on Malachi 2 :6
The law of truth was in his mouth - See the qualifications of Levi:
1. "He feared me;" he was my sincere worshipper.
2. "He was afraid;" he acted as in the presence of a just and holy God, and acted conscientiously in all that he did.
3. "My law of truth was ever in his mouth;" by this he directed his own conduct and that of others.
4. "No iniquity;" nothing contrary to justice and equity ever proceeded "from his lips."
5. "He walked with me in peace;" he lived in such a way as to keep up union with me.
6. "He did turn many away from iniquity;" by his upright administration, faithful exhortations, and pious walk, he became the instrument of converting many sinners.
This character suits every genuine minister of God. And as the priest's lips should preserve knowledge, so the people should seek "the law at his mouth;" for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts, Malachi 2:7.
on Malachi 2 :6
The law of truth was in his mouth - Apart from those cases, which were brought to the priests at the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 17:9-11; Deuteronomy 19:17 (add Deuteronomy 21:5; Ezekiel 44:23-24), hence, the use of אלהים Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:7-8.), in which their voice was the voice of God through them, to teach the law was part of the office both of the priest and Levite. Of the priest God says; Leviticus 10:11, "that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes, which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses:" of the tribe of Levi generally Moses says Deuteronomy 33:10, "They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments and Israel Thy law." After the schism of the ten tribes, a prophet says to Asa, that "Israel" had 2 Chronicles 15:3, "for long time been without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law." They are evil times, of which Ezekiel says Ezekiel 7:26, "the law shall perish from the priest;" and God says of corrupt priests Jeremiah 2:8, "The priest said not, where is the Lord? And they that handle the law knew Me not. Ezekiel 22:26; Zephaniah 3:4 they did violence to My law." Upon their return from the captivity Ezra was known to Artaxerxes as Ezra 7:12, Ezra 7:21, "a scribe of the law of the God of heaven," and he looked upon him apparently, as one who should keep the people in good order by teaching it. Ezra 7:25-26, "thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God which is in thy hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people which are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God, and teach ye them that know them not: and whosoever will not do the law of thy God or the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him." Ezra says of himself, that he Ezra 7:10, "had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."
"God's Psalm 119:142 law is the truth; the true doctrine of this law did he teach the people, and instruct them in the true meaning and intent thereof, that, according to the right rule, they might frame all their actions; nothing of it did he conceal from them, nor teach any thing contrary to it or false. This was in his mouth; nothing contrary to it was found in his lips."
And iniquity was not found in his lips - He expresses the perfectness of that teaching, first positively, then negatively. The true priest taught truth without any admixture of wrong. "Not only is he a betrayer of the truth, who, transgressing the truth, openly teaches a lie for the truth; but he too, who does not freely utter the truth, which he ought to utter freely, or who does not freely defend the truth which he ought to defend freely, is a betrayer of the truth. Romans 10:10, 'For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.'" "Nothing," says Ambrose to the Emperor Theodosius, "is so perilous to the priest with God, so disgraceful with men, as not to utter freely what he thinks. For it is written Psalm 119:46, 'I spake of Thy testimonies before kings, and was not ashamed.' And, therefore, a priest's silence ought to displease your Clemency; his freedom, to please you. For you are involved in the peril of my silence, art aided by the good of my free speech."
He walked with Me - To awe of God, truthfulness of teaching, he adds a devout continual contact with God. Like the patriarchs of old, Enoch and Noah, he Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9 "walked with God." He not only lived in the presence, but walked up and down with Him, through his whole life, as a Friend, "having respect in all things to Him and His glory."
In peace and equity - The inward peace with God overflowing in peace to men. The brief words comprise the duties of both tables; as that Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God; 2 Corinthians 13:11. Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you; Matthew 5:9. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." "God's covenant with him was of peace Malachi 2:5, so he observed it on his part." Even "equity," or real considerate justice, would alienate those, whom it found wrong, so he joins with it "peace," that even equity was not administered but with love. "To have peace with God, what is it but to will to be mended and to do what He willeth, and in nothing to offend Him?"
And turned away many from iniquity - They, the true priests of the Old Testament then, were not satisfied with their own sanctification, but were zealous for the salvation of souls. What a history of zeal for the glory of God and the conversion of sinners in those, of whom the world knows nothing; of whose working, but for the three words in the closing book of the Old Testament, we should have known nothing! The prophets upbraid the sins of the many; the Psalms are the prayers given to and used by the pious; such incidental sayings as these, record some of the fruits. "Be of the disciples of Aaron," said Hillel "who loved peace and followed peace, and who loved men and brought them near to the law." Yet even under the Gospel Gregory complains "The world is full of priests; yet in the harvest of God the laborers are few. For we undertake the priestly office, but do not fulfill its work. We receive the fruit of holy Church in daily stipend, but labor not for the everlasting Church in preaching." "There are many priests," says a writer in the 4th century, "and few priests; many in name, few in deed. See then, how ye sit on your thrones, for the throne maketh not the priest, but the priest the throne; the place sanctifieth not the man, but the man the place. Whoso sitteth well on the throne, receiveth honor from the throne; whoso ill, doth injustice to the throne. Thou sittest in judgment. If thou livest well and teachest well, thou wilt be a judge of all; if thou teachest well and livest ill, thine own only. For by teaching well and living well thou instructest the people, how it ought to live; by teaching well and living ill, thou teachest God, how He should condemn thee." "We who are called priests, above the ills which we have of our own, add also the deaths of others. For we slay as many as we, in tepidity and silence, see daily go to death. He who is placed under thee dies without thee, when in that which causes his death, thou hast withstood him. For to that death, which thou hast not withstood, thou wilt be added."
on Malachi 2 :6
2:6 Was in his mouth - He taught to the people. Aaron, Eleazar, Phineas, every one of those priests or Levites, in what age soever they lived; who feared God, and were humble. Iniquity is not found - He judged not with respect of persons, or for bribes. He walked - His whole life was a continual walking with God; he lived with God, and to him. In peace - With God, and it was his aim to live peaceably with others.