Malachi 2:10
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
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(10-17) The prophet now rebukes the two great sins of the nation at this time: (1) marriage with idolatresses; (2) divorce of the first (Israelitish) wife. He introduces this rebuke by a general statement, similar to that of Malachi 1:2.

(10) One fatheri.e., not Adam, Abraham, or Jacob (as various commentators have held), but God Himself (Malachi 1:6; Deuteronomy 32:6; Deuteronomy 32:18), who is the spiritual Father of the nation, and in whom they are all brothers and sisters; so that when an Israelite married a heathen woman, or divorced an Israelitish wife, it was an offence against God, a “profaning the covenant of the fathers,” and a violation of the fraternal relation. Moreover, “one God created” them for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), for the special purpose of being a witness to His unity. The admission of idolatresses into their families would be fatal to this object.

Malachi 2:10. Have we not all one father? — Here a new section begins, wherein the prophet severely censures the intermarriages of Israelites with women of another country, which Moses had forbidden, Deuteronomy 7:3; and also divorces, which seem to have been multiplied for the purpose of contracting these prohibited marriages. The former of these evils was much practised in Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s time, who expressed great detestation of it: Ezra 9:1; Nehemiah 13:23. The prophet begins his expostulation with putting them in mind that they were not only descended from one progenitor, Abraham, or Jacob, with whom God made the covenant by which their posterity were constituted a peculiar people; but they owned one God and Father, in opposition to the idols of the heathen, and therefore should deal with one another as brethren, being nearly allied by a spiritual as well as fleshly relation. Why do we deal treacherously, &c., profaning the covenant of our fathers? — By these marriages with strangers, we deal falsely and injuriously with our countrymen and brethren, by the ill treatment of their daughters or sisters, whom we took to marriage, (see Malachi 2:14,) and we violate that covenant which God made with our fathers, whereby he separated us from the rest of the world, and, in order to preserve that distinction, forbade us to intermarry with idolaters.

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.Have we not all one Father? - o

Hath not one God created us? - Malachi turns abruptly to another offence, in which also the priests set an evil example, the capricious dismissal of their Hebrew wives and taking other women in their stead. Here, as before, he lays down, at the outset, a general moral principle, which he applies. "The one Father" (it appears from the parallel), is manifestly Almighty God, as the Jews said to our Lord John 8:41, "We have one Father, even God." He created them, not only as He did all mankind, but by the spiritual relationship with Himself, into which He brought them. So Isaiah speaks (Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 43:7, Isaiah 43:21, add Isaiah 44:2, Isaiah 44:21, Isaiah 44:24), "Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel. Every one that is called by My Name; I have created Him for My glory; I have formed him; yea I have made him. This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise."

And from the first in Moses' song Deuteronomy 32:6, "Is not He thy Father that created thee? Hath He not made thee and established thee?" This creation of them by God, as His people, gave them a new existence, a new relation to each other; so that every offence against each other was a violation of their relation to God, who had given them this unity, and was, in a nearer sense than of any other, the common Father of all. "Why then," the prophet adds, "do we deal treacherously, a man against his brother, to profane the covenant of our fathers?" He does not yet say, wherein this treacherous dealing consisted; but awakens them to the thought, that sin against a brother is sin against God, Who made him a brother; as, and much more under the Gospel, in which we are all members of one mystical body 1 Corinthians 8:12, "when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ." He speaks of the sin, as affecting those who did not commit it.

Why do we deal treacherously? So Isaiah, before his lips were cleansed by the mystical coal, said Isaiah 6:5, "I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips," and the high priest Joshua was shown in the vision, clothed with defiled garments; (Zechariah 3:3-4. See ab. pp. 354, 355) and the sin of Achan became the "sin of the children of Israel" Joshua 7:1, Joshua 7:11, and David's sinful pride in numbering the people was visited upon all. 2 Samuel 24. He teaches beforehand, that 1 Corinthians 12:26, "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it." They "profaned" also "the covenant of their fathers," by marrying those whom God forbade, and who would seduce, as pagan wives had Solomon, from His worship. Paul in sanctioning the remarriage of widows, adds, "only 1 Corinthians 7:39. in the Lord," i. e., Christian husbands. "He who treated as null the difference between the Israelites and a pagan woman, showed that the difference between the God of Israel and the God of the pagan had before become null to him, whence it follows."

10-16. Reproof of those who contracted marriages with foreigners and repudiated their Jewish wives.

10. Have we not all one father?—Why, seeing we all have one common origin, "do we deal treacherously against one another" ("His brother" being a general expression implying that all are "brethren" and sisters as children of the same Father above (1Th 4:3-6), and so including the wives so injured)? namely, by putting away our Jewish wives, and taking foreign women to wife (compare Mal 2:14 and Mal 2:11; Ezr 9:1-9), and so violating "the covenant" made by Jehovah with "our fathers," by which it was ordained that we should be a people separated from the other peoples of the world (Ex 19:5; Le 20:24, 26; De 7:3). To intermarry with the heathen would defeat this purpose of Jehovah, who was the common Father of the Israelites in a peculiar sense in which He was not Father of the heathen. The "one Father" is Jehovah (Job 31:15; 1Co 8:6; Eph 4:6). "Created us": not merely physical creation, but "created us" to be His peculiar and chosen people (Ps 102:18; Isa 43:1; 45:8; 60:21; Eph 2:10), [Calvin]. How marked the contrast between the honor here done to the female sex, and the degradation to which Oriental women are generally subjected!

Ver. 10 Have we, we Jews,

not all one father? either Abraham, or Jacob, (not Adam here intended,) with whom God made the covenant by which the posterity was made a peculiar people, separated from other nations, and on very weighty reasons forbid to join and intermix with strange nations. Hath not one God created us? the prophet speaks of that great and gracious work of God, creating them to be a chosen people, a nation formed to show forth his praise, Deu 32:6,18 Isa 43:1,7; and so we Christians are created in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:10, and are in him new creatures, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Why do we? the prophet was not guilty of the fault, yet speaks as one of the community, partly to take off the envy of the Jews, and to cut off all occasion of quarrelling against his word, and partly to insinuate the sense he had of this thing, and the affection he had for them, though he reproved them.

Deal treacherously; despise, so some, break our faith in the marriage contract engaged, so carry it disloyally, against the duty we owe to God’s law, which equally binds us as our wives to mutual love, honour, and faithfulness; and why then do we take heathen wives, (it is bad if a Jew unmarried do it, but here now the case is worse,) Jewish wives being disliked, rejected, and so greatly despised? Why do we this against the bond of consanguinity? And do we sons of Abraham abuse thus the daughters of Abraham? Why do we so little regard the bond of religion? We are people, sons and daughters, of one God, who hath called us, separated us from the heathen to keep religion pure and unmixed; why then do we transgress thus?

Every man; the fault was very common, among the people and priests too, and since their return out of Babylon.

Against his brother: this wrong was done immediately against the wife, but the father, brothers, or kinsmen of the wronged wife are mediately, and by consequence, wronged; the whole family of the wife thus used is perfidiously abused, but brothers, as principal of the family, are named.

By profaning the covenant; violating the covenant of God, the law, which approves no polygamy, and forbids marrying of idolaters.

Have we not all one father?.... Whether this is understood of Adam the first man, of whose blood all nations of the earth are made, and who in the same sense is the father of all living, as Eve was the mother of all living; or of Abraham the father of the Jewish people, of whom, as their father, they used to glory; or of Jacob, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra interpret it, whom the Jews used to call our father Jacob; or of God, who is the Father of all men by creation, and of the Jews by national adoption of them; and who may the rather be thought to be meant, since it follows,

hath not one God created us? either as men, or formed us as a body politic; which may serve to explain what is meant by their having one father: whichever is the sense of these words, the argument from hence is strong; that there ought to be no partiality used in the law, or any respect had to persons, in that the rich and the poor have all one Father and one Creator; see James 2:1,

why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother; by perverting justice, having respect to persons, favouring one to the prejudice of another, as it follows:

by profaning the covenant of your fathers? the covenant made with them at Sinai, as Jarchi explains it; the law that was then enjoined them, particularly such as forbid respect of persons, Leviticus 19:15 some think, as Aben Ezra, that a new section here begins, and that the prophet proceeds to a new reproof, and for another sin these people were guilty of, in marrying wives of another nation, contrary to the law in Exodus 34:15 which was dealing treacherously with one another, and profaning the covenant of their fathers.

Have we not all one {n} father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of {o} our fathers?

(n) The Prophet accuses the ingratitude of the Jews toward God and man: for seeing they were all born of one father Abraham, as God had elected them to be his holy people, they ought neither to offend God nor their brethren.

(o) By which they had bound themselves to God to be a holy people.

10. one father] i.e. God, as the parallelism suggests. Comp. John 8:41. The reference to Abraham, though of course admissible (Matthew 3:9; John 8:39), is less satisfactory.

his brother] Out of the common Fatherhood springs a common brotherhood which intensifies the wrong. So St Paul writes, with reference to a similar subject, 1 Thessalonians 4:6. It may however only mean “one against another.”

the covenant of our fathers] Exodus 34:10-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4.

Ch. Malachi 2:10-16. Rebuke of the People for Heathen Marriages and Divorce

The transition from the former section is less abrupt than at first sight it seems to be. The people at large are now addressed directly, and not merely incidentally as before (Malachi 1:14); but the priests are still clearly in view, both as probably themselves guilty of the sin denounced (comp. Ezra 10:18; Nehemiah 13:28), and as conniving at it by withholding or wresting the sentence of the Law against it (Malachi 2:8-9). From the Covenant too with Levi (Malachi 2:8) the transition is natural to the wider Covenant with the fathers (Malachi 2:10). The prophet lays down (Malachi 2:10) the principle on which the whole rebuke rests; and then deals with their transgression of it, first by heathen marriages (Malachi 2:11-12), and secondly, as a consequence of this, by the divorce of their lawful wives (Malachi 2:13-16).

The word deal-treacherously is a key-word to the section. See Malachi 2:10-11; Malachi 2:14-16.

Verses 10-16 - Part II. CONDEMNATION OF PRIESTS AND PEOPLE FOR ALIEN MARRIAGES AND FOR DIVORCES. Verse 10. - Have we not all one Father? In proceeding to his new subject, the violations of the law of marriage, the prophet pursues his habitual method. He starts with a general principle, here assuming an interrogative form, and on it builds his rebuke. The priests were guilty, if not of profane marriages, at any rate of sinful neglect in not warning the people against them. Many take the "one father" to be Abraham (Isaiah 51:2), and it is no objection to this view that he was also the progenitor of Ishmaelites, Edomites, etc., because there was at this time no question about marriage with these nations, but with Canaanites, Moabites, Egyptians, and so on. But the parallelism with the following clause shows that by the Father is meant Almighty God (comp. Malachi 1:6; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 63:16). Hath not one God created us? Hath not God taken us as his peculiar people, so as to call us his sons and his firstborn (comp. Exodus 4:22, 23; Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 3:19)? Of course, God created all men; but the Jews alone recognized him as Creator. The prophet's proposition is that all Israelites were spiritual brothers and sisters, equally loved and chosen by God. From this he argues that in sinning against one another, they offended their common Father, and broke the family compact. Deal treacherously. Act faithlessly against one another. He does not yet say in what this treachery consists, but adds, by profaning the covenant of our fathers. He unites himself with them, because he suffered in their sin. They violated the covenant by which God chose them to be his peculiar people and placed himself in mysterious relation to them, on condition that they should keep themselves aloof from the evil nations around them, and avoid all connection with them and their practices. By intermarriages with the heathen, they profaned this covenant. This evil was one which Ezra had done his best to eradicate, using most stringent measures for its suppression (Ezra 9, 10.); Nehemiah, too, contended against those who had contracted these marriages, when he found on his return to Jerusalem many such transgressors (Nehemiah 13:23-28); and now the prophet lifts up his voice in the cause of purity and obedience. The warning against throe mixed unions is found in Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3; Joshua 23:12, 18. Malachi 2:10Malachi 2:10. "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? wherefore are we treacherous one towards another, to desecrate the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:11. Judah acts treacherously, and abomination has taken place in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has desecrated the sanctuary of Jehovah, which He loves, and marries the daughter of a strange god. Malachi 2:12. Jehovah will cut off, to the man that doeth this, wakers and answerers out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth sacrifices to Jehovah of hosts." Malachi adopts the same course here as in the previous rebuke, and commences with a general clause, from which the wrongfulness of marriages with heathen women and of frivolous divorces necessarily followed. The one father, whom all have, is neither Adam, the progenitor of all men, nor Abraham, the father of the Israelitish nation, but Jehovah, who calls Himself the Father of the nation in Malachi 1:6. God is the Father of Israel as its Creator; not, however, in the general sense, according to which He made Israel the people of His possession. By the two clauses placed at the head, Malachi intends not so much to lay emphasis upon the common descent of all the Israelites, by virtue of which they form one united family in contrast with the heathen, as to say that all the Israelites are children of God, and as such spiritual brethren and sisters. Consequently every violation of the fraternal relation, such as that of which the Israelite was guilty who married a heathen woman, or put away an Israelitish wife, was also an offence against God, a desecration of His covenant. The idea that the expression "one father" refers to Abraham as the ancestor of the nation (Jerome, Calvin, and others), is precluded by the fact, that not only the Israelites, but also the Ishmaelites and Edomites were descended from Abraham; and there is no ground whatever for thinking of Jacob, because, although he had indeed given his name to Israel, he is never singled out as its ancestor. Nibhgad is the first pers. plur. imperf. kal, notwithstanding the fact that in other cases bâgad has cholem in the imperfect; for the niphal of this verb is never met with. The Israelite acted faithlessly towards his brother, both when he contracted a marriage with a heathen woman, and when he put away his Israelitish wife, and thereby desecrated the covenant of the fathers, i.e., the covenant which Jehovah made with the fathers, when He chose them from among the heathen, and adopted them as His covenant nation (Exodus 19:5-6; Exodus 24:8).

The reason for this rebuke is given in Malachi 2:11, in a statement of what has taken place. In order the more emphatically to describe this as reprehensible, bâgedâh (hath dealt treacherously) is repeated and applied to the whole nation. Yehūdâh (Judah), construed as a feminine, is the land acting in its inhabitants. Then what has taken place is described as תּועבה, abomination, like idolatry, witchcraft, and other grievous sins (cf. Deuteronomy 13:15; Deuteronomy 18:9.), in which the name Israel is intentionally chosen as the holy name of the nation, to indicate the contrast between the holy vocation of Israel and its unholy conduct. In addition to Israel as the national name ( equals Judah) Jerusalem is also mentioned, as is frequently the case, as the capital and centre of the nation. What has occurred is an abomination, because Judah desecrates קדשׁ יי, i.e., neither the holiness of Jehovah as a divine attribute, nor the temple as the sanctuary, still less the holy state of marriage, which is never so designated in the Old Testament, but Israel as the nation which Jehovah loved. Israel is called qōdesh, a sanctuary or holy thing, as עם קדושׁ, which Jehovah has chosen out of all nations to be His peculiar possession (Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Jeremiah 2:3; Psalm 114:2; Ezra 9:2 : see Targ., Rashi, Ab. Ezra, etc.). Through the sin which it had committed, Judah, i.e., the community which had returned from exile, had profaned itself as the sanctuary of God, or neutralized itself as a holy community chosen and beloved of Jehovah (Koehler). To this there is appended, though not till the last clause, the statement of the abomination: Judah, in its individual members, has married the daughter of a strange god (cf. Ezra 9:2.; Nehemiah 13:23.). By the expression בּת אל נכר the person married is described as an idolatress (bath, daughter equals dependent). This involved the desecration of the holy calling of the nation. It is true that in the law it is only marriages with Canaanites that are expressly forbidden (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3), but the reason assigned for this prohibition shows, that all marriages with heathen women, who did not give up their idolatry, were thereby denounced as irreconcilable with the calling of Israel (see at 1 Kings 11:1-2). This sin may God punish by cutting off every one who commits it. This threat of punishment (Malachi 2:12) is indeed only expressed in the form of a wish, but the wish has been created by the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Very different and by no means satisfactory explanations have been given of the expression ער וענה, the waking one (ער the participle of עוּר) and the answering one, a proverbial description of the wicked man formed by the combination of opposites (on the custom of expressing totality by opposites, see Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Gramm. p. 201ff.), in which, however, the meaning of the word ער still continues a matter of dispute. The rabbinical explanation, which is followed by Luther, viz., teacher and scholar, is founded upon the meaning excitare given to the verb עוּר, and the excitans is supposed to be the teacher who stimulates by questioning and admonishing. But apart from all other reasons which tell against this explanation, it does not suit the context; for there is not a single word to indicate that the prophet is speaking only of priests who have taken foreign wives; on the contrary, the prophet accuses Judah and Jerusalem, and therefore the people generally, of being guilty of this sin. Moreover, it was no punishment to an Israelite to have no rabbi or teacher of the law among his sons. The words are at any rate to be taken more generally than this. The best established meaning is vigil et respondens, in which ער is taken transitively, as in Job 41:2 in the chethib, and in the Chaldee ער, watcher (Daniel 4:10-13 and Daniel 4:14-17), in the sense of vivus quisque. In this case the proverbial phrase would be taken from the night-watchman (J. D. Mich., Ros., Ges. Thes. p. 1004). It is no conclusive objection to this, that the words which follow, וּמגּישׁ מנחה, evidently stand upon the same line as ער וענה and must form part of the same whole, and therefore that ער וענה cannot of itself embrace the whole. For this conclusion is by no means a necessary one. If the two expressions referred to portions of the same whole, they could not well be separated from one another by מאהלי יעקב. Moreover, the limitation of ער וענה to the age of childhood founders upon the artificial interpretation which it is necessary to give to the two words. According to Koehler ער denotes the child in the first stage of its growth, in which it only manifests its life by occasionally waking up from its ordinary state of deep, death-like slumber, and ענה the more advanced child, which is able to speak and answer questions. But who would ever think of calling a child in the first weeks of its life, when it sleeps more than it wakes, a waker? Moreover, the sleep of an infant is not a "deep, death-like slumber." The words "out of the tents of Jacob," i.e., the houses of Israel, belong to יכרת. The last clause adds the further announcement, that whoever commits such abominations shall have no one to offer a sacrificial gift to the Lord. These words are not to be taken as referring to the priestly caste, as Hitzig supposes; but Jerome has given the correct meaning: "and whoever is willing to offer a gift upon the altar for men of this description." The meaning of the whole verse is the following: "May God not only cut off every descendant of such a sinner out of the houses of Israel, but any one who might offer a sacrifice for him in expiation of his sin."

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