Malachi 2

CHAPTER II

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, 1-3.

The degeneracy of the order is then complained of, and they are

again threatened, 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, 10-17.

See Ne 10:30; 13:27-30, &c.

NOTES ON CHAP. II

Verse 2. If ye will not hear] What I have spoken, lay it to

heart, and let it sink down into your souls.

Give glory unto my name] That honour that is due to me as a

Father, and that fear that belongs to me as a Master, Mal 1:6.

I will even send a curse upon you] I will dispense no more good.

I will curse your blessings] Even that which ye have already

shall not profit you. When temporal blessings are not the means of

leading us to God and heaven, they will infallibly lead us to

hell. In speaking of the abuse of temporal blessings, one of our

old poets, in his homely phrase, expresses himself thus,-

Thus God's best gifts, usurped by wicked ones,

To poison turn by their con-ta-gi-ons.

Yea, I have cursed them already] This may refer, generally, to

unfruitful seasons; or, particularly, to a dearth that appears

to have happened about this time. See Hag 1:6-11.

Verse 3. Behold, I will corrupt your seed] So as to render it

unfruitful. Newcome translates,-"I will take away from you the

shoulder." This was the part that belonged to the priest,

Le 7:32; De 18:3.

Spread dung upon your faces] Instead of receiving a sacrifice at

your hands, I will throw your offerings back into your faces. Here

God shows his contempt for them and their offerings.

Verse 4. This commandment] That in the first verse; to drive

such priests from his presence and his service.

That my covenant might be with Levi] I gave the priesthood and

the service of my altar to that tribe.

Verse 5. My covenant was with him of life and peace] These are

the two grand blessings given to men by the NEW Covenant, which

was shadowed by the OLD. To man, excluded from the favour of God,

and sentenced to death because of sin, God gave berith, a

covenant sacrifice, and this secured life-exemption from the

death deserved by transgressors; communication of that inward

spiritual life given by Christ, and issuing in that eternal life

promised to all his faithful disciples. And, as it secured life,

so it gave peace, prosperity, and happiness; peace between God and

man, between man and man, and between man and his own conscience.

Verse 6. The law of truth was in his mouth] See the

qualifications of Levi: 1. "He feared me;" he was my sincere

worshipper. 2. "He was afraid;" he acted as in the presence of a

just and holy God, and acted conscientiously in all that he did.

3. "My law of truth was ever in his mouth; " by this he directed

his own conduct and that of others. 4. "No iniquity; " nothing

contrary to justice and equity ever proceeded "from his lips." 5.

"He walked with me in peace;" he lived in such a way as to keep up

union with me. 6. "He did turn many away from iniquity;" by his

upright administration, faithful exhortations, and pious walk, he

became the instrument of converting many sinners. This character

suits every genuine minister of God. And as the priest's lips

should preserve knowledge, so the people should seek "the law at

his mouth;" for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts,

Mal 2:7.

Verse 8. But ye are departed out of the way] Ye are become

impure yourselves, and ye have led others into iniquity.

Verse 9. Therefore have I also made you contemptible] The people

despised you because they saw that you acted contrary to your

functions. This has happened repeatedly since, to several classes

of priests. Not maintaining, by purity of life and soundness of

doctrine, the dignity of the ministerial function, they became

contemptible before the people; their meager preaching was

disregarded, and their persons at last cast out as a general

loathing to the universe! See what happened to the truly

abominable priesthood of France and Rome 1796-8. They were the

sole cause of that infidelity that brought about the revolution.

They are now partially restored; and are endeavouring to supply by

grimace, paltry superstition, and jesuitical cunning, what they

want in purity of morals, soundness of doctrine, and unction from

God. They must mend, or look for another revolution. Mankind will

no longer put up with the chaff of puerile and fanatical

ceremonies in place of the wheat of God's word and worship.

Verse 10. Have we not all one Father?] From this to Mal 2:16

the prophet censures the marriages of Israelites with strange

women, which the law had forbidden, De 7:3. And also

divorces, which seem to have been multiplied for the purpose of

contracting these prohibited marriages.-Newcome.

Why do we deal treacherously] Gain the affections of the

daughter of a brother Jew, and then profane the covenant of

marriage, held sacred among our fathers, by putting away this

same wife and daughter! How wicked, cruel, and inhuman!

Verse 11. Daughter of a strange god.] Of a man who worships an

idol.

Verse 12. The master and the scholar] He who teachers such

doctrine, and he who follows this teaching, the Lord will cut off

both the one and the other.

Verse 13. Covering the altar of the Lord with tears] Of the poor

women who, being divorced by cruel husbands, come to the priests,

and make an appeal to God at the altar; and ye do not speak

against this glaring injustice.

Verse 14. Ye say, Wherefore?] Is the Lord angry with us? Because

ye have been witness of the contract made between the parties; and

when the lawless husband divorced his wife, the wife of his youth,

his companion, and the wife of his covenant, ye did not execute on

him the discipline of the law. They kept their wives till they had

passed their youth, and then put them away, that they might get

young ones in their place.

Verse 15. And did not he make one?] ONE of each kind, Adam and

Eve. Yet had he the residue of the Spirit; he could have made

millions of pairs, and inspired them all with living souls. Then

wherefore one? He made one pair from whom all the rest might

proceed, that he might have a holy offspring; that children being

a marked property of one man and one woman, proper care might be

taken that they should be brought up in the discipline of the

Lord. Perhaps the holy or godly seed, zera Elohim, a

seed of God, may refer to the MESSIAH. God would have the whole

human race to spring from one pair, that Christ, springing from

the same family, might in his sufferings taste death for every

man; because he had that nature that was common to the whole

human race. Had there been several heads of families in the

beginning, Jesus must have been incarnated from each of those

heads, else his death could have availed for those only who

belonged to the family of which he was incarnated.

Take heed to your spirit] Scrutinize the motives which induce

you to put away your wives.

Verse 16. For the Lord-hateth putting away] He abominates all

such divorces, and him that makes them.

Covereth violence with his garment] And he also notes those who

frame idle excuses to cover the violence they have done to the

wives of their youth, by putting them away, and taking others in

their place, whom they now happen to like better, when their own

wives have been worn down in domestic services.

Verse 17. Ye have wearied the Lord] He has borne with you so

long, and has been provoked so often, that he will bear it no

longer. It is not fit that he should.

Every one that doeth evil] Ye say that it is right in the sight

of the Lord to put away a wife, because she has no longer found

favour in the sight of her husband. And because it has not been

signally punished hitherto, ye blaspheme and cry out, "Where is

the God of judgment?" Were he such as he is represented, would he

not speak out? All these things show that this people were

horribly corrupt. The priests were bad; the prophets were bad; the

Levites were bad; and no wonder that the people were irreligious,

profane, profligate, and cruel.

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