1:1 The a burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
The Argument - This Prophet was one of the three who God raised up for the comfort of the Church after the captivity, and after him there was no one else until John the Baptist was sent, which was either a token of Gods wrath, or an admonition that they should with more fervent desires look for the coming of the Messiah. He confirms the same doctrine, that the two former do: chiefly he reproves the priests for their covetousness, and because they served God after their own fantasies, and not according to the direction of his word. He also notes certain distinct sins, which were then among them, such as the marrying of idolatrous and many wives, murmurings against God, impatience, and things such as these. Nonetheless, for the comfort of the godly he declares that God would not forget his promise made to their fathers, but would send Christ his messenger, in whom the covenant would be accomplished, whose coming would be terrible to the wicked, and bring all consolation and joy to the godly. 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, b Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacobs brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
(a) See Isaiah 13:1
(b) Which declares their great ingratitude that did not acknowledge this love, which was so evident, in that he chose Abraham from out of all the world, and next chose Jacob the younger brother from whom they came, and left Esau the elder. 1:3 And I c hated Esau, 1 and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
(c) For besides this the signs of my hatred appeared even when he was made servant to his younger brother, being yet in his mothers belly, and also afterward in that he was put from his birthright. Yet even now before your eyes the signs of this are evident, in that his country lies waste, and he will never return to inhabit it. 1:6 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, d O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, e Wherein have we despised thy name?
(d) Whereas you my people, whom the enemy hated more than them, are by my grace and love towards you delivered; read ( Romans 9:13 ).
(d) Besides the rest of the people he mainly condemns the priests, because they should have reproved others for their hypocrisy, and for not yielding to God, and should not have hardened them by their example to do greater evils. 1:7 Ye offer f polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of
(e) He notes their great hypocrisy, who would not see their faults, but most impudently covered them, and so were blind guides.
the LORD [is] (g) contemptible. 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] h 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.
(f) You receive all types of offerings for your own greediness, and do not examine whether they are according to my Law or not.
(g) Not that they said this, but by their doings they declared it.
(h) You make it no fault: and by this he condemns them that think it sufficient to serve God partly as he has commanded, and partly after mans fantasy, and so do not come to the pureness of religion, which he requires. And therefore in reproach he shows them that a mortal man would not be content to be served in such a way. 1:9 And now, I pray you, i beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard k your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
(i) He derides the priests who deceived the people in saying that they prayed for them, and shows that they were the occasion that these evils came upon the people. 1:10 Who [is there] even among you l 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.
(k) Will God consider your office and state, seeing you are so covetous and wicked?
(l) Because the Levites who kept the doors did not test whether the sacrifices that came in were according to the Law, God wishes that they would rather shut the doors, than to receive such as were not perfect. 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] m 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.
(m) God shows that their ingratitude and neglect of his true service will be the cause of the calling of the Gentiles: and here the Prophet that was under the Law, used words that the people would understand, and by the altar and sacrifice he means the spiritual service of God, which should be under the Gospel, when an end would be made to all these legal ceremonies by Christs sacrifice alone. 1:12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, n The table of the LORD [is] polluted; and the fruit thereof, [even] his meat, [is] contemptible.
(n) Both the priests and the people were infected with this error, that they did not regard what was offered: for they thought that God was as well content with the lean, as with the fat. But in the meantime they did not show the obedience to God which he required, and so committed impiety, and also showed their contempt of God, and covetousness. 1:13 Ye said also, Behold, what a o 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.
(o) The priests and people were both weary with serving God, and did not regard what manner of sacrifice and service they gave to God: for that which was least profitable, was thought good enough for the Lord. 1:14 But cursed [be] the deceiver, which hath in his flock p 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.
(p) That is, has ability to serve the Lord according to his word, and yet will serve him according to his covetous mind.