Page images
PDF
EPUB

12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.

13 And this have ye done again, Covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had

11 Or, excellency.

13 Or, unfaithfully.

10 Or, him that waketh, and him that answereth. 14 Or, if he hate her, put her away. 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 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 show 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 idolaters after the Captivity.

[blocks in formation]

he the "residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal "treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth "putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

1 Matth. 11. 10. Mark 1. 2. Luke 1. 76, and 7. 27. *Or, ancient.

12 Heb. a seed of God. 15Heb. to put away.

the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that 'oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. 'Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for Je have robbed me, even this whole nation

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the 'windows of heaven, and 'pour you out a blessing, 3 Or, defraud. • Zech. 1. 3. 3 Gen. 7. 11. 6 Heb. empty out.

that there shall not be room enough to re- | yea, they that work wickedness "are set up; ceive it. yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not 'destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

[blocks in formation]

13 ¶ Your words have been "stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept 'his ordinance, and that we have walked 1omournfully before the LORD of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; him not.

7 Heb. corrupt. 8 Job 21. 14. 9 Heb. his observation.

18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth

10 Heb. in black. 11 Heb. are built. 18 Psal. 95. 9. 18 Or, special treasure

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 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 borth 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 one 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) mentions a mineral alkali (neter, i. e. mitrum, tre) as employed for the same purpose; and the Misnah counts 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."-The annexed engraving, from the paintings of the ancient Egyptians, may be of some interest in connection with this text, as showing the manner in which the refiners and workers of silver sat at their employment and conducted their operations.

[graphic][merged small]

CHAPTER IV.

1 God's judgment on the wicked, 2 and his blessing on the good. 4 He exhorteth to the study of the law, 5 and telleth of Elijah's coming and office.

FOR, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2¶ But unto you that fear my name shall the 'Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Luke 1. 78.

3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this,

saith the LORD of hosts.

4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

5 ¶ Behold, I will send you 'Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

3 Matta. 11. 14. Mark 9. 11. Luke 1. 17.

Exod. 20. 3.

Verse 2. "The Sun of righteousness (shall) arise with healing in his wings.”—We cannot withhold the following remarkable illustration of this passage, which we find in Burder's Oriental Customs' (No. 367). "The late Mr. Robinson of Cambridge called upon a friend just as he had received a letter from his son, who was surgeon on board a vessel then lying off Smyrna. The son mentioned to his father that every morning about sun-rise a fresh gale of air blew from the sea across the land, and from its wholesomeness and utility in clearing the infected air, this wind is always called the Doctor. Now,' says Mr. Robinson, it strikes me that the prophet Malachi, who lived in that quarter of the world, might allude to this circumstance, when he says that the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings. The Psalmist mentions the wings of the wind, and it appears to me that this salubrious breeze, which attends the rising of the sun, may properly enough be considered as the wings of the sun, which contain such healing influences, rather than the beams of the sun, as the passage has been commonly understood.""

3. "Ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be as ashes under the soles of your feet.”—This seems to imply that ashes were trodden under the feet. We have already had occasion to explain that mortar is usually prepared in the East by treading with the feet; and as one kind of mortar is prepared with a mixture of ashes, it is not unlikely that, as Chardin suggests, this may explain the allusion. Indeed, our own plasterers and slaters, in preparing mortar for particular uses, sometimes mix ashes instead of sand with their lime: for this purpose they prefer the ashes of a furnace, and the Orientals the ashes of a bath.

THE END OF THE PROPHETS.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »