Malachi 4:3
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Tread down.—Comp. Isaiah 26:5-6.

That I shall do this.—Better, which I am about to make. (Comp. Malachi 3:17.)

Malachi 4:3. And ye shall tread down the wicked — “Ye shall know that they are wholly subdued.” — Newcome. Houbigant thinks this “refers to the miracles of the rising church, by which the wicked were compelled to yield, and submit themselves; for there is no other dominion under which they could be held by Christians.” There was a time when the wicked trode them down, and said to their souls, Bow down that we may go over; but the day will come that will make them victorious over all their enemies, and they, as it were, shall tread down the wicked; for, being made Christ’s footstool, Psalm 110:1, they are also made theirs, and shall come and worship before the feet of the church, Revelation 3:9. “When believers, by faith, overcome the world; when they suppress their corrupt appetites and passions; and when the God of peace bruises Satan under their feet, then they indeed tread down the wicked.” — Henry. For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet — The meaning of this is thought by some to be, that when these believing ones, who through their faith should escape the destruction in which the unbelievers were involved, should return to the place where the city stood, they would there tread upon the ashes of the wicked, who were destroyed in the destruction of the city, and many of them burned to ashes in the flames by which it was consumed. According to Eusebius, a Christian Church was erected in a town called Ælia, built upon the ruins of Jerusalem, of which no less than thirteen persons of Jewish parentage were bishops. So that the faithful among the Jewish nation did literally tread the ashes of the wicked under the soles of their feet. But the general sense of the expression no doubt is, that the great, the unspeakable superiority of the righteous over the wicked, should be evident to themselves and all men, in the distinction which should be made in their favour, first, in the calamities which would come on the Jewish nation, and secondly, and especially, in that day when the righteous shall rise to everlasting life, and the wicked to shame and everlasting contempt.

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!And ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet. It shall be a great reversal. He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he, that humbleth himself shall be exalted - Here the wicked often have the pre-eminence. This was the complaint of the murmurers among the Jews; in the morning of the Resurrection Psalm 49:14, "the upright shall have dominion over them." The wicked, he had said, shall be as stubble, and that day Psalm 4:1, "shall burn them up;" here, then, they are as the ashes, the only remnant of the stubble, as the dust under the feet. "The elect shall rejoice, that they have, in mercy, escaped such misery. Therefore they shall be kindled inconceivably with the divine love, and shall from their inmost heart give thanks unto God." And being thus of one mind with God, and seeing all things as He seeth, they will rejoice in His judgments, because they are His. For they cannot have one slightest velleity, other than the all-perfect Will of God. So Isaiah closes his prophecy Isaiah 66:24, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men, that have transgressed against Me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh. So Psalm 58:10. The righteous shall rejoice, when he seeth the vengeance;" and another Psalmist Psalm 107:42, "The righteous shall see and rejoice; and all wickedness shall stop her mouth; and Job JObadiah 22:19. The righteous see and are glad, and the innocent laugh them to scorn." 3. Solving the difficulty (Mal 3:15) that the wicked often now prosper. Their prosperity and the adversity of the godly shall soon be reversed. Yea, the righteous shall be the army attending Christ in His final destruction of the ungodly (2Sa 22:43; Ps 49:14; 47:3; Mic 7:10; Zec 10:5; 1Co 6:2; Re 2:26, 27; 19:14, 15).

ashes—after having been burnt with the fire of judgment (Mal 4:1).

And ye: see Malachi 4:2.

Shall tread down the wicked: now the ungodly, proud, and atheistical despisers of God, providence, and future judgments. do tread down those that fear God and are godly, but it shall not be so always; that word, Psalm 58:10,11, and that, Isaiah 66:24, and that, Revelation 18:20, shall be fulfilled in the overthrow of the bad, and in the triumphs of the good. But, more particularly, this treading seems to be intended of those who, after the sacking and burning of Jerusalem, should return either to view the ruins. or to dwell there, and so should, in going lip and down. tread upon the wicked, either buried in the ruins or consumed to ashes.

For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet: by this it appears that these preserved ones did not barbarously tread upon the entire bodies of the wicked, but upon the ashes of those bodies, by the fire consumed and turned into ashes, and mixed with the ashes of their houses and goods.

In the day that I shall do this; burn Jerusalem and the temple, with the citizens and priests whose carcasses were slain by the sword, or their persons, surprised with the flames, shall be burnt up. And so both this and much of the first verse may be literally understood, and was so fulfilled by Titus and his soldiers, A.D. 73.

And ye shall tread down the wicked,.... As grapes in the winepress, as Christ did before them, Isaiah 63:2 and they by virtue of him; who makes them more than conquerors through himself, over all their enemies, spiritual and temporal:

for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet; this refers to the burning of them, Malachi 4:1 and may be literally understood of their being burnt with the city and temple; when afterwards, as Grotius observes, the city of Jerusalem being in some measure rebuilt, and called Aelia, there was a Christian church in it, governed by bishops, who were converted Jews; and so might be literally said to trample upon the ashes of the wicked, who had persecuted them in times past, they being upon the very spot where these men were destroyed by fire:

in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts: or "in the day which I make" (m); that is, by the rising of the sun of righteousness, the Gospel day. The Talmud (n) interprets this verse of the bodies of the wicked in hell, which after twelve months will be consumed, and the wind will scatter them under the soles of the feet of the righteous.

(m) "eo die, quem ego facio", Cocceius. (n) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 17. 1.

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. ashes] to which the “stubble” has been reduced, Malachi 4:1.

that I shall do this] Rather, when I do, or work. See note on Malachi 3:17.

Verse 3. - Ye shall tread down the wicked (comp. Micah 4:13). They who were once oppressed and overborne by the powers of wickedness shall now rise superior to all hindrances, and themselves tread down the wicked as the ashes under their feet, to which the fire of judgment shall reduce them. In the day that I shall do this; rather, as in Malachi 3:17, in the day which I am preparing. Malachi 4:3This admonition to the ungodly is explained in Malachi 4:1. by a picture of the separation which will be effected by the day of judgment. Malachi 4:1. "For behold the day cometh burning like a furnace, and all the proud and every doer of wickedness become stubble, and the coming day will burn them, saith Jehovah of hosts, so that it will not leave them root or branch. Malachi 4:2. But to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise and healing in its wings, and ye will go out and skip like stalled calves, Malachi 4:3. And will tread down the ungodly, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I create, saith Jehovah of hosts." The day of judgment will be to the ungodly like a burning furnace. "A fire burns more fiercely in a furnace than in the open air" (Hengstenberg). The ungodly will then resemble the stubble which the fire consumes (cf. Isaiah 5:24; Zephaniah 1:18; Obadiah 1:18, etc.). זדים and עשׂה רשׁעה point back to Malachi 3:15. Those who are called blessed by the murmuring nation will be consumed by the fire, as stubble is burned up, and indeed all who do wickedness, and therefore the murmurers themselves. אשׁר before לא יעזב is a conjunction, quod; and the subject is not Jehovah, but the coming day. The figure "root and branch" is borrowed from a tree - the tree is the ungodly mass of the people (cf. Amos 2:9) - and denotes total destruction, so that nothing will be left of them. To the righteous, on the other hand, the sun of righteousness will arise. Tsedâqâh is an epexegetical genitive of apposition. By the sun of righteousness the fathers, from Justin downwards, and nearly all the earlier commentators understand Christ, who is supposed to be described as the rising sun, like Jehovah in Psalm 84:12 and Isaiah 60:19; and this view is founded upon a truth, viz., that the coming of Christ brings justice and salvation. But in the verse before us the context does not sustain the personal view, but simply the idea that righteousness itself is regarded as a sun. Tsedâqâh, again, is not justification or the forgiveness of sins, as Luther and others suppose, for there will be no forgiving of sins on the day of judgment, but God will then give to every man reward or punishment according to his works. Tsedâqâh is here, what it frequently is in Isaiah (e.g., Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 51:5, etc.), righteousness in its consequences and effects, the sum and substance of salvation. Malachi uses tsedâqâh, righteousness, instead of ישׁע, salvation, with an allusion to the fact, that the ungodly complained of the absence of the judgment and righteousness of God, that is to say, the righteousness which not only punishes the ungodly, but also rewards the good with happiness and salvation. The sun of righteousness has מרפּא, healing, in its wings. The wings of the sun are the rays by which it is surrounded, and not a figure denoting swiftness. As the rays of the sun spread light and warmth over the earth for the growth and maturity of the plants and living creatures, so will the sun of righteousness bring the healing of all hurts and wounds which the power of darkness has inflicted upon the righteous. Then will they go forth, sc. from the holes and caves, into which they had withdrawn during the night of suffering and where they had kept themselves concealed, and skip like stalled calves (cf. 1 Samuel 28:24), which are driven from the stall to the pasture. On pūsh, see at Habakkuk 1:8. And not only will those who fear God be liberated from all oppression, but they will also acquire power over the ungodly. They will tread down the wicked, who will then have become ashes, and lie like ashes upon the ground, having been completely destroyed by the fire of the judgment (cf. Isaiah 26:5-6).
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