|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-9 What is here said of the covenant of priesthood, is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests. It is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of all happiness, both in this world and in that to come. It is an honour to God's servants to be employed as his messengers. The priest's lips should not keep knowledge from his people, but keep it for them. The people are all concerned to know the will of the Lord. We must not only consult the written word, but desire instruction and advice from God's messengers, in the affairs of our souls. Ministers must exert themselves to the utmost for the conversion of sinners; and even among those called Israelites, there are many to be turned from iniquity. Those ministers, and those only, are likely to turn men from sin, who preach sound doctrine, and live holy lives according to the Scripture. Many departed from this way; thus they misled the people. Such as walk with God in peace and righteousness, and turn others from sin, honour God; he will honour them, while those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed.
Verse 4. - Ye shall know. My threats are not vain; this ye shall experience and be forced to acknowledge. This commandment is the purpose and threat, as in ver. 1 (where see note). That my covenant might be with Levi; i.e. that my covenant with Levi might remain firm. The covenant with Levi was the election of that tribe to be the ministers of the sanctuary. There is here a special allusion to the blessing pronounced on Phinehas for his conduct in the matter of Zimri (Numbers 25:12, 13). This election is called "a covenant," because, while conferring certain privileges, it involved certain duties. The difficulty in this interpretation is that the verb used here (hayah) does not mean "to remain," "to continue," but only "to be, to exist." Hence many critics take "the commandment" as the subject, translating. "That it (my purpose) may be my covenant with Levi, i.e. that as God observed the covenant made with the tribe of Levi in old time, so for the future this commandment and threat will be as vigorously observed and take the place of the old covenant. This explanation is too involved and refined to be acceptable. It is easiest to translate, with Henderson and Reinke, "Because my covenant was with Levi," and to understand God as implying that he warned and punished the priests, because he willed that the covenant with Levi should hold good, and he thus desired to have a body of priests who would keep their vows and maintain the true priestly character. What that character is he procoeds to unfold.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you,.... See Gill on Malachi 2:1,
that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts; not that the ceremonial law might be confirmed and established, on which the Levitical priesthood was founded; for it was the will of God that that should be abolished, because of the weakness and unprofitableness of it; but that the covenant of grace made with Christ, the antitype of Levi, with whom the true Urim and Thummim are, Deuteronomy 33:8, who has a more excellent ministry and priesthood than his, might take place, be made manifest, and be exhibited under the Gospel dispensation; of which, and of the person with whom it is, an account is given in the following verses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. ye shall know—by bitter experience of consequences, that it was with this design I admonished you, in order "that My covenant with Levi might be" maintained; that is, that it was for your own good (which would be ensured by your maintaining the Levitical command) I admonished you, that ye should return to your duty [Maurer] (compare Mal 2:5, 6). Malachi's function was that of a reformer, leading back the priests and people to the law (Mal 4:4).
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