Malachi 4:2
But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) As the rising sun diffuses light and heat, so that all that is healthy in nature revives and lifts up its head, while plants that have no depth of root are scorched up and wither away, so the advent of the reign of righteousness, which will reward the good and the wicked, each according to his deserts, will dissipate all darkness of doubt, and heal all the wounds which the apparent injustice of the conduct of affairs has inflicted on the hearts of the righteous.

Wings.—Figurative for rays. The fathers and early commentators have understood Christ by the Sun of Righteousness, and they are so far right that it is the period of His advent that is referred to; but there can be no personal reference to Him in the expression, since “sun” is feminine in Hebrew; and the literal rendering of the word translated “in his wings” is “in her wings.”

Grow up.—Better, prance, or sport.

Malachi 4:2. But unto you that fear my name — So they are described, chap. Malachi 3:16, whose names were written in the book of remembrance; who loved the law of their God, and kept it; who believed its promises, and rejoiced in expectation of the blessings promised; who believed his threatenings and trembled at them, and who walked humbly with their God; shall the Sun of righteousness arise — Christ, who is fitly compared to the sun, being the fountain of light and vital heat to his church: elsewhere called the day- spring from on high, Luke 1:78, and the east, or sun-rising, for so the word rendered branch, Zechariah 3:8, is translated by the Chaldee and LXX: see the note there, and on Isaiah 60:1-2. Thus the church is described, Revelation 12:1, as clothed with the sun, that is, adorned with graces communicated to her from Christ. He is termed the Sun OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, not only because he is the end of the law for righteousness, that is, for justification, sanctification, and practical obedience, to believers, and is made of God unto them righteousness, but because he is the medium and source of the divine mercy and benignity to them, as the word rendered righteousness also signifies. He is said to arise with healing in his wings, because his doctrine and mediation, with the spirit of truth and grace, which he has procured for, and confers upon, his true followers, removes men’s ignorance and errors, sins and miseries, and heals all the diseases of their fallen souls, communicating to them spiritual health and strength, with delight and joy, safety and security, and restoring and regulating all their faculties and powers. And ye shall go forth — That is, as the words are thought primarily to signify, out of the city of Jerusalem before the fatal siege begin, being warned by Christ so to do, (see Matthew 24:15-18; Luke 21:20-21,) and thereby escaping those dreadful calamities, in which those who stayed in the city were involved. Indeed, those who had faith in Christ’s predictions, apprehending, from the circumstances of things, the destruction of the city to be near at hand, quitted it before it was invested by the Romans. And grow up — In strength, vigour, and spiritual stature; as calves of the stall — Where they are safely guarded, and well ordered and provided for. This shall be your state when the rest of your nation shall be consumed with divers kinds of death. Ye shall be in a good condition through your faith in the Redeemer, which shall be to you the evidence of things not seen; through the peace which you shall have with God, and in your own minds; through the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, and communion with him; and through the well-grounded and lively hopes with which you shall be inspired of the like deliverance in the judgment of the last day.4:1-3 Here is a reference to the first and to the second coming of Christ: God has fixed the day of both. Those who do wickedly, who do not fear God's anger, shall feel it. It is certainly to be applied to the day of judgment, when Christ shall be revealed in flaming fire; to execute judgment on the proud, and all that do wickedly. In both, Christ is a rejoicing Light to those who serve him faithfully. By the Sun of Righteousness we understand Jesus Christ. Through him believers are justified and sanctified, and so are brought to see light. His influences render the sinner holy, joyful, and fruitful. It is applicable to the graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit, brought into the souls of men. Christ gave the Spirit to those who are his, to shine in their hearts, and to be a Comforter to them, a Sun and a Shield. That day which to the wicked will burn as an oven, will to the righteous be bright as the morning; it is what they wait for, more than those that wait for the morning. Christ came as the Sun, to bring, not only light to a dark world, but health to a distempered world. Souls shall increase in knowledge and spiritual strength. Their growth is as that of calves of the stall, not as the flower of the field, which is slender and weak, and soon withers. The saints' triumphs are all owing to God's victories; it is not they that do this, but God who does it for them. Behold another day is coming, far more dreadful to all that work wickedness than any which is gone before. How great then the happiness of the believer, when he goes from the darkness and misery of this world, to rejoice in the Lord for evermore!But (And) unto you, who fear My Name, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise - It is said of God Psalm 84:11, "The Lord God is a sun and a shield, and Isaiah 60:19-20, The Lord shall be to thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory; thy sun shall no more go down, for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light;" and Zacharias, speaking of the office of John the Baptist in the words of Malachi, "thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His way, speaks of Luke 1:76, Luke 1:78-79. the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness." "He who is often called Lord and God, and Angel and Captain of the Lord's host, and Christ and priest and Word and Wisdom of God and Image, is now called the Sun of Righteousness. He, the Father promises, will arise, not to all, but to those only who fear His Name, giving them the light of the Sun of Righteousness, as the reward of their fear toward Him. This is God the Word Who saith, 'I am the Light of the world,' Who was 'the Light of every one who cometh into the world."' Primarily, Malachi speaks of our Lord's second Coming, when Hebrews 9:28. "to them that look for Him shall He appear, a second time unto salvation."

For as, in so many places (As Psalm 1:6; Psalm 2:12; Psalm 3:7-8; Psalm 5:10-12; Psalm 6:8-10; Psalm 7:16-17; Psalm 9:17-20; Psalm 10:16-18; Psalm 11:6-7; Psalm 17:13-15; Psalm 20:8; Psalm 26:9-12; Psalm 31:23; Psalm 32:10-11; Psalm 34:21-22; Psalm 35:26-28; Psalm 36:10-12; Psalm 37:38-40; Psalm 40:15-17; Psalm 50:22-23; Psalm 52:5-9; Psalm 55:22-23; Psalm 58:10-11; Psalm 63:10-11; Psalm 64:9-10; Psalm 73:27-28; Psalm 104:33-35; Psalm 112:9-10; Psalm 126:5; Psalm 149:9.) the Old Testament exhibits the opposite lots of the righteous and the wicked, so here the prophet speaks of the Day of Judgment, in reference to the two opposite classes, of which he had before spoken, the proud and evil doers, and the fearers of God. The title, "the Sun of Righteousness," belongs to both comings , "in the first, lie diffused rays of righteousness, whereby He justified and daily justifies any sinners whatever, who will look to Him, i. e., believe in Him and obey Him, as the sun imparts light; joy and life to all who turn toward it." In the second, the righteousness which He gave, lie will own and exhibit, cleared from all the misjudgment of the world, before men and Angels. Yet more, healing is, throughout Holy Scripture, used of the removal of sickness or curing of wounds, in the individual or state or Church, and, as to the individual, bodily or spiritual.

So David thanks God, first for the forgiveness Psalm 103:3-5, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;" then for healing of his soul, "Who healeth all thy diseases;" then for salvation, "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;" then for the crown laid up for him, "Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies;" then, with the abiding sustenance and satisfying joy, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things." Healing then primarily belongs to thin life, in which we are still encompassed with infirmities, and even His elect and His saints have still, whereof to be healed. The full then and complete healing of the soul, the integrity of all its powers will be in the life to come. There, will be "understanding without error, memory without forgetfulness, thought without distraction, love without simulation, sensation without offence, satisfying without satiety, universal health without sickness." "For through Adam's sin the soul was wounded in understanding, through obscurity and ignorance; in will, through the leaning to perishing goods; as concupiscent, through infirmity and manifold concupiscence. In heaven Christ will heal all these, giving to the understanding light and knowledge; to the will, constancy in good; to the desire, that it should desire nothing but what is right and good. Then too the healing of the seal will be the light of glory, the vision and fruition of God, and the glorious endowments consequent thereon, overstreaming all the powers of the soul and therefrom to the body." "God has made the soul of a nature so mighty, that from its most full beatitude, which at the end of time is promised to the saints, there shall overflow to the inferior nature, the body, not bliss, which belongs to the soul as intelligent and capable of fruition, but the fullness of health that is, the vigorousness of incorruption."

And ye shall go forth - , as from a prison-house, from the miseries of this lifeless life, and grow up, or perhaps more probably, bound as the animal, which has been confined, exults in its regained freedom, itself full of life and exuberance of delight. So the Psalmist Psalm 149:5, "The saints shall exult in glory." And our Lord uses the like word , as to the way, with which they should greet persecution to the utmost, for His Name's sake. Swiftness of motion is one of the endowments of the spiritual body, after the resurrection; as the angels, to whom the righteous shall be like, Luke 20:36, Ezekiel 1:14 ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning."

2. The effect of the judgment on the righteous, as contrasted with its effect on the wicked (Mal 4:1). To the wicked it shall be as an oven that consumes the stubble (Mt 6:30); to the righteous it shall be the advent of the gladdening Sun, not of condemnation, but "of righteousness"; not destroying, but "healing" (Jer 23:6).

you that fear my name—The same as those in Mal 3:16, who confessed God amidst abounding blasphemy (Isa 66:5; Mt 10:32). The spiritual blessings brought by Him are summed up in the two, "righteousness" (1Co 1:30) and spiritual "healing" (Ps 103:3; Isa 57:19). Those who walk in the dark now may take comfort in the certainty that they shall walk hereafter in eternal light (Isa 50:10).

in his wings—implying the winged swiftness with which He shall appear (compare "suddenly," Mal 3:1) for the relief of His people. The beams of the Sun are His "wings." Compare "wings of the morning," Ps 139:9. The "Sun" gladdening the righteous is suggested by the previous "day" of terror consuming the wicked. Compare as to Christ, 2Sa 23:4; Ps 84:11; Lu 1:78; Joh 1:9; 8:12; Eph 5:14; and in His second coming, 2Pe 1:19. The Church is the moon reflecting His light (Re 12:1). The righteous shall by His righteousness "shine as the Sun in the kingdom of the Father" (Mt 13:43).

ye shall go forth—from the straits in which you were, as it were, held captive. An earnest of this was given in the escape of the Christians to Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem.

grow up—rather, "leap" as frisking calves [Calvin]; literally, "spread," "take a wide range."

as calves of the stall—which when set free from the stall disport with joy (Ac 8:8; 13:52; 20:24; Ro 14:17; Ga 5:22; Php 1:4; 1Pe 1:8). Especially the godly shall rejoice at their final deliverance at Christ's second coming (Isa 61:10).

You that fear my name; so are they described to us who were written in the book of remembrance, Malachi 3:16; who loved the law of their God, and kept it; who believed his promises, and rejoiced in expectation of the good promised; who believed his threats and trembled at them, that they might rest in the day of trouble, as Habakkuk 3:16; who walked humbly with their God.

The Sun; Christ, who is the day.spring from on high, Luke 1:78: or, as most elegantly described Isaiah 60:1-3, who is very fitly compared to the sun; Fountain of light and vital heat to his church, he enlightens and enlivens every one John 1:4,9.

Of righteousness; and of mercy and benignity, for the Hebrew word imports both, and neither may be here excluded. His justice is seen in executions of judgment on the proud and wicked, who are consumed in the fire of his wrath; and his righteousness and mercy are seen in the preservation and remuneration of those that fear the Lord: so greatly different shall this time be to the wicked and the godly; to these a day of benign light and kindly influences through the mercy of God, to the wicked a day of destruction. and utter extirpation.

Arise with healing in his wings; his beams and rays shall bring health and strength, with delight and joy, safety and security: it may be (as some have observed from the word) an intimation of the healing virtue that from Christ went forth to such as in faith touched the hem of his garment, Matthew 9:20,21, and is as effectual for the healing of soul maladies and infirmities as of bodily diseases.

Ye shall go forth; go out of harm’s way, out of Jerusalem, before the fatal siege, obeying the call from heaven, Go hence to Pella, and that of Christ, Matthew 24:15,16.

And grow up, in strength, rigour, and spiritual stature, as calves of the stall; where they are safe guarded and well ordered. So will the Lord keep safe and look well to his preserved ones when the wicked are destroyed.

You that fear my name; so are they described to us who were written in the book of remembrance, Malachi 3:16; who loved the law of their God, and kept it; who believed his promises, and rejoiced in expectation of the good promised; who believed his threats and trembled at them, that they might rest in the day of trouble, as Habakkuk 3:16; who walked humbly with their God.

The Sun; Christ, who is the day.spring from on high, Luke 1:78: or, as most elegantly described Isaiah 60:1-3, who is very fitly compared to the sun; Fountain of light and vital heat to his church, he enlightens and enlivens every one John 1:4,9.

Of righteousness; and of mercy and benignity, for the Hebrew word imports both, and neither may be here excluded. His justice is seen in executions of judgment on the proud and wicked, who are consumed in the fire of his wrath; and his righteousness and mercy are seen in the preservation and remuneration of those that fear the Lord: so greatly different shall this time be to the wicked and the godly; to these a day of benign light and kindly influences through the mercy of God, to the wicked a day of destruction. and utter extirpation.

Arise with healing in his wings; his beams and rays shall bring health and strength, with delight and joy, safety and security: it may be (as some have observed from the word) an intimation of the healing virtue that from Christ went forth to such as in faith touched the hem of his garment, Matthew 9:20,21, and is as effectual for the healing of soul maladies and infirmities as of bodily diseases.

Ye shall go forth; go out of harm’s way, out of Jerusalem, before the fatal siege, obeying the call from heaven, Go hence to Pella, and that of Christ, Matthew 24:15,16.

And grow up, in strength, rigour, and spiritual stature, as calves of the stall; where they are safe guarded and well ordered. So will the Lord keep safe and look well to his preserved ones when the wicked are destroyed. But unto you that fear my name,.... The few that were of this character among that wicked nation; See Gill on Malachi 3:16,

shall the Sun of righteousness arise; not the Holy Ghost, who enlightens sinners, convinces of righteousness, and gives joy, peace, and comfort to the saints, but Christ: and thus it is interpreted of him by the ancient Jews, in one of their Midrashes or expositions (a); they say, Moses says not they shall be for ever pledged, that is, the clothes of a neighbour, but until the sun comes, until the Messiah comes, as it is said, "unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise", &c.; and Philo the Jew (b) not only observes, that God, figuratively speaking, is the sun; but the divine "Logos" or Word of God, the image of the heavenly Being, is called the sun; who, coming to our earthly system, helps the kindred and followers of virtue, and affords ample refuge and salvation to them; referring, as it seems; to this passage: indeed, they generally interpret it of the sun, literally taken, which they suppose, at the end of the world, will have different effects on good and bad men; they say (c),

"in the world to come, God will bring the sun out of its sheath, and burn the wicked; they will be judged by it, and the righteous will be healed by it:''

for the proof of the former, they produce the words in the first verse of this chapter, "behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven"; and of the latter these words, "but unto you that fear my name &c."; and a very ridiculous notion they have, that Abraham their father had a precious stone or pearl hanging about his neck, and every sick person that saw it was healed by it immediately; and, when he departed out of the world, God took it, and fixed it to the orb of the sun; hence the proverb, the sun rises, and sickness decreases (d); and as it is elsewhere quoted (e), this passage is added to confirm it, as it is said, "to you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings": unless this fable should be intended to mean, as Abarbinel (f) interprets it, that Abraham, while he lived, clearly proved the unity of God and his perfections; and that, after his death, the same truth was taught by the wonderful motion of the sun: but, be this as it will, those are undoubtedly in the right who understand these words figuratively of the Messiah; who is compared to the "sun", because, as the sun is a luminous body, the light of the whole world, so is Christ of the world of men, and of the world of saints; particularly of the Gentiles, often called the world; and of the New Jerusalem church state, and of the world to come: and as the sun is the fountain of light, so is Christ the fountain of natural and moral light, as well as of the light of grace, and of the light of glory: as the sun communicates light to all the celestial bodies, so Christ to the moon, the church; to the stars, the ministers of the word; to the morning stars, the angels: as the sun dispels the darkness of the night, and makes the day, so Christ dispelled the darkness of the ceremonial law, and made the Gospel day; and he dispels the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, and makes the day of grace; and will dispel the darkness of imperfection, and will make the day of glory; as the sun is a pure, clear, and lucid body, so is Christ, without the least spot of sin; and so are his people, as they are clothed with his righteousness: as the sun is a glorious body, so is Christ both his natures, divine and human; in his office as Mediator; and will be in his second coming: as the sun is superior to all the celestial bodies, so is Christ to angels and saints: as the sun is but one, so there is but one Son of God; one Mediator between God and man; one Saviour and Redeemer; one Lord and Head of the church: its properties and effects are many; it lays things open and manifest, which before were hid; communicates heat as well as light; make the earth fruitful; is very exhilarating; has its risings and settings, and of great duration: so Christ declares the mind and will of his Father, the hidden mysteries of grace; lays open the thoughts of men's hearts in conversion; and will at the last day bring to light the hidden things of darkness: he warms the hearts of his people with his love, and causes them to burn within them, while they hear his Gospel, and he makes them fervent in spirit while they serve the Lord; he fills them with the fruits of righteousness, and with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; but he is not always seen, is sometimes under a cloud, and withdraws himself; yet his name is as the sun before the Lord, and wilt abide for ever. He is called "the sun of righteousness", because of the glory of his essential righteousness as God; and because of the purity and perfection of his righteousness as man, which appeared in all his actions, and in the administration of all his offices; and because of the display of the righteousness of God in him, in his sufferings and death, in atonement, pardon, and justification by him; and because he is the author and bringer in of righteousness to his people, the glory of which outshines all others, is pure and spotless like the sun, and is everlasting; those who have it are said to be clothed with the sun, and on such he shines in his beams of divine love, grace, and mercy, which righteousness sometimes signifies; and his rays of grace transform men into righteousness and true holiness. The "arising" of this sun may denote the appearance of Christ in our nature; under the former dispensation this sun was not risen, it was then night with the world; John the Baptist was the morning star, the forerunner of it: Christ the sun is now risen; the dayspring from on high hath visited mankind, and has spread its light and heat, its benign influences, by the ministration of the Gospel, the grace of God, which has appeared and shone out, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world: it may be accommodated to his spiritual appearance: this sun is sometimes under a cloud, or seems to be set, which occasions trouble, and is for wise ends, but will and does arise again to them that fear the Lord. The manner is,

with healing in his wings; by which are meant its rays and beams, which are to the sun as wings to a bird, by which it swiftly spreads its light and heat; so we read of the wings of the morning, Psalm 139:9. Christ came as a physician, to heal the diseases of men; he healed the bodily diseases of the Jews, and he heals the soul diseases of his people, their sins; which healing he has procured by his blood and stripes: pardon of sin by the blood of Christ is meant by healing, which is universal, infallible, and free, Psalm 103:3 it may denote all that preservation, protection, prosperity, and happiness, inward and outward, which they that feared the Lord enjoyed through Christ, when the unbelieving Jews were destroyed; and which is further expressed by what follows:

and ye shall go forth; not out of the world, or out of their graves, as some think; but either out of Jerusalem, as the Christians did a little before its destruction, being warned so to do (g), whereby they were preserved from that calamity; or it intends a going forth with liberty in the exercise of grace and duty, in the exercise of faith on Christ, love to him, hope in him, repentance, humility, self-denial, &c.; and in a cheerful obedience to his will; or else walking on in his ways; having health and strength, with great pleasure and comfort; and, as Aben Ezra says, by the light of this sun.

And grow up as calves of the stall; such as are fat, being put up there for that purpose; see Amos 6:4. Bochart (h) has proved, from many passages out of the Talmud (i), that the word which the Targum here makes use of, and answers to that in the Hebrew text, which is rendered "stall", signifies a yoke or collar, with which oxen or heifers were bound together, while they were threshing or treading out of corn; so that the calves or heifers here referred to were such as were not put up in a stall, but were yoked together, and employed in treading out the corn; now as there was a law that such should not be muzzled while they were thus employed, but might eat of the corn on the floor freely and plentifully, Deuteronomy 25:4 these usually grew fat, and so were the choicest and most desirable, to which the allusion may be here, and in Jeremiah 46:21 Amos 6:4 and are a fit emblem of saints joined together in holy fellowship, walking together in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; where they get spiritual food for their souls, and are in thriving circumstances; where they meet with the corn of heaven, with that corn which makes the young men cheerful, and that bread which nourishes up to everlasting life. The apostle alludes to the custom of oxen yoked together, either in ploughing, or in treading out the corn, when he says, speaking of church fellowship and communion in the ordinances of the Gospel, "be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers", 2 Corinthians 6:14 for this hinders spiritual edification, as well as the promotion of the glory of God; but where they are equally yoked, and go hand in hand together in the work and ways of the Lord, they grow and flourish; they are comfortable in their souls, and lively in the exercise of grace; and they are the most thriving Christians, generally speaking, who are in church communion, and most constantly attend the means of grace, and keep closest to the word and ordinances: for the metaphor here used is designed to express a spiritual increase in all grace, and in the knowledge of Christ, and a growing up into him in all things, through the use of means, the word and ordinances; whereby saints become fat and flourishing, being fed with the milk of the word, and the breasts of ordinances, and having fellowship with one another; and, above all, this spiritual growth is owing to the dews of the grace of God, the shining of the Sun of righteousness, and the comfortable gales of the south wind of the Spirit of God, which cause the spices to flow out. The Septuagint version, and those that follow it, render it, "ye shall leap" or "skip as calves loosed from bonds"; as such creatures well fed do when at liberty; and may denote the spiritual joy of the saints upon their being healed, or because of their secure, safe, and prosperous estate: and so the word is explained in the Talmud (k), they shall delight themselves in it; and where the Rabbins interpret this and the preceding verse Malachi 4:1 of the natural sun in the firmament, which will be the hell (l) in the world to come, and which will burn the wicked, and heal the righteous.

(a) Shemot Rabba, sect. 31. fol. 134. 2.((b) De Somniis, p. 578. (c) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 8. 2. & Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 2. (d) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 2.((e) Apud Yalkut in loc. (f) Comment. in Mal. i. 11. (g) Euseb. Hist. l. 3. c. 5. (h) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 31. col. 303. (i) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 53. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 30. 1. Pesachim, fol. 26. 1. Eruvin, fol. 17. 2.((k) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 4. 1. Nedarim, fol. 8. 2.((l) A notion they elsewhere frequently inculcate, and is not improbable; and which has been of late advanced and defended by a very learned man of our own country, Mr. Tobias Swinden, in a Treatise called "An Inquirer into the Nature and Place of Hell."

But unto you that fear my name shall the {b} Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go {c} forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

(b) Meaning, Christ, who with his wings or beams of his grace would enlighten and comfort his Church; Eph 5:14. And he is called the Sun of righteousness, because in himself he has all perfection, and also the justice of the Father dwells in him: by which he regenerates us to righteousness, cleanses us from the filth of this world, and reforms us to the image of God.

(c) You will be set at liberty, and increase in the joy of the Spirit; 2Co 3:17.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. the Sun of righteousness] The capital letter with which “Sun” is printed in A.V. is of the nature of a comment. It suggests at once to the reader the personal and Messianic reference of the word. But it is better to print “sun” with R.V.; not as denying or obscuring the ultimate and designed reference to Christ, but as exhibiting it in a manner more agreeable to the genius of Old Testament prophecy and to the requirements of the context. The key-thought of this whole paragraph is righteousness. God’s righteousness has been proudly and defiantly called in question by “the wicked”: it has been humbly trusted in and waited for by “the righteous” (Malachi 3:18). The day of its manifestation is at hand. That discriminating day shall award to each their righteous recompense. To the wicked it shall come as a burning furnace to consume them: upon the righteous it shall dawn as a day of which the very sun that makes it is righteousness. Just as in the material world the shadows and distortions and illusions of night vanish before the light of the rising sun, which shows all things as they really are, so in the moral world the sun of righteousness shall put to flight the difficulties and perplexities, the inequalities and anomalies, which have been the trial of the faithful and the weapon of the scoffer. No place for them shall be found, when the sun of righteousness shall dawn from new heavens upon a new earth, “wherein dwelleth righteousness”.

But this explanation of the phrase only prepares the way for the personal and Messianic reference. To every Jew the thought of God Himself as a Sun was familiar (Psalm 84:11 [Hebrews 12]; Isaiah 60:19). His religion taught him to look for deliverance and blessing, not from the diffusion of a quality or attribute, but from the manifestation of a Personal God. And it no less plainly taught him that that manifestation would be consummated in “the righteous Branch” who should “execute judgment and justice in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5). For us the Sun of righteousness is none other than “Jesus Christ, the righteous” (1 John 2:1), “the Lord, the righteous Judge, who shall give at that day a crown of righteousness unto all them that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

with healing in his wings] Comp. “the wings of the morning”, Psalm 139:9. In both cases the rising of the sun is compared, not to the use of the wings in flight, but to lifting them up, or spreading them out. In the Psalm the suddenness and rapidity with which this is done, when the sun “flares up from behind the mountain-wall of Moab,” is the point of comparison (Comp. “the morning spread upon the mountains,” Joel 2:2; and the swift travelling of the light across the landscape in our own country, when the sun emerges from a cloud on a windy day). Here the healing virtue of the outstretched wings is in view. “A pleasant”, and a wholesome, “thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” Ecclesiastes 11:7.

In Syria “the Sun god was the central object of worship.… It was here too that his special symbol was the solar disk with wings issuing from either side to denote his omnipresent energy. The winged solar disk may have been originally of Babylonian invention, but it passed at an early time to the other Semitic populations of the East. We find it above the figure of a king on a monolith from Birejik now in the British Museum, and it is specially characteristic of the monuments of the Hittites.” Prof. Sayce, Annual Address (1889) to the Victoria Institute on the Cuneiform Inscriptions at Tel El-Amarna, p. 2.

grow up] Rather gambol, R.V. σκιρτήσετε, LXX. Comp. Jeremiah 1:11, “ye are wanton”, R.V.

calves of the stall] ὡς μοσχάρια ἐκ δεσμῶν ἀνειμένα, LXX.Verse 2. - The Sun of Righteousness. The sun which is righteousness, in whose wings, that is, rays, are healing and salvation. This Divine righteousness shall beam upon them that fear the Name of God, flooding them with joy and light, healing all wounds, tee moving all miseries, making them incalculably blessed. The Fathers generally apply the title of "Sun of Righteousness" to Christ, who is the Source of all justification and enlightenment and happiness, and who is called (Jeremiah 23:6), "The Lord our Righteousness." Grow up; rather, gambol; σκιρτήσετε (Septuagint); salietis (Vulgate). "Ye shall leap!" comp. Jeremiah h 11). The word is used of a horse galloping (Habbakuk 1:8). The happiness of the righteous is illustrated by a homely image drawn from pastoral pursuits. They had been, as it were, hidden in the time of affliction and temptation; they shall go forth boldly now, free and exulting, like calves driven from the stall to pasture (comp. Psalm 114:4, 6; Song of Solomon 2:8, 17). Zechariah 8:4. "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Yet will there sit old men and women in the streets of Jerusalem, every one with his staff in his hand, for the multitude of the days of his life. Zechariah 8:5. And the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in their streets." Long life, to an extreme old age, and a plentiful number of blooming children, were theocratic blessings, which the Lord had already promised in the law to His people, so far as they were faithful to the covenant. Consequently there does not appear to be any Messianic element in this promise. But if we compare this fourth verse with Isaiah 65:20, we shall see that extreme old age also belonged to the blessings of the Messianic times. And as Israel had almost always to suffer most grievously from wars and other calamities, which swept off the people at an untimely age, during the time which extended from Zerubbabel to Christ; it must be admitted, notwithstanding the description of the prosperous times which Israel enjoyed under the government of Simon (1 Maccabees 14:4-15), that this promise also was only fulfilled in a very meagre measure, so far as Jerusalem was concerned, before the coming of Christ.
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