9. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
9. Maledictione vos maledicti estis, et me vos diripuistis tota gens.
Malachi pursues the same subject; for he answers the Jews in the name of God -- that they unjustly complained of his rigour as being immoderate, since they themselves were the cause of all their evils. He says that they were cursed, but he adds that this happened to them deservedly, as though he had said -- |Be that granted what you say, (for lamentations were continually made,) why is it that God afflicts us without end or limits?| God seems to grant what they were wont reproachfully to declare; but he says in answer to this -- |But ye have defrauded Me; what wonder then that my curse consumes you? As then I have been robbed by you, as far as ye could, I will render to you your just recompense; for it is not right that I should be bountiful and kind to you, while ye thus defraud me, and take from me what is my own.|
The meaning then is this -- that it was indeed true that the Jews lamented that they were under a curse, but that the cause ought to have been searched out. They indeed wished their rapines and sacrileges to be forgiven, by which they defrauded God; but God declares that he punished them justly in consuming them with poverty and want, since they so sparingly rendered to him what they owed.
He mentions the whole nation, and thus aggravates the wickedness of the Jews; for not a few were guilty of the sacrilege mentioned, but all, from the least to the greatest, they all plundered the tenths and the oblations. It hence follows that God's vengeance did not exceed due limits, since there was as it were a common conspiracy; there were not ten or a hundred implicated in this sin, but, as he says, the whole people. It follows --