Malachi 1:13
You said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and you have snuffed at it, said the LORD of hosts; and you brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus you brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? said the LORD.
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(13) Said.—Better, say.

And ye have snuffed at it.—Better, and ye puff at it—that is, treat it with contempt, “pooh-pooh it,” as we say. The service of the Temple, which they ought to have regarded as their highest privilege and pleasure, they look on as burdensome and contemptible. For “brought,” read bring.

Torn.—The word Gâzûl elsewhere means “stolen” (Deuteronomy 28:31), or “robbed “—i.e., “spoiled” (Deuteronomy 28:29). It is perhaps not impossible that it may here be a later word for trêphâh, “torn” (comp. the cogn. Arabic ajzal, “galled on the back”), but it is not so used in post-Biblical Jewish writings. On the contrary, Rabbinic tradition uses our word when expressly mentioning that which is stolen as unfit to be offered as a burnt offering—e.g., the Sifrā, (Vayyikrā, Perek 6, Parashta 5, ed. Weis 7b), commenting on the words of Leviticus 1:10, says: “ ‘From the flock,’ and ‘from the sheep,’ and ‘from the goats:’ These words are limitations—viz., to exclude the sick (comp. also Malachi 1:8), and the aged, and that which has been dedicated in thought to an idol, and that which is defiled with its own filth; ‘its offering’ [English Version, his offering, comp. Note on Zechariah 4:2], to exclude that which is stolen.” (See also Talmud Babli, Baba Kamma 66b.) The English Version has the same in view in its rendering of Isaiah 61:8, where it has the authority of Talmud Babli, Sukkah 30a, and of Jerome and Luther. Perhaps the reason why people were inclined to offer a stolen animal may be, that it might very likely have a mark on it, which would render it impossible for the thief to offer it for sale, and so realise money on it, for fear of detection; so then he makes a virtue of a necessity, and brings as an offering to God that which he could not otherwise dispose of.

1:6-14 We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were so scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse our slothfulness and niggardliness, in our returns of duty to God. A spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered to God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall be a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men now, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord, pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship.What a weariness! - What an onerous service it is! The service of God is its own reward. If not, it becomes a greater toil, with less reward from this earth, than the things of this earth. Our only choice is between love and weariness.

And ye have snuffed - (puffed) at it , i. e., at the altar; as a thing contemptible. "Ye, have brought that which was taken by violence." In despising any positive law of God, they despised the lawgiver; and so, from contempt of the ceremonial law, they went on to break the moral law. It were indeed a mockery of God, to break a law whereby He bound man to man, and therefrom to seek to appease Himself. Yet in rough times, people, even in Christianity, have made their account with their souls, by giving to the poor a portion of what they had taken from the rich. "God," it was said to such an one, "rejects the gifts obtained by violence and robbery. He loves mercy, justice and humanity, and by the lovers of these only will He be worshiped." (Ecclesiasticus 34:18-20.) "He that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully gotten, his offering is ridiculous, and the gifts of unjust men are not accepted. The Most High is not pleased with the offerings of the wicked, neither is He pacified for sin by the multitude of sacrifices. Whoso bringeth an offering of the goods of the poor doeth as one that killeth the son before the father's eyes."

13. what a weariness is it!—Ye regard God's service as irksome, and therefore try to get it over by presenting the most worthless offerings. Compare Mic 6:3, where God challenges His people to show wherein is the "weariness" or hardship of His service. Also Isa 43:22-24, wherein He shows that it is they who have "wearied" Him, not He who has wearied them.

snuffed at—despised.

it—the table of the Lord, and the meat on it (Mal 1:12).

torn—namely, by beasts, which it was not lawful to eat, much less to offer (Ex 22:31).

thus … offering—Hebrew, mincha; the unbloody offering of flour, &c. Though this may have been of ordinary ingredients, yet the sacrifices of blemished animals accompanying it rendered it unacceptable.

Ye said also; to those sins before mentioned, the priests chiefly, and the people with them, added this also, that they openly complained of God’s service.

Behold, what a weariness! what a toil and drudgery is it to observe every point of the law about ordering ourselves and the sacrifices!

Ye have snuffed at it, in token of discontent, and that you thought it was all needless labour; would not examine your sacrifices as you should.

Ye brought that which was torn, & c.: for want of value for the ordinance, and patience in examining whether the sacrifice were perfect and according to law, you priests accepted and offered the torn, and blind, &c., which are expressly forbidden to be made sacrifices: see Malachi 1:8.

Thus ye brought an offering; with such minds, snuffing at my service, and with such sacrifices, unfit for mine altar, have they wearied themselves somewhat, but their God more.

Should I accept this of your hands? saith the Lord, i.e. it is not at all fit to be accepted, nor will our God receive it. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it?.... These are either the words of the priests, saying what a wearisome and fatiguing business the temple service was to them, for which they thought they were poorly paid; such as slaying the sacrifices; removing the ashes from the altar; putting the wood in order; kindling the fire, and laying the sacrifice on it: or of the people that brought the sacrifice, who, when they brought a lamb upon their shoulders, and laid it down, said, how weary are we with bringing it, suggesting it was so fat and fleshy; so Kimchi and Abarbinel, to which sense the Targum seems to agree; which paraphrases it,

"but if ye say, lo, what we have brought is from our labour;''

and so the Syriac version, "and ye say, this is from our labour"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "and ye say, lo, from labour"; and the Septuagint version, "and ye say, these are from affliction"; meaning that what they brought was with great toil and labour, out of great poverty, misery, and affliction:

and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; or, "blown it" (p); filled it with wind, that it might seem fat and fleshy, when it was poor and lean; so Abarbinel and Abendana: or ye have puffed, and panted, and blown, as persons weary with bringing such a heavy lamb, when it was so poor and light, that, if it was blown at, it would fall to the ground; so R. Joseph Kimchi: or ye have puffed at it, thrown it upon the ground by way of contempt; so David Kimchi: or, "ye have grieved him" (q); the owner of the lamb, from whom they stole it; which sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Ben Melech; taking the word rendered "torn", in the next clause, for that which was "stolen". Jarchi says this is one of the eighteen words corrected by the scribes; and that instead of "it", it should be read "me": and the whole rendered, "and ye have grieved me"; the Lord, by bringing such sacrifices, and complaining of weariness, and by their hypocrisy and deceitfulness. Cocceius renders the words, "ye have made him to expire"; meaning the Messiah, whom the Jews put to death:

and ye have brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; See Gill on Malachi 1:8 and if the first word is rendered "stolen", as it may, this offering was an abomination to the Lord, Isaiah 61:8,

thus ye brought an offering; such an one as it was: or a "minchah", a meat offering, along with these abominable ones:

should I accept this of your hands? saith the Lord; which, when offered to a civil governor, would not be acceptable, Malachi 1:8 and when contrary to the express law of God.

(p) "et efflastis illam", Montanus; "anheli isto estis", Tigurine version; "exsufflare possetis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, "difflatis", Drusius; "sufflavistis illud", Burkius. (q) "Et contristastis illum"; so some in Vatablus.

Ye said also, Behold, what a {o} weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.

(o) The priests and people were both weary with serving God, and did not regard what manner of sacrifice and service they gave to God: for that which was least profitable, was thought good enough for the Lord.

13. what a weariness is it!] i.e. the service of the Sanctuary.

torn] Rather, taken by violence. R.V.

ye brought an offering] Rather, ye bring the offering, R.V. The reference is perhaps to “the (stated, public) offerings,” which the priests provided out of the Temple funds entrusted to them (Nehemiah 10:32-33). Comp. “the offering of Judah and Jerusalem,” Malachi 3:4. By purchasing cheap and unworthy animals they would increase their own portion of the fund. But Malachi 1:12; Malachi 1:14 make it clear that similar abuses were tolerated in the private sacrifices of individuals.Verse 13. - What a weariness is it! The reference is to the table of the Lord. Despising the altar, and performing their duties without heart or faith, the priests found the services an intolerable burden. Vulgate, ecce de labore, which seems to be an excuse of the people, urging that they offer such things as their toil and poverty allow. Septuagint, ταῦτα ἐκ κακοπαθείας ἐστί, which has much the same meaning. The present Hebrew text is represented by the Authorized Version. Ye have snuffed at it; i.e. at the altar. The phrase expresses contempt. "It" has been supposed to be a "scribes' correction" for "me." The Septuagint and Syriac give, "I snorted at them." That which was torn; rather, that which was taken by violence - that which was stolen or unjustly taken. Septuagint, ἁρπάγματα: Ecclus. 34:18 (31:21), "He that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully gotten, his offering is ridiculous (μεμωκημένη)" Lame... sick (see Leviticus 22:19-25). Thus ye brought an (bring the) offering (minchah). Subject to analogous defects is even your meat offering, the accessory to other sacrifices, and therefore it is unacceptable. To this there is appended in Zechariah 5:5-11 a new view, which exhibits the further fate of the sinners who have been separated from the congregation of the saints. Zechariah 5:5. "And the angel that talked with me went forth, and said to me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, what is this that goeth out there? Zechariah 5:6. And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah going out. And He said, This is their aspect in all the land. Zechariah 5:7. And behold a disk of lead was lifted up, and there was a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah. Zechariah 5:8. And he said, This is wickedness; and he cast it into the midst of the ephah, and cast the leaden weight upon its mouth." With the disappearing of the previous vision, the angelus interpres had also vanished from the eyes of the prophet. After a short pause he comes out again, calls the prophet's attention to a new figure which emerges out of the cloud, and so comes within the range of vision (היּוצאת הזּאת), and informs him with regard to it: "This is the ephah which goeth out." יצא, to go out, in other words, to come to view. The ephah was the greatest measure of capacity which really existed among the Hebrews for dry goods, and was about the size of a cubic foot; for the chōmer, which contained ten ephahs, appears to have had only an ideal existence, viz., for the purpose of calculation. The meaning of this figure is indicated generally in the words זאת עינם כב, the meaning of which depends upon the interpretation to be given to עינם. The suffix of this word can only refer to the sinners mentioned before, viz., the thieves and perjurers; for it is contrary to the Hebrew usage to suppose that the words refer to the expression appended, בּכל־הארץ, in the sense of "all those who are in the whole land" (Koehler). Consequently עין does not mean the eye, but adspectus, appearance, or shape, as in Leviticus 13:55; Ezekiel 1:4.; and the words have this meaning: The ephah (bushel) is the shape, i.e., represents the figure displayed by the sinners in all the land, after the roll of the curse has gone forth over the land, i.e., it shows into what condition they have come through that anathema (Kliefoth). The point of comparison between the ephah and the state into which sinners have come in consequence of the curse, does not consist in the fact that the ephah is carried away, and the sinners likewise (Maurer), nor in the fact that the sin now reaches its full measure (Hofm., Hengstenberg); for "the carrying away of the sinners does not come into consideration yet, and there is nothing at all here about the sin becoming full." It is true that, according to what follows, sin sits in the ephah as a woman, but there is nothing to indicate that the ephah is completely filled by it, so that there is no further room in it; and this thought would be generally out of keeping here. The point of comparison is rather to be found in the explanation given by Kliefoth: "Just as in a bushel the separate grains are all collected together, so will the individual sinners over the whole earth be brought into a heap, when the curse of the end goes forth over the whole earth." We have no hesitation in appropriating this explanation, although we have not rendered הארץ "the earth," inasmuch as at the final fulfilment of the vision the holy land will extend over all the earth. Immediately afterwards the prophet is shown still more clearly what is in the ephah. A covering of lead (kikkâr, a circle, a rounding or a circular plate) rises up, or is lifted up, and then he sees a woman sitting in the ephah ('achath does not stand for the indefinite article, but is a numeral, the sinners brought into a heap appearing as a unity, i.e., as one living personality, instead of forming an atomistic heap of individuals). This woman, who had not come into the ephah now for the first time, but was already sitting there, and was only seen now that the lid was raised, is described by the angel as mirsha‛ath, ungodliness, as being wickedness embodied, just as in 2 Chronicles 24:7 this name is given to godless Jezebel. Thereupon he throws her into the ephah, out of which she had risen up, and shuts it with the leaden lid, to carry her away, as the following vision shows, out of the holy land.
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