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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Malachi 2:6

6. The law of the truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

6. Lex veritatis fuit in ore ejus, et iniquites non fuit reperta, in labiis ejus; in pace et rectitudine ambulavit mecum; et multos redire fecit (hoc est, convertit) ab iniquitate.

He explains mote fully how Levi responded to God's command, -- that he had the law of truth in his mouth. The chief duty of a priest is to show the right way of living to the people; for however upright and holy one may be through his whole life, he is not on that account to be deemed a priest. Hence our Prophet dwells especially on this point -- that Levi taught the people. He does not speak of Levi himself; for we know that Levi was dead when Aaron was made a priest. For God does not here speak of individuals, but of the tribe; as though he had said, |Aaron and Eleazar, and those who followed them, knew for what end they were honored with the priesthood, and they faithfully performed their duties.| The Prophet now explains what God mainly requires from priests -- to show to the people, as I have already said, the way of living a pious and holy life; but he adopts different words, which yet mean the same thing.

The law of truth, he says, was in his mouth. Why does he not commend the integrity of his heart rather than his words? Had he spoken of an individual, the Prophet might have justly said, that he who sought to be an approved servant of God, had conducted himself harmless towards men; but he speaks of a public office, when he says, that the law of truth was in his mouth; for he is not worthy of that honor who is mute: and nothing is more preposterous, or even more ridiculous, than that those should be counted priests who are no teachers. These two things are, as they say, inseparable -- the office of the priesthood and teaching.

And that he might more clearly show that he speaks not of an ordinary matter, he repeats the same thing in other words, Iniquity was not found in his lips. We hence see that all this belongs peculiarly to the sacerdotal office. He afterwards adds, In peace and rectitude he walked before me. The Prophet here commends also the sincere concern for religion which the first priests manifested, for they walked with God in peace and uprightness; they not only carried signals in their lips and mouth, by which they might have been justly deemed the ministers of God and the pastors of his Church; but they also executed faithfully their office. And he alludes to the peace of which he had spoken: as God then had promised peace to the Levites, so also he says, that the Levites had lived themselves peaceably before God; for they did not break the covenant which he had made with them. As then they had responded to the stipulation of God, he says that they had walked in peace: but he also mentions how this was; it was, because they had walked in uprightness.

And the phrase, 'ty, ati, with me, ought to be observed; for it confirms what I have stated, -- that the honor of the priesthood in no way lessens God's authority, for he keeps the priests devoted to himself. He intimates then that they were not elevated to such a height, that their dignity took away anything from God's authority: for the obligation, which has been mentioned, ought to be mutual: God is faithful; the priests also must be faithful in their office, and show themselves to be the legitimate ministers of God.

He also mentions the fruit of their doctrine; for Levi turned many from iniquity, that is, he led many to repentance. It afterwards follows (for this verse ought to be joined) --

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