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And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the L ord of hosts, then I will send the curse on you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence.

4 Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the L ord of hosts. 5My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the L ord of hosts. 8But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the L ord of hosts, 9and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction.

The Covenant Profaned by Judah

10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? 11Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the L ord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12May the L ord cut off from the tents of Jacob anyone who does this—any to witness or answer, or to bring an offering to the L ord of hosts.

13 And this you do as well: You cover the L ord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. 14You ask, “Why does he not?” Because the L ord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15Did not one God make her? Both flesh and spirit are his. And what does the one God desire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and do not let anyone be faithless to the wife of his youth. 16For I hate divorce, says the L ord, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the L ord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.

17 You have wearied the L ord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “All who do evil are good in the sight of the L ord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

What the Prophet has said of the first priests he extends now to the whole Levitical tribe, and shows that it was a perpetual and unchangeable law as to the priesthood. He had said that Levi had been set over the Church, not to apply to himself the honor due to God, but to stand in his own place as the minister of God, and the teacher of the chosen people. The same thing he now confirms, declaring it as a general truth that the lips of the priest ought to retain knowledge, as though he had said, that they were to be the store-house from which the food of the Church was to be drawn. God then did appoint the priests over his chosen people, that the people might seek their food from them as from a store-room, according to what we find to be the case with a master of a family, who has his store of wine and his store of provisions. As then the food of a whole family is usually drawn out from places where provisions are laid up, so the Prophet makes use of this similitude, — that God has deposited knowledge with the priests, so that the mouth of every priest might be a kind of store-house, so to speak, from which the people are to seek knowledge and the rule of a religious life: Keep knowledge then shall the lips of the priest, and the law shall they seek from his mouth 220220     The verbs, as here rendered, are future: but being preceded by כי, many consider them as declaring what ought to be: and they are thus rendered by Drusius, Dathius, Newcome, and Henderson, “should keep,” or “ought to keep,” etc. We find the future thus used when preceded by ה, “whether,” in Ezekiel 34:2; and when preceded by no particle, as in Malachi 1:6, where the version ought clearly to be, —
   A son should honor a father,
And a servant, his Lord.

   This use of the future, as designating a duty or obligation, is much more frequent in Hebrew than what is commonly supposed. — Ed.

He shows how it is to be kept; the priests are not to withhold it, but the whole Church is to enjoy the knowledge of which they are the keepers. They shall then seek or demand the law from his mouth.

Law may be taken simply for truth; but the Prophet no doubt alludes here to the doctrine of Moses, the only true fountain of all knowledge. We indeed know that God included in his law whatever was necessary for the welfare of his Church; nor was there anything added by the Prophets. Our Prophet then so includes every truth in the word, תורה, ture, law, that he might at the same time show that it was laid up in what Moses has taught.

He says in the last place, that the priest is the messenger of Jehovah. He briefly defines here what the priesthood is, even an embassy which God commits to men, that they may be his interpreters in teaching and ruling the Church. What then is a priest? A messenger of God, and his interpreter. It hence follows that the office of teaching cannot be separated from the priesthood; for it is a monstrous thing when any one boasts himself to be a priest, when he is no teacher. The Prophet then draws an argument from the definition itself, when he says that a priest is a messenger of God. Then follows the contrast when he says

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