Malachi 2:6
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
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(6) The law of truthi.e., right instruction in the Law, and judgment in accordance with the Law, the reverse of which is “iniquity,” or rather, perversion.

Walked with mei.e., had their conversation in heaven. (Philippians 3:20; comp. Zechariah 3:7; and Genesis 5:24, of Enoch.)

In peace.—See on the preceding verse.

Equityi.e., integrity of life.

And did turn. . . . iniquity.—Of this, says Pusey, “What a history of zeal for the glory of God and of the conversion of sinners in those of whom the world knows nothing, of whose working, but for the three words in the closing book of the Old Testament, we should have known nothing.”

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.The law of truth was in his mouth - Apart from those cases, which were brought to the priests at the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 17:9-11; Deuteronomy 19:17 (add Deuteronomy 21:5; Ezekiel 44:23-24), hence, the use of אלהים Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:7-8.), in which their voice was the voice of God through them, to teach the law was part of the office both of the priest and Levite. Of the priest God says; Leviticus 10:11, "that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes, which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses:" of the tribe of Levi generally Moses says Deuteronomy 33:10, "They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments and Israel Thy law." After the schism of the ten tribes, a prophet says to Asa, that "Israel" had 2 Chronicles 15:3, "for long time been without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law." They are evil times, of which Ezekiel says Ezekiel 7:26, "the law shall perish from the priest;" and God says of corrupt priests Jeremiah 2:8, "The priest said not, where is the Lord? And they that handle the law knew Me not. Ezekiel 22:26; Zephaniah 3:4 they did violence to My law." Upon their return from the captivity Ezra was known to Artaxerxes as Ezra 7:12, Ezra 7:21, "a scribe of the law of the God of heaven," and he looked upon him apparently, as one who should keep the people in good order by teaching it. Ezra 7:25-26, "thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God which is in thy hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people which are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God, and teach ye them that know them not: and whosoever will not do the law of thy God or the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him." Ezra says of himself, that he Ezra 7:10, "had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."

"God's Psalm 119:142 law is the truth; the true doctrine of this law did he teach the people, and instruct them in the true meaning and intent thereof, that, according to the right rule, they might frame all their actions; nothing of it did he conceal from them, nor teach any thing contrary to it or false. This was in his mouth; nothing contrary to it was found in his lips."

And iniquity was not found in his lips - He expresses the perfectness of that teaching, first positively, then negatively. The true priest taught truth without any admixture of wrong. "Not only is he a betrayer of the truth, who, transgressing the truth, openly teaches a lie for the truth; but he too, who does not freely utter the truth, which he ought to utter freely, or who does not freely defend the truth which he ought to defend freely, is a betrayer of the truth. Romans 10:10, 'For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.'" "Nothing," says Ambrose to the Emperor Theodosius, "is so perilous to the priest with God, so disgraceful with men, as not to utter freely what he thinks. For it is written Psalm 119:46, 'I spake of Thy testimonies before kings, and was not ashamed.' And, therefore, a priest's silence ought to displease your Clemency; his freedom, to please you. For you are involved in the peril of my silence, art aided by the good of my free speech."

He walked with Me - To awe of God, truthfulness of teaching, he adds a devout continual contact with God. Like the patriarchs of old, Enoch and Noah, he Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9 "walked with God." He not only lived in the presence, but walked up and down with Him, through his whole life, as a Friend, "having respect in all things to Him and His glory."

In peace and equity - The inward peace with God overflowing in peace to men. The brief words comprise the duties of both tables; as that Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God; 2 Corinthians 13:11. Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you; Matthew 5:9. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." "God's covenant with him was of peace Malachi 2:5, so he observed it on his part." Even "equity," or real considerate justice, would alienate those, whom it found wrong, so he joins with it "peace," that even equity was not administered but with love. "To have peace with God, what is it but to will to be mended and to do what He willeth, and in nothing to offend Him?"

And turned away many from iniquity - They, the true priests of the Old Testament then, were not satisfied with their own sanctification, but were zealous for the salvation of souls. What a history of zeal for the glory of God and the conversion of sinners in those, of whom the world knows nothing; of whose working, but for the three words in the closing book of the Old Testament, we should have known nothing! The prophets upbraid the sins of the many; the Psalms are the prayers given to and used by the pious; such incidental sayings as these, record some of the fruits. "Be of the disciples of Aaron," said Hillel "who loved peace and followed peace, and who loved men and brought them near to the law." Yet even under the Gospel Gregory complains "The world is full of priests; yet in the harvest of God the laborers are few. For we undertake the priestly office, but do not fulfill its work. We receive the fruit of holy Church in daily stipend, but labor not for the everlasting Church in preaching." "There are many priests," says a writer in the 4th century, "and few priests; many in name, few in deed. See then, how ye sit on your thrones, for the throne maketh not the priest, but the priest the throne; the place sanctifieth not the man, but the man the place. Whoso sitteth well on the throne, receiveth honor from the throne; whoso ill, doth injustice to the throne. Thou sittest in judgment. If thou livest well and teachest well, thou wilt be a judge of all; if thou teachest well and livest ill, thine own only. For by teaching well and living well thou instructest the people, how it ought to live; by teaching well and living ill, thou teachest God, how He should condemn thee." "We who are called priests, above the ills which we have of our own, add also the deaths of others. For we slay as many as we, in tepidity and silence, see daily go to death. He who is placed under thee dies without thee, when in that which causes his death, thou hast withstood him. For to that death, which thou hast not withstood, thou wilt be added."

6. law of truth was in his mouth—He taught the people the truths of the law in all its fulness (De 33:10). The priest was the ordinary expounder of the law; the prophets were so only on special occasions.

iniquity … not found—no injustice in his judicial functions (De 17:8, 9; 19:17).

walked with me—by faith and obedience (Ge 5:22).

in peace—namely, the "peace" which was the fruit of obeying the covenant (Mal 2:5). Peace with God, man, and one's own conscience, is the result of "walking with God" (compare Job 22:21; Isa 27:5; Jas 3:18).

turn may … from iniquity—both by positive precept and by tacit example "walking with God" (Jer 23:22; Da 12:3; Jas 5:20).

The law of truth; the law of God which is the truth, the doctrine of the law according to the true meaning thereof.

Was in his mouth; he did teach it to the people, he resolved all cases by this law; Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas, or, as we must understand it, every one of those godly priests or Levites, in what age soever they lived, who, as Malachi 2:5, feared God, and were humble. They taught the people (as was their duty) first to know the law of God, and then to obey it; this by their example, the other by their instruction. The law of truth was in his mouth, he pronounced according to the law truly, pronouncing that unclean which the law determined unclean, and that clean which was clean.

Iniquity was not found in his lips; he judged not with respect to persons, nor for bribes perverted judgment, nor judged that lawful which was unlawful, or that unlawful which was lawful.

He walked with me; his whole life was a continual walking with God, as Enoch’s was, and Noah’s was, and as God required Abraham’s should be, in holy fear of his majesty, in true love of his precepts, and reverent observing his ordinances; he lived with God, and to him.

In peace, with God, and with men; it was his aim to live peaceably towards others, that God might make them peaceable toward him, and God gave him much of that he desired.

And equity; in rectitude of mind, or in sincerity and uprightness, free from hypocrisy; or else in all righteousness among men.

And did turn many away from iniquity; by his instructions, and by his excellent example, he converted many from ways of sin.

The law of truth was in his mouth,.... The Gospel, the word and doctrine of truth; which comes from the God of truth; is concerning Christ the truth and men are guided into it by the Spirit of truth; it contains most glorious truths, and nothing but truth: and this was in the mouth of Christ, being put there by his Father, who gave him what he should say, and what he should speak; and which was preached by him in the most faithful manner, and so as it never was by any other, for which he was abundantly qualified:

and iniquity was not found in his lips; there was none in his nature; nor in his heart; nor in his life; nor in his lips; none could be found there by men nor devils: there was no falsehood in his doctrines; no deceit in his promises; no dissimulation in his expressions of love to men; nothing vain, light, frothy, and unprofitable, dropped from him in common conversation; no reviling in return to his enemies; nor any impatient expressions or murmurings at the time of his sufferings and death, 1 Peter 2:22,

he walked with me in peace and equity: he walked with God, he had communion with him; though he was sometimes left alone, he was not alone, God was with him; he was conformable to his will, and walked according to it, in obedience to his law, moral and ceremonial, and in the discharge of all religious duties: he walked with God "in peace", without quarrelling with any of his dispensations towards him; he did nothing to break the peace that subsisted between them, but always did the things which pleased his father, and had peace in what he did; and he walked with him in "equity", or righteousness, fulfilling his righteous law, and bringing in an everlasting righteousness:

and did turn many away from iniquity; doctrinal and practical; which is to be understood, not of a bare reformation only in principle and practice, but of true real conversion; of which there were many instances under the ministry of his forerunner John the Baptist, and under his own ministry when in person on earth; and under the ministry of his apostles, attended with his Spirit and power, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world.

The law of {k} truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

(k) He shows that the priests ought to have knowledge to instruct others in the word of the Lord.

6. The law of truth] Teaching, as a function of the priesthood, entered into the original idea and constitution of the office (Deuteronomy 33:10; Leviticus 10:11), and was revived in connection with it after the return from Babylon (Ezra 7:10; Ezra 7:25; Nehemiah 8:1-8). To be without “a teaching priest” was a national calamity (2 Chronicles 15:3).

And iniquity] Rather And unrighteousness, R.V. This clause refers perhaps to the judicial decisions of the priest (Deuteronomy 17:8-13), as being without respect of persons and uninfluenced by bribes. (Deuteronomy 16:18-19.)

he walked with me &c.] Comp. Genesis 5:22; Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9. The walk of the priest, in the peace of a right relation to God, and the uprightness (R.V.) of a holy life, accorded with his teaching and his judicial sentences, and as the result of both he turned many away from iniquity.

“What a history of zeal for the glory of God and the conversion of sinners in those, of whom the world knows nothing; of whose working, but for the three words (many he-turned-away from-iniquity) in the closing book of the Old Testament, we should have known nothing!” Pusey.

Verse 6. - The law (teaching) of truth was in his mouth. All his teaching rested on those truths which were enshrined in the Divine Law (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; Deuteronomy 33:10). Iniquity; unfair decision. Neither false doctrine nor perverse judgment was found in him (Deuteronomy 17:8-10; Deuteronomy 19:17). Walked with me. Not only his teaching was true, but his life was pure and good; he was the friend of God, living as always in his presence, in peace and uprightness. So Enoch and Noah are said to have "walked with God" (Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9). Did turn many away from iniquity. The faithful discharge of duties and the holy life and teaching of the good priest led many sinners to repentance and amendment. Malachi 2:6To explain and show the reason for this thought, the real nature of the covenant made with Levi is described in Malachi 2:5-7; and Malachi 2:8 and Malachi 2:9 then show how the priests have neutralized this covenant by forsaking the way of their fathers, so that God is obliged to act differently towards them now, and deliver them up to shame and ignominy. Malachi 2:5. "My covenant was with him life and salvation, and I lent them to him for fear, and he feared me and trembled before my name. Malachi 2:6. Law of truth was in his mouth and there was no perversity on his lips, he walked with me in salvation and integrity, and brought back many from guilt. Malachi 2:7. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and men seek law from his mouth, because he is a messenger of Jehovah." In Malachi 2:5 החיּים והשּׁלום are the nominative of the predicate. "My covenant was with him life," etc., means, my covenant consisted in this, that life and salvation were guaranteed and granted to him. The elliptical mode of explaining it, viz., "my covenant was a covenant of life and salvation," gives the same sense, only there is no analogous example by which this ellipsis can be vindicated, since such passages as Numbers 25:12; Genesis 24:24, and Hosea 14:3, which Hitzig adduces in support of it, are either of a different character, or different in their meaning. Shâlōm, salvation (peace), is the sum of all the blessings requisite for wellbeing. Jehovah granted life and salvation to Levi, i.e., to the priesthood, for fear, viz., as the lever of the fear of God; and Levi, i.e., the priesthood of the olden time, responded to this divine intention. "He feared me." Nichath is the niphal not of nâchath, he descended, i.e., humbled himself (Ewald, Reincke), but of châthath, to terrify, to shake, which is frequently met with in connection with (e.g., Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 1:17). Hosea 14:5 and Hosea 14:6 state how Levi preserved this fear both officially and in life. Tōrath 'ĕmeth (analogous to mishpat 'ĕmeth in Zechariah 7:9) is instruction in the law consisting in truth. Truth, which had its roots in the law of Jehovah, was the rule not only of his own conduct, but also and more especially of the instruction which he had to give to the people (cf. Malachi 2:7). The opposite of 'ĕmeth is ‛avlâh, perversity, conduct which is not regulated by the law of God, but by selfishness or sinful self-interest. Grammatically considered, the feminine ‛avlâh is not the subject to נמצא, but is construed as the object: "they found not perversity" (cf. Ges. 143, 1, b; Ewald, 295, b). Thus he walked in peace (salvation) and integrity before God. Beshâlōm is not merely in a state of peace, or in peaceableness, nor even equivalent to בּלבב שׁלם (2 Kings 20:3), but according to Malachi 2:5, "equipped with the salvation bestowed upon him by God." The integritas vitae is affirmed in בּמישׁור. הלך את־יי, to walk with Jehovah, denotes the most confidential intercourse with God, or walking as it were by the side of God (see at Genesis 5:22). Through this faithful discharge of the duties of his calling, Levi (i.e., the priesthood) brought many back from guilt or iniquity, that is to say, led many back from the way of sin to the right way, viz., to the fear of God (cf. Daniel 12:3). But Levi did nothing more than what the standing and vocation of the priest required. For the lips of the priest should preserve knowledge. דעת is the knowledge of God and of His will as revealed in the law. These the lips of the priest should keep, to instruct the people therein; for out of the mouth of the priest men seek tōrâh, law, i.e., instruction in the will of God, because he is a messenger of Jehovah to the people. מלאך, the standing epithet for the angels as the heavenly messengers of God, is here applied to the priests, as it is in Haggai 1:13 to the prophet. Whilst the prophets were extraordinary messengers of God, who proclaimed to the people the will and counsel of the Lord, the priests, by virtue of their office, were so to speak the standing or ordinary messengers of God. But the priests of that time had become utterly untrue to this vocation.
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