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3. The Day of Judgment

1Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. 2But who can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: 3and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness. 4Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years. 5And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the sojourner from his right, and fear not me, saith Jehovah of hosts. 6For I, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7From the days of your fathers ye have turned aside from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. But ye say, Wherein shall we return? 8Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation. 10Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts. 12And all nations shall call you happy; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Jehovah of hosts. 13Your words have been stout against me, saith Jehovah. Yet ye say, What have we spoken against thee? 14Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his charge, and that we have walked mournfully before Jehovah of hosts? 15And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are built up; yea, they tempt God, and escape. 16Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name. 17And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts, even mine own possession, in the day that I make; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

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God now again confirms the truth, that he would not in one way only be bountiful to them. He might indeed distribute to us daily our food, as we know that he thus fed his people in the wilderness; but his will is that the seed should rot in the earth, that it should then germinate, and in course of time grow, until it shoots into ears of corn; but it is still in no small danger, nay the corn is subject to many evils before it be gathered into the garner; for the locusts, the worms, the mildew, and other things may destroy it. God therefore, in order to set forth his kindness to men, enumerates here the ways and the means by which food is preserved; for it would not be enough that the seed should germinate, and that there should appear evidences of a great produce, the ears being fine and abundant, but it is necessary that the ears of corn themselves, before they become ripe, should be preserved from above; for on the one hand the chafers, the locusts, the worms, and other grubs, may suddenly creep in and devour the corn while in the field, and on the other hand, storms, and hail, and mildew, and oilier pestilential things, as I have said, may prove ruinous to the corn.

Hence God shows here, that he takes constant care of us, and every day and every night performs the office of a good and careful head of a family, who always watches for its benefit.

In the word devourer, I include all the evils to which we see that corn is subject; he therefore says, he shall not destroy the fruit of the earth; nor bereaved shall be the vine for you in the fields. The verb שכל, shecal, properly means to bereave or to deprive; but as this version, “bereaved shall not be vine,” would be harsh, some have rendered the words thus, “Miscarry shall not vine,” which I do not disapprove: Miscarry then shall not the vine for you in the fields, saith Jehovah of hosts 259259     There is no necessity for giving to שכל here any other than its ordinary meaning of bereaving or depriving. The reference is to depredators who bereaved or stripped the vine of its fruit—an evil common in a confused and disordered state of things.
   The word לכם, “on your account,” is repeated in this verse three times; and it has no doubt an emphatic meaning. What is intimate evidently is, that the evils promised here to be removed were on their account, i.e., for their sins. I render the verse thus, —

   And I will restrain on your account the devourer, And he shall not destroy on your account the fruit of the ground, And bereaved on your account shall not be the vine in the field, Saith the Lord of hosts

   — Ed.
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