Malachi 2:3
Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung on your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
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(3) I will corrupt your seed.—Better, I will destroy for you the seed—viz., of the crops. It must be remembered that because the people neglected to pay the tithes, the Levites were obliged to go and till the fields (Nehemiah 13:10). The LXX. for “seed” reads “corn.”

Dung of your solemn feasts.—Or rather, of your festival sacrifices. (Comp. Exodus 23:18; Psalm 118:27.) The dung of the sacrificial animals was to be carried to an unclean place outside the camp, and burnt there. The priests, because they had profaned God’s Name by offering unfit animals in sacrifice, were to be treated in the most ignominious manner.

And one shall take you away with iti.e., according to a Hebrew idiom, and ye shall be carried away to it (comp. Isaiah 8:4):—ye shall be treated like it.

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.Lo, I will rebuke the seed for your sake - o, i. e., that it should not grow. He who worketh by His sustaining will all the operations of nature, would at His will withhold them. Neither priests nor Levites cultivated the soil; yet, since the tithes were assigned to them, the diminution of the harvest affected them. The meal-offering too was a requisite part of the sacrifice. (See also Joel 1:13; Joel 2:14.)

And spread dung upon your phaces, the dung o of your solemn feasts - , or, "of your sacrifices." It was by the law carried without the camp and burned with the animal itself. They had brought before the face of God maimed, unfitting sacrifices; they should have them cast back, with their refuse, upon them; "as a lord that rejecteth a gift, brought to him by his servant, casts it back in his time." "Of your sacrifices, not of Mine, for I am not worshiped in them: ye seek to please, not Me, but yourselves." So God said of Eli 1 Samuel 2:30, "them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed."

And one shall take you away with it - , literally "to it." They should be swept away, as if they were an appendage to it, as God said 1 Kings 14:10, "I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, until all be gone." As are the offerings, so shall it be with the offerers.

3. corrupt, &c.—literally, "rebuke," answering to the opposite prophecy of blessing (Mal 3:11), "I will rebuke the devourer." To rebuke the seed is to forbid its growing.

your—literally, "for you"; that is, to your hurt.

dung of … solemn feasts—The dung in the maw of the victims sacrificed on the feast days; the maw was the perquisite of the priests (De 18:3), which gives peculiar point to the threat here. You shall get the dung of the maw as your perquisite, instead of the maw.

one shall take you away with it—that is, ye shall be taken away with it; it shall cleave to you wherever ye go [Moore]. Dung shall be thrown on your faces, and ye shall be taken away as dung would be, dung-begrimed as ye shall be (1Ki 14:10; compare Jer 16:4; 22:19).

Ver. 3 Behold; note it well, and consider.

I will corrupt your seed; take away the prolific virtue and strength of it, that it shall bring forth none or little fruit: your seed you make plentiful, but you cannot make your harvest so, nor will I, till you give me the glory I contend for, and will have ere I have done. I will rebuke or check your seed, which will surcease to grow thereupon: though your vices checked thrive still, your seed for harvest cannot grow up under my checks.

Spread dung upon your faces: it is an expression of greatest contempt cast upon a person; it is a token of utmost undervalue and scorn: so I will expose you, as you have exposed my name to contempt.

The dung of your solemn feasts; your most solemn days and feasts, which are by you accounted most holy, and in which you think you offer the most holy and acceptable sacrifices, shall be as loathsome to me as dung, and shall make you, who offer them illegally, as polluted, unclean, and loathsome as if I had thrown the dung of those sacrifices into your faces.

One shall take you away with it; you shall be taken away with it, removed as unclean as the dung itself, as unfit as that to be in the temple, as fit to be cast out to the dunghill; so contemptible shall you be, if you lay it not to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed,.... Or, "the seed for you" (r); that is, for your sake, as Kimchi and Ben Melech explain it; meaning the seed they cast into the earth, which the Lord threatens to corrupt and destroy; so that it should not spring up again, and bring forth any increase: or, "rebuke" (s) it, as the word sometimes signifies; and so the Targum,

"behold, I will rebuke you in the increase, the fruit (son) of the seed.''

The sense is the same; corrupting the seed being a rebuke to them; and rebuking the seed being a corruption of that, or hindering it from growing up. It is a threatening of a sore famine that should be in the Jewish nation; and which Cocceius thinks was that which happened in the days of Claudius Caesar, Acts 11:28. The Septuagint version renders it, "behold, I separate to you the shoulder"; the Arabic version, "the right hand", or arm; and the Vulgate Latin is, "behold, I will cast forth to you the arm"; the right shoulder of the sacrifice, which was given to the priests, and here threatened to be cast to them with indignation, Leviticus 7:32 but the former sense is best:

and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; that is, the dung of their beasts which were slain for sacrifice at their solemn feasts: so this word is used for a beast offered for sacrifice at a festival, Psalm 118:27. The sense is, that their sacrifices and solemn feasts were so far from being acceptable to God, that he would reject both them and their persons, and would cast the very dung of the creatures brought for sacrifice into their faces, and spread it over them: a phrase expressive of the utmost contempt of them, and of exposing them to the greatest shame and confusion for their sins. So the Targum,

"I will make manifest the shame of your sins upon your faces; and will cause to cease the magnificence of your feasts.''

The Septuagint render it, the ventricle, or "maw"; which was given to the priests, Deuteronomy 18:3 and in which the dung was contained:

and one shall take you away with it; with the dung spread upon them; they looking like a heap of dung, being covered with it, and had in no more account than that: or "to it" (t); that is, as Jarchi explains it, to the dung of the beasts of your sacrifices they shall carry you; or you shall be carried to it, that ye may be rejected and despised as that. Kimchi's note is

"the iniquity (you are guilty of) shall carry you to this contempt; measure for measure; you have despised me, and ye shall be despised:''

or "with him", or "to himself" (u); meaning he, or it that shall take them away; either the wind or dung; or the enemy, as Aben Ezra interprets it; by whom the Romans may be designed, who took them away out of their own land, and carried them captive. According to the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, this is to be understood of God, who render the words, "I will take you together", or "with it".

(r) "propter vos", Munster, Drusius. (s) "increpabo", Tigurine version; "increpo", Drusius, Cocceius; "increpans", Burkius. (t) , Sept.; "ad istud", so some in Vatablus, De Dieu. (u) "Ad se", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Tigurine version: Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Calvin, Burkius.

Behold, I will corrupt {d} your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the {e} dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

(d) The seed you sow will come to no profit.

(e) You boast of your holiness, sacrifices, and feasts, but they will turn to your shame and be as vile as dung.

3. corrupt] Rather, reprove, margin A.V.; or rebuke, R.V. Comp. ch. Malachi 3:11 : “I will rebuke (the same word) the devourer.” God will wither with His rebuke the seed so that it shall not germinate, or shall not come to maturity. Thus the priests would suffer both in tithes and in offerings (Joel 1:2-13).

The LXX. (reading זְרוֹצַ for זֶרַצ) render, ἀφορίζω ὑμῖν τὸν ὦμον, “I set apart for you the shoulder,” that being the part of the victim reserved for the priest. Leviticus 7:34. Ewald, “I will rebuke your (the priests’) arm.”

of your solemn feasts] If this rendering be retained, it will of course mean the dung of the sacrifices offered at such feasts. The R.V. has feasts in the margin, but sacrifices in the text.

The figure is very forcible. It is as though Jehovah sees nothing in the droves of diseased and blemished animals that are brought to His altar on some great Festival, but the mass of filth and offal that necessarily accompanies the sacrifice. It is all one vast abomination! Flinging back in holy indignation the polluted offerings into the faces of the unworthy priests, He overwhelms them beneath the fœtid heap, and thus they are swept forth with it from the sacred precincts. Comp. Exodus 29:14, 1 Kings 14:10.

one shall take you] It is more in accordance with our English idiom to render, with R.V., ye shall be taken. Comp. Isaiah 9:5 : “His name shall be called”; lit. “he (one) shall call His name”.Verse 3. - I will corrupt your seed. Henderson, "I will rebuke the seed to your hurt." God would mar the promise of their crops; but, as the priests did not concern themselves with agriculture, such a threat would have had no particular application to them. It is best, therefore, to take the pointing of some of the versions, and to translate, I will rebuke your arm; i.e. I will take from you the power of performing, or, I will neutralize your official duties, the arm being the instrument of labour, offering, and blessing. Others consider the threat to be that they should be deprived of their allotted portion of the sacrifice - the breast and shoulder (Leviticus 7:31, 32), or the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the maw (Deuteronomy 18:3). Septuagint, Ἀφορίζω ὑμῖν τὸν ω΅μον, "I take from you the shoulder;" Vulgate, Ego projiciam vobis brachium. Orelli takes "seed" in the sense of posterity, seeing here a reversal of such promises as Jeremiah 33:18, 22. Spread dung upon your faces. God will deliver them over to shameful treatment, which shall cover them with contempt. The idea is derived from the filth left in the courts by the victims (see the following clause). Your solemn feasts (chaggim); ie. the animals slain at the sacrificial feasts. God calls them "your," not "my," because they were not celebrated really in his honor, but after their own self-will and pleasure. The dung of the sacrificial animals was by the Law carried forth and bunted without the camp (Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12; Leviticus 16:27). One shall take you away with it. They shall be treated as filth, and cast away in some foul spot (comp. 1 Kings 14:10). Zechariah 5:9. "And I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold there came forth two women, and wind in their wings, and they had wings like a stork's wings; and they carried the ephah between earth and heaven. Zechariah 5:10. And I said to the angel that talked with me, Whither are these taking the ephah? Zechariah 5:11. And he said to me, To build it a dwelling in the land of Shinar: and it will be placed and set up there upon its stand." The meaning of this new scene may easily be discovered. The ephah with the woman in it is carried away between earth and heaven, i.e., through the air. Women carry it because there is a woman inside; and two women, because two persons are required to carry so large and heavy a measure, that they may lay hold of it on both sides (תּשּׂנה with the א dropped; cf. Ges. 74, Anm. 4). These women have wings, because it passes through the air; and a stork's wings, because these birds have broad pinions, and not because the stork is a bird of passage or an unclean bird. The wings are filled with wind, that they may be able to carry their burden with greater velocity through the air. The women denote the instruments or powers employed by God to carry away the sinners out of His congregation, without any special allusion to this or the other historical nation. This is all that we have to seek for in these features, which only serve to give distinctness to the picture. But the statement in Zechariah 5:11 is significant: "to build it a house in the land of Shinar." The pronoun לה with the suffix softened instead of לּהּ, as in Exodus 9:18; Leviticus 13:4 (cf. Ewald, 247, d), refers grammatically to האיפה; but so far as the sense is concerned, it refers to the woman sitting in the ephah, since a house is not built for a measure, but only for men to dwell in. This also applies to the feminine form הנּתחה, and to the suffix in מכנתהּ. The building of a house indicates that the woman is to dwell there permanently, as is still more clearly expressed in the second hemistich. הוּכן refers to בּית , and is not to be taken hypothetically, in the sense of "as soon as the house shall be restored," but is a perfect with Vav consec.; and hūkhan, the hophal of kūn, is not to be taken in the sense of restoring, but, in correspondence with mekhunâh, in the sense of establishing or building on firm foundations. Mekhunâh: the firmly established house. In this the woman of sin is brought to rest. The land in which the woman of sin carried away out of the holy land is permanently to dwell, is the land of Shinar. This name is not to be identified with Babel, so as to support the conclusion that it refers to a fresh removal of the people of Israel into exile; but according to Genesis 10:10 and Genesis 11:2, Shinar is the land in which Nimrod founded the first empire, and where the human race built the tower of Babel which was to reach to the sky. The name is not to be taken geographically here as an epithet applied to Mesopotamia, but is a notional or real definition, which affirms that the ungodliness carried away out of the sphere of the people of God will have its permanent settlement in the sphere of the imperial power that is hostile to God. The double vision of this chapter, therefore, shows the separation of the wicked from the congregation of the Lord, and their banishment into and concentration within the ungodly kingdom of the world. This distinction and separation commenced with the coming of the Messiah, and runs through all the ages of the spread and development of the Christian church, until at the time of the end they will come more and more into outward manifestation; and the evil, having been sifted out by the judicial power of God and His Spirit, will form itself into a Babel of the last days, as Ezekiel 38 and 39 clearly show, and attempt a last struggle with the kingdom of God, in which it will be overcome and destroyed by the last judgment.
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