Yet ye say, Wherefore?
&c.] What is the meaning of the women covering the altar with tears? as if they knew not what was the reason of it, when they were so notoriously guilty of breach of covenant with them; which is an instance of their impudence, as Abarbinel observes: or, "if ye say, wherefore?" as the Targum and Kimchi interpret the words; should you say, what is the reason why the Lord will not regard nor receive our offerings? the answer is ready, Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy
when espoused together in their youthful days, the Lord was present at that solemn contract, and saw the obligations they were laid under to each other, and he was called upon by both parties to be a witness of the same; and at the present time he was a witness how agreeably the wives of the Israelites had behaved towards their husbands, and how treacherously they had acted towards them; he saw and knew, that, whatever pretensions they made, they did not love them, nor behave as they should towards them; and therefore had just cause of complaint against them, and must be a witness for the one, and against the other: this sin of hating and divorcing their wives, or of marrying others besides them, which prevailed much in our Lord's time, is particularly mentioned, though they were guilty of many other sins, as a reason of the Lord's not accepting their offerings: the aggravations of it are, that they had broken a contract God was witness to, and dealt injuriously with wives they had espoused in the days of their youth; see ( Proverbs 2:17 ) ( 5:18 ) : against whom thou hast dealt treacherously;
by divorce or polygamy: the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "whom thou hast despised": and the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "whom thou hast left"; divorced and took others, which arose from hatred and contempt of their former: other aggravations follow: yet [is] she thy companion;
or, "and she is", or "though she is thy companion" F3: has been so in time past, and ought to be so still, and so accounted: the wife is a part of a man's self, is one flesh with him; a partaker of what he has; a partner with him in prosperity and adversity; a companion in life, civil and religious, and ought to remain so till death part them; for, whom God has put together, let no man put asunder: and the wife of thy covenant;
wherefore either to divorce her, or marry another, was a breach of covenant; for by "covenant" is not meant the covenant of God made with the people of Israel, in which they both were; but the covenant of marriage made between them, and which was broken by such practices.