ThisProphet was one of the three, which God raised vp for the comfort of his Church after the captiuitie, and after him there was no more vntill Iohn Baptist was sent, which was either a token of Gods wrath, or an admonition that they shuld with more feruent desires looke for the coming of Messiah. He confirmeth the same doctrine, that the two former do, but chiefly he reproueth the Priests for their couetousnes, and for that they serued God after their owne fantasies, and not according to the prescript of his worde. He also noteth certaine peculiar sinnes, which were then among them, as marrying of idolatrous and manie wiues, murmurings against God, impaciencie, and such like. Notwithstanding, for the comfort of the godly, he declareth that God woulde not forget his promes made vnto their fathers, but woulde sende Christ his messenger, in whome the couenant should be accomplished, whose comming shoulde be terrible to the wicked, and bring all consolation and ioy vnto the godly.
A complaint against Israel and chiefly the Priests.
1 The [Note: [a] Read Isa.13.1. ] burden of the woorde of the Lorde to Israel by the ministerie of Malachi.
2 I haue loued you, sayth the Lorde: yet yee say, [Note: [b] Which declareth their great ingratitude that did not acknowledge this loue, which was so euident, in that he chose Abraham fro out of all the world, & next chose Iaakob the yonger brother of whom they came, and left Esau the elder. ] Wherein hast thou loued vs? Was not Esau Iaakobs brother, saith the Lord? yet I loued Iaakob,
3 And I [Note: [c] For besides that the signes of mine hatred appeared euen when he was made seruaunt vnto his yonger brother, being yet in his mothers bellie, and also afterwarde in that hee was put from his birth-right, yet euen nowe before your eyes the signes hereof are euident, in that that his countrey lieth waste, and he shall neuer returne to inhabite it, whereas ye my people whom the enemie hated more then them, are by my grace & loue toward you deliuered, read Rom.9.13. ] hated Esau, and made his mountaines wast, & his heritage a wildernes for dragons.
4 Though Edom say, wee are impouerished, but we will returne and build the desolate places, yet sayeth the Lorde of hostes, they shall builde, but I will destroy it, and they shall call them, The border of wickednes, and the people, with whome the Lord is angrie for euer.
5 And your eyes shall see it, and yee shall say, The Lorde will be magnified vpon the border of Israel.
6 A sonne honoureth his father, and a seruant his master. If then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my feare, sayth the Lorde of hostes vnto you, [Note: [d] Besides the rest of the people he condemneth the Priests chiefly, because they shoulde haue reprooued others for their hypocrisie, and obstinacie against God, and not haue hardened them by their example to greater euils. ] O Priestes, that despise my Name? and yee say, [Note: [e] Hee noteth their grosse hypocrisie, which would not see their faults, but most impudently coueted them, and so were blinde guides. ] Wherein haue we despised thy Name?
[A complaint of Israel.]
7 Ye offer [Note: [f] Yee receiue all manor offrings for your owne griedines, and doe not examine whether they be according to my Lawe or no. ] vncleane bread vpon mine altar, and you say, Wherein haue we polluted thee? In that ye say the table of the Lord is not [Note: [g] Not that they said thus, but by their doings they declared no lesse. ] to be regarded.
8 And if yee offer the blinde for sacrifice, it is [Note: [h] You make it no fault: whereby he codemneth them, that thinke it suffient to serue God partly as hee hath commanded, and partly after mans fantasie, & so come not to that purenesse of religion, which he requireth, and therefore in reproch he sheweth them that a mortall ma would not be content to be so serued. ] not euill: and if ye offer the lame and sicke, it is not euill: offer it nowe vnto thy prince: will he be content with thee, or accept thy person, saieth the Lord of hostes?
9 And nowe, I pray you, [Note: [i] He derideth the Priestes who bare the people in hande, that they praied for them, and sheweth that they were the occasion, that these euils came vpon the people. ] pray before God, that he may haue mercie vpon vs: this hath beene by your meanes: will hee regard [Note: [k] Will God consider your office and state, seeing you are so couetous, and wicked? ] your persons, sayth the Lord of hostes?
10 Who is there euen among you, [Note: [l] Because the Leuites, who kept the doores, did not trie whether the sacrifices that came in, were according to the Lawe, God wisheth that they would rather shut the doores then to receiue such as were not perfite. ] that would shut the doores? and kindle not fire on mine altar in vaine, I haue no pleasure in you, sayeth the Lorde of hostes, neither will I accept an offering at your hande.
11 For from the rising of the sunne vnto the going downe of the same, my Name is [Note: [m] God sheweth that their ingratitude, and neglect of his true seruice shall be the cause of the calling of the Gentiles: and here the Prophet that was vnder the Lawe framed his woordes to the capacitie of the people, and by the altar and sacrifice he meaneth the spirituall seruice of God, which shoulde bee vnder the Gospel, when an ende shoulde bee made to all these legall ceremonies by Christes onely sacrifice. ] great among the Gentiles, and in euery place incense shalbe offred vnto my Name, and a pure offering: for my Name is great among the heathen, sayeth the Lord of hostes.
12 But ye haue polluted it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is [Note: [n] Both the Priests and the people were infected with this errour, that they passed not what was offered: for they thought that God was as well content with the leane as with the fatte: but in the meane season they shewed not that obedience to God, which he required, and so committed both impietie, and also shewed their contempt of God, and couetousnes. ] polluted & the fruit thereof, euen his meat is not to be regarded.
13 Ye said also, Beholde, it is a [Note: [o] The Priests and people were both wearie with seruing God, and passed not what maner of sacrifice and seruice they gaue to God, for that which was least profitable, was thought good inough for the Lord. ] wearines, and ye haue snuffed at it, sayth the Lord of hostes, and ye offred that which was torne, and the lame and the sicke: thus yee offred an offring: shoulde I accept this of your hand, sayth the Lord?
14 But cursed be the deceiuer, which hath in his flocke [Note: [p] That is, hath habilitie to serue the Lord according to his worde, and yet will serue him according to his couetous minde. ] a male, & voweth, and sacrificeth vnto ye Lorde a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, sayth the Lord of hostes, and my Name is terrible among the heathen.
Threatnings against the Priests being seducers of the people.
1 And now, O ye [Note: [a] He speaketh vnto them chiefly, but vnder them he conteineth the people also. ] Priests, this commandement is for you.
2 If yee will not heare it, nor consider it in your heart, to giue glory [Note: [b] To serue me according to my worde. ] vnto my Name, sayth the Lorde of hostes, I will euen sende a curse vpon you, and will curse your [Note: [c] That is, the abundance of Gods benefites. ] blessings: yea, I haue cursed them alreadie, because yee doe not consider it in your heart.
3 Behold, I wil corrupt [Note: [d] Your seede sowen shall come to no profite. ] your seede, and cast dongue vpon your faces, euen the [Note: [e] You boast of your holinesse, sacrifices and feasts, but they shal turne to your shame, and be as vile as dongue. ] dongue of your solemne feastes, and you shall be like vnto it.
4 And yee shall know, that I haue [Note: [f] The Priests obiected against the Prophet that he could not reprooue them, but he must speake against the priesthoode, and the office established of God by promise, but he sheweth, that the office is nothing slaundered, when these vilaines and dongue are called by their owne names. ] sent this commaundement vnto you, that my couenant, which I made with Leui, might stand, sayeth the
[The Priestes charge.]
Lord of hostes.
5 My [Note: [g] He sheweth what were ye two conditions of the couenant made with the tribe of Leui, on Gods part, that he woulde giue them long life and felicitie, and on their part, that they shoulde faithfully serue him according to his worde. ] couenant was with him of life and peace, and I [Note: [h] I prescribed Leui a certaine lawe to serue me. ] gaue him feare, and he feared mee, and was afraid before [Note: [i] He serued mee and set foorth my glory with all humilitie and submission. ] my Name.
6 The lawe of [Note: [k] Hee sheweth yt the Priest ought to haue knowledge to instruct other in the word of the Lord. ] trueth was in his mouth, and there was no iniquitie founde in his lippes: hee walked with me in peace and equitie, & did turne many away from iniquitie.
7 For the Priestes [Note: [l] He is as the treasure house of Gods worde and ought to giue to euery one according to their necessitie, and not to reserue it for himselfe. ] lippes shoulde preserue knowledge, and they shoulde seeke the Lawe at his mouth: for he is the [Note: [m] Shewing, that whosoeuer doeth not declare Gods wil, is not his messenger, and Priest. ] messenger of the Lorde of hostes.
8 But yee are gone out of the way: yee haue caused many to fall by the Lawe: yee haue broken the couenant of Leui, sayeth the Lord of hostes.
9 Therefore haue I also made you to be despised, and vile before all the people, because yee kept not my wayes, but haue beene partiall in the Lawe.
10 Haue we not all one [Note: [n] The Prophet accuseth the ingratitude of the Iewes towarde God and man: for seeing they were all borne of one father Abraham, and God had elected them to be his holy people, they ought neither to offende God nor their brethren. ] father? hath not one God made vs? why doe we transgresse euery one against his brother, and breake the couenant of [Note: [o] Whereby they had bound themselues to God to be an holy people. ] our fathers?
11 Iudah hath transgressed, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Ierusalem: for Iudah hath defiled the holinesse of the Lorde, which hee loued, and hath maried the [Note: [p] They haue ioyned themselues in marriage with them that are of another religion. ] daughter of a strange God.
12 The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this: both the master and the seruaunt out of the Tabernacle of Iaacob, and him that [Note: [q] That is, the Priestes. ] offereth an offering vnto the Lord of hostes.
13 And this haue ye done againe, and [Note: [r] Yee cause the people to lament, because that God doeth not regarde their sacrifices, so that they seeme to sacrifice in vaine. ] couered the altar of the Lorde with teares, with weeping and with mourning: because the offering is no more regarded, neither receiued acceptably at your handes.
14 Yet yee say, [Note: [s] This is another fault, whereof he accuseth them, that is, that they brake the lawes of marriage. ] Wherein? Because the Lorde hath beene witnesse betweene thee and the wife of thy youth, against whome thou hast transgressed: yet is shee thy [Note: [t] As the one halfe of thy selfe. ] companion, and the wife of thy [Note: [u] Shee that was ioyned to thee by a solemne couenant, and by the inuocation of Gods name. ] couenant.
15 And did not [Note: [x] Did not God make man and woman as one flesh and not manie? ] hee make one? yet had hee [Note: [y] By his power and vertue he coulde haue made many women for one man. ] abundance of spirit: and wherefore one? because he sought a godly [Note: [z] Such as shoulde be borne in lawfull and moderate marriage wherein is no excesse of Iustes. ] seede: therefore keepe your selues in your [Note: [a] Conteine your selues within your boundes, and bee sober in minde, and bridle your affections. ] spirit, & let none trespasse against the wife of his youth.
16 If thou hatest her, [Note: [b] Not that hee doeth allowe diuorcement, but of the two faultes hee sheweth, which is the lesse. ] put her away, sayeth the Lorde God of Israel, yet he couereth [Note: [c] Hee thinketh it sufficient to keepe his wife still, albeit hee take others, and so as it were couereth his fault. ] the iniurie vnder his garment, saieth the Lord of hosts: therefore keepe your selues in your spirite, and transgresse not.
17 Yee haue [Note: [d] Yee murmured against God, because hee heard not you assoone as yee called. ] wearied the Lorde with your woordes: yet yee say, Wherein haue we wearied him? When ye say, Euery one that [Note: [e] In thinking that God fauoured the wicked, and hath no respect to them that serue him. ] doeth euill, is good in the sight of the Lorde, and he deliteth in them. Or where is the God of [Note: [f] Thus they blasphemed God in condemning his power and iustice, because hee iudged not according to their fantasies. ] iudgement?
[Of Iohn Baptist, and Christ.]
1 Of the messenger of the Lorde, Iohn Baptist, and of Christes office.
1 Behold, I will send my [Note: [a] This is ment of Iohn Baptist, as Christ expoundeth it, Luke 7.27. ] messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and [Note: [b] Meaning, Messiah as Psal.40.1,7. dan.9.17,25. ] the Lorde whom ye seeke, shall speedely come to his Temple: euen the [Note: [c] That is, Christ by whom the couenant was made and ratified, who is called the Angel or messenger of the couenant, because he reconcileth vs to his Father: and is Lord or King, because he hath the gouernement of his Church. ] messenger of the couenant whom ye desire: beholde, he shall come, sayth the Lord of hostes.
2 But who [Note: [d] He sheweth that the hypocrites which wish so much for the Lords comming, will not abide when he draweth neere: for he will consume them, and purge his and make them cleane. ] may abide the day of his comming? and who shall endure, when he appeareth? for he is like a purging fire, and like fullers sope.
3 And he shall sit downe to trye and fine the siluer: he shall euen fine the sonnes of [Note: [e] He beginneth at the Priests that they might be lightes and shine vnto others. ] Leui and purifie them as golde and siluer, that they may bring offerings vnto the Lord in righteousnesse.
4 Then shall the offerings of Iudah and Ierusalem be acceptable vnto the Lord, as in old time and in the yeeres afore.
5 And I will come neere to you to iudgement, and I will be a swift witnesse against the southsayers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that wrongfully keepe backe the hirelings wages, and vexe the widowe, and the fatherlesse, and oppresse the stranger, and feare not me, sayth the Lord of hostes.
6 For I am the Lord: I change not, and ye sonnes of Iaakob [Note: [f] They murmured against God because they saw not his helpe euer present to defende them: and therefore he accuseth them of ingratitude, and sheweth that in that they are not dayly consumed, it is a token, that he doth still defend them: and so his mercie toward them neuer changeth. ] are not consumed.
7 From the dayes of your fathers, ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and haue not kept them: [Note: [g] Reade Zech.1.3. ] returne vnto me, and I will returne vnto you, saith the Lord of hostes: but ye saide, Wherein shall we returne?
8 Will a [Note: [h] There are none of the heathen so barbarous, that wil defraude their gods of their honour, or deale deceitfully with them. ] man spoyle his gods? yet haue ye spoyled me: but ye say, Wherein haue we spoyled thee? In [Note: [i] Whereby the seruice of God should haue bene mainteined, and the Priestes, and the poore relieued. ] tithes, and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye haue spoyled me, euen this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tythes into the storehouse that there may be meate in mine House, & proue me nowe herewith, sayeth the Lord of hostes, if I will not open the windowes of heauen vnto you, and powre you out a blessing [Note: [k] Not hauing respect how much ye neede, but I will giue you in all abundance: so that ye shall lacke place to put my blessings in. ] without measure.
11 And I will rebuke the [Note: [l] Meaning, the caterpiller, and whatsoeuer destroyeth corne and fruites. ] deuourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruite of your grounde, neither shall your vine be baren in the fielde, sayeth the Lord of hostes.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a pleasant lande, sayeth the Lorde of hostes.
13 Your wordes haue bene stout [Note: [m] The Prophet condemneth them of double blasphemie against God: first in that they said that God had no respect to them that serued him, and next that the wicked were more in his fauour then tht godly. ] against me, sayeth the Lorde: yet ye say, What haue we spoken against thee?
14 Ye haue saide, It is in vaine to serue God: and what profite is it that we haue kept his commandement,
[The sunne of righteousnesse.]
and that we walked humbly before the Lord of hostes?
15 Therefore wee count the proude blessed: euen they that worke wickednesse, are set vp, and they that tempt God, yea, they are [Note: [n] They are not onely preferred to honour, but also deliuered from dangers. ] deliuered.
16 [Note: [o] After these admonitions of the Prophet some were liuely touched, and incouraged others to feare God. ] Then spake they that feared the Lorde, euery one to his neighbour, and the Lorde hearkened & heard it, and a [Note: [p] Both because the thing was strange, that some turned to God in that great and vniuersall corruption, and also that this might be an example of Gods mercies to all penitent sinners. ] booke of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought vpon his Name.
17 And they shall be to me, sayeth the Lord of hostes, in that day [Note: [q] When I shall restore my Church according to my promise, they shall be as mine owne proper goodes. ] that I shal do this, for a flocke, and I will [Note: [r] That is, forgiue their sinnes, and gouerne them with my Spirite. ] spare them, as a man spareth his owne sonne that serueth him.
18 Then shall you returne, and discerne betweene the righteous and wicked, betweene him that serueth God, and him that serueth him not.
The day of the Lord, before the which Eliiah should come.
1 For behold, the day commeth that shall [Note: [a] He prophesieth of Gods iudgements against the wicked, who would not receiue Christ, when as God should send him for the restauration of his Church. ] burne as an ouen, and all the proude, yea, and all that doe wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that commeth, shall burne them vp, sayeth the Lorde of hostes, and shall leaue them neither roote nor branche.
2 But vnto you that feare my Name, shall the [Note: [b] Meaning Christ, who with his wings or beames of his grace should lighten and comfort his Church, Ephes.5. 14. and he is called the sunne of righteousnesse, because in himselfe he hath all perfection and also the iustice of the Father dwelleth in him: whereby he regenerateth vs into righteousnesse, clenseth vs from the filth of this world, and reformeth vs to the image of God. ] sunne of righteousnesse arise, and health shall be vnder his wings, and ye shall [Note: [c] Ye shall be set at libertie and increase in the ioy of the Spirit,2.Cor.3.17. ] goe forth, & growe vp as fat calues.
3 And ye shall treade downe the wicked: for they shall be dust vnder the soles of your feete in the day that I shall doe this, sayeth the Lorde of hostes.
4 [Note: [d] Because the time was come that the Iewes should be destitute of Prophets vntill the time of Christ, because they shoulde with more feruent mindes desire his comming, the Prophet exhorteth them to exercise them selues diligently in studying the Lawe of Moses in the meane season, whereby they might continue in the true religion and also be armed against al tentations. ] Remember the lawe of Moses my seruant, which I commanded vnto him in Horeb for all Israel with the statutes and iudgements.
5 Beholde, I will sende you [Note: [e] This Christ expoundeth of Iohn Baptist, Matth.11.13,14. who both for his zeale, and restoring of religion is aptly compared to Eliiah. ] Eliiah the Prophet before the comming of the great and [Note: [f] Which as it is true for the wicked, so doeth it waken the godly & call them to repentance. ] fearefull day of the Lord.
6 And he shall [Note: [g] He sheweth wherein Iohns office shoulde stand: in the turning of men to God and ioyning the father and children in one vnitie of faith: so that the father shall turne to the religion of his sonne which is conuerted to Christ, and the sonne shall imbrace the faith of the true fathers, Abraham, Izhak, and Iaakob. ] turne the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come [Note: [h] The seconde point of his office was to denounce Gods iudgements against them that woulde not receiue Christ. ] and smite the earth with cursing.
¶ The ende of the Prophets.