This chapter begins with a prophecy of John the Baptist, the forerunner
of Christ; and of the coming of Christ, and the effects and consequences
of it, with respect both to the righteous and the wicked; and it
contains accusations and charges of sin against the Jews, intermixed
with exhortations to repentance. John the Baptist is promised to be
sent, and is described by his office as a messenger, and by his work, to
prepare the way of the Lord; and the Messiah is prophesied of, who is
described by his characters; with respect to himself, the Lord and
Messenger of the covenant; with respect to the truly godly among the
Jews, as the object of their desire and delight; whose coming is spoken
of as a certain thing, and which would be sudden; and the place is
mentioned he should come into, \\#Mal 3:1\\ and this his coming is
represented as terrible to the wicked, and as trying and purifying to
the righteous, expressed by the various similes of a refiner's fire, and
fuller's soap; and the end answered by it, their offering a righteous
offering to the Lord, \\#Mal 3:2-4\\ but with respect to the wicked, he
declares he should be a swift witness against them, whose characters are
particularly given, and this assured from his immutability; the
consequence of which to the saints is good, being their security from
destruction, \\#Mal 3:5,6\\ and next a charge is commenced against the
wicked Jews, as that in general they had for a long time revolted from
the Lord, and were guilty of sins of omission and commission, and are
therefore exhorted to return to the Lord, with a promise that he will
return to them, and yet they refuse, \\#Mal 3:7\\ and, in particular, that
they were guilty of sacrilege, and so accounted, even the whole nation,
in withholding tithes and sacrifices, which they are exhorted to bring
in; to which they are encouraged with promises of blessings of
prosperity and protection, \\#Mal 3:8-12\\ and that they had spoken impudent
and blasphemous words against the Lord; which, though excepted to, is
proved by producing their own words, \\#Mal 3:13-15\\ and by the contrary
behaviour of those that feared the Lord, who were taken notice of by
him, and were dear unto him, \\#Mal 3:16,17\\ wherefore it is suggested,
that the time would come when there would be a manifest difference made
between the one and the other, \\#Mal 3:18\\.