|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.
Verse 8. - Will a man rob God? The prophet shows the people how they have departed from God, in not keeping even the outward observances of religion. The word translated "rob," defraud, found also in Proverbs 22:23, etc., is rendered in the Septuagint, πτερνιεῖ, "trip up," "supplant;" Vulgate, si affliget homo Deum, or, as St. Jerome first translated, "si affiget homo Deum," and referred the words to the crucifixion of our Lord. In tithes and offerings. These were due to the Lord, and therefore in withholding them they were defrauding not man but God. (For tithe, see Leviticus 27:30, etc.; Numbers 18:21. See the complaint of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 13:10-12.) The "offering" meant is the heave offering, the breast and shoulder of the peace offering, which were the priests' portion (Exodus 29:27; Leviticus 7:14, 32-34; comp. Nehemiah 10:37-39).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Will a man rob God?.... Or "the gods"; the false gods, the idols of the Gentiles; the Heathens will not do that, accounting sacrilege a great sin, and yet this the Jews were guilty of: or "the judges" (c), as the Targum; civil magistrates; will any dare to defraud them of their due? see Malachi 1:8.
Yet ye have robbed me; keeping back from the priests and Levites, his ministers, what was due to them; and which, being no other than a spoiling or robbing of them, might be interpreted a robbing of God:
But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? as not being conscious of any such evil; or, however, impudently standing in it, that they were not guilty: to which is returned the answer,
In tithes and offerings; that is, they robbed God in not giving the tithes, and not offering sacrifices, according as the law required: but it may be objected, that the Jews in Christ's time did pay tithes, even of all things; yea, of more than the law required, Matthew 23:23 to which it may be replied, that though they gave tithes, yet it was , "with an evil eye", as Aben Ezra says; grudgingly, and not cheerfully, and with an evil intention; not to show their gratitude to God, and their acknowledgment of him as their Lord, from whom they had their all, but in order to merit at his hands; besides, our Lord suggests that they did not give to God the things that were God's, Matthew 22:21 and the apostle charges them with being guilty of sacrilege, Romans 2:22 and, moreover, the priests might not give it to the Levites, as they ought; and which is what they are charged with in Nehemiah 13:10 and Grotius says that they were guilty of this before the destruction by Vespasian, as appears by Josephus.
(c) "deos, vel judices", Calvin, Drusius, Grotius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. rob—literally, "cover": hence, defraud. Do ye call defrauding God no sin to be "returned" from (Mal 3:7)? Yet ye have done so to Me in respect to the tithes due to Me, namely, the tenth of all the remainder after the first-fruits were paid, which tenth was paid to the Levites for their support (Le 27:30-33): a tenth paid by the Levites to the priests (Nu 18:26-28): a second tenth paid by the people for the entertainment of the Levites, and their own families, at the tabernacle (De 12:18): another tithe every third year for the poor, &c. (De 14:28, 29).
offerings—the first-fruits, not less than one-sixtieth part of the corn, wine, and oil (De 18:4; Ne 13:10, 12). The priests had this perquisite also, the tenth of the tithes which were the Levites perquisite. But they appropriated all the tithes, robbing the Levites of their due nine-tenths; as they did also, according to Josephus, before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Thus doubly God was defrauded, the priests not discharging aright their sacrificial duties, and robbing God of the services of the Levites, who were driven away by destitution [Grotius].
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