|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 8. - But ye are departed out of the way. The priests of this time had far declined from the high ideal set forth in vers. 6, 7, the "way" in which God would have had them to walk. Ye have caused many to stumble at (in) the law. By their example and teaching they had made the Law a stumbling block, causing many to err, while they fancied they were not infringing God's commandments. Septuagint, Ἠσθενήσατε πολλοὺς ἐν νόμῳ, "Ye made many weak [equivalent to ἠσθενώσατε] in the Law." Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi (see ver. 5). They broke their part of the covenant, therefore Jehovah held himself no longer bound by it. They did not pay him due reverence and obedience; he withdrew the blessings promised to Levi, as threatened (ver. 2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But ye are departed out of the way,.... Of truth and righteousness, of life and peace, of eternal salvation and happiness, pointed to by Christ and his forerunner, and by his apostles and ministers that followed him, and which was clearly showed in the preaching of the Gospel: this was the character of the chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, in Christ's time, to which the prophet seems to have respect; who not only failed in their observance of legal sacrifices, complained of in the former chapter Malachi 1:1, but left that way of atonement and salvation they directed to, and led others out of the way with them:
ye have caused many to stumble at the law; at the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ; which was the stumbling stone they fell at, seeking for righteousness, and directing others to seek for it, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, Romans 9:32,
ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts: that which was foreshadowed by the Levitical priesthood and covenant, namely, the covenant of grace, dispensed under the Gospel dispensation by the ministry of the word and ordinances; which they rejected, despised, and set at nought, and as much as in them lay endeavoured to make void, by not attending to these things, nor suffering others, but doing all they could to bring them into disuse, contempt, and disgrace.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. out of the way—that is, from the covenant.
caused many to stumble—By scandalous example, the worse inasmuch as the people look up to you as ministers of religion (1Sa 2:17; Jer 18:15; Mt 18:6; Lu 17:1).
at the law—that is, in respect to the observances of the law.
corrupted … covenant—made it of none effect, by not fulfilling its conditions, and so forfeiting its promises (Zec 11:10; Ne 13:29).
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