- The priests reproved for profaning the holy things of God, verse 1-9.
- The priests and people for various abuses with regard to marriage, verse 10-17.
I have cursed them - I have already sent out the curse, and it is in part upon you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The master and the scholar - There shall be left neither any to teach nor any to learn. Him that offereth - The priests.
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.
The wife of thy covenant - To whom thou art so firmly bound, that while she continues faithful, thou canst not be loosed.
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.
Putting away - Divorce, such as these petulant Jews used to make way for some new wives, which God hates as much as putting away.
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?