Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Malachias, “the angel of the Lord.” St. Jerome always reads Malachi, “my angel.” Septuagint, “his angel;” whence Origen infers, that this was an angel incarnate. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Loved us. So they thought, (Theodoret) and perhaps spoke. (Haydock) — Jacob. I have preferred his posterity, to make them my chosen people, and to load them with my blessings, without any merit on their part, and though they have been always ungrateful; whilst I have rejected Esau, and executed severe judgments upon his posterity. Not that God punished Esau or his posterity beyond their deserts, but that by his free election and grace he loved Jacob, and favoured his posterity above their deserts. See the annotations upon Romans ix. (Challoner) — Neither deserved any thing. God’s choice was gratuitous, both with respect to the fathers and their offspring. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Esau, perceiving the evil which was already in him, and would appear afterwards; (St. Jerome and Theodoret) or rather he was a figure of the reprobate, though not of course one himself. (St. Augustine) — A person is said to hate what he loves less. Esau’s privileges were transferred to his brother, who enjoyed a much finer country, and was chosen for God’s peculiar inheritance. (Calmet) — Temporal blessings are here specified. — Dragons. Septuagint, “houses;” so that they shall be deserted. (Haydock) — Edom was ravaged by Nabuchodonosor. The people retired into the cities, from which the Jews were driven. Yet afterwards they rebuilt their own habitations.
Ver. 4. Down, by the Machabees, who forced the people to receive circumcision, 1 Machabees v. 3. (Calmet) — At that time the Jews were more pious, and glorified God. (Haydock) — Ever. God’s gratuitous love appears in his leaving Edom in captivity, and restoring the Jews. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Father. God sometimes took this title, Exodus iv. 32. But he was oftener represented as a master; and the old law was a law of fear. (Calmet) — Servant et metuunt jus. (Juvenal xiv.)
Ver. 7. Bread, including all the victims, &c., Leviticus iii. 11., and Numbers xxviii. 2. (Calmet) — By vile presents they shew their contempt of God. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Lame. The victims must be without defect, Leviticus xxii. 21. Those of the Jews were also rendered inadmissible by their evil dispositions, Aggeus ii. 14. It is surprising, that after such scourges they should not have been more upon their guard. The negligence of the sacred ministers, is a sure sign of faith being extinct. (Calmet) — Pagans often thus treated their idols. (Clement of Alexandria, Strom. vi.) — Prince: the governor sent by the Persians. If you dare not make such presents to men of eminence, how shall I accept them? (Calmet) — How dare you offer them to me? (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Gratis? Are you not well paid? Why then perform you not your duty exactly? (Calmet) — Septuagint, “Wherefore also among you shall the doors be shut, and my altar is not enkindled for nought,” (Haydock) as if God menaced the Jews with the rejection of the temple, as the sequel does. (Calmet) — Pleasure. Many other prophets had foretold the reprobation of the synagogue, but none more plainly. The reason is also assigned, viz., the ingratitude and repeated sins of the people, on which account the Gentiles of all countries shall be chosen. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Sacrifice. Protestant, “incense.” (Haydock) — Clean oblation. The precious body and blood of Christ in the eucharistic sacrifice. (Challoner) — This is denoted by the very word mincha, the offering of flour and wine. (Calmet) See St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho; St. Irenĉus, Against Heresies iv. 32.; St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 35.) — “We pollute this bread, that is the body of Christ, when we approach the altar unworthily.” (St. Jerome v. 7.) — This sacrifice is always pure, though the priest or receiver be otherwise. (Calmet) — Hence it is always clean. (Council of Trent, session xxii. chap. i.) (Menochius) — It is offered daily throughout the world. The Jews see the completion of this prediction, and are vexed; they strive to elude its force. Though enemies, they bear about these proofs of our faith, and of their own condemnation. (Calmet) — God not only changed his people, but instituted a better sacrifice. Instead of the former needy elements, (Galatians iv.) which were often defiled by the sins of the offerers, He instituted the sacrifice of his own Body and Blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, as St. Chrysostom (in Psalm xcv.), Theodoret, &c., prove against all opponents. A sacrifice different from any offered by the Jews, who could offer only at Jerusalem, (Deuteronomy xvi.) is clearly specified, as many have demonstrated. (Worthington) — Christ’s bloody sacrifice on the cross was performed on Calvary, and not among the Gentiles. What sacrifice can Protestants now produce? (Haydock)
Ver. 12. It. The priests complain that all is burnt, (Grotius) or rather they treat sacred things with contempt. (Calmet) — They falsely pretend that they give their best, being poor. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. Behold of our labour, &c. You pretended labour and weariness, when you brought your offering; and so made it of no value, by offering it with an evil mind. Moreover, what you offered was both defective in itself, and gotten by rapine and extortion. (Challoner) — These were two defects. (Worthington) — Hebrew, “what fatigue, or if we change one letter, and read (Calmet) mothlae, (Haydock) it stinks, and you.” &c. Some copies of [the] Septuagint, Arabic, &c., “I blew them away,” with disgust. — Rapine. Ecclesiasticus xxxiv. 24. — Offering. Mincha, ver. 11. (Calmet) — Such victims and presents as are lame or strange, are rejected. (Pliny, [Natural History?] viii. 45.)
Ver. 14. Male. So better things are styled mascula thura. (Virgil; Pliny, [Natural History?] xii. 14.) — It was unlawful to offer a female by vow, but not out of devotion, Leviticus xxii. 18, 23. (Calmet) — King. So the Persian monarchs were called. — Dreadful. Greek, “Epiphanes.” (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God reproaches the Jews with their ingratitude: and the priests for not offering pure sacrifices. He will accept of the sacrifice that shall be offered in every place among the Gentiles.
1 The *burden of the word of the Lord to Israel, by the hand of Malachias.
2 I have loved you, saith the Lord: and you have said: Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau brother to Jacob, saith the Lord, and *I have loved Jacob,
3 But have hated Esau? and I have made his mountains a wilderness, and given his inheritance to the dragons of the desert.
4 But if Edom shall say: We are destroyed, but we will return and build up what hath been destroyed: thus saith the Lord of hosts: They shall build up, and I will throw down: and they shall be called the borders of wickedness, and the people with whom the Lord is angry for ever.
5 And your eyes shall see, and you shall say: The Lord be magnified upon the border of Israel.
6 The son honoureth the father, and the servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear: saith the Lord of hosts?
7 To you, O priests, that despise my name, and have said: Wherein have we despised thy name? You offer polluted bread upon my altar, and you say: Wherein have we polluted thee: In that you say: The table of the Lord is contemptible.
8 If you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil: offer it to thy prince, if he will be pleased with it, or if he will regard thy face, saith the Lord of hosts.
9 And now beseech ye the face of God, that he may have mercy on you (for by your hand hath this been done) if by any means he will receive your faces, saith the Lord of hosts.
10 Who is there among you, that will shut the doors, and will kindle the fire on my altar, gratis? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will not receive a gift of your hand.
11 *For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And you have profaned it in that you say: The table of the Lord is defiled: and that which is laid thereupon is contemptible, with the fire that devoureth it.
13 And you have said: Behold of our labour, and you puffed it away, saith the Lord of hosts, and you brought in of rapine the lame, and the sick, and brought in an offering: shall I accept it at your hands, saith the Lord?
14 Cursed is the deceitful man, that hath in his flock a male, and making a vow, offereth in sacrifice that which is feeble to the Lord: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the Gentiles.
1: Year of the World about 3604, Year before Christ 400.
2: Romans ix. 13.
11: Psalm cxii. 3.