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x. 16, xxx. 6); so does Jeremiah speak of the ungodly Israelites as uncircumcised in heart. Thus in chap. iv. 4, he says, "circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem," and in chap. ix. 26, "for all the heathen are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart." Ezekiel goes a step further. In chap. xliv. 9, he represents the ungodly priests and Levites, not merely as uncircumcised in heart, but also as uncircumcised in flesh and sons of the stranger. That the uncircumcised and the sons of the stranger mentioned here are not actual heathen, as many commentators have strangely enough supposed, but ungodly Levites, is evident, among other reasons, first, from the fact that priestly actions are attributed to the persons alluded to, particularly the offering of sacrifices (compare ver. 7 with ver. 15); secondly, from in ver. 10, which these commentators (e.g. Rosenmüller) erroneously render " also," "however" (aber), instead of but (sondern); and lastly, from ver. 15 and 16, where the announcement of the reward, to be conferred upon the pious, is opposed to the threat of punishment to be inflicted upon the ungodly priests and Levites.—Of the transfer of the name of some one idolatrous nation, which had distinguished itself by the depth of its moral degradation, to the ungodly Israelites, the following examples may be adduced. Isaiah, in chap. i. 10, addresses the princes of Israel without reserve as "princes of Sodom," and the people as the "people of Gomorrha." In Ezek. xvi. 3, we find these words, "thus saith the Lord to Jerusalem; thine origin and thy descent is from the land of the Canaanite, thy father is the Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite." The meaning of the passage before us, therefore, cannot be doubtful. It is a parallel to such passages as Is: iv. 3, "he that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy;" and chap. lx. 21, "thy people also shall be all righteous," (compare the history of Susannah, ver. 48).—At the same time it cannot be denied that the rendering dealer is to a certain extent correct. The fact that Canaanite also means dealer shows that the profanity of the disposition, which characterised this nation, was especially apparent in the predominance of material interests. In Zeph. i. 11, where the overthrow of the covenant-nation is announced in

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the words "all the people of Canaan are destroyed," the Chaldee has very correctly pharaphrased the passage thus, "totus populus cujus opera similia sunt operibus Cananaeorum," and it would be wrong to render it, "the merchant people,"1 as v. Cölln and Maurer have done. At the same time it is evident from the parallel clause, "all they that are laden with silver are cut of" (Jonathan, "divites opibus"), that the reference is not merely to the Canaanites generally, but particularly to their unholy love of gain. In Hosea xii. 7 the fallen covenant nation is spoken of in these terms, "Canaan, in his hand is the balance of deceit, he loves to act unjustly." "The Phoenicians," observes C. B. Michaelis (in loc.), "as Grotius and others observe, were piλoxрŃμATOι TE Kai трâκтα, avaricious and cheats." In Ezek. xvii. 4 it is certainly wrong to render Canaan "merchant." Babylon was a second Canaan (see Hävernick in loc.), but in the next clause "city of merchants" is introduced, as a parallel to the land of Canaan, to show that the Babylonians are not called Canaanites on account of their carnal disposition in general, but on account of their carnal devotedness to trade. That this has been an hereditary failing with the Jewish people, experience teaches even to the present day; and therefore it is very appropriate, that the prophet should conclude his prophecy with an allusion to the extermination of this evil in the days of salvation, seeing that the loss of national independence, which causes personal interests to be thrown into greater prominence, would make the evil stronger than ever. If, then, the Canaanites represent the essential character of the world, from the most material point of view, this places in a new light the purification of the temple in John ii. 13-22. In its general features the latter rests upon Malachi But in the fact that the Lord drives out the traders from the temple as a symbol of the reformation predicted by the prophet, -that his zeal for a reform manifests itself on the traders in particular, there is an allusion to the passage before us, in combination with that of Malachi. In the purification of the temple this passage is, as it were, placed upon the stage before our eyes; compare especially ver. 14, "and found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money

1 The rendering given in the English version.-TR.

sitting;" and ver. 16, "make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."-There were degrees in the fulfilment of this announcement; see the remarks on Is. iv. 3. By the blood and Spirit of Christ, the material spirit received a heavy blow, and in every age of the Church there is a powerful reaction. The ultimate fulfilment is that described in Rev. xxi. 27 and xxii. 15.


The question as to the period at which the prophet wrote has been set at rest by Vitringa (de Mal. proph. in the Obss. vol. ii.). The reasons adduced by him in support of his conclusion, that. the book was composed under Nehemiah, about the time of his second arrival in Canaan, subsequent to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, hardly leave any further room for doubt. The principal reason which he assigns is the following: in Malachi, and in the thirteenth chapter of Nehemiah, which is occupied with the period succeeding his return, the same offences are referred to as common at the time, and described in nearly the same words. Compare, for example, chap. ii. 8 with Neh. xiii. 30, where the sin of the nation, especially of the priests, in marrying heathen wives, is referred to; and chap. iii. 10 with Neh. xiii. 10-12, in which allusion is made to the neglect of the people to bring the tithes. Of the objections offered by Hitzig, Reinke, and others to this conclusion, the only one which has any plausibility is that the governor, mentioned in chap. i. 8, does not appear to be an Israelite, and certainly not to be Nehemiah, who had refused to take even such presents as were justly due to him (see Neh. v. 14, 15). But this passage merely treats of forced contributions and extortions. Such a position, as that of Nehemiah, can hardly be conceived of in an eastern country without presents. And an absolute refusal to receive them would have been a manifestation of unfeeling harshness. The only point, about which there can be any doubt, is whether the public appearance of Malachi

occurred shortly before, or shortly after, or precisely at the period of the reform movement which took place on the occasion of Nehemiah's second arrival. The last is the most probable supposition. It cannot be right to fix upon an earlier period, since the strength of the abuses that had arisen, is represented in Nehemiah as not in the least diminished, a fact which presupposes that God had left the nation to itself for some time,-and also because a governor over the civil affairs is mentioned in chap. i. 8 as existing at the time in the midst of the nation. A later period cannot be thought of, from the very nature of the case; and according to Nehemiah's own account, the steps taken by him to effect a reformation cannot be supposed to have been altogether without effect. Hence it is probable, that the contemporaneous labours of Malachi and Nehemiah bore the same relation to each other, as those of Haggai and Zechariah on the one hand, and Joshua and Zerubbabel on the other. The outward efforts of Nehemiah to bring about a reform were accompanied by the more spiritual efforts of Malachi. Nehemiah cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber (ver. 8); "if ye do so again," he threatens the Sabbath-breakers in ver. 21, "I will lay hands on you." He smites the men, who have taken foreign wives, and plucks off their hair (ver. 25). Malachi, on the other hand, merely smites with the word of God. He points expressly to the judgment of God, the beginning of which was already to be seen in the midst of the nation, and which would continue to increase in distinctness and strength, in proportion as the germ of destruction, which already existed, became more and more developed. A similar parallel in the progress of inward and outward reform is to be met with on various occasions in the history of Israel; for example, that of Isaiah and Hezekiah, and again that of Jeremiah and Josiah. There is not a single example of a purely outward reform.

Vitringa's views, with regard to the name of the prophet, viz. that Malachi was an ideal name and not the prophet's own name, have met with far less favour than those with respect to the date at which he wrote. And yet the And yet the reasons, that may be adduced in support of this opinion, are by no though Vitringa himself did not perceive them all.

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