3:1 Behold, I will send my a messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the b Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the c messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
3:2 But who d may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refinerís fire, and like fullersí soap:
(a) This is meant of John the Baptist, as Christ interprets it; (Luke 7:27).
(b) Meaning, the Messiah, as in (Psalms 40:17; Daniel 9:17,25).
(c) That is, Christ, by whom the covenant was made and ratified, who is called the angel or messenger of the covenant, because he reconciles us to his Father, and is Lord or King, because he has the rule of his Church.
(d) He shows that the hypocrites who wish so much for the Lordís coming will not remain when he draws near: for he will consume them, and purge his own and make them clean.
3:3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of e Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
(e) He begins at the priests, that they might be lights, and shine unto others.
3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob f are not consumed.
(f) They murmured against God, because they did not see his help which was ever present to defend them: and therefore he accuses them of ingratitude, and shows that in that they are not daily consumed, it is a sign that he still defends them, and so his mercy towards them never changes.
3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept [them]. g Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
3:8 Will a h man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In i tithes and offerings.
(g) Read (Zechariah 1:3).
(h) There are none of the heathen so barbarous, that will defraud their gods of their honour, or deal deceitfully with them.
3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, k that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].
(i) By which the service of God should have been maintained, and the priests and the poor relieved.
(k) Not having respect how much you need, but I will give you in all abundance, so that you will lack place to put my blessings in.
3:11 And I will rebuke the l devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
(l) Meaning the caterpillar, and whatever destroys corn and fruits.
3:13 Your words have been stout m against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken [so much] against thee?
(m) The Prophet condemns them of double blasphemy against God: first, in that they said that God had no respect for those that served him, and next, that the wicked were more in his favour than the godly.
3:15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, [they that] tempt God are even n delivered.
(n) They are not only preferred to honour, but also delivered from dangers.
3:16 o Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a p book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
(o) After these admonitions of the Prophet, some were strongly touched, and encouraged others to fear God.
3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day q when I make up my jewels; and I will r spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
(p) Both because the thing was strange that some turned to God in that great and universal corruption, and also that this might be an example of Godís mercies to all repentant sinners.
(q) When I will restore my Church according to my promise, they will be as my own proper goods.
(r) That is, forgive their sins, and govern them with my Spirit.