Malachi 2:7
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
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(7) Comp. Deuteronomy 33:10.

Keep.—Not as in a repository, but rather, observe (Zechariah 3:7)—i.e., speak in accordance with the knowledge of God, as revealed in the Law.

Messenger.—Literally, angel. (See Note on Malachi 3:1.)

Malachi 2:7-9. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge — Preserve and store up, so as to distribute it. It is his duty to understand the meaning of the law of God: and people ought to resort to him for instruction in any difficulty that arises concerning the sense of it. For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts — He is appointed to declare God’s will unto the people, and to enforce upon them obedience to it. But ye are departed out of the way — Ye act in a quite different manner from that which was the original design of your office, and which those observed who were first instituted into it. Ye have caused many to stumble at the law — You have either perverted the sense of the law, or encouraged others to break it by your bad example; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi — By your evil practices you have broken or rendered void that covenant: by your not performing that part of the covenant which the tribe of Levi was bound to perform, you have disengaged me from performing my part, or fulfilling those promises which I had engaged to make good to them on the performance of certain conditions on their side. Therefore have I also made — Or rather, will make, (a future event being evidently foretold,) you contemptible and base — The indignities which the priests were to receive in the times of Antiochus, seem to be here intended. According as ye have not kept my ways — Have not been careful to walk in them. But have been partial in the law — Or, accepted faces, or persons, in the law, as the Hebrew signifies, that is, have wrested the sense of the law in favour, or to please great men, or to serve some unworthy design of particular persons. When we inquire into “the reasons of the contempt of the clergy,” ought we to forget this?

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.For the priest's lips should keep knowledge - o "He assigns the reason for what he had just said, the law of truth was in his mouth; they had done what it was their duty to do; as in Ecclesiasticus it is said of Aaron (Ecclesiasticus 45:17), 'God gave unto him His commandments, and authority in the statutes of judgments, that he should teach Jacob the testimonies, and inform Israel in His laws.' So Paul requires of Titus to ordain such overseers, as shall be able to Titus 1:9, 'exhort by sound doctrine and to convince gainsayers.' Wherefore Ambrose calls the Bible, which contains the law of God, 'the book of priests,' as specially belonging to them, to be specially studied by them. Jerome notes that he says keep, not 'give forth,' that they should speak seasonably, and give their fellow-servants meat in due season."

For he is the messenger (or angel) of the Lord of hosts - Malachi gives to the priest the title which belongs to the lowest order of the heavenly spirits, as having an office akin to theirs; as Haggai does to the prophet, Haggai 2:11. as an extraordinary "messenger" of God; and Paul tells the Galatians Gal 4:14, "ye received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus;" and Christ, by John, speaks to the leaders of the seven congregations, good or bad, or of mixed good and bad, as "the angels Revelation 1:20 of those churches."

"Since in the heavenly hierarchy the order of angels is the lowest, and in the eucharistical hierarchy the order of the priesthood is the highest" , "most truly is the priest of God called angel, i. e., messenger, because he intervenes between God and man, and announces the things of God to the people; and, therefore, were the Urim and Thummim placed on the priest's breastplate of judgment, that we might learn, that the priest ought to be learned, a herald of divine truth." Much more in the New Testament. "Who, as it were in a day, can form one of earth, to be the defender of truth, to stand with angels, to give glory with archangels, to transmit the sacrifices to the altar above, to be partaker of the priesthood of Christ, to reform the thing formed, and present the image, to re-create for the world above, to be a god and make men partakers of the divine nature?" 2 Peter 1:4. "The priesthood is enacted on earth, but is ranked with the heavenly ranks. Very rightly. For not man, not angel, not archangel, not any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself hath ordained this office, and persuaded them, while yet abiding in the flesh, to conceive the ministry of the angels. Wherefore, he who is consecrated as priest, ought to be pure, as if he stood among the heavenly powers." , "The throne of the priesthood is placed in the heavens, and he is entrusted with ministering things of heaven. Who saith this? The King of heaven Himself. For He saith, 'Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.' So the priest standeth in the middle between God and human nature, bringing down to us divine benefits, and transmitting thither our supplications."

7. In doing so (Mal 2:6) he did his duty as a priest, "for," &c.

knowledge—of the law, its doctrines, and positive and negative precepts (Le 10:10, 11; De 24:8; Jer 18:18; Hag 2:11).

the law—that is, its true sense.

messenger of … Lord—the interpreter of His will; compare as to the prophets, Hag 1:13. So ministers are called "ambassadors of Christ" (2Co 5:20); and the bishops of the seven churches in Revelation, "angels" or messengers (Re 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; compare Ga 4:14).

Those forementioned excellent priests did so teach, and so live, forasmuch as they did well consider it was their duty to be well acquainted with, and to have a great insight into, the law of God.

The priest’s lips should keep knowledge; it is that their office binds them to; it is the duty of all God’s people to know his law, but the priest’s duty to know it more than others, Leviticus 10:11, for they were to teach Israel, Deu 33:10.

And they, the people of Israel, should seek the law at his mouth; in difficult cases, in controversies, &c., the people were to consult and advise with the priests, and inquire what the law said in the case.

For he is the messenger, interpreter, ambassador, or legate, of the Lord of hosts with the people, lieger among them, and who therefore ought to be advised with about his Lord’s mind.

For the priest's lips should keep knowledge,.... Or "shall keep knowledge", as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; or "do keep knowledge", as the Arabic version; and so the Syriac version, "for the lips of the priest drop knowledge"; all this is true of Christ our great High Priest; for as it was predicted of him, that his lips should keep knowledge, so they have kept it, and do keep it; not concealing it, but preserving it, and communicating it freely and openly; as he did to his disciples and followers when here on earth, and by them to others; and still does by his Spirit, giving to men the knowledge of themselves and state; the knowledge of himself, and the way of salvation by him, and of the truths of the Gospel:

and they should seek the law at his mouth; not the law of Moses, but the doctrine of grace, and any wholesome instruction and advice; which he is greatly qualified to give, being the wonderful Counsellor: it may be rendered, "they shall seek", or "do seek"; and which has been fulfilled, especially in the Gentiles, and in the isles that waited for his law or doctrine, Isaiah 11:10,

for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts; or "angel" (w); he is the Angel of God's presence, and of the covenant, Isaiah 63:9 Malachi 3:1 which name he has from being sent, for he came not of himself, but his Father sent him; he was sent as a priest to atone for the sins of his people, and to be their Saviour; and as a prophet, to instruct and teach them; and therefore they should seek to him for knowledge, and attend his word and ordinances, and implore his spirit and grace.

(w) Sept; "angelus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Burkius.

For the priest's {l} lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the {m} messenger of the LORD of hosts.

(l) He is as the treasure house of God's word, and ought to give to everyone according to their need, and not to reserve it for himself.

(m) Showing that whoever does not declare God's will, is not his messenger, and priest.

7. For] And in all this he only fulfilled his duty, for such in life and doctrine ought the priest, as the messenger of Jehovah to the people, to be.

messenger] See Introduction ch. 1. p. 13.

Verse 7. - For the priest's lips should keep knowledge. It was the priest's duty to study the Law and to teach it faithfully, as it is said of Aaron, in Ecclus. 45:17, "He gave unto him his commandments, and authority in the statutes of judgments, that he should teach Jacob the testimonies, and inform Israel in his laws." The law, here and vers 6, 8, means system of teaching, or the torah. At his month. The priest was the appointed interpreter of the Law (see Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 17:9-11; Deuteronomy 33:10; and the note on Haggai 2:11). He is the messenger of the Lord. He announces God's will to men, explaining the Law to meet the varied circumstances which occur in daily life; he intervenes between God and man, offering man's worship to the Lord. So Haggai (Haggai 1:13) is called "the Lord's messenger," or angel. Some see here an allusion to Malachi's own name or office (see Introduction, § II.; comp. Deuteronomy 21:5; 2 Chronicles 17:9). Malachi 2:7To 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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