mat_22:7, Mat_22:10) and to be reverenced and obeyed as such; but they forgot their Father and Master in heaven, and the duty they owed to him. We may each of us charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Note, 1. We are every one of us to look upon God as our Father and Master, and upon ourselves as his children and servants. 2. Our relation to God as our Father and Master strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. If we honour and fear the fathers of our flesh, much more the Father and Master of our spirits, Heb_12:9. 3. It is a thing to be justly complained of, and lamented, that God is so little feared and honoured even by those that own him for their Father and Master. Where is his honour? Where is his fear?
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« Reply #4085 on: July 15, 2010, 07:39:24 AM »

II. What the contempt was which the priests put upon God.

1. This is that, in general, which is charged upon them: - (1.) They despised God's name; their familiarity with it, as priests, bred contempt of it, and served them only to gain a veneration by it for themselves and their own name, while God's name was of small account with them. God's name is all that whereby he has made himself known - his word and ordinances; these they had low thoughts of, and vilified that which it was their business to magnify; and no wonder that when they despised it themselves they did that which made it despicable to others, causing even the sacrifices of the Lord to be abhorred, as Eli's sons did. (2.) They profaned God's name, Mal_1:12. They polluted it, Mal_1:7. They not only made no account of sacred things, but they made an ill use of them, and perverted them to the service of the worst and vilest purposes - their own pride, covetousness, and luxury. There cannot be a greater provocation to God than the profanation of his name; for it is holy and reverend. His purity cannot be polluted by us, for he is unspotted, but his name may be profaned; and nothing profanes it more than the misconduct of priests, whose business it is to do honour to it. This is the general charge exhibited against them. To this they plead Not guilty, and challenge God to prove it upon them, and to make good the charge, which added daring impudence to their daring impiety: You say, Wherein have we despised thy name? (Mal_1:6), and wherein have we polluted thee? Mal_1:7. It is common with proud sinners, when they are reproved, to stand thus upon their own justification. These priests had most horridly profaned sacred things, and yet, like the adulterous woman, they said that they had done no wickedness; they were so inobservant of themselves that they remembered not or reflected not upon their own acts, or they were so ignorant of the divine law that they thought there was no harm in them, and that what they did could not be construed into despising God's name, or they were so atheistical as to imagine that though they knew their own guilt yet God did not, or they were so scornful in their conduct towards God and his prophets that they took a pride in bantering a serious and just reproof, and turning it off with a jest. They either laugh at the reproof, as those that despise it, and harden their hearts against it, or they laugh it off, as those that resolve they will not be touched by it, or will not seem to be so. Which way soever we take it, their defence was their offence, and, in justifying themselves, their own tongues condemned them, and their saying, Wherein have we despised thy name? proved them proud and perverse. Had they asked this question with a humble desire to be told more particularly wherein they had offended, it would have been an evidence of their repentance, and would have given hopes of their reformation; but to ask it thus in disdain and defiance of the word of God argues their hearts fully set in them to do evil. Note, Sinners ruin themselves by studying to baffle their own convictions; but they will find it hard to kick against the pricks.

2. Justly might they have been convicted and condemned upon the general charge, and their plea thrown out as frivolous; but God will not only overcome, but will be clear, will be justified when he judges, and therefore he shows them very particularly wherein they had despised his name, and what the contempt was that they cast upon him. As formerly, when he charged them with idolatry, so now, when he charges them with profaneness, he bids them see their way in the valley and know what they have done, Jer_2:23.

(1.) They despised God's name in what they said, in the low opinion they had of his institutions: “You say in your hearts, and perhaps speak it out when you priests get together over your cups. out of the hearing of the people, The table of the Lord is contemptible” (Mal_1:7), and again (Mal_1:12), “You say, The table of the Lord is polluted; it is to be no more regarded than any other table.” Either the table in the temple, on which the show-bread was placed, is that which they reflect upon (not understanding the mystery of it, they despised it as an insignificant thing), or rather the altar of burnt-offerings is here called the table, for there God, and his priests, and his people, did, as it were, feast together upon the sacrifices, in token of friendship. This they thought was contemptible. Formerly, in the days of superstition, it was thought contemptible in comparison with the idolatrous alters that the heathen had, and was set aside to make room for a new-fashioned one (2Ki_16:14, 2Ki_16:15); now it is thought contemptible in comparison with their own tables, and those of their great men: The fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Those who served at the altar were to live upon the altar; but they complained that they lived poorly and meanly, and that it was not worth while to attend the service of the altar for the fruit and meat of it, for it was very ordinary and always the same again; they had no dainties, no varieties, no nice dishes. Nay, that part of the sacrifices which was given to God, the blood and the fat, they looked upon with contempt, as not worthy the multitude of laws God had made about it; they asked, “What need is there of so much ado about burning the fat and pouring out the blood?” Note, Those greatly profane and pollute God's name who despise the business of religion, though it is very honourable, as not worth taking pains in, and the advantages of religion, though highly valuable, as not worth taking pains for. Those who live in a careless neglect of holy ordinances, who come to them and attend on them irreverently, and go away from them never the better and under no concern, do in effect say, “The table of the Lord is contemptible; there is neither virtue nor value in it, neither credit nor comfort from it.”

(2.) They despised God's name in what they did, which was of a piece with what they said, and flowed from it; corrupt principles and notions are roots of bitterness, which bear the gall and wormwood of corrupt practices. They looked upon the table and altar of the Lord as contemptible, and then, [1.] They thought any thing would serve for a sacrifice, though ever so coarse and mean, and were so far from bringing the best, as they ought to have done, that they picked out the worst they had, which was fit neither for the market nor for their own tables, and offered that at God's altar. With every sacrifice they were to bring a meat-offering of fine flour mingled with oil; but they brought polluted bread (Mal_1:7), coarse bread, servants' bread, perhaps it was dry and mouldy, or made of the refuse of the wheat, which they thought good enough to be burnt upon the altar; for had it been better they would have said, To what purpose is this waste? And as to the beasts they offered, though the law was express that what was offered in sacrifice should not have a blemish, yet they brought the blind, and the lame, and the sick (Mal_1:8 ), and again (Mal_1:13), the torn, and the lame, and the sick, that was ready to die of itself. They looked no further than the burning of the sacrifice, and they pleaded that it was a pity to burn it if it was good for any thing else. The people were so far convinced of their duty that they would bring sacrifices; they durst not wholly omit the duty, but they brought vain oblations, mocked God, and deceived themselves, by bringing the worst they had; and the priests, who should have taught them better, accepted the gifts brought to the altar and offered them up there, because, if they should refuse them, the people would bring none at all, and then they would lose their perquisites; and therefore, having more regard to their own profit than to God's honour, they accepted that which they knew he would not accept. Some make Mal_1:8 to be a continuation of what the priests profanely said Mal_1:7, You say to the people, If you offer the blind for sacrifice, it is not evil; or the lame and the sick, it is not evil. Note, It is a very evil thing, whether men think so or no, to offer the blind and the lame, the torn and the sick, in sacrifice to God. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, and without consideration, if we are cold, and dull, and dead, in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and, if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? Do not our books tell us, nay, do not our own hearts tell us, that this is evil? for God, who is the best, ought to be served with the best we have. [2.] They would do no more of their work than what they were paid for. The priests would offer the sacrifices that were brought to the altar, because they had their share of them; but as for any other service of the temple, that had not a particular fee belonging to it, they would not stir a step, nor lend a hand, to it; and this was the general temper of them, Mal_1:10. There is not a man among the priests that would shut the doors, or kindle a fire, for nought. If he were required to do the smallest piece of service, he would ask, how shall I be paid for it? They would do nothing gratis, but were all for what they could get, every one for his gain, from his quarter, Isa_56:11.
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« Reply #4086 on: July 15, 2010, 07:40:45 AM »

Note, Though God has given order that his servants be well paid in this world, yet those are no acceptable servants to him who are mercenary, and would never do the work but for the wages.

  [3.] Their work was a perfect drudgery to them (Mal_1:13): You said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! Both priests and people were of this mind, that they thought God imposed too hard a task upon them; the people grudged the charge of providing the sacrifice and the priests grudged the pains of offering it; they thought the feasts of the Lord came too thick, and they were forced to attend too often, and too long, in the courts of the Lord; the priests thought it a severe penance imposed upon them to purify themselves as was required when they attended the altar and ate of the holy things; they thought the duty of their office toilsome and troublesome, and snuffed at it as unreasonable, and bearing hard upon them; they did it, but it was grudgingly and with reluctance. God speaks of it, in justification of his law, that he had not made them to serve with an offering, nor wearied them with incense, Isa_43:23. Wherein have I wearied thee? Mic_6:3. But their own wicked hearts made it a weariness; and they were, as Doeg, detained before the Lord; they would rather have been any where else. Note, Those are highly injurious, both to God and themselves, who are weary of his service and worship, and snuff at it.

III. Observe how God expostulates and reasons the case with them, for their conviction and humiliation. 1. Would they, durst they, affront an earthly prince thus? “You offer to God the lame and the sick; offer it now unto thy governor (Mal_1:8 ), either as tribute or as a present, when thou art entreating his favour, or in gratitude for some favour received; will he be pleased with thee? Or, rather, will he not take himself to be affronted by it?” Note, Those who are careless and irreverent in the duties of religious worship should consider what a shame it is to offer that to their God which they would scorn to offer to their governor, to be more observant of the laws of breeding and good manners than of the laws of religion, and more afraid of being rude than of being profane. 2. Could they imagine that such sacrifices as these would be pleasing to God, or answer the end of sacrifices? “Should I accept this at your hand, saith the Lord? Mal_1:13. Have you any reason to think I should either not discern or not resent the affront, that I should connive at the violation of my own laws? No (Mal_1:10); I have no pleasure in you, and therefore, I will not accept an offering, such an offering, at your hand.” If God has no pleasure in the person, if the person be not in a justified state, if he be not sanctified, God will not accept the offering. God had respect to Abel first and then to his sacrifice. Note, In order to our acceptance with God it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good, but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. It was the ancient rule laid down (Gen_4:7), If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? Now, if we be not accepted of God, in vain do we worship him; it is all lost labour; nay, we are all undone, for ever undone, if we come short of God's acceptance. Those therefore make a bad bargain for themselves who, to save charges in their religion, miss all the ends of it, and, by thinking to go the nearest way to work, bring nothing to pass. Those who make it the top of their ambition, as we all ought to do, whether present or absent, to be accepted of the Lord, will not dare to bring the torn, and the lame, and the sick, for sacrifice. 3. How could they expect to prevail with God in their intercessions for the people when they thus affronted God in their sacrifices? So some understand Mal_1:9, as spoken ironically, “And now if you will do the duty of priests, and stand in the gap to turn away the judgments of God that you see ready to pour in upon us, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious to us, and to our land which is almost eaten up with locusts and caterpillars,” as appears Mal_3:11. “Try now what interest you have at the throne of grace; improve it for the removing of this plague, for it has been by your means; you have provoked God to send it. But as you go on thus to profane his sacred things will he regard your persons or your prayers? No, you cannot prevail with him to command it away.” For, if we regard iniquity in our hearts, God will not hear us, either for ourselves or for others. 4. Had God deserved this at their hands? No, he had provided comfortably for them, and had given them such encouragement in their work as might have engaged them to do it cheerfully and well; so some understand Mal_1:10, “Who is there among you that shall shut a door, or kindle a fire, for nought? No, God does not expect you should serve him for nothing; you are well paid for it, and shall be so; not a cup of cold water, given for the honour of God, shall lose its reward.” Note, The consideration of our constant receivings from God, and the present rewards of obedience in obedience, very much aggravates our slothfulness and niggardliness in our returns of duty to God.

IV. He calls them to repentance for their profanations of his holy name. So we may understand Mal_1:9, “Now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious to us. Humble yourselves for your sin, cry mightily to God for pardon, and make up in the faith and fervency of your prayers what has been wanting in the worth and value of your sacrifices; for all the rebukes of Providence we are under are by your means.” Note, Those who have by their sins helped to kindle a fire are highly concerned by their repentance, prayers, and the personal reformation, to help to quench it. We must see how much God's judgments are by our means, and be awakened thereby to be earnest with him to return in mercy; and, if we take not this course, how can we think he should regard our persons?

V. He declares his resolution both to secure the glory of his own name and to reckon with those who profane it. Those who put contempt upon God and religion, and think to run down sacred things, let them know,

1. That they shall not gain their point. God will magnify his law and make it honourable, though they vilify it and make it contemptible; for (Mal_1:11) from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles. It might be said, “If these are not the worshippers whom God will accept, then he has no worshippers.” As if he must make the best of their service, or else he would have no service done him; and then what will he do for his great name? But let him alone for that; though Israel be not faithful, be not gathered, yet God will be glorious. Though these priests provoke him to take down the ceremonial economy, and to abolish that law of commandments, which could not make the comers thereunto perfect, yet he will be no loser by that, at the long run; for, (1.) Instead of those carnal ordinances, which they profaned, a spiritual way of worship shall be introduced and established: Incense shall be offered to God's name (which signifies prayer and praise, Psa_141:2; Rev_8:3), instead of the blood and fat of bulls and goats. And it shall be a pure offering, refined, not only from the corruptions that were in the priests' practice, but from the mere bodily exercise that was in the institutions themselves, which are called carnal ordinances, imposed till the time of reformation, Heb_9:10. When the hour came in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. (2.) Instead of his being worshipped and served among the Jews only, a small people in a corner of the world, he will be served and worshipped in all places, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same; in every place, in every part of the world, incense shall be offered to his name; nations shall be discipled, and shall speak of the wonderful works of God, and have them spoken to them in their own language. This is a plain prediction of that great revolution in the kingdom of grace by which the Gentiles, who had been strangers and foreigners, came to be fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God, and as welcome to the throne of grace as ever the Jews had been. It is twice said (for the thing was certain), My name shall be great among the Gentiles, whereas hitherto in Judah only he was known, and his name was great, Psa_76:1. God's name shall be declared to them, the declaration of it shall be received and believed, and there shall be those among the Gentiles who shall magnify and glorify the name of God better than ever the Jews had done, even the priests themselves.
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« Reply #4087 on: July 15, 2010, 07:49:12 AM »

  2. That they shall not go unpunished, Mal_1:14. Here is the doom of those who do like these priests, for the sentence on them is a sentence on all such. Observe, (1.) The description of profane and careless worshippers. They are such as vow and sacrifice to the Lord a corrupt thing when they have in their flock a male. They have of the best, wherewith to serve and honour him, so bountiful has be been in his gifts to them, but they put him off with the worst, and think that good enough for him, so ungrateful are they in their returns to him. This was the fault of the people, but the priests connived at it, and indulged them in it. We find a distinction in the law which allowed that to be offered for a free-will offering which would not be accepted for a vow, Lev_22:23. But the priests would accept it, though God would not, pretending to be more indulgent than he was, for which he will give them no thanks another day. (2.) The character given of such worshippers. They are deceivers; they deal falsely and fraudulently with God; they play the hypocrite with him; they pretend to honour him, in making the vow, but, when it comes to be performed, they put an affront upon him, to such a degree that it would have been better not to have vowed than to vow and thus to pay; but let not such be themselves deceived, for God is not mocked. Those who think to put a cheat upon God will prove, in the end, to have put a damning cheat upon their own souls. Hypocrites are deceivers, and they will prove self-deceivers, and so self-destroyers. (3.) The doom passed upon them: They are cursed; they expect a blessing, but will meet with a curse, the tokens of God's wrath, according to the judgment written. (4.) The reason of this doom: “For I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and therefore will reckon with those who deal with me but as a man like themselves; my name is dreadful among the heathen, and therefore I will not bear that it should be contemptible among my own people.” The heathen paid more respect to their gods, though idols, than the Jews did to theirs, though the only true and living God. Note, The consideration of God's universal dominion, and the universal acknowledgment of it, should restrain us from all irreverence in his service. — Henry 
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« Reply #4088 on: July 16, 2010, 12:00:29 AM »

Malachi 2

 1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment [is] for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay [it] to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay [it] to heart. {Lev 26:14; Deut 28:15;} 3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, [even] the dung of your solemn feasts; and [one] shall take you away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him [for] the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.

 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 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. 12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth [it] with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet [is] she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for [one] covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied [him]? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil [is] good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where [is] the God of judgment?
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« Reply #4089 on: July 16, 2010, 12:02:55 AM »

Malachi 2 -
The priests reproved for their unfaithfulness in their office, for which they are threatened to be deprived of their share of the sacrifice, (the shoulder), and rewarded only with ignominy and ordure, Mal_2:1-3. The degeneracy of the order is then complained of, and they are again threatened, Mal_2:4-9. The rest of the chapter reproves the people for marrying strange and idolatrous women; and multiplying divorces, with all their consequent distress, in order to make way for such illicit alliances, Mal_2:10-17. See Neh_10:30; Neh_13:13, etc. — Clarke 

Malachi 2 - There are two great ordinances which divine wisdom has instituted, the wretched profanation of both of which is complained of and sharply reproved in this chapter.  I. The ordinance of the ministry, which is peculiar to the church, and is designed for the maintaining and keeping up of that; this was profaned by those who were themselves dignified with the honour of it and entrusted with the business of it. The priests profaned the holy things of God; this they are here charged with; their sin is aggravated, and they are severely threatened for it (Mal_2:1-9).  II. The ordinance of marriage, which is common to the world of mankind, and was instituted for the maintaining and keeping up of that; this was profaned both by the priests and by the people, in marrying strangers (Mal_2:11, Mal_2:12), treating their wives unkindly (Mal_2:13), putting them away (Mal_2:16), and herein dealing treacherously (Mal_2:10, Mal_2:14, Mal_2:15). And that which was at the bottom of this and other instances of profaneness and downright atheism, thinking God altogether such a one as themselves, which was, in effect, to say, There is no God (Mal_2:17). And these reproofs to them are warnings to us. — Henry 

Mal 2:1-9 

What is here said of the covenant of priesthood, is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests. It is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of all happiness, both in this world and in that to come. It is an honour to God's servants to be employed as his messengers. The priest's lips should not keep knowledge from his people, but keep it for them. The people are all concerned to know the will of the Lord. We must not only consult the written word, but desire instruction and advice from God's messengers, in the affairs of our souls. Ministers must exert themselves to the utmost for the conversion of sinners; and even among those called Israelites, there are many to be turned from iniquity. Those ministers, and those only, are likely to turn men from sin, who preach sound doctrine, and live holy lives according to the Scripture. Many departed from this way; thus they misled the people. Such as walk with God in peace and righteousness, and turn others from sin, honour God; he will honour them, while those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed.

Mal 2:10-17 

Corrupt practices are the fruit of corrupt principles; and he who is false to his God, will not be true to his fellow mortals. In contempt of the marriage covenant, which God instituted, the Jews put away the wives they had of their own nation, probably to make room for strange wives. They made their lives bitter to them; yet, in the sight of others, they pretend to be tender of them. Consider she is thy wife; thy own; the nearest relation thou hast in the world. The wife is to be looked on, not as a servant, but as a companion to the husband. There is an oath of God between them, which is not to be trifled with. Man and wife should continue to their lives' end, in holy love and peace. Did not God make one, one Eve for one Adam? Yet God could have made another Eve. Wherefore did he make but one woman for one man? It was that the children might be made a seed to serve him. Husbands and wives must live in the fear of God, that their seed may be a godly seed. The God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away. Those who would be kept from sin, must take heed to their spirits, for there all sin begins. Men will find that their wrong conduct in their families springs from selfishness, which disregards the welfare and happiness of others, when opposed to their own passions and fancies. It is wearisome to God to hear people justify themselves in wicked practices. Those who think God can be a friend to sin, affront him, and deceive themselves. The scoffers said, Where is the God of judgement? but the day of the Lord will come. — MHCC

Mal 2:1-9 

What was said in the foregoing chapter was directed to the priests (Mal_1:6): Thus saith the Lord of hosts to you, O priests! that despise my name. But the crimes there charged upon them they were guilty of as sacrificers, and for those they might think it some excuse that they offered what the people brought, and therefore that, if they were not so good as they should be, it was not their fault, but the people's; and therefore here the corruptions there complained of are traced to the source and spring of them - the faults the priests were guilty of as teachers of the people, as expositors of the law and the lively oracles; and this is a part of their office which still remains in the hands of gospel-ministers (who are appointed to be pastors and teachers, like the priests under the law, though not sacrificers, like them), and therefore by them the admonition here is to be particularly regarded. If the priests had given the people better instructions, the people would have brought better offerings; and therefore the blame returns upon the priests: “And now, O you priests! this commandment is purely for you (Mal_2:1), who should have taught the people the good knowledge of the Lord, and how to worship him aright.” Note, The governors of the churches are under God's government, and to him they are accountable. Even for those who command God has commandments. Nay (Mal_2:4), you shall know that I have sent these commandments for you. They should know it either, 1. By the power of the Spirit working with the word for their conviction and reformation: “You shall know its original by its efficacy, whence it comes by what it does.” When the word of God to us brings about, and carries on, the work of God in us, then we cannot but know that he sent it to us, that it is not the word of Malachi - God's messenger, but it is indeed the word of God, and is sent, not only in general to all, but in particular to us. Or, 2. By the accomplishment of the threatenings denounced against them: “You shall know, to your cost, that I have sent this commandment to you, and it shall not return void.”

Let us now see what this commandment is which is for the priests, which, they must know, was sent to them; and let us put into method the particulars of the charge.

I. Here is a recital of the covenant God made with that sacred tribe, which was their commission for their work and the patent of their honour: The Lord of hosts sent a commandment to them, for the establishing of this covenant (Mal_2:4), for his covenant is said to be the word which he commanded (Psa_105:8 ); and he sent this commandment by the prophet at this time for the re-establishing of it, that it might not be cut off for their persisting in the violation of it. Let the sons of Levi know then (and particularly the sons of Aaron) what honour God put upon their family, and what a trust he reposed in them (Mal_2:5): My covenant was with him of life and peace. Besides the covenant of peculiarity made with all the house of Israel, there was a covenant of priesthood made with one family, that they should do the services, and, upon condition of that, should enjoy all the privileges, of the priest's office - that, as Israel was a peculiar nation, a kingdom of priests, so the house of Aaron should be a family of priests, set apart for the service and honour of God, to bear up his name in that nation, as they were to bear up his name among the nations; both the one and the other, in different degrees, were to give glory unto God's name, Mal_2:2. God covenanted with them as his menial servants, obliged them to do his work and promised to own and accept them in it. This is called his covenant of life and peace, because it was intended for the support of religion, which brings life and peace to the souls of men - life to the dead, peace to the distressed, or because life and peace were by this covenant promised to those priests that faithfully and conscientiously discharged their duty; they shall have peace, which implies security from all evil, and life, which comprises the summary of all good. What is here said of the covenant of priesthood is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests; it is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of life and peace, everlasting peace, everlasting life, all happiness both in this world and in that to come. This covenant was made with the whole tribe of Levi when they were distinguished from the rest of the tribes, were not numbered with them, but were taken from among them and appointed over the tabernacle of testimony (Num_1:49, Num_1:50), by virtue of which appointment God says (Num_3:12), The Levites shall be mine. It was made with Aaron when he and his sons were taken to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office, Exo_28:1.
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« Reply #4090 on: July 16, 2010, 12:04:21 AM »


Aaron is therefore called the saint of the Lord, Psa_106:16. It was made with Phinehas and his family, a branch of Aaron's, upon a particular occasion, Num_25:12, Num_25:13. And there the covenant of priesthood is called, as here, the covenant of peace, because by it peace was made and kept between God and Israel. These great blessings of life and peace, contained in that covenant, God gave to him, to Levi, to Aaron, to Phinehas; he promised life and peace to them and their posterity, entrusted them with these benefits for the use and behoof of God's Israel; they received that they might give, as Christ himself did, Psa_68:18. now, for the further opening of this covenant, observe, 1. The considerations upon which it was grounded: It was for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The tribe of Levi gave a signal proof of their holy fear of God, and their reverence for his name, when they appeared so bravely against the worshippers of the golden calf (Exo_32:26); and for their zeal in that matter God bestowed this blessing upon them and invited them to consecrate themselves unto him. Phinehas also showed himself zealous in the fear of God and his judgments when, to stay the plague, he stabbed Zimri and Cozbi, Psa_106:30, Psa_106:31. Note, Those, and those only, who fear God's name, can expect the benefit of the covenant of life and peace; and those who give proofs of their zeal for God shall without fail be recompensed in the glorious privileges of the Christian priesthood. Some read this, not as the consideration of the grant, but as the condition of it: I gave them to him, provided that he should fear before me. If God grant us life and peace, he expects we should fear before him. 2. The trust that was lodged in the priests by this covenant, Mal_2:7. They were hereby made the messengers of the Lord of hosts, messengers of that covenant of life and peace, not mediators of it, but only messengers, or ambassadors, employed to treat of the terms of peace between God and Israel. The priests were God's mouth to his people, from whom they must receive instructions according to the lively oracles. This was the office to which Levi was advanced; because, in his zeal for God, he did not acknowledge his brethren, nor know his own children, therefore they shall teach Jacob God's judgments, Deu_33:9, Deu_33:10. Note, It is an honour to God's servants to be employed as his messengers and to be sent on his errands. Angels have their name thence. Haggai was called the Lord's messenger. This being their office, observe, (1.) What is the duty of ministers: The priests' lips should keep knowledge, not keep it from the people, but keep it for them. Ministers must be men of knowledge; for how are those able to teach others the things of God who are themselves unacquainted with those things or unready in them? They must keep knowledge, must furnish themselves with it and retain what they have got, that they may be like the good householder, who brings out of his treasury things new and old. Not only their heads, but their lips, must keep knowledge; they must not only have it, but they must have it ready, must have it at hand, must have it (as we say) at their tongue's end, to be communicated to others as there is occasion. Thus we read of wisdom in the lips of him that has understanding, with which they feed many, Pro_10:13, Pro_10:21. (2.) What is the duty of the people: They should seek the law at his mouth; they should consult the priests as God's messengers, and not only hear the message, but ask questions upon it, that they may the better understand it and that mistakes concerning it may be prevented and rectified. We are all concerned fully to know what the will of the Lord is, to know it distinctly and certainly; we should be desirous to know it and therefore inquisitive concerning it. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? We must not only consult the written word (to the law and to the testimony), but must have recourse to God's messengers, and desire instruction and advice from them in the affairs of our souls as we do from physicians and lawyers concerning our bodies and estates. Not but that ministers ought to lay down the law of God to those who do not enquire concerning it, or desire the knowledge of it (they must instruct those that oppose themselves, 2Ti_2:25, as well as those that offer themselves), but it is people's duty to apply to them for instruction, not only to hear, but to ask questions. Watchman, what of the night? Thus if you will enquire, enquire you; see Isa_21:8, Isa_21:11, Isa_21:12. People should not only seek comfort at the mouth of their ministers, but should seek the law there; for, if we found in the way of duty, we shall find it the way of comfort.

II. Here is a memorial of the fidelity and zeal of many of their predecessors in the priest's office, which are mentioned as an aggravation of their sin in degenerating from such honourable ancestors and deserting such illustrious examples, and as a justification of God in withdrawing from them those tokens of his presence which he had granted to those that kept close to him. See here (Mal_2:6) how good the godly priest was, whose steps they should have trod in, and what good he did, God's grace working with him. 1. See how good he was. He was ready and mighty in the scriptures: The law of truth was in his mouth, for the use of those that asked the law at his mouth; and in all his discourses there appeared more or less of the law of truth. Every thing he said was under the government of that law, and with it he governed others. He spoke as one having authority (every word was a law), and as one that had both wisdom and integrity - it was a law of truth, and truth is a law, it has a commanding power. It is by truth that Christ rules. The law of truth was in his mouth, for his resolutions of cases of conscience proposed to him were such as might be depended upon; his opinion was good law. Iniquity was not found in his lips; he did not handle the word of God deceitfully, to please men, to serve a turn, or to make an interest for himself, but told all that consulted him what the law was, whether it were pleasing or displeasing. He did not pronounce that unclean which was clean, nor that clean which was unclean, as one of the rabbin expounds it. And his conversation was of a piece with his doctrine. God himself gives him this honourable testimony: He walked with me in peace and equity. He did not think it enough to talk of God, but he walked with him. The temper of his mind, and the tenour of his life, were of a piece with his doctrine and profession; he lived a life of communion with God, and made it his constant care and business to please him; he lived like a priest that was chosen to walk before God, 1Sa_2:30. His conversation was quiet; he was meek and gentle towards all men, was a pattern and promoter of love; he walked with God in peace, was himself peaceable and a great peace-maker. His conversation was also honest; he did no wrong to any, but made conscience of rendering to all their due: He walked with me in equity, or rectitude. We must not, for peace-sake, transgress the rules of equity, but must keep the peace as far as is consistent with justice. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. Ministers, of all men, are concerned to walk with God in peace and equity, that they may be examples to the flock. 2. See what good he did; he answered the ends of his advancement to that office: He did turn many away from iniquity; he made it his business to do good, and God crowned his endeavours with wonderful success; he helped to save many a soul from death, and there are multitudes now in heaven blessing God that ever they knew him. Ministers must lay out themselves to the utmost for the conversion of sinners, and even among those that have the name of Israelites there is need of conversion-work, there are many to be turned from iniquity; and they must reckon it an honour, and a rich reward of their labour, if they may but be instrumental herein. It is God only that by his grace can turn men from iniquity, and yet it is here said of a pious laborious minister that he turned men from iniquity as a worker together with God, and an instrument in his hand; and those that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars, Dan_12:3. Note, Those ministers, and those only, are likely to turn men from iniquity, that preach sound doctrine and live good lives, and both according to the scripture; for, as one of the rabbin observes here, When the priest is upright many will be upright.
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« Reply #4091 on: July 16, 2010, 12:06:13 AM »

III. Here is a high charge drawn up against the priests of the present age, who violated the covenant of the priesthood and went directly contrary both to the rules and to the examples that were set before them. Many particulars of their sins we had in the foregoing chapter, and we find (Neh. 13) that many corruptions had crept into the church of the Jews at this time, mixed marriages, admitting strangers into the house of God, profanation of the sabbath-day, which were all owing to the carelessness and unfaithfulness of the priests; here it is charged upon them in general, 1. That they transgressed the rule: You have departed out of the way (Mal_2:8 ), out of the good way which God has prescribed to you, and which your godly ancestors walked before you in. It is ill with a people when those whose office it is to guide them in the way do themselves depart out of it: “You have not kept my ways, not kept in them yourselves, nor done your part to keep others in them,” Mal_2:9. 2. That they betrayed their trust: “You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, have violated it, have contradicted the great intentions of it, and have done what in you lay to frustrate and defeat them; you have managed your office as if it were designed only to feed you fat and make you great; and not for the glory of God and the good of the souls of men.” This was a corrupting of the covenant of Levi; it was perverting the ends of the office, and making it subservient to those sensual secular things over which it ought always to have dominion. And thus they forfeited the benefit of that covenant, and corrupted it to themselves; they made it void, and lost the life and peace which were by it settled upon them. We have no reason to expect God should perform his part of the covenant if we do not make conscience of performing ours. Another instance of their betraying their trust was that they were partial in the law, Mal_2:9. In the law given to them they would pick and choose their duty; this they would do and that they would not do, just as they pleased; this is the fashion of hypocrites, while those whose hearts are upright with God have a respect to all his commandments. Or, rather, in the law they were to lay down to the people; in this they knew faces (so the word is); they accepted persons; they wilfully misinterpreted and misapplied the law, either to cross those they had a spleen against or to countenance those they had a kindness for; they would wink at those sins in some which in others they would be sharp upon, according as their interest or inclination led them. God is no respecter of persons in making his law, nor will he in reckoning for the breach of it; he regards not the rich more than the poor, and therefore his priests, his ministers, misrepresent him, and do him a great deal of dishonour, if, in doctrine or discipline, they be respecters of persons. See 1Ti_5:21. 3. That they did a great deal of mischief to the souls of men, which they should have helped to save: You have caused many to stumble at the law, not only to fall in the law (as the margin reads it) by transgressing it, taught and encouraged to do so by the examples of the priests, but to stumble at the law, by contracting prejudices against it, as if the law were the minister of sin and gave countenance to it. Thus Hophni and Phinehas by their wickedness made the sacrifices of the Lord to be abhorred, 1Sa_2:17. There are many to whom the law of God is a stumbling-block, the gospel of Christ a savour of death unto death, and Christ himself a rock of offence; and nothing contributes more to this than the vicious lives of those that make a profession of religion, by which men are tempted to say, “It is all a jest.” This is properly a scandal, a stone of stumbling; there is no good reason why it should be so to any, but woe to those by whom this offence comes. 4. That, when they were under the rebukes both of the word and of the providence of God for it, they would not hear, that is, they would not heed, they would not lay it to heart; they were not at all grieved or shamed for their sin, nor affected with the tokens of God's displeasure which they were under. What we hear does us no good unless we lay it to heart and admit the impressions of it: You will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, by repentance and reformation. Therefore we should lay to heart the things of God, that we may give glory to the name of God, may praise him in and for all that whereby he has made himself known. It is bad in any to rob God of his honour, but worst in ministers, whose office and business it is to bear up his name and to give him the glory due to it.

IV. Here is a record of the judgments God had brought upon these priests for their profaneness, and their profanation of holy things. 1. They had lost their comfort (Mal_2:2): I have already cursed your blessings. They had not the comfort of their work, which is the satisfaction of doing good; for the blessings with which they, as priests, blessed the people, God was so far from saying Amen to that he turned them into curses, as he did Balaam's curses into blessings. That profane people should not have the favour of receiving God's blessings, nor those profane priests the honour of conferring and conveying them, but both should lie under the tokens of his wrath. Nor had they the comfort of their wages, for the blessings with which God blessed them were turned into a curse to them by their abuse of them; they could not receive them as the gifts of his favour when they had made themselves so obnoxious to his displeasure by not laying to heart the reproofs given them. 2. They had lost their credit (Mal_2:9): Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people. While they glorified God he dignified them and supported their reputation, and a great interest they had in the love and esteem of the people while they did their duty and walked with God in peace and equity; every one had a value and veneration for them; they were truly styled the reverend, the priests; but when they forsook the ways of God, and corrupted the covenant of Levi, they thereby made themselves not only mean, but vile, in the eyes even of the common people, who, the more they honoured the order, the more they hated the men that were a dishonour to it. Their conduct, their misconduct, had a direct tendency to this, and God owns his hand in it, and will have it looked upon as a just judgment of his upon them, and not only produced by their sin but answering to it; they put dishonour upon God, and made his table and the fruit thereof contemptible (Mal_1:12), and therefore God justly put dishonour upon them and made them contemptible; they exposed themselves, and therefore God exposed them. Note, As sin is a reproach to any people, so especially to priests; there is not a more despicable animal upon the face of the earth than a profane, wicked, scandalous minister.

V. Here is a sentence of wrath passed upon them; and this the prophet begins with, Mal_2:2, Mal_2:3. But it is conditional: If you will not lay it to heart, implying, “If you will, God's anger shall be turned away, and all shall be well; but, if you persist in these wicked courses, hear your doom - Your sin will be your ruin.” 1. They shall fall and lie under the curse of God: I will send a curse upon you. The wrath of God shall be revealed against them, according to the threatenings of the written word. Note, Those who violate the commands of the law lay themselves under the curses of the law. 2. Neither their employments nor their enjoyments, as priests, shall be clean to them: “I will curse your blessings, so that you shall neither be blessed yourselves nor blessings to the people, but even your plenty shall be a plague to you and you shall be plagues to your generation.” 3. The fruits of the earth, which they had the tithe of, should be no comfort to them: “Behold, I will corrupt your seed; the corn you sow shall rot under ground and never come up again, the consequence of which must needs be famine and scarcity of provisions; so that no meat-offerings shall be brought to the altar, which the priests will soon have a loss of.” Or it may be understood of the seed of the word which they preached; God threatens to deny his blessing to the instructions they gave the people, so that their labour shall be lost, as that of the husbandman is when the seed is corrupt; and so it agrees with that threatening (Jer_23:32), They shall not profit this people at all. 4. They and their services shall be rejected of God; he will be so far from taking any pleasure in them that he will loathe and detest them: I will spread dung in your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts. He refers to the sacrifices that were offered at those feasts. Instead of being himself pleased with the fat of their sacrifices, he will show himself displeased by throwing the dung of them in their faces, which he does, in effect, when he says, Bring no more vain oblations; your incense is an abomination to me. Note, Those who rest in their external performances of religion, which they should count but dung, that they may win Christ, shall not only come short of acceptance with God in them, but shall be filled with shame and confusion for their folly.
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« Reply #4092 on: July 16, 2010, 12:07:59 AM »

5. All will end, at last, in their utter ruin: One shall take you away with it. They shall be so overspread with the dung of their sacrifices that they shall be carried away with it to the dunghill, as a part of it. Any one shall serve to take you away, the common scavenger. Reprobate silver shall men call them, and treat them accordingly, because the Lord has rejected them. — Henry 

Mal 2:10-17 

Corrupt practices are the genuine fruit and product of corrupt principles; and the badness of men's hearts and lives is owing to some loose atheistical notions which they have got and which they govern themselves by. Now, in these verses, we have an instance of this; we here find men dealing falsely with one another, and it is because they think falsely of their God. Observe,

I. How corrupt their practices were. In general, they dealt treacherously every man against his brother, Mal_2:10. It cannot be expected that he who is false to his God should be true to his friend. They had dealt treacherously with God in his tithes and offerings, and had defrauded him, and thus conscience was debauched, its bonds and cords were broken, a door was opened to all manner of injustice and dishonesty, and the bonds of relation and natural affection are broken through likewise and no difficulty made of it. Some think that the treacherous dealings here reproved are the same with those instances of oppression and extortion which we find complained of to Nehemiah about this time, Neh_5:3-7. Therein they forgot the God of their fathers, and the covenant of their fathers, and rendered their offerings unacceptable, Isa_1:11. But it seems rather to refer to what was amiss in their marriages, which was likewise complained of, Neh_13:23. Two things they are here charged with, as very provoking to God in this matter - taking strange wives of heathen nations, and abusing and putting away the wives they had of their own nation; in both these they dealt treacherously and violated a sacred covenant; the former was in contempt of the covenant of peculiarity, the latter of the marriage-covenant.

1. In contempt of the covenant God made with Israel, as a peculiar people to himself, they married strange wives, which was expressly prohibited, and provided against, in that covenant, Deu_7:3. Observe here,

(1.) What good reason they had to deal faithfully with God and one another in this covenant, and not to make marriages with the heathen. [1.] They were expressly bound out from such marriages by covenant. God engaged to do them good upon this condition, that they should not mingle with the heathen; this was the covenant of their fathers, the covenant made with their fathers, denoting the antiquity and the authority of it, and its being the great charter by which that nation was incorporated. They lay under all possible obligations to observe it strictly, yet they profaned it, as if they were not bound by it. Those profane the covenant of their fathers who live in disobedience to the command of the God of their fathers. [2.] They were a peculiar people, united in one body, and therefore ought to have united for the preserving of the honour of their peculiarity: Have we not all one Father? Yes, we have, for has not one God created us? Are we not all his offspring? And are we not made of one blood? Yes, certainly we are. God is a common Father to all mankind, and, upon that account, all we are brethren, members one of another, and therefore ought to put away lying (Eph_4:25), and not to deal treacherously, no, not any man against his brother. But here it seems to refer to the Jewish nation: Have we not all one father, Abraham, or Jacob? This they prided themselves in, We have Abraham to our father; but here it is turned upon them as an aggravation of their sin in betraying the honour of their nation by intermarrying with heathens: “Has not one God created us, that is, formed us into a people, made us a nation by ourselves, and put a life into us, distinct from that of other nations? And should not this oblige us to maintain the dignity of our character?” Note, The consideration of the unity of the church in Christ, its founder and Father, should engage us carefully to preserve the purity of the church and to guard against all corruptions. [3.] They were dedicated to God, as well as distinguished from the neighbouring nations. Israel was holiness to the Lord (Jer_2:3), taken into covenant with him, set apart by him for himself, to be to him for a name and a praise, and upon this account he loved them and delighted in them; the sanctuary set up among them was the holiness of the Lord, which he loved, of which he said, It is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it; but by marrying strange wives they profaned this holiness, and laid the honour of it in the dust. Note, Those who are devoted to God, and beloved of him, are concerned to preserve their integrity, that they may not throw themselves out of his love, nor lose the honour, or defeat the end, of their dedication to him.

(2.) How treacherously they dealt, notwithstanding, They profaned themselves in that very thing which was prescribed to them for the preserving of the honour of their singularity: Judah has married the daughter of a strange god. The harm was not so much that she was the daughter of a strange nation (God has made all nations of men, and is himself King of nations), but that she was the daughter of a strange god, trained up in the service and worship of false gods, at their disposal, as a daughter at her father's disposal, and having a dependence upon them; hence some of the rabbin (quoted by Dr. Pocock) say, He that marries a heathen woman is as if he made himself son-in-law to an idol. The corruption of the old world began with the intermarriages of the sons of God with the daughters of men, Gen_6:2. It is the same thing that is here complained of, but as it is expressed it sounds worse: The sons of God married the daughters of a strange god. Herein Judah is said to have dealt treacherously, for they basely betrayed their own honour and profaned that holiness of the Lord which they should have loved (so some read it); and it is said to be an abomination committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; it was hateful to God, and very unbecoming those that were called by his name. Note, it is an abominable thing for those who profess the holiness of the Lord to profane it, particularly by yoking themselves unequally with unbelievers.

(3.) How severely God would reckon with them for it (Mal_2:12): The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, that marries the daughter of a strange god. He has, in effect, cut himself off from the holy nation, and joined in with foreigners and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and so shall his doom be; God will cut him off, him and all that belongs to him; so the original intimates. He shall be cut off from Israel and from Jerusalem, and not be written among the living there. The Lord will cut off both the master and the scholar, that are guilty of this sin, both the teachers and the taught. The blind leaders and the blind followers shall fall together into the ditch, both him that wakeneth and him that answereth (so it is in the margin), for the master calls up his scholar to his business, and stirs him up in it. They shall be cut off together out of the tabernacles of Jacob. God will no more own them as belonging to his nation; nay, and the priest that offers an offering to the Lord, if he marry a strange wife (as we find many of the priests did, Ezr_10:18 ), shall not escape; the offering he offers shall not atone for him, but he shall be cut off from the temple of the Lord, as others from the tabernacles of Jacob. Nehemiah chased away from him, and from the priesthood, one of the sons of the high priest, whom he found guilty of this sin, Neh_13:28.

2. In contempt of the marriage-covenant, which God instituted for the common benefit of mankind, they abused and put away the wives they had of their own nation, probably to make room for those strange wives, when it was all the fashion to marry such (Mal_2:13): This also have you done; this is the second article of the charge. For the way of sin is down-hill, and one violation of the covenant is an inlet to another.
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« Reply #4093 on: July 16, 2010, 12:11:51 AM »

(1.) Let us see what it is that is here complained of. they did not behave as they ought to have done towards their wives. [1.] They were cross with them, froward and peevish, and made their lives bitter to them, so that when they came with their wives and families to worship God at the solemn feasts, which they should have done with rejoicing, they were all out of humour; the poor wives were ready to break their hearts, and, not daring to make their case known to any other, they complained to God, and covered the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying. This is illustrated by the instance of Hannah, who, upon the account of her husband's having another wife (though otherwise a kind husband), and the discontent thence arising, whenever they went up to the house of the Lord to worship fretted and wept, and was in bitterness of soul, and would not eat, 1Sa_1:6, 1Sa_1:7, 1Sa_1:10. So it was with these wives here; and this was so contrary to the cheerfulness which God requires in his worshippers that it spoiled the acceptableness of their devotions: God regards not their offering any more. See here what a good Master we serve, who will not have his altar covered with tears, but compassed with songs. This condemns those who left his worship for that of idols, among the rites of which we find women weeping for Tammuz (Eze_8:14), and the blood of the worshippers gushing out upon the altar, 1Ki_18:28. See also what a wicked thing it is to put others out of frame for the cheerful worship of God; though it is their fault by their fretfulness to indispose themselves for their duty, yet it is much more the fault of those who provoked them to make them to fret. It is a reason given why yoke-fellows should live in holy love and joy - that their prayers may not be hindered, 1Pe_3:7. [2.] They dealt treacherously with them, Mal_2:14-16. They did not perform their promises to them, but defrauded them of their maintenance or dower, or took in concubines, to share in the affection that was due to their wives only. [3.] They put them away, gave them a bill of divorce, and turned them off, nay, perhaps they did it without the ceremony that the law of Moses prescribed, Mal_2:16. [4.] In all this they covered violence with their garment; they abused their wives, and were vexatious to them, and yet, in the sight of others, they pretended to be very loving to them and tender of them, and to cast a skirt over them. It is common for those who do violence to advance some specious pretence or other wherewith to cover it as with a garment.

(2.) Let us see the proof and aggravations of the charge. [1.] It is sufficiently proved by the testimony of God himself: “The Lord has been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth (Mal_2:14), has been witness to the marriage-covenant between thee and her, for to him you appealed concerning your sincerity in it and fidelity to it; he has been a witness to all the violations of it, and all thy treacherous dealings in contempt of it, and is ready to judge between thee and her.” Note, This should engage us to be faithful both to God and to all with whom we have to do, that God himself is a witness both to all our covenants and to all our covenant-breaches; and he is a witness against whom there lies no exception. [2.] It is highly aggravated by the consideration of the person wronged and abused. First, “She is thy wife; thy own, bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh, the nearest to thee of all the relations thou hast in the world, and to cleave to whom thou must quit the rest.” Secondly, “She is the wife of thy youth, who had thy affections when they were at the strongest, was thy first choice, and with whom thou hast lived long. Let not the darling of thy youth be the scorn and loathing of thy age.” Thirdly, “She is thy companion; she has long been an equal sharer with thee in thy cares, and griefs, and joys.” The wife is to be looked upon, not as a servant, but as a companion to the husband, with whom he should freely converse and take sweet counsel, as with a friend, and in whose company he should take delight more than in any other's; for is she not appointed to be thy companion? Fourthly, “She is the wife of thy covenant, to whom thou art so firmly bound that, while she continues faithful, thou canst not be loosed from her, for it was a covenant for life. It is the wife with whom thou hast covenanted, and who has covenanted with thee; there is an oath of God between you, which is not to be trifled with, is not to be played fast and loose with.” Married people should often call to mind their marriage-vows, and review them with all seriousness, as those that make conscience of performing what they promised.

(3.) Let us see the reasons given why man and wife should continue together, to their lives' end, in holy love and peace, and neither quarrel with each other nor separate from each other. [1.] Because god has joined them together (Mal_2:15): Did not he make one, one Eve for one Adam, that Adam might never take another to her to vex her (Lev_18:18 ), nor put her away to make room for another? It is great wickedness to complain of the law of marriage as a confinement, when Adam in innocency, in honour, in Eden, in the garden of pleasure, was confined to one. Yet God had the residue of the Spirit; he could have made another Eve, as amiable as that he did make, but, designing Adam a help meet for him, he made him one wife; had he made him more, he would not have had a meet help. And wherefore did he make but one woman for one man? It was that he might seek a godly seed - a seed of God (so the word is), a seed that should bear the image of God, be employed in the service of God, and be devoted to his glory and honour, - that every man having his own wife, and but one, according to the law, (1Co_7:2), they might live in chaste and holy love, under the directions and restraints of the divine law, and not, as brute beasts, under the dominion of lust, and thus might propagate the nature of man in such a way as might make it most likely to participate of a divine nature, - that the children, being born in holy matrimony, which is an ordinance of God, and by which the inclinations of nature are kept under the regulations of God's command, might thus be made a seed to serve him, and be bred, as they are born, under his direction and dominion. Note, The raising up of a godly seed, which shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation, is one great end of the institution of marriage; but that is a good reason why the marriage-bed should be kept undefiled and the marriage bond inviolable. Husbands and wives must therefore live in the fear of God, that their seed may be a godly seed, else were they unclean, but now they are holy, as children of the covenant, the marriage-covenant, which was a type of the covenant of grace, and the conjugal union, when thus preserved entire, of the mystical union between Christ and his church, in which he seeks and secures to himself a godly seed; see Eph_5:25, Eph_5:32. [2.] Because he is much displeased with those who go about to put asunder what he has joined together (Mal_2:16): The God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away. He hath indeed permitted it to the Jews, for the hardness of their hearts, or, rather, limited and clogged it (Mat_19:8 ); but he hated it, especially as those practised it who put away their wives for every cause, Mat_19:3. Let those wives that elope from their husbands and put themselves away, those husbands that are cruel to their wives and turn them away, or take their affections off from their wives and place them upon others, yea, and those husbands and wives that live asunder by consent, for want of love to each other, let such as these know that the God of Israel hates such practices, however vain men may make a jest of them.

(4.) Let us see the caution inferred from all this. We have it twice (Mal_2:15): Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth; and again, Mal_2:16. Note, Those that would be kept from sin must take heed to their spirits, for there all sin begins; they must keep their hearts with all diligence, must keep a jealous eye upon them and a strict hand, and must watch against the first risings of sin there. We shall act as we are spirited; and therefore, that we may regulate our actions, we must consider what manner of spirit we are of; we must take heed to our spirits with reference to our particular relations, and see that we stand rightly affected to them and be of a good temper, for otherwise we shall be in danger of dealing treacherously. If our own hearts deal treacherously with us, whom will they not deal treacherously with?
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« Reply #4094 on: July 16, 2010, 12:13:15 AM »

II. Observe how corrupt their principles were, to which were owing all these corrupt practices. Let us trace up the streams to the fountain (Mal_2:17): You have wearied the Lord with your words. They thought to evade the convictions of the word, and to justify themselves by cavilling with God's proceedings; but their defence was their offence, and their vindication of themselves was the aggravation of their crime; they affronted the Lord with their words, and repeated them so often, and persisted so long in their contradictions, that they even wearied him; see Isa_7:13. They made him weary of doing them good as he had done, and stopped the current of his favours; or they represented him as weary of governing the world, and willing to quit it and lay aside the care of it. Note, It is a wearisome thing, even to God himself, to hear people insist upon their own justification in their corrupt and wicked practices, and plead their atheistical principles in vindication of them. But, as if God by his prophet had done them wrong, see how impudently they ask, Wherein have we wearied him? What are those vexatious words whereby we have wearied him? Note, Sinful words are more offensive to the God of heaven than they are commonly thought to be. But God has his proofs ready; two things they had said, at least in their hearts (and thoughts are words to God), with which they had wearied him: - 1. They had denied him to be a holy God, and had asserted that concerning him which is directly contrary to the doctrine of his holiness. As he is a holy God, he hates sin, is of purer eyes than to behold it, and cannot endure to look upon it, Hab_1:13. He is not a God that has pleasure in wickedness, Psa_5:4. And yet they had the impudence to say, in direct contradiction to this, Every one that does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them. This wicked inference they drew, without any reason, from the prosperity of sinners in their sinful courses (see Mal_3:15), as if God's love or hatred were to be known by that which is before us, and those must be concluded good in the sight of the Lord who are rich in the world. Or this they said because they wished it might be so; they were resolved to do evil, and yet to think themselves good in the sight of the Lord, and to believe that he delighted in them, notwithstanding; and therefore, under pretence of making God not so severe as he was commonly represented, they said as they would have it, and thought he was altogether such a one as themselves. Note, Those who think God a friend to sin affront him and deceive themselves. 2. They had denied him to be the righteous governor of the world. If he did not delight in sin and sinners, yet it would serve their turn to believe that he would never punish it or them. They said, “Where is the God of judgment? That God who, we have been so often told, would call us to an account, and reckon with us for what we have said and done - where is he? He has forsaken the earth, and takes no notice of what is said and done there; he has said that he will come to judgment; but where is the promise of his coming? We may do what we please; he sees us not, nor will regard us.” It is such a challenge to the Judge of the whole earth as bids defiance to his justice, and, in effect, dares him to do his worst. Such scoffers as these there were in the latter days of the Jewish church, and such there shall be in the latter days of the Christian church; but their unbelief shall not make the promise of God of no effect; for the day of the Lord will come. Behold, the Judge stands before the door; the God of judgment is at hand. — Henry 
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