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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Lecture One Hundred and Seventy-eighth

In our last lecture the Prophet delineated the office of Christ, that hypocrites might know that they in vain complained of the tardiness of God, as though he had deserted them at the very time of their extremity. He further said, that there was need of purifying, not only as to the people, but as to the priests also; and hence it appears how corrupt the state of things had become among all classes. At the same time he seems indirectly to reprove hypocrisy, not only in the common people, but also in the Levites, for there is a contrast to be understood between the sacrifices they then offered, and those offered by their fathers.

By saying then that they would offer to Jehovah an oblation in righteousness, mnchh vtsdqh, meneche betsadke, he intimates that their sacrifices had not been legitimate, for they had become polluted, and hence could not rightly minister to God. We hence see that the Levites are here reproved because they had polluted God's service in not offering the right sacrifices such as he had prescribed in his law. This is not to be applied to the outward acts only, but also to the feelings and motives, because they did come to God's altars with minds well prepared.

To offer in righteousness is a mode of speaking common in Hebrew, and means to offer in a right way, so that there should be nothing wrong or worthy of blame. By the verb ysv, isheb, to sit, is intimated continuance; as though the Prophet had said, that corruption was so deeply fixed in the Levites that it could not in one day or by light means be purged away: in short, he meant by this one word to exaggerate the corrupt state of the people, for had only a slight washing been sufficient, he would have simply said, |he will purify, he will cleanse, he will cast,| or melt, for he uses these three words: but he says, as I have stated, that he will sit to do these things, in order to show that he would continue in his work and carry it on for a long time, because the diseases being so inveterate they could not be easily healed. We now understand what the Prophet means. He afterwards adds --

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