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Wesley's Notes on the Bible
1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
2:2 I have cursed them - I have already sent out the curse, and it is in part upon you.
3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
2:3 I will corrupt - I will take away the prolific virtue and strength of it, that it shall bring forth no fruit. Spread dung - It is an expression of the greatest contempt. Of your solemn feasts - Your most solemn days and feasts, shall be as loathsome to me as dung, and shall make you, who offer them as unclean, and loathsome, as if I had thrown the dung of those sacrifices into your faces. Take you away - You shall be taken away with it, removed as equally unclean with the dung itself, equally fit to be cast out to the dunghill.
4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
2:4 My covenant - If you will not confirm, and keep Levi's covenant among you, I will make it firm on my part, by punishing the violators of it.
5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
2:5 With him - With Levi. Peace - Of long life, and prosperous, assured to the Levites in their due ministrations before God. Before my name - Behaved himself with reverence before God.
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.
2:6 Was in his mouth - He taught to the people. Aaron, Eleazar, Phineas, every one of those priests or Levites, in what age soever they lived; who feared God, and were humble. Iniquity is not found - He judged not with respect of persons, or for bribes. He walked - His whole life was a continual walking with God; he lived with God, and to him. In peace - With God, and it was his aim to live peaceably with others.
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.
2:7 Should keep knowledge - It is this 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. And they - The people.
8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
2:8 But ye - Priests. Stumble at the law - By your false expositions of it. Have corrupted - You have violated it, have contradicted the great intentions of it, and done what in you lay, to defeat them.
9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
2:9 Have been partial - You have perverted the law to please great men, or to serve some unworthy design. When we inquire into the reasons of the contempt of the clergy, ought we to forget this?
10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
2:10 One father - Abraham, or Jacob, with whom God made the covenant by which their posterity were made a peculiar people. Created us - The prophet speaks of that great and gracious work of God, creating them to be a chosen people. And so we Christians are created in Christ Jesus.
11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
2:11 Hath profaned - Profanely violated the law, confining Israel to marry within themselves, and not to endanger themselves, by contracting affinity with idolaters. Which he loved - Which he, Judah, once loved. The daughter - Idolatresses. Even tho' they had wives before, whom they now cast off.
12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.
2:12 The master and the scholar - There shall be left neither any to teach nor any to learn. Him that offereth - The priests.
13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
2:13 And this - Beside that first fault, you have committed another, you misuse, and afflict your Jewish wives, whom alone you should have cherished. With tears - Your despised wives fly to the temple, weep and cry to God for redress. With weeping - This is added to shew the abundance of their tears. He - The Lord.
14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
2:14 The wife of thy covenant - To whom thou art so firmly bound, that while she continues faithful, thou canst not be loosed.
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
2:15 One - But one man, and one woman. Yet - Yet he could have made more. Wherefore one - One couple, and no more. A godly seed - A holy seed born to God in chaste wedlock, and bred as they were born, in the fear of God. Take heed - Keep your heart from wandering after strange wives.
16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
2:16 Putting away - Divorce, such as these petulant Jews used to make way for some new wives, which God hates as much as putting away.
17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
2:17 Your words - Your perverse reasoning, and impious quarrellings against God. Is good - This wicked inference they drew, from their prosperity in the world. He delighteth in them - As appears (say these atheists) by his prospering them. Where is the God of judgment - If he is there, judging and governing the world, why does he not punish these men?