|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:10-17 Corrupt practices are the fruit of corrupt principles; and he who is false to his God, will not be true to his fellow mortals. In contempt of the marriage covenant, which God instituted, the Jews put away the wives they had of their own nation, probably to make room for strange wives. They made their lives bitter to them; yet, in the sight of others, they pretend to be tender of them. Consider she is thy wife; thy own; the nearest relation thou hast in the world. The wife is to be looked on, not as a servant, but as a companion to the husband. There is an oath of God between them, which is not to be trifled with. Man and wife should continue to their lives' end, in holy love and peace. Did not God make one, one Eve for one Adam? Yet God could have made another Eve. Wherefore did he make but one woman for one man? It was that the children might be made a seed to serve him. Husbands and wives must live in the fear of God, that their seed may be a godly seed. The God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away. Those who would be kept from sin, must take heed to their spirits, for there all sin begins. Men will find that their wrong conduct in their families springs from selfishness, which disregards the welfare and happiness of others, when opposed to their own passions and fancies. It is wearisome to God to hear people justify themselves in wicked practices. Those who think God can be a friend to sin, affront him, and deceive themselves. The scoffers said, Where is the God of judgement? but the day of the Lord will come.
Verse 14. - Yet ye say, Wherefore? Here is the usual sceptical objection, as in Malachi 1:6, 7. The people will not acknowledge their guiltiness, and ask, "Why is God displeased with us? why are our offerings not acceptable?" The prophet replies, Because the Lord hath been witness, etc. The sin is now disclosed. Their marriages had been made before God; he who first instituted matrimony (Genesis 2:24) was a witness of the contract and gave it his sanction (comp. Genesis 31:50). The wife of thy youth. Whom thou didst marry when thine affections were pure and fresh, and for whom thy love was strong and simple (Proverbs 5:18). Against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; Septuagint, "whom thou hast deserted." This wife of thine thou hast betrayed, breaking faith with her by repudiating her. The wife of thy covenant. With whom thou didst make a solemn vow and covenant, to violate which is a monstrous crime. We have very little information respecting the religious ceremonies connected with a Jewish wedding. The previous espousal was a formal proceeding, conducted by friends and parents, and confirmed by oaths. The actual marriage seems to have been accompanied by certain solemn promises and blessings (see Proverbs 2:17; Ezekiel 16:8; Genesis 24:60; Ruth 4:11, 12; Tobit 7:13; Smith, 'Dict. of Bible').
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yet ye say, Wherefore?.... What is the meaning of the women covering the altar with tears? as if they knew not what was the reason of it, when they were so notoriously guilty of breach of covenant with them; which is an instance of their impudence, as Abarbinel observes: or, "if ye say, wherefore?" as the Targum and Kimchi interpret the words; should you say, what is the reason why the Lord will not regard nor receive our offerings? the answer is ready,
Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth: when espoused together in their youthful days, the Lord was present at that solemn contract, and saw the obligations they were laid under to each other, and he was called upon by both parties to be a witness of the same; and at the present time he was a witness how agreeably the wives of the Israelites had behaved towards their husbands, and how treacherously they had acted towards them; he saw and knew, that, whatever pretensions they made, they did not love them, nor behave as they should towards them; and therefore had just cause of complaint against them, and must be a witness for the one, and against the other: this sin of hating and divorcing their wives, or of marrying others besides them, which prevailed much in our Lord's time, is particularly mentioned, though they were guilty of many other sins, as a reason of the Lord's not accepting their offerings: the aggravations of it are, that they had broken a contract God was witness to, and dealt injuriously with wives they had espoused in the days of their youth; see Proverbs 2:17,
against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; by divorce or polygamy: the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "whom thou hast despised": and the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "whom thou hast left"; divorced and took others, which arose from hatred and contempt of their former: other aggravations follow:
yet is she thy companion; or, "and she is", or "though she is thy companion" (c): has been so in time past, and ought to be so still, and so accounted: the wife is a part of a man's self, is one flesh with him; a partaker of what he has; a partner with him in prosperity and adversity; a companion in life, civil and religious, and ought to remain so till death part them; for, whom God has put together, let no man put asunder:
and the wife of thy covenant; wherefore either to divorce her, or marry another, was a breach of covenant; for by "covenant" is not meant the covenant of God made with the people of Israel, in which they both were; but the covenant of marriage made between them, and which was broken by such practices.
(c) "et ipsa est socia tua", Montanus, Drusius, Burkius; "quum sit socia tua", Pagninus, Munster, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Wherefore?—Why does God reject our offerings?
Lord … witness between thee and … wife—(so Ge 31:49, 50).
of thy youth—The Jews still marry very young, the husband often being but thirteen years of age, the wife younger (Pr 5:18; Isa 54:6).
wife of thy covenant—not merely joined to thee by the marriage covenant generally, but by the covenant between God and Israel, the covenant-people, whereby a sin against a wife, a daughter of Israel, is a sin against God [Moore]. Marriage also is called "the covenant of God" (Pr 2:17), and to it the reference may be (Ge 2:24; Mt 19:6; 1Co 7:10).
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