III A promise of the coming of the Messiah, and of his fore- runner, ver. 1-6. A reproof of the Jews, and charge to amend, ver. 7-12. A description of the wicked, ver. 13-15. And of the righteous, ver. 16-18.
Verse 1. I - The Messiah. My messenger - John the Baptist. The Lord - The Messiah. Whom ye seek - Whom ye, who truly fear God, long and wait for. Suddenly come - After the coming of his fore- runner. To his temple - That which was the second temple at Jerusalem, lately built by Zerubbabel and Joshua. The messenger - The angel of the covenant, the Messiah, in whose blood the covenant between God and man was confirmed. Whom ye delight in - You Jews, among whom, few there are, who do not please themselves to think of his coming, tho' from various motives.
Verse 2. Abide - Who shall be able to stand under the weight of those crosses which in that day, will fall on all sorts of men? The day - This day was from his preaching, 'till the utter destruction of Jerusalem, about seventy years after the birth of Christ. A refiner's fire - Some are like metals, which nothing but a fierce fire can purge, such fire shall the troubles of these days be. Fuller's soap - As boiling waters, into which, spotted cloaths are thrown, and as the rubbing of them with soap; so that day will prove to all, a day of great trial, to purge and refine.
Verse 3. He shall fit - As resolved to attend his work and finish it. He shall purify - The effect of this fiery trial, shall be the thorough cleansing of the persons that are to pass through it. Sons of Levi - Either the Jewish Levites, or all Christians, who are made priests unto God. In righteousness - That they may offer themselves, their souls and bodies to God, in righteousness and true holiness.
Verse 4. The offerings - The services and duties of the wholeChristian church. Pleasant - Well pleasing to him.
Verse 5. I will come near - You have spoken as if you thought I was far off, but you shall see I am near. To you - O Jews, not those very persons Malachi preached to, but those who were living when the Messiah came.
Verse 6. I change not - I have an unchangeable hatred to sin: and my long suffering also changeth not, therefore you are not consumed in your sins. Not consumed - God is the same in his wisdom to order the rewards of good and bad in the fittest season, therefore neither the one nor the other are consumed, but preserved to the season appointed of God.
Verse 7. From mine ordinances - Which either directed my worship, or your dealings one with another.
Verse 9. Cursed with a curse - Are greatly cursed.
Verse 10. Bring ye - Make a punctual and full payment of all tithes; about this did Nehemiah contend with the rulers, and made them comply, and then all Judah obeyed and did the like, Nehem xiii, 10-13. To the store-house - This was one or more large rooms, built on purpose for this use. That there may be meat - For the priests and Levites to live upon. Prove me - Make the experiment. The windows of heaven - A kind of proverbial speech, to express great abundance. A blessing - First of rain to water the earth, next a blessing of corn, wine and oil, and all other products of the earth.
Verse 11. The devourer - All kind of devourers, the locusts, the canker- worm, and the caterpillar, which though they are in incredible multitudes, yet a rebuke from God will check them all at once, as if they were but one. For your sakes - For your good. Your vine - Your vine shall carry their fruit 'till they are fully ripe.
Verse 12. All nations - All that are about you. A delightsome land - The revival of religion in a land, will make it delight-some, both to God, and to all good men.
Verse 15. And now - You say, we see before our eyes, that the proud contemners of God and his law, are the flourishing ones. Delivered - Escape all punishment.
Verse 16. Then - When contempt of God was grown so high. That feared the Lord - Those that were truly religious. Spake often - Conversed together the more frequently. And a book - All this is spoken after the manner of men. For them - On their behalf.
Verse 17. Make up my jewels - This shall be fully made good in the last great day, and in heaven to eternal ages. I will spare them - In the mean time they shall be spared, pitied, preserved, and loved.
Verse 18. Ye - Ye contemners of God and religion, return to your reason, forced by the convincing power of God's judgments. Discern - Clearly see the happiness of the righteous, and your own misery, who perish in your wickedness.