Calvin's Commentary on Malachi
    (... continued from file 2)
    Lecture One Hundred and Seventy-first.   
    6. A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master:  
    if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be  
    a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto  
    you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein  
    have we despised thy name?  
    7. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say,  
    Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table  
    of the Lord is contemptible.  
    8. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not  
    evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? 
    offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with  
   thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.   
    6. Filius honorat patrem, et servus dominum suum: si  
    pater ego, ubi honor meus? et si dominus ego, ubi timor  
    mei? dicit Iehova exercituum ad vos, 0 sacerdotes, qui  
    contemnitis nomen meum: et dixistis, In quo contempsimus  
    nomen tuum? 7. Qui of offertis super altare meum panem  
    pollutum; et dixistis, In quo polluimus te? Quum dicitis,  
    Mensa Iehovae ipsa est contemptibilis (vel, despecta.) 8.  
    Si obtuleritis caecum ad immolandum, non malum est? et si  
    claudum vel mutilum obtuleritis, non malum est? Offer hoc  
    nonc (vel, agedum, vel, quaeso; dubioe est  
    significationis, offer ergo, obsecro, hoc) praefecto tuo,  
    an complacebit ei in te, vel suscipiet faciem tuam, dicit  
    Iehova exercituum.   
         God as already proved that he had by many favours  
    been a Father to the Jews. They must have felt that he  
    had indeed bound them to himself, provided they possessed  
    any religion or gratitude. He now then concludes his  
    address to them, as though he had said, that he had very  
    ill bestowed all the blessings he had given them; and he  
    adopts two similitudes; he first compares himself to a  
    father, and then to a master. He says, that in these two  
    respects he had a just cause to complain of the Jews; for  
    he had been a father to them, but they did not in their  
    turn conduct themselves as children, in a submissive and  
    obedient manner, as they ought to have done. And farther,  
    he became their master, but they shook off the yoke, and  
    allowed not themselves to be ruled by his authority.   
         As to the word, Father, we have already shown that  
    the Jews were not only in common with others the children  
    of God, but had been also chosen as his peculiar people.  
    Their adoption then made them God's children above all  
    other nations; for when they differed nothing from the  
    rest of the world, God adopted them. With regard to the  
    right and power of a master, God, in the first place,  
    held them bound to him as the Creator and former of the  
    whole world; but he also, as it is well known, attained  
    the right by redemption. That he might then enhance their  
    crime, he not only expostulates with them for having  
    abused his favours, but he charges them also with  
    obstinacy, because they disobeyed his authority, while  
    yet he was their Lord.   
         He says, that a son who honours his father, and a  
    servant his master. He applies the same verb to both  
    clauses; but he afterwards makes a difference, ascribing  
    honour to a father and fear to a master. As to the first  
    clause, we know that whenever there is authority, there  
    ought to be honour; and when masters are over servants,  
    they ought to be honoured. But in a subsequent clause he  
    speaks more distinctly, and says, that a master ought to  
    be feared by a servant, while honour is due to a father  
    from a son. For servants do not love their masters; not  
    being able to escape from their power, they fear them:  
    but the reverence which sons have for their fathers, is  
    more generous and more voluntary. But God shows here,  
    that the Jews could by no means be kept to their duty,  
    though so many favours ought to have made it their sweet  
    delight. God had indeed conciliated them as much as  
    possible to himself, but all was without any benefit. The  
    majesty also of God ought to have struck them with fear.  
    It was then the same, as though he had said, that they  
    were of so perverse a nature, that they could not be led  
    to obedience either by a kind and gracious invitation, or  
    by an authoritative command.   
         The Lord then complains that he ass deprived by the  
    Jews of the honour which sons owe to their fathers, as  
    well as of the fear which servants ought to have for  
    their masters; and thus he shows that they were like  
    untameable wild beasts, which cannot be tamed by any kind  
    treatment, nor subdued by scourges, or by any kind of  
         He then adds, To you, 0 priests. It is certain that  
    this complaint ought not to be confined to the priests  
    alone, since God, as we have seen, speaks generally of  
    the whole race of Abraham: for he had said that Levi was  
    advanced to the sacerdotal honour, while the other  
    brethren were passed by; but he had said also, that Jacob  
    was chosen when Esau was rejected; and this belonged in  
    common to the twelve tribes. Now it ought not, and it  
    could not, be confined to the tribe of Levi, that God was  
    their father or their master. Why then does he now  
    expressly address the priests? They ought indeed to have  
    been leaders and teachers to the rest of the people, but  
    he does not on this account exempt the whole people from  
    blame or guilt, though he directs his discourse to the  
    priests; for his object was to show that all things had  
    become so corrupt among the people, that the priests were  
    become as it were the chief in contempt of religion and  
    in sacrileges, and in every kind of pollution. It hence  
    follows that there was nothing sound and right in the  
    community; for when the eyes themselves are without  
    light, they cannot discharge their duty to the body, and  
    what at length will follow?   
         God then no doubt shows that great corruptions  
    prevailed and had spread so much among the people, that  
    they who ought to have been examples to others, had  
    especially shaken off the yoke and given way to unbridled  
    licentiousness. This then is the reason why the Prophet  
    condemns the priests, though at the beginning he included  
    the whole people, as it is evident from the context.   
         We must at the same time bear in mind what we have  
    elsewhere said - that the fault of the people was not  
    lessened because the sin of the priest was the most  
    grievous; but that all were involved in the same ruin;  
    for God in this case did not absolve the common people,  
    inasmuch as they were guilty of the same sins; but he  
    shows that the most grievous fault belonged to the  
    teachers, who had not reproved the people, but on the  
    contrary increased licentiousness by their dissimulation,  
    as we shall presently find again.   
         He says that they despised his name; not that the  
    fear of God prevailed in others, but that it was the duty  
    of the priests to reprove the impiety of the whole  
    people. As then they allowed to others so much liberty,  
    it appeared quite evident that the name of God was but  
    little esteemed by them; for had they possessed true  
    zeal, they would not have suffered the worship of God to  
    be trodden under foot or profaned, as we shall presently  
    find to have been the case.   
         It then follows, Ye have said, In what have we  
    despised thy name? As the Prophet at the beginning  
    indirectly touched on the hypocrisy and perverseness of  
    the people, so he now no doubt repeats the same thing by  
    using a similar language: for how was it that the priests  
    as well as the people asked a question on a plain matter,  
    as though it were obscure, except that they were blind to  
    their own vices? Now the cause of blindness is hypocrisy,  
    and then, as it is wont to do, it brings with it  
    perverseness; for all who deceive themselves, dare even  
    to raise their horns against God, and petulantly to  
    clamour that he too severely treats them; for the Prophet  
    doubtless does not here relate their words, except for  
    the purpose of showing that they had such a brazen front  
    and so hard a neck, that they boldly repelled all  
    reproofs. We see at this day in the world the same  
    sottishness; for though the crimes reproved are  
    sufficiently known, yet they, even the most wicked,  
    immediately object and say that wrong is done to them;  
    and they will not acknowledge a fault except they be a  
    hundred times convicted, and even then they will make  
    some pretence. And truly were there not daily proofs to  
    teach us how refractory men are towards God, the thing  
    would be incredible. The Prophet then did no doubt by  
    this cutting expression goad and also wound the people as  
    well as the priests, intimating that so gross was their  
    hypocrisy, that they dared to make shifts, when their  
    crimes were openly known to all.   
         Ye have said then, by what have we despised thy  
    name? They inquired as though they had rubbed their  
    forehead, and then gained boldness, "What does this mean?  
    for thou accuses us here of being wicked and  
    sacrilegious, but we are not conscious of any wrong."  
    Then the answer is given in God's name, Ye offer on mine  
    altar polluted bread. A question may be here asked,  
    "Ought this to have been imputed to the priests as a  
    crime; for had victims been offered, such as God in his  
    law commanded, it would have been to the advantage and  
    benefit of the priests; and had fine corn been brought,  
    it would have been advantageous to the priests?" But it  
    seems to me probable, that the priests are condemned  
    because like hungry and famished men they seized  
    indiscriminately on all things around them. Some think  
    that the priests grossly and fraudulently violated the  
    law by changing the victims - that when a fat ram was  
    offered, the priests, as they suppose, took it away, and  
    put in its place a ram that was lean, or lame, or  
    mutilated. But this view appears not to me suitable to  
    the passage. Let us then regard the meaning to be what I  
    have stated - that God here contends with the whole  
    people, but that he directs his reproofs to the priests,  
    because they were in two ways guilty, for they formed a  
    part of the people, and they also suffered God to be  
    dishonoured; for what could have been more disgraceful  
    than to offer polluted victims and polluted bread?   
         If it be now asked, whether this ought to have been  
    ascribed as a fault to the priests, the answer is this -  
    that the people then were not very wealthy; for they had  
    but lately returned from exile, and they had not brought  
    with them much wealth, and the land was desolate and  
    uncultivated: as, then, there was so much want among the  
    people, and they were intent, each on his advantage,  
    according to what we have seen in the Prophet Haggai,  
    (ch. i. 4,) and neglected the temple of God and their  
    sacrifices, there is no doubt but that they wished anyhow  
    to discharge their duty towards God, and therefore  
    brought beasts which were either lame or blind; and hence  
    the whole worship of God was vitiated, their sacrifices  
    being polluted. The priests ought to have rejected all  
    these, and to have closed up God's temple, rather than to  
    have received indiscriminately what God had prohibited.  
    As then this indifference of the people was nothing but a  
    profanation of divine worship, the priests ought to have  
    firmly opposed it. But as they themselves were hungry,  
    they thought it better to lay hold on everything around  
    them - "What," they said, "will become of us? for if we  
    reject these sacrifices, however vicious they may be,  
    they will offer nothing; and thus we shall starve, and  
    there will be no advantage; and we shall be forced in  
    this case to open and to close the temple, and to offer  
    sacrifices at our own expense, and we are not equal to  
    this burden." Since then the priests spared the people  
    for private gain, our Prophet justly reproves them, and  
    says, ye offer polluted bread.   
         It was indeed the office of the priests to place  
    bread daily on the table; but whence could bread be  
    obtained except some were offered? Now nothing was lost  
    to the priests, when they daily set bread before God, for  
    they presently received it; and thus they preferred, as  
    it was more to their advantage, to offer bread well  
    approved, made of fine flour: but as I have said, their  
    own convenience interposed, for they thought that they  
    could not prevail with the people - "If we irritate these  
    men, they will deny that they have anything to offer; and  
    thus the temple will be empty, and our own houses will be  
    empty; it is then better to take coarse bread from them  
    than nothing; we shall at least feed our families and  
    servants with this bread, after having offered it to the  
    Lord." We hence see how the fault belonged to the  
    priests, when the people offered polluted bread, and  
    unapproved victims.   
         I have hitherto explained the Prophet's words with  
    reference chiefly to the shew-bread; not that they ought  
    to be so strictly taken as many interpreters have  
    considered them; for under the name of bread is included,  
    we know, every kind of eatables; so it seems probable to  
    me that the word ought to be extended to all the  
    sacrifices; but one kind is here mentioned as an example;  
    and it seems also that what immediately follows is added  
    as an explanation - ye offer the lame and the blind and  
    the mutilated. Since these things are connected together,  
    I have no doubt but that God means by bread here every  
    kind of offering, and we know that the shew-bread was not  
    offered on the altar; but there was a table by itself  
    appointed for this purpose near the altar. And why God  
    designates by bread all the sacrifices may be easily  
    explained; for God would have sacrifices offered to him  
    as though he had his habitation and table among the Jews;  
    it was not indeed his purpose to fill their minds with  
    gross imaginations, as though he did eat or drink, as we  
    know that heathens have been deluded with such notions;  
    but his design was only to remind the Jews of that  
    domestic habitation which he had chosen for himself among  
    them. But more on this subject shall presently be said; I  
    shall now proceed to consider the words.   
         Ye offer on my altar polluted bread; and ye have  
    said, In what have we polluted thee? The priests again  
    answer as though God unjustly accused them; for they  
    allege their innocency, as the question is to be regarded  
    here as a denial: In what then have we polluted thee?  
    They deny that they were rightly condemned, inasmuch as  
    they had duly served God. But we may hence conclude,  
    according to what has been before stated, that the people  
    were under the influence of gross hypocrisy, and had  
    become hardened in their obstinacy. It is the same at  
    this day; though there be such a mass of crimes, which  
    everywhere prevails in the world, and even overflows the  
    earth, yet no one will bear to be condemned; for every  
    one looks on others, and thus when no less grievous sins  
    appear in others, every one absolves himself. This is  
    then the sottishness which the Prophet again goads - Ye  
    have said, In what have we polluted thee? He and other  
    Prophets no doubt charged the Jews with this sacrilege -  
    that they polluted the name of God.   
         But it deserves to be known, that few think that  
    they pollute God and his name when they worship him  
    superstitiously or formally, as though they had to do  
    with a child: but we see that God himself declares, that  
    the whole of religion is profaned, and that his name is  
    shamefully polluted when men thus trifle with him.   
         He answers, when ye said, literally, in your saying,  
    The table of Jehovah, it is contemptible. Here the  
    Prophet discovers the fountain of their sin; and he shows  
    as it were by the finger, that they had despised those  
    rites which belonged to the worship of God. The reason  
    follows, If ye offer the blind, he says, for sacrifice,  
    it is no evil. Some read the last clause as a question,  
    "is it not evil?" but he, the mark of a question, is not  
    here; and we may easily gather from the context that the  
    Prophet as yet relates how presumptuously both the  
    priests and the whole people thought they could be  
    acquitted and obtain pardon for themselves, "It is no  
    evil thing if the lame be offered, if the blind be  
    offered, if the maimed be offered; there is nothing evil  
    in all this." We now then understand what the Prophet  
         But the subject would have been obscure had not a  
    fuller explanation been given in these words, The table  
    of Jehovah, it is contemptible. God does here show, as I  
    have before stated, why he was so much displeased with  
    the Jews. Nothing is indeed so precious as his worship;  
    and he had instituted under the law sacrifices and other  
    rites, that the children of Abraham might exercise  
    themselves in worshipping him spiritually. It was then  
    the same as though he had said, that he cared nothing for  
    sheep and calves, and for any thing of that kind, but  
    that their impiety was sufficiently manifested, inasmuch  
    as they did not think that the whole of religion was  
    despised when they despised the external acts of worship  
    according to the law. God then brings back the attention  
    of the Jews from brute animals to himself, as though he  
    had said, "Ye offer to me lame and blind animals, which I  
    have forbidden to be offered; that you act unfaithfully  
    towards me is sufficiently apparent; and if ye say that  
    these are small things and of no moment, I answer, that  
    you ought to have regarded the end for which I designed  
    that sacrifices should be offered to me, and ordered  
    bread to be laid on my table in the sanctuary; for by  
    these tokens you ought to have known that I live in the  
    midst of you, and that whatever ye eat or drink is sacred  
    to me, and that all you possess comes to you through my  
    bounty. As then this end for which sacrifices have been  
    appointed has been neglected by you, it is quite evident  
    that ye have no care nor concern for true religion.   
         We now then perceive why the Prophet objects to the  
    priests, that they had called the table of Jehovah  
    contemptible; not that they had spoken thus expressly,  
    but because they had regarded it almost as nothing to  
    pervert and adulterate the whole of divine worship  
    according to the law, which was an evidence of religion  
    when there was any.   
         Now it may seem strange, that God one while so  
    strictly requires pure sacrifices and urges the  
    observance of them, when yet at another time he says that  
    he does not seek sacrifices, "Sacrifice I desire not, but  
    mercy," (Hos. 6: 6;) and again, " Have I commanded your  
    fathers when I delivered them from Egypt, to offer  
    victims to me? With this alone was I content, that they  
    should obey my voice." He says afterwards in Micah,  
    "Shall I be propitious to you if ye offer me all your  
    flocks? but rather, O man, humble thyself before thy  
    God." (Mic. 6: 6.) The same is said in the fiftieth  
    Psalm, in the first and the last chapters of Isaiah, and  
    in many other places. Since then God elsewhere  
    depreciates sacrifices, and shows that they are not so  
    highly esteemed by him, why does he now so rigidly  
    expostulate with the Jews, because they offered lame and  
    maimed animals? I answer, that there was a reason why God  
    should by this reproof discover the impiety of the  
    people. Had all their victims been fat or well fed, our  
    Prophet would have spoken as we find that others have  
    done; but since their faithlessness had gone so far that  
    they showed even to children that they had no regard for  
    the worship of God - since they had advanced so far in  
    shamelessness, it was necessary that they should be thus  
    convicted of impiety; and hence he says, ye offer to me  
    polluted bread, as though he had said, " I supply you  
    with food, it was your duty to offer to me the  
    first-fruits, the tenths, and the shew-bread; and the  
    design of these external performances is, that they may  
    regard themselves as fed by me daily, and also that they  
    may feed moderately and temperately on the bread and  
    flesh and other things given them, as though they were  
    sitting at my table: for when they see that bread made  
    from the same corn is before the presence of God, this  
    ought to come to their minds, 'it is God's will, as  
    though he lived with us, that a portion of the same bread  
    should ever be set on the holy table:' and then when they  
    offer victims, they are not only to be thus stirred up to  
    repentance and faith, but they ought also to acknowledge  
    that all these are sacred to God, for when they set  
    before the altar either a calf, or an ox, or a lamb, and  
    then see the animal sacrificed, (a part of which remains  
    for the priests,) and the altar sprinkled with blood,  
    they ought to think thus within themselves, 'Behold, we  
    have all these things in common with God, as though  
    clothed in a human form he dwelt with us and took the  
    same food and the same drink.' They ought then to have  
    performed in this manner their outward rites."   
         God now justly complains, that his table was  
    contemptible, as though he had said, that his favour was  
    rejected, because the people, as it were in contempt,  
    brought coarse bread, as though they wished to feed some  
    swineherd, - a conduct similar to that mentioned in  
    Zechariah, when God said, that a reward was offered for  
    him as though he were some worthless hireling, (Zech. 2:  
    12) - "I have carefully fed you," he says," and I now  
    demand my reward: ye give for me thirty silverings, a  
    mean and disgraceful price." So also in this place, Ye  
    have said, the table of Jehovah, it is polluted. There is  
    an emphasis in the pronoun; for God shows that he by no  
    means deserved such a reproach: " Who am I, that ye  
    should thus despise my table? I have consecrated it, that  
    ye might have a near access to me, as though I dwelt in  
    the visible sanctuary; but ye have despised my table as  
    though I were nothing."   
         He afterwards adds, Offer this now to thy governor;  
    will he be pleased with thee? God here complains that  
    less honour is given to him than to mortals; for he  
    adduces this comparison, "When any one owes a tribute or  
    tax to a governor, and brings any thing maimed or  
    defective, he will not receive it." Hence he draws this  
    inference, that he was extremely insulted, for the Jews  
    dared to offer him what every mortal would reject. He  
    thus reasons from the less to the greater, that this was  
    not a sacrilege that could be borne, as the Jews had so  
    presumptuously abused his kindness; and hence he subjoins  
    9. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be  
    gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he  
    regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts.   
    9. Et nunc deprecamini quaeso faciem Dei, et miserabitur  
    nostri; (e manu vestra factum est hoc;) an suscipict ex  
    vobis faciem, dicit Iehova exercituum.   
         He wounds here the priests more grievously, -  
    because they had so degenerated as to be wholly unworthy  
    of their honourable office and title; "Go," he says, "and  
    entreat the face of God." All this is ironical; for  
    interpreters are much mistaken who think that the Prophet  
    here exhorts the priests humbly to ask pardon from God,  
    both for themselves and for the people. On the contrary,  
    he addresses them, as I have said, ironically, while  
    telling them to be intercessors and mediators between God  
    and the people; and yet they were profane men, who on  
    their part polluted the whole worship of God, and thus  
    subverted the whole of religion: go thou and entreat, he  
    says, the face of God. This duty, we know, was enjoined  
    on the priests; they were to draw nigh to the sanctuary  
    and present themselves before God as though they were  
    advocates pleading the cause of the people, or at least  
    intercessors to pacify God. Since then they were in this  
    respect the types of Christ, it behoved them to strive  
    themselves to be holy; and though the people abandoned  
    themselves to all kinds of wickedness, it yet became the  
    priests to devote themselves with all reverence to the  
    duties of their calling; and as God had preferred them to  
    their brethren, they ought especially to have consecrated  
    themselves to him with all fear; for the more excellent  
    their condition was, the more eminent ought to have been  
    their piety and holiness. Justly then does the Prophet  
    here inveigh so severely against them, because they did  
    not consider that they were honoured with the priesthood,  
    that they might entreat God, and thus pacify his wrath,  
    and reconcile to him miserable men: Go, he says, and  
    entreat the face of God; forsooth! he will accept your  
    face. We now understand the real meaning of the Prophet.   
         And now, he says, he will have mercy on us. Here  
    also the Prophet derides them, because they boasted that  
    they could prevail through their own high dignity to  
    render God propitious; forsooth! he says, he will have  
    mercy on us. But this is done by your hand, [i.e., by  
    you.] "Do ye raise up your hands to God? and will he on  
    seeing you be pacified towards you? As then ye are  
    polluted, ye are unworthy of the honour and office, in  
    which ye so proudly glory."   
         He does not however, as we have already said,  
    extenuate the fault of the people, and much less does he  
    exempt them from guilt who were implicated in the same  
    crimes; but he shows that the state of things was wholly  
    desperate; for the common people disregarded God, and the  
    priests, neglecting to make any distinctions, received  
    every sort of victims, only that they might not be in  
    want: he shows them that the state of the people was  
    extremely bad, as there was no one who could, according  
    to what his office required, pacify God. Will he then  
    receive your face? The Prophet seems to allude to the  
    person of the Mediator; for as Christ had not as yet  
    appeared, when the priest presented himself before the  
    altar, it was the same as though God looked on the face  
    of one, and became thus propitious to all. On this  
    account he says, that the priests were not worthy that  
    God should look on them, since they had polluted his  
    sanctuary and corrupted his whole service. For the same  
    purpose he subjoins -   
    10. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors  
    for naught? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for  
    nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of  
    hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.   
    10. Quis etiam in vobis qui claudat ostia, et non  
    incenditis altare meum gratis? non mihi placet in vobis,  
    dicit Iehova exercituum; et oblationem non habebo gratam  
    e manu vestry.   
         He goes on with the same subject, - that the priests  
    conducted themselves very shamefully in their office, and  
    that the people had become hardened through their  
    example, so that the whole of religion was disregarded.  
    Hence he says, that the doors were not closed by them.  
    Some interpreters connect the two things together - that  
    they closed not the doors of the temple, nor kindled the  
    altar for nothing; and thus they apply the adverb ,  
    chenam, to both clauses; as though he had said, that they  
    were hirelings, who did not freely devote themselves to  
    serve God, but looked for profit and gain in everything:  
    and this is the commonly received explanation. But it  
    seems better to me to take them separately and to say,  
    Who does even shut the doors? not however for nothing,  
    and the copulative , vau, as in many other places, may be  
    rendered even: and yet ye kindle not for nothing my  
    altar; as though God had said, "I have fixed your works;  
    ye are then to me as hired servants; and now since I have  
    ordered a reward to be given to you whenever ye stand at  
    my altar, why do ye not close my door?" Some render  
    chinam, in vain, and give this explanation "Who closes  
    the doors? then kindle not afterwards in vain my altar;"  
    as though God rejected the whole service, which had been  
    corrupted by the avarice or the sloth of the priests, and  
    by the presumption of the people.   
         It is indeed certain that it is better to separate  
    the two clauses so that the adverb , chinam, may be  
    confined to the letter; but there may yet, as I have  
    said, be a two-fold meaning. If we render , chinam, in  
    vain the import is that the Prophet declares that they  
    laboured to no purpose while they thus sacrificed to God  
    contrary to his law for they ought to have attended  
    especially to the rule prescribed to them: as then they  
    despised this, he justly says, "Offer not to me in vain;"  
    and thus the future tense is to be taken for the  
    imperative, as we know is the case sometimes in Hebrew.   
         But no interpreter seems to have sufficiently  
    considered the reason why the Prophet speaks of not  
    closing the doors of the temple. The priests, we know  
    were set over the temple for this reason - that nothing  
    polluted might be admitted; for there were of the Levites  
    some doorkeepers, and others stood at the entrance; in  
    short, all had their stations: and then when they had  
    brought in the victim it was the office of the priests to  
    examine it and to see that it was such as the law of God  
    required. As then it was their special office to see that  
    nothing polluted should be received into the temple of  
    God, he justly complains here that they indiscriminately  
    received what was faulty and profane: hence he rightly  
    declares (for this seems to me to be the true exposition)  
    "Offer not in vain." He then draws the conclusion, that  
    the priests lost all their labour in thus sacrificing,  
    because God would not have his name profaned, and justly  
    preferred obedience to all sacrifices. He therefore  
    denies that they did any good in slaying victims, because  
    they ought in the first place to have attended to this -  
    not to change anything in God's word and not to deviate  
    from it in the least. But I cannot now proceed farther.   
         Grant, Almighty God, that as thou best been pleased  
    in thine infinite mercy not only to choose from among us  
    some to be priests to thee, but also to consecrate us all  
    to thyself in thine only begotten Son, - O grant, that we  
    at this day may purely and sincerely serve thee, and so  
    strive to devote ourselves wholly to thee, that we may be  
    pure and chaste in mind, soul, and body, and that thy  
    glory may so shine forth in all our performances, that  
    thy worship among us may be holy, and pure, and approved  
    by thee, until we shall at length enjoy that glory to  
    which thou invites us by thy gospel, and which has been  
    obtained for us by the blood of thine only-begotten Son -  

    Calvin's Commentary on Malachi
    (continued in file 4...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: cvmal-03.txt