Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another,
&c.] Abarbinel thinks this is a continuation of the speech of the wicked; observing, that while they that work wickedness were set up, and they that tempted God escaped punishment, they that were religious, and feared God, "were destroyed one with another", particularly by the plague; so he would have the word (wrbdn) rendered, which we translate, "spake often one to another"; in which sense he observes that root is used in ( Hosea 13:14 ) ( Psalms 47:3 ) ( 2 Kings 11:1 ) but rather this is opposed unto what they said, by such, who, at the time referred to (which seems to be between the time of Christ's coming, spoken of in the beginning of the chapter ( Malachi 3:1-6 ) , and the destruction of Jerusalem after mentioned), feared the Lord, and served him; embraced the Messiah, and professed his name; for the fear of God takes in the whole of religious worship, both internal and external; and describes such, not that have a dread of the majesty of God, and of his judgments and wrath, or distrust his power, providence, grace, and goodness; but who have a filial and holy fear of God, a fiducial and fearless one, a reverential affection for him, and are true and sincere worshippers of him: these "spake often one to another"; of the unbelief, impiety, and profaneness of men, with great concern and lamentation; and of the great and good things they were led into the knowledge of; the everlasting love of the Father in the choice of them, and covenant with them in Christ; of redemption by the Son; of the glories of his person, and the fulness of his grace; of the work of the Spirit of God upon their souls; and of the various truths of the everlasting Gospel; and of the gracious experiences they were indulged with; and all this they said for the glory of God's grace, and for the comforting and strengthening, and edifying, of each other's souls: it follows, and the Lord hearkened, and heard [it];
what they said one to another: this is spoken after the manner of men, and does not so much regard the omniscience of God, who hearkens and hears everything that is said by wicked men, as by good men; as his special regard unto, peculiar notice he takes of, and the approbation he has of his people, and of their words and actions, and even of their thoughts, as is afterwards intimated: and a book of remembrance was written before him;
in allusion to kings that keep registers, records, annals, and chronicles, as memorials of matters of moment and importance: see ( Ezra 4:15 ) ( Esther 2:23 ) ( 6:1 ) : otherwise there is no forgetfulness in God; he bears in his own eternal mind a remembrance of the persons, thoughts, words, and actions of his people, and which he will disclose and make mention of another day; even our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God over all, and who will let the churches and world know that he is the searcher of hearts, and trier of the reins of the children of men: for them that feared the Lord,
as before, and that thought upon his name;
either the name of the Father; not any particular name of his, by which he is known, but him himself; for, as Kimchi observes, his name is himself, and he himself is his name; and especially as he is in Christ, and proclaimed in him; and this is expressive of faith in him, love to him, and reverence of him: or the name of Christ; and not any particular name of his, unless it be Jesus the Saviour: but rather his person as the Son of God; his office as Mediator; and his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice: and it is not a bare thinking of him that is here intended, but such a thought of him as is accompanied with esteem and value for him, because of the dignity of his person, and the riches of his grace. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "and that reverence his name"; and the Syriac version, "that praise his name"; and the Targum is, that think of the glory of his name.