Malachi 2:13
And this have you done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, so that he regards not the offering any more, or receives it with good will at your hand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The prophet now rebukes the people for their frivolous divorces of their first wives, which was a natural result of their marriage with heathen women.

And this . . . again.—Or perhaps, And this a second thing ye do—viz., infidelity to the wife of their youth (Malachi 2:14). But the rendering of the English Version is in accordance with the Hebrew accentuation. That rendering is not improbably the right one. It would mean: “And this you do again (Nehemiah 13), even after Ezra has reformed the abuse, and you have solemnly undertaken not to act so again” (Nehemiah 9:10).

Covering the altar . . . with tears . . . and with crying outi.e., with the plaints of the Israelitish women who were divorced against their will.

Insomuch that.—Or rather, so that.

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.And this ye have done again - , adding the second sin of cruelty to their wives to the taking foreign women; "they covered the altar of God with tears," in that they by ill-treatment occasioned their wives to weep there to God; and God regarded this, as though they had stained the altar with their tears.

Insomuch that He regardeth not the offering anymore - God regarded the tears of the oppressed, not the sacrifices of the oppressors. He would not accept what was thus offered Him as a thing well-pleasing to Him, acceptable to win His good pleasure.

13. done again—"a second time": an aggravation of your offense (Ne 13:23-31), in that it is a relapse into the sin already checked once under Ezra (Ezr 9:10) [Henderson]. Or, "the second time" means this: Your first sin was your blemished offerings to the Lord: now "again" is added your sin towards your wives [Calvin].

covering … altar … with tears—shed by your unoffending wives, repudiated by you that ye might take foreign wives. Calvin makes the "tears" to be those of all the people on perceiving their sacrifices to be sternly rejected by God.

This have ye done again; beside that first fault, you have committed another, you slight, misuse, and afflict your Jewish wives, whom alone you should have loved and cherished, but you make them drudges and slaves to idolatresses, your new and illegal wives.

Covering the altar of the Lord with tears; your despised and misused wives flee to the temple, weep, and cry out unto God for redress of their injuries.

With weeping: this is added to show the abundance of their tears.

With crying out; with vehemency crying to God against such husbands.

Insomuch that he, the Lord, who seeth their tears and heareth their cries,

regardeth not the offering any more; valueth not such offerings made to him by such people and such priests; or receiveth it with good will at your hand; is not at all pleased with such offerings, whether expiatory or peace-offerings, none of them from such people shall ever avail them.

This have ye done again; beside that first fault, you have committed another, you slight, misuse, and afflict your Jewish wives, whom alone you should have loved and cherished, but you make them drudges and slaves to idolatresses, your new and illegal wives.

Covering the altar of the Lord with tears; your despised and misused wives flee to the temple, weep, and cry out unto God for redress of their injuries.

With weeping: this is added to show the abundance of their tears.

With crying out; with vehemency crying to God against such husbands.

Insomuch that he, the Lord, who seeth their tears and heareth their cries,

regardeth not the offering any more; valueth not such offerings made to him by such people and such priests; or receiveth it with good will at your hand; is not at all pleased with such offerings, whether expiatory or peace-offerings, none of them from such people shall ever avail them. And this have ye done again,.... Or "in the second" (b) place; to their rejection and ill treatment of Christ they added their hypocritical prayers and tears, as follows:

covering the altar of the Lord with tears and weeping, and with crying out; for the Messiah they vainly expect, pretending great humiliation for their sins: though some, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra, make the first evil to be their offering illegal sacrifices on the altar, complained of in the former chapter Malachi 1:1; and this second, their marrying strange wives, on account of which their lawful wives came into the house of God, and wept over the altar before the Lord, complaining of the injury that was done them:

insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand; which expresses an utter rejection and abrogation of legal sacrifices; and which some make to be the reason of their covering the altar with tears and weeping: or the altar is represented as weeping, because sacrifice is no more offered upon it; see Daniel 9:27.

(b) "secundo", Pagninus, Vatablus, Calvin, Cocceius, Burkius.

And this have ye done again, {r} covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

(r) Yet cause the people to lament, because God does not regard their sacrifices, so that they seem to sacrifice in vain.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. again] Lit. second. The first evil of marrying heathen women was accompanied by a second, the cruel treatment and divorce (“putting-away,” Malachi 2:16) of their lawful wives, which is now dealt with, Malachi 2:13-16.

covering the altar] The weeping crowd of insulted and divorced wives turn to God, as their only refuge, so that the courts of His Temple resound with their sad complaints, and His very altar, round which they gather, is bathed, as it were, with their tears.

crying out] Rather, sighing, R.V., as the same word is rendered in Psalm 79:11; or groaning, Psalm 102:20.Verse 13. - Not only did they marry heathen females, but they divorced their own legitimate wives to facilitate such unholy alliances. This have ye done again; this again ye do. Here is another and a further offence. Others take "again" in the sense of "a second time," referring to the fact that Ezra had effected a reform in this matter, but the people had relapsed into the same sin. But the first explanation is preferable. Septuagint, καὶ ταῦτα, α} ἐμίσουν ἐποιεῖτε, "and this which I hated ye did." Covering (ye cover) the altar of the Lord with tears. The prophet, as before (ver. 10), does not at once declare what this fresh outrage is, but intimates its nature. The picture he exhibits is that of a multitude of repudiated wives coming to the temple with weeping and lamentation, and laying their cause before the Lord. Insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more. This cruel and wicked conduct raised a barrier between them and God, so that he regarded with favour no offering of theirs. The series of visions closes with a symbolical transaction, which is closely connected with the substance of the night-visions, and sets before the eye the figure of the mediator of salvation, who, as crowned high priest, or as priestly king, is to build the kingdom of God, and raise it into a victorious power over all the kingdoms of this world, for the purpose of comforting and strengthening the congregation. The transaction is the following: Zechariah 6:9. "And the word of Jehovah came to me thus: Zechariah 6:10. Take of the people of the captivity, of Cheldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedahyah, and go thou the same day, go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, whither they have come from Babel; Zechariah 6:11. And take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Jozadak the high priest." By the introduction, "The word of the Lord came to me," the following transaction is introduced as a procedure of symbolical importance. It is evident from Zechariah 6:10 and Zechariah 6:11 that messengers had come to Jerusalem from the Israelites who had been left behind in Babel, to offer presents of silver and gold, probably for supporting the erection of the temple, and had gone to the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. The prophet is to go to them, and to take silver and gold from them, to have a crown made for Joshua the high priest. The construction in Zechariah 6:10 and Zechariah 6:11 is somewhat broad and dragging. The object is wanting to the inf. absol. לקוח, which is used instead of the imperative; and the sentence which has been begun is interrupted by וּבאת וגו, so that the verb which stands at the head is resumed in the ולקחתּ of Zechariah 6:11, and the sentence finished by the introduction of the object. This view is the simplest one. For it is still more impracticable to take לקוח in an absolute sense, and either supply the object from the context, or force it out by alterations of the text (Hitzig). If, for example, we were to supply as the object, "that which they are bringing," this meaning would result: "accept what they are bringing, do not refuse it," without there being any ground for the assumption that there had been any unwillingness to accept the presents. The alteration of מחלדּי into מחמדּי, "my jewels," is destitute of any critical support, and מחלדּי is defended against critical caprice by the לחלם in Zechariah 6:14. Nor can מאת הגּולה be taken as the object to לקוח, "take (some) from the emigration," because this thought requires מן, and is irreconcilable with מאת, "from with." Haggōlâh, lit., the wandering into exile, then those who belong to the wandering, or to the exiled, not merely those who are still in exile, but very frequently also those who have returned from exile. This is the meaning here, as in Ezra 4:1; Ezra 6:19, etc. Mecheldai is an abbreviation for מאת חלדּי. Cheldai, Tobiyah, and Yedahyah, were the persons who had come from Babylon to bring the present. This is implied in the words אשׁר בּאוּ מב, whither they have come from Babel. אשׁר is an accus. loci, pointing back to בּית. We are not warranted in interpreting the names of these men symbolically or typically, either by the circumstance that the names have an appellative meaning, like all proper names in Hebrew, or by the fact that Cheldai is written Chēlem in Zechariah 6:14, and that instead of Josiah we have there apparently chēn. For chēn is not a proper name (see at Zechariah 6:14), and chēlem, i.e., strength, is not materially different from Cheldai, i.e., the enduring one; so that it is only a variation of the name, such as we often meet with. The definition "on that day" can only point back to the day mentioned in Zechariah 1:7, on which Zechariah saw the night-visions, so that it defines the chronological connection between this symbolical transaction and those night-visions. For, with the explanation given by C. B. Michaelis, "die isto quo scil. facere debes quae nunc mando," the definition of the time is unmeaning. If God had defined the day more precisely to the prophet in the vision, the prophet would have recorded it. Zechariah is to have given to him as much of the silver and gold which they have brought with them as is required to make ‛ătârōth. The plural ‛ătârōth does indeed apparently point to at least two crowns, say a silver and a golden one, as C. B. Michaelis and Hitzig suppose. But what follows cannot be made to harmonize with this. The prophet is to put the ‛ătârōth upon Joshua's head. But you do not put two or more crowns upon the head of one man; and the indifference with which Ewald, Hitzig, and Bunsen interpolate the words זרוּבבל וּבראשׁ after בּראשׁ, without the smallest critical authority, is condemned by the fact that in what follows only one wearer of a crown is spoken of, and in Zechariah 6:13, according to the correct interpretation, there is no "sharp distinction made between the priest and the Messiah." The plural ‛ătârōth denotes here one single splendid crown, consisting of several gold and silver twists wound together, or rising one above another, as in Job 31:36, and just as in Revelation 19:12 (ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ διαδήματα πολλά) Christ is said to wear, not many separate diadems, but a crown consisting of several diadems twisted together, as the insignia of His regal dignity.
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