Malachi 1:1-14 . GOD'S LOVE: ISRAEL'S INGRATITUDE: THE PRIESTS' MERCENARY SPIRIT: A GENTILE SPIRITUAL PRIESTHOOD SHALL SUPERSEDE THEM.
8. Your earthly ruler would feel insulted, if offered by you the offering with which ye put off God (see Leviticus 22:22 Leviticus 22:24 ).
is it not evil?--MAURER translates, "There is no evil," in your opinion, in such an offering; it is quite good enough for such a purpose.
9. now . . . beseech God that he will be gracious--Ironical. Think you that God will be persuaded by such polluted gifts to be gracious to you? Far from it.
this hath been by your means--literally, "hand." These contemptible offerings are your doing, as being the priests mediating between God and the people; and think you, will God pay any regard to you (compare Malachi 1:8 Malachi 1:10 )? "Accept thy person" ("face"), Malachi 1:8 , answers to "regard your persons," in this verse.
10. Who . . . for naught--Not one even of the least priestly functions (as shutting the doors, or kindling a fire on the altar) would ye exercise without pay, therefore ye ought to fulfil them faithfully ( 1 Corinthians 9:13 ). DRUSIUS and MAURER translate, "Would that there were absolutely some one of you who would shut the doors of the temple (that is, of the inner court, in which was the altar of burnt offerings), and that ye would not kindle fire on My altar in vain!" Better no sacrifices than vain ones ( Isaiah 1:11-15 ). It was the duty of some of the priests to stand at the doors of the court of the altar of burnt offerings, and to have excluded blemished victims [CALVIN].
11. For--Since ye Jewish priests and people "despise My name" ( Malachi 1:6 ), I shall find others who will magnify it ( Matthew 3:9 ). Do not think I shall have no worshippers because I have not you; for from the east to the west My name shall be great among the Gentiles ( Isaiah 66:19 Isaiah 66:20 ), those very peoples whom ye look down upon as abominable.
pure offering--not "the blind, the lame, and the sick," such as ye offer ( Malachi 1:8 ). "In every place," implies the catholicity of the Christian Church ( John 4:21 John 4:23 , 1 Timothy 2:8 ). The "incense" is figurative of prayers ( Psalms 141:2 , Revelation 8:3 ). "Sacrifice" is used metaphorically ( Psalms 51:17 , Hebrews 13:10 Hebrews 13:15 Hebrews 13:16 , 1 Peter 2:5 1 Peter 2:12 ). In this sense the reference to the Lord's Supper, maintained by many of the fathers, may be admitted; it, like prayer, is a spiritual offering, accepted through the literal offering of the "Lamb without blemish," once for all slain.
12. Renewal of the charge in Malachi 1:7 .
fruit . . . meat--the offerings of the people. The "fruit" is the produce of the altar, on which the priests subsisted. They did not literally say, The Lord's table is contemptible; but their acts virtually said so. They did not act so as to lead the people to reverence, and to offer their best to the Lord on it. The people were poor, and put off God with the worst offerings. The priests let them do so, for fear of offending the people, and so losing all gains from them.
13. what a weariness is it!--Ye regard God's service as irksome, and therefore try to get it over by presenting the most worthless offerings. Compare Micah 6:3 , where God challenges His people to show wherein is the "weariness" or hardship of His service. Also Isaiah 43:22-24 , wherein He shows that it is they who have "wearied" Him, not He who has wearied them.
it--the table of the Lord, and the meat on it ( Malachi 1:12 ).
torn--namely, by beasts, which it was not lawful to eat, much less to offer ( Exodus 22:31 ).
thus . . . offering--Hebrew, mincha; the unbloody offering of flour, &c. Though this may have been of ordinary ingredients, yet the sacrifices of blemished animals accompanying it rendered it unacceptable.
14. deceiver--hypocrite. Not poverty, but avarice was the cause of their mean offerings.
male--required by law ( Leviticus 1:3 Leviticus 1:10 ).
great King--( Psalms 48:2 , Matthew 5:35 ).
my name . . . dreadful among . . . heathen--Even the heathen dread Me because of My judgments; what a reproach this is to you, My people, who fear Me not ( Malachi 1:6 )! Also it may be translated, "shall be feared among," &c. agreeing with the prophecy of the call of the Gentiles ( Malachi 1:11 ).