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BEHOLD I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts.

Ver. 1.  My angel, viz. John the Baptist, the messenger of God, and forerunner of Christ.  Ch.

 

--- His purity and office procure him this title.  W.

 

--- Afterwards Christ himself shall come, for the ruin and for the resurrection of many.  Lu. ii. 34.  Hence threats and promises are intermixed.  The evangelists read his face, making the Father speak, whereas the Son is introduced by the prophet, who however presently changes the person.  It is all the same which person of the blessed Trinity speaks, as all act together.  C.

 

--- Testament.  The Messias, the mediator of the covenant with mankind, (W.) with Abraham, and Moses.  The latter calls him the prophet; (Deut. xviii. 18.) and Zacharias, alluding to this text, explains angel in the same sense.  Lu. i. 76.

 

--- Temple.  The ancient Jews were convinced that the Messias would come to the temple of Zorobabel, and be its chief glory.  Agg. ii. 8.  C.

 

--- Their descendants put off the coming for some long time, though the prophet says presently, or on a sudden.  S. Jer. Basnage vi. 26.

 

--- Some take this temple to be the womb of the bless Virgin.  S. Cyr.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xviii. 35.  C.

 

--- The Baptist was conceived, born, and preached first; and shortly after Christ appeared.  W.



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2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb:

Ver. 2.  Coming.  This may be explained of the Baptist, (Lu. iii. 7.) or of the second coming of Christ; though his first coming shewed the hypocrisy of the Jews.  They would not acknowledge him, but sought his death, and brought on their own condemnation.  C.

 

--- Fuller's.  Sept. "washers' herb."  Borith is found in all the low places of Palestine, (S. Jer.) and probably denotes soda, (Jer. ii. 22.  C.) or fullers' earth.  H.

 

--- Christ purified the religion of the Jews, or did what was requisite for that purpose.  The people would not obey.  Yet he established his Church in all purity.


3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.

Ver. 3.  Justice.  This is spoken of the Christian priesthood, which far excels that of Levi, Heb. v. and vii. &c.  C.

 

--- Many Jewish priests embraced the gospel.  Acts vi. 7.  H.


4 And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years.

Ver. 4.  Years.  So in the mass we beg that God would receive the sacrifice, "as he received the presents of Abel."  M.




5 And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.

Ver. 5.  Judgment.  He has answered (v. 1, 2) the complaint of the Jews.  C. ii. 17.  H.

 

--- This he does here (M.) more pointedly.  H.

 

--- Christ condemned the world, as his spirit did likewise.  Jo. xvi. 8.  He made an example of Jerusalem, which shewed that he would not leave crimes unpunished.  We may also understand this of his last coming.  C.

 

--- God threatens to punish even secret sins, which are know to him alone.  W.


6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Ver. 6.  Change.  Heb. also, (H.) "hate or recommence."  I do not strike the fallen.  Did I spare Sennacherib? &c.  Have I not protected the posterity of Jacob?  How then can you say that I am indifferent about human affairs?  C.

 

--- Consumed.  Sept. "you depart not from the sins of your fathers.  You have rejected my," &c.


7 For from the days of your fathers you have departed from my ordinances, and have not kept them: Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have said: Wherein shall we return?

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8 Shall a man afflict God? for you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict thee? in tithes and in firstfruits.

Ver. 8.  Afflict.  Lit. "pierce."  Sept. "supplant," (H.) or kick at.  1 K. ii. 29.  But the term applied to Heli is different.  Here it signifies to nail or irritate.  C.

 

--- Tithes: the payment is most strictly commanded.  W.


9 And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you.

Ver. 9.  Want.  Heb. "malediction."  S. Jerom specifies the kind.  C.

 

--- Sept. "and you obstinately turn away your eyes, and supplant me," &c.  H.


10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance.

Ver. 10.  Heaven; copious showers.

 

--- Blessing; fertility.


11 And I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer, and he shall not spoil the fruit of your land: neither shall the vine in the field be barren, saith the Lord of hosts.

Ver. 11.  Devour; locusts and other vermin.  M.

 

--- Malachias came later than Aggeus, and probably speaks of a different famine, to which the Jews were exposed for neglecting to pay tithes.  C.

 

--- How many now work on holydays, as if all depended on their labour and not on God's blessing!  H.


12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts.
13 Your words have been unsufferable to me, saith the Lord.

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14 And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts?

Ver. 14.  Vain.  Murmuring against God is blasphemous and unsufferable.  When the Jews were punished by famine, for neglecting to pay tithes, they laid the blame on God, as if he took more care of other nations which had abundance.  W.

 

--- Sorrowful: "humbled."  Chal. "in  mourning."  Jun.

 

--- But is seems to denote downcast countenances, which our Saviour orders his disciples not to affect.  Mat. vi. 16.  C.



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15 Wherefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and are preserved.

Ver. 15.  Proud.  Sept. "strange."  H.

 

--- Z has been take for u.

 

--- Built up: have a numerous family, (C.) and abundance.

 

--- Tempted.  Sept. "resisted."


16 Then they that feared the Lord spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name.

Ver. 16.  Then.  Grabe changes tauta, these things, into tote, then.  The Sept. make the pious express the former sentiments.  H.

 

--- David, Jeremias, &c. had experienced such anxiety.  Ps. lxxii. 2.  C.

 

--- According to the Heb. &c. the just hearing such blasphemies, doubt not but God will mark them in the book (H.) of his justice, and punish them.


17 And they shall be my special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment: and I will spare them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him.

Ver. 17.  Possession; (peculium) the property of a slave.  C.

 

--- Such look upon the smallest things with eagerness.  Heb. segula, (H.) means some precious thing.  C.

 

--- Spare.  Sept. "chose," &c.  H.

 


18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.
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