MALACHI CHAPTER 1.
The Love of God and the Contempt of His Name.
GODíS PECULIAR LOVE FOR ISRAEL. ó V. 1. The burden of the word of the Lord, the sentence which He found Himself compelled to pronounce, to Israel by Malachi. V. 2. I have loved you, saith the Lord, Jehovah placing this at the head of His message as a fundamental, absolute fact. Yet ye say, in expressing their doubts of His sincerity, Wherein hast Thou loved us? What proofs could He adduce to show the greatness of His love? The form of presentation throughout is nervous, vivid. Was not Esau Jacobís brother? saith the Lord, his full brother at that; yet I loved Jacob V. 3. and I hated Esau, in the sense of not loving him, without any idea of vindictiveness, and laid his mountains and his heritage, the land which he inhabited south of the Dead Sea, waste for the dragons of the wilderness, so that it was a fitting home for jackals. V. 4. Whereas Edom saith, or, "Although Edom should say," in an attempt to set aside the ruling of the Lord, We are impoverished, ruined, but we will return and build the desolate places, rebuild the ruins, thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, make an attempt to restore their original power, but I will throw down, destroying their country a second time; and they shall call them "The border of wickedness," that is, men would designate them as the region of wickedness, punished by God, and "The people against whom the Lord bath indignation forever," a monument of Godís wrath. V. 5. And your eyes shall see, the facts before their eves convincing them, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel, rather, "over the border of Israel." The children of Israel would be compelled to acknowledge the particular favor and love which the Lord showed them by so many manifestations.
A REBUKE OF THE PRIESTS. ó V. 6. A son honoreth his father and a servant his master, in agreement with the commandment of God; If, then, I be a Father, where is Mine honor? Why were they persisting in their unnatural behavior and denying Him the obedience which He had a right to expect? And If I be a Master, where is My fear? Why did they not give Him the reverence and respect which were His due? salth the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name, the very ones who should have been leaders of the people in keeping the Law being their leaders in transgressing the Law. And ye say, as if honestly resenting the charge against them, Wherein have we despised Thy name? But the Lord has His answer ready, V. 7. Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar, in connection with some of the offerings brought to the Lord; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible, their practise of offering sacrifices which were expressly forbidden by God and their manner in the entire administration of their work being an insult to the holiness of Jehovah. Cp. LeV.22; 22. V. 8. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? or, "there is no evil," that is, in their opinion. And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? The Lord had expressly forbidden the members of His people to bring animals as sacrifices that had any kind of blemish. Offer it now unto thy governor, so the Lord ironically bids them do; will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. Tile Jewish priests were offering tile Lord an insult which they would not have dared to offer an earthly ruler. V. 9. And now, I pray you, beseech God that He will be gracious unto us, they should just make an attempt to serve Him with such worship,- this bath been by your means, - that is, this their hand had done: will He regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts. If not even an earthly ruler would accept imperfect gifts at their hands, how much more was this true of Jehovah, the God of the covenant! V. 10. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for naught? rather, "Oh, that there were one among you that would even shut the doors of the Temple!" neither do ye kindle fire on Mine altar for naught. If one would but lock the doors leading to the altar of burnt offering, in order to keep the priests from bringing such vain oblations! I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, being thoroughly disgusted with their behavior, neither will I accept an offering at your hand, no matter of what kind it was. V. 11. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, as far as the world extends, My name shall be great among the Gentiles, among the recruits gained for the Church of the New Testament from the heathen world; and in every place Incense, namely, that of the prayers of the faithful, shall be offered unto My name and a pure offering, on the part of those who had accepted the God of the covenant as their God; for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts, for the kingdom of God was taken from the Jews, since they openly rejected the Messiah and His grace, and was given to the Gentiles. V. 12. But ye have profaned it, have brought disgrace upon the name and the glory of the one true God, in that ye say, The table of the Lord Is polluted, cp. V. 7, and the fruit thereof, even His meat, is contemptible, for the priests themselves did not regard the sacrifices brought on the altar as in any way efficacious. V. 13. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! They regarded their service at the altar as an offensive drudgery. And ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts, publicly showing their contempt for the work of their ministry; and ye brought that which was torn and the lame and the sick, in a contemptuous disregard for the Law of the Lord; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this at your hand? saith the Lord. He expresses in a most emphatic manner that He would not permit His glory thus to be despised. V. 14. But cursed be the deceiver, the hypocrite, which hath in his flock a male, a sound and normal animal for sacrifice, and voweth, as if preparing to bring the good animal as a sacrifice, and sacriflceth unto the Lord a corrupt thing! one with a blemish; for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is dreadful among the heathen, mentioned only with fear and trembling. God will not permit any one to heap disgrace upon His majesty by hypocritical worship.