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Μ Α Ι Α C Η Ι.
This name signifies my angel' or 'my messenger ; but whether it is to be understood as a proper name, or as a title applied to his office as a prophetic messenger of God, is a question difficult to decide. It is more certain that • Malachi' does not occur as a proper name in any part of Scripture; and we rather incline to suppose that the prophecy is anonymous, and that the title Malachi is given to the prophet from his distinct prediction concerning the messenger (my messenger,' i.e. ?? malachi : iii. 1), which has always been considered by both Jews and Christians as one of the most remarkable and important prophecies of Scripture. As so many conjectures have been offered on the subject, we add this one with some hesitation ; but it seems to us at least as probable as any other, and to those who know that several books of the Hebrew Scripture take their titles from words which they contain, this probability will seem all the greater. One strange opinion, supported by Origen and others, supposes that this prophet was really an incarnate angel: another identifies him with Mordecai ; and a third with Ezra. This last opinion has the support of the Chaldee Paraphrast, and of several Christian writers of note: but the arguments adduced in support of this opinion are by no means convincing when carefully examined. What is more certain is, that Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in the time of Zerubbabel, during the building of the temple; but Malachi speaks of the temple as having been some time built; and from this and other intimations it appears that he prophesied while Nehemiah was governor. The prophecy describes exactly the same state of affairs as the history of Nehemiah ; and the governor,' which was the title of Nehemiah, is mentioned in ch. i. 8. The Jewish writers state that prophecy continued for forty years in the time of the second temple, under Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, of whom the latter was, as we have seen, evidently the last. With him the Old Testament prophecies conclude, and conclude most strikingly with foretelling the coming of John the Baptist, with whose mission the New Testament opens.
The authenticity and canonicity of the book of Malachi have not been questioned. Besides that it constantly appears in all the catalogues of the sacred writings, given by Jews and Christians, it is repeatedly cited as of divine authority by the inspired writers of the New Testament; and some of the prophecies which it contains bear the visible impress of the seal of God. Compare Mal. i. 3 with Rom. ix. 13; Mal. ii. 10 with Matt. xxiii. 9, and Eph. iv. 6; Mal. iii. 1 with Matt. xi. 10, Mark i. 2, and Luke i. 17. Hengstenberg, in his Christologie (iii. 457, sqq.), has shewn that there subsists between Malachi and the New Testament such a connection that the latter book cannot be fully comprehended without comparing the frequent allusions to the former which it contains. In effect, that which above all evinces the divine inspiration of Malachi, is the signal prophecies already accomplished which it contains. These predictions, which all have reference to the Messiah, may be found in Mal. i. 10, 11; ii. 17; iii. 1-6, 13-18 ; iv.
. The last of the prophetical books,' says Bishop Lowth, that of Malachi, is written in a kind of middle style, which seems to indicate that the Hebrew poetry, from the time of the Babylonish captivity, was in a declining state, and, being past its prime and vigour, was then fast verging towards the debility of age. Although this is probably true as to the state of Hebrew poetry in general, we do not see that it clearly follows from the style of Malachi's prophecy, the latter portion of which, at least, does not appear to be by any means wanting in force or elegance.
Rosenmüller speaks with more appreciation than Lowth of the merits of Malachi's style. He considers that, allowing for the age in which the prophecy was written, the style is elegant, pure and correct; and that it is perfectly adapted to the subject, whether the prophet would appal by his menaces, or would open the heart to hope by his brilliant promises. Jahn remarks that the prevailing tone of Malachi is that of strong invective; that his style has something of poetical parallelism, and that he employs fewer Chaldaisms than might be expected from a writer of his epoch. He finds, however, that the style of this prophet is somewhat hard, and that many of his images are derived from the earlier prophets.
The following are the works which separately illustrate the book of Malachi :-Melancthonis Explicationes in initium Malachia, Vitemb., 1553; Draconitis Malachias propheta Ebraice, cum
versionibus Chaldæa, Græca, Latina et Germanica et explanatione, Rostoch., 1568; Chrytaei Explicatio Malachiæ propheta, et Chronologia historia Maccabæorum usque ad natum Christum, Rostoch., 1568 ; Molleri Expositio Malachiæ prophetæ, Vitemb., 1569; Grynæi Hypomnemata in Malachiam, Genevæ, 1582; De Quiros, Comm. in Prophetas Nahum et Malachiam, Hispali, 1622; Bohlii Malachias Propheta, cum Comm. Rabbinorum, Rostoch., 1637; Martini Observationes in Malachiam cum analysi, Groningæ, 1647 ; Stock, A Commentary upon the whole Prophesye of Malachy, Lond., 1641 ; Schlater, A Brief and Plain Commentary, with Notes not more useful than reasonable, upon the whole Prophecie of Malachy; delivered sermonwise divers years since at Pitminster in Summerset, Lond., 1650; Ursini Comm. in Malachiam, Francf., 1652; Van Til, Malachias illustratus, seu novo Comm. analytico et exegetico ad planiorem sensus evolutionem elucidatus, Lugd. Bat., 1701 ; Koeppenii Os Angeli Domini, sive Observationes Lxxix. in Prophetiam Malachia, etc., Grypisvald., 1708; Wesselii Malachias enucleatus, Lubecæ, 1729; Venema, Comm. ad librum elenchtico propheticum Malachia, Leovard., 1759; Fischeri Prolusio, in qua loci nonnulli Versionum Græcorum Oraculorum Malachiæ illustrantur et emenduntur, Lips., 1759; Ejusd. Prolusio in qua loci nonnulli librorum N. Test. e versionibus ræcis maximeque Alexandrina oraculorum Malachie illustrantur, Lips., 1773 ; Ejusd. Prolusio de versionibus Græcis oraculorum Malachiæ scientiæ litterarum et Græcarum et Hebraicarum adjutricibus et auctricibus, Lips., 1774; Bahrdt, Comm. in Malachiam, cum examine critico Versionum Veterum, etc., Lips. 1768; Faber, Comm. in Malachiam prophetam, Anoldi, 1779. More lately Hengstenberg has, in the third part of his Christologie, given a very able exegetical explanation of nearly the whole book of Malachi.
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall 1 Malachi complaineth of Israel's unkindness, 6 of say, The Lord will be magnified * from the their irreligion, 12 and profaneness.
border of Israel.
6 | A son honoureth his father, and a serHE bur- vant his master : if then I be a father, where den of the is mine honour ? and if I be a master, where word of the is my fear ? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, LORD to O priests, that despise my name. Israel 'by say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Malachi. 7 "Ye offer polluted bread upon mine al2 I have tar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted
thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD saith
the is contemptible. LORD. Yet 8 And if ye offer the blind 'for sacrifice, ye say, is it not evil ? and if ye offer the lame and Wherein sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy gohast thou vernor ; will he be pleased with thee, or accept loved us? | thy person ? saith the LORD of hosts. Was not
9 And now, I pray you, beseech 'God that
Esau Ja- he will be gracious unto us: this hath been cob's brother ? saith the LORD: yet I 'loved by your means : will he regard your persons ? Jacob,
saith the LORD of hosts. 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his moun- 10 Who is there even among you that tains and his heritage waste for the dragons would shut the doors for nought? neither do of the wilderness.
ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I 4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impove- have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of rished, but we will return and build the deso- hosts, neither will I accept an 'offering at your late places ; thus saith the Lord of hosts, hand. They shall build, but I will throw down; and 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto they shall call them, The border of wicked- the going down of the same my name shall be ness, and, The people against whom the LORD great among the Gentiles; and in every place hath indignation for ever.
incense shall be offered unto my name, and a 1 Heb. by the hand of Malachi.
4 Heb. from upon.
5 Or, Bring unto, &c. 6 Heb. to sacrifice. 7 Heb. the face of God. 8 Heb. from your hand.
9 Rom. 9. 13.
3 Or, upor.
9 Isa, 1, 11. Jer. 6. 10. Amos 5. 21.
pure offering : for my name shall be great torn, and the lame, and the sick ; thus ye among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
brought an offering: should I accept this of 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye your hand ? saith the LORD. say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and 14 But cursed be the deceiver, ''which hath the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contempt- in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth ible.
unto the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the name is dreadful among the heathen. LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was 10 Or, whereas ye might have blown it
11 Or, in whose flock is.
Verse 8.' Ye offer the blind for sacrifice, etc.- By consulting Lev. xxii. 20-24, the reader will perceive that the practices here specified were expressly forbidden by the Law. The feeling of proper reverence for God and the services of his altar would indeed alone have dictated that what was offered to Him should be the best and most perfect of its kind. Even the heathen were sensible of this propriety, and were careful that their victims were without blemish or imperfection. Thus, Homer (Iliad, i. 66) makes Achilles propose to consult some priest, pro. phet, or interpreter of dreams, to know whether the angry Apollo might not be
• Sooth'd with steam
Indeed, it was required generally that the victims should not be lame, diseased, or sickly, or in any other than a good condition; or rather it was desired that they should be more above than below the average condition of their species. Pliny, in his chapter De Bubus (I. viii., c. 45), says, that no calf that could not go to the altar on its feet, but required to be carried, was acceptable to the gods; and that, in general, no lame victim was fit for sacrifice. The Jews themselves seem, in the end, to have become remarkably particular, even above the law, as to the qualifications of the victims, if what Maimonides says be true, that there were no less than fifty blemishes (enumerated by him) which rendered an animal unfit to be offered on the Lord's altar.
ledge, and they should seek the law at his
mouth : for he is the messenger of the LORD 1 He sharply reproveth the priests for neglecting their
of hosts. covenant, 11 and the people for idolatry, 14 for adultery, 17 and for infidelity.
8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye
have caused many to 'stumble at the law; ye And now, O ye priests, this commandment is have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the
LORD of hosts. 2 'If ye will not hear, and if ye will not
will not 9 Therefore have I also made you conlay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, temptible and base before all the people, acsaith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a cording as ye have not kept my ways, but curse upon you, and I will curse your bless- • 'have been partial in the law. ings: yea, I have cursed them already, be- 10 'Have we not all one father? hath not cause ye do not lay it to heart.
one God created us? why do we deal treach3 Behold, I will 'corrupt your seed, and erously every man against his brother, by proOspread dung upon your faces, even the dung faning the covenant of our fathers ? of your solemn feasts; and 'one shall take you 11 Judah bath dealt treacherously, and
an abomination is committed in Israel and in 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this Jerusalem ; for Judah hath profaned the hocommandment unto you, that my covenant liness of the LORD which he 'loved, and hath might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. married the daughter of a strange god.
5 My covenant was with him of life and 12 The LORD will cut off the man that peace; and I gave them to him for the fear doeth this, ''the master and the scholar, out wherewith he feared me, and was afraid be- of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that fore
offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. . 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and 13 | And this have ye done again, covering iniquity was not found in his lips : he walked the altar of the LORD with tears, with weepwith me in peace and equity, and did turning, and with crying out, insomuch that he many away from iniquity.
regardeth not the offering any more, or re7 For the priest's lips should keep know- ceiveth it with good will at your hand.
away with it.
4 Or, it shall take you away to it. 5 Or, fall in the law. 6 Or, lifted up the face against. 7 Heb. accepted faces. 8 Ephes. 4. 6. Or, ought to love,
i levit. 26. 14, &c. Deut. 28. 15, &c.
2 Or, reprove.
8 Heb. scatter.
10 Or, him that waketh, and him that answereth.
14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith Lord hath been witness between thee and the **that he hateth ''putting away: for one cowife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt vereth violence with his garment, saith the treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and LORD of hosts : therefore take heed to your the wife of thy covenant.
spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he 17 1 Ye have wearied the Lord with your the "residue of the spirit. And wherefore words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied
That he might seek 'a godly seed. him? When ye say, Every one that doeth Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he none deal "treacherously against the wife of delighteth in them ; or, Where is the God of his youth
14 Or, if he hate her, put her away.
15 Heh, to put atony.
Verse 3. “I will corrupt your seed!'-Newcome translates, “I will take away from you the shoulder'—following the Septuagint, which appears to have read yin? shoulder, instead of y., seed; but indeed this translation will still be a fair alternative, taking the original as it stands. The reason for this preference given to shoulder' is, that this part was the portion of the sacrifices which belonged to the priests; and, consequently, the adoption of this reading conveys a clear sense quite in unison with the general bearing of the context.
Spread dung upon your faces.'— The maw as well as the shoulder was the portion of the priests: and if the shoulder be really intended in the preceding clause, it may well be supposed that the present allusion is to the maw, only that, by way of indignity, the contents of the
maw, rather than the maw itself, are mentioned- perhaps to intimate that such priests as are described deserved not the maw, but only its contents. The Seventy have maw instead of dung; which suffices to shew that they understood the allusion to be to that portion of the priests. The same sense is thus obtained with either reading. Mr. Roberts, after mentioning that the holy ashes, used by the Hindoos to rub their foreheads and bodies, are the ashes of burnt cows' dung, suggests that an illustration of the present text might be derived from this fact. Probably not: as the above seems a clearer explanation. Nor does any such custom appear in Scripture, although it is not impossible that something of the sort may have been exhibited while the Hebrews worshipped the golden calves. But, whatever else they were, the Jews were never idola. ters after the Captivity.
the sorcerers, and against the adulterers,
and against false swearers, and against those 1 Of the messenger, majesty, and grace of Christ.
that "oppress the hireling in his wages, the 7. Of the rebellion, 8 sacrilege, 13 and infidelity of the people. 16 The promise of blessing to them that widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside fear God.
the stranger from his right, and fear not me,
saith the LORD of hosts. BEHOLD, 'I will send my messenger, and he 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; shall prepare the way before me: and the therefore ye sons of Jacob are not conLORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to sumed. his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, 7 | Even from the days of your fathers ye whom ye delight in : behold, he shall come, are gone away from mine ordinances, and have saith the Lord of hosts.
not kept them. “Return unto me, and I will 2 But who may abide the day of his com- return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ing? and who shall stand when he appeareth ? ye said, Wherein shall we return? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' 8 I Will a man rob God? Yet
have sope :
But ye say, Wherein have we 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. of silver: and he shall purify the sons of 9 Ye are cursed with a curse : for
have Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that robbed me, even this whole nation. they may offer unto the LORD an offering in 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storerighteousness.
house, that there may be meat in mine house, 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in hosts, if I will not open you the 'windows of the days of old, and as in "former years. heaven, and 'pour you out a blessing, that
5 And I will come near to you to judg- there shall not be room enough to receive it. ment; and I will be a swift witness against 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not "destroy the fruits of yea, they that 'tempt God are even deyour ground; neither shall your vine cast her livered. fruit before the time in the field, saith the 16 1 Then they that feared the LORD LORD of hosts.
3 Or, defraud. 6 Heb. empty out.
1 Matt. 11. 10. Mark 1. 2. Luke 1. 76, and 7. 27.
2 Or, ancient.
4 Zech, 1. 8.
5 Gen. 7. 11.
spake often one to another: and the LORD 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: hearkened, and heard it, and a book of refor
ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the membrance was written before him for them Lord of hosts.
that feared the LORD, and that thought upon 13 1 Your words have been stout against his name. me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD we spoken so much against thee?
of hosts, in that day when I make up my 14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: "jewels; and I will spare them, as a man and what profit is it that we have kept "his spareth his own son that serveth him. ordinance, and that we have walked ''mourn- 18 Then shall ye return, and discern befully before the LORD of hosts?
tween the righteous and the wicked, between 15 And now we call the proud happy; him that serveth God and him that serveth yea, they that work wickedness are set up; him not. 9 Heb, his observation.
11 Heb, are built. 18 Or, special treasure.
7 Heb. corrupt.
8 Job 21. 14.
10 Heh, in black.
12 Psal. 95, 9.
the borith but as one of seven things employed to extract spots and dirt from clothing.
3. 'He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' -— In turning over the plates in Rosellini's great work on Egyptian Antiquities, we remember to have noticed a figure of a refiner, sitting on a three-legged stool, and watching the furnace with the utmost attention. A corre
Verse 1. "My messenger ... he shall prepare the way before me.'- See the note on Isa. xl. 3, which probably explains the custom to which an allusion is here made. That explanation referred to the preparing of the way, literally; but to complete the illustration of the custom to which this passage appears to contain an allusion, we may here add, that when an individual of any note is travelling in the East, a messenger is sent off, considerably in advance, to the designed resting-place, to announce his approach and to make every arrangement with the people of the place for his reception, so that he may find all things ready for his entertainment when he arrives. When the traveller is a royal person, the messenger goes farther in advance than in ordinary circumstances, to obtain time for the more extensive preparations which are then necessary.
2. Fullers' sope.”—The word 'soap' by which the Hebrew niga borith, is translated, might lead the general reader to suppose the Hebrews possessed such soap as is in use among ourselves. Such was not the case. The word borith is translated by the Septuagint, followed by the Vulgate, 'fuller's herb,' whence, and from the explanation of the Rabbins, as well as from our knowledge of the substances anciently and even now employed in the place of soap, we may collect, that the purifying substance was a vegetable alkali, obtained from the ashes of an alkaline plant. This was used, or a solution of it, in connection with oil, for washing clothes in ancient times, and continues to be employed for the same purpose in different parts of the East. As there are several plants which furnish the requisite alkali, it is doubtful what particular plant, or whether any oue alkaline plant in particular, may be intended. The substance may have been obtained from different plants; and it appears to us that the name borith denotes not the plant which furnished the substance, but the substance itself, from whatever plant obtained. Jerome, however, supposes that the substance was furnished by a particular plant, growing in Palestine in moist and green places, and which had the same virtue as nitre to take away filth. Maimonides says the plant was called gazul in the Arabic language. Although this borith be that which our version renders 'soap,' we are not to suppose that the Hebrews employed no other substance for purification. The Bible itself (Prov. xxv. 20; Jer. ii. 22) mentious a mineral alkali (amneter, i. e. nitrum, nitre) as employed for the same purpose, and the Mishna counts
spondent of the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine (1834) relates that a lady, apprehending, there was something remarkable in the expressions of the text, determined to call on a silversmith and make inquiries of him, without naming her object. In answer to her inquiries the process of silver-refining was fully explained to her. But, Sir,' said she, do you sit, while the work of refining is going on ?'— 0, yes, Madam,' replied the silversmith, I must sit, with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace; for, if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver is sure to be injured. At once, we are told, she saw the beauty and comfort too of the expression. As she was going, the silversmith called her back, to mention the further fact, that he only knew when the process of purifying was complete by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.- Beautiful "figure! when Christ sees his own image in his people, his work of purifying is accomplished.'