Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought?.... Either of the temple, as the Targum and Jarchi; for at each of the gates of the temple there were porters appointed in David's time, 1 Chronicles 26:1 and who were paid for their service: or of the court, as Kimchi; the court of the priests where the offerings were brought. The words "for nought" are not, in the original text, at the end of this clause, but at the end of the next; and are by some referred to both; and by others restrained to the latter; and who give this as the sense of the words, "who is there", or "would there were any among you?"F6מי גם בכם "utinam vestrum aliquis", Gataker, Drusius. any good man that would shut the doors of the temple, that so a man might not bring an abominable offering; intimating, that the priests or Levites however, who were porters, ought to shut the doors against such persons; and this way go Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel; to which the Chaldee paraphrase inclines; which is,
"who is there among you that will shut the door of the house of my sanctuary, that ye may not offer on mine altar an abominable sacrifice?'
but the same writers, out of an ancient book called Torath Cohanim, observe a sense that agrees with ours,
"a man says to his friend, shut this door for me, he desires nothing for it; light me this candle, he asks no reward for it; but as for you, who is there among you that will shut my doors for nought? or kindle a fire on mine altar for nought? and how much less will ye do freely those things which used to be done for reward? therefore I have no pleasure in you.'
There were four and twenty porters to open and shut the doors of the mountain of the house, or the temple, and the court of women in the daytime; six on the east side; four on the north; four on the south; at Asuppim two and two, four in all; four on the west, and two at ParbarF7Kimchi in 1 Chron. xxvi. 1. : here they attended in the daytime, to keep the place pure and peaceable; and there seems to have been one over all the rest, whose business was to see that the doors at evening were shut by them: in the MisnahF8Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 1. we are told that Ben Geber was appointed over the shutting of the gates, i.e. of the temple; and at night there were four and twenty guards also that kept watch; the priests kept guard in three places; in the room "abtines", in the room "nitsots", and in the fire room; and one and twenty Levites; five at the five gates of the mountain of the house, or the compass of the temple; four at the four corners within; five at the five gates of the court; and four at its four corners without; one at the chamber "Corban"; one at the chamber over against the vail; and another behind the most holy place; and there was one that was called the man of the mountain of the house, who every night went through every ward with torches burning before him; and he had power to beat those he found asleep in their watch, and to burn their garmentsF9Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 1, 2. , to which the allusion is, Revelation 16:15, and these guards, as BartenoraF11In Misn. ib. observes, were not on account of thieves and robbers, but for the honour of the house; and these, neither the one by day, nor the other by night, did their work for nought, but had a maintenance allowed them for it:
neither do ye kindle fire upon mine altar for nought: and this was done every morning, for though, as one of the Jewish writers saysF12Baal Hatturim in Lev. vi. 13. , fire came down, from heaven, it was ordered that they should bring of common fire; and there were three piles or rows of fire made every day upon the altar; the first was a large one, on which they offered the daily sacrifice, with the rest of the offerings; the second was on the side of it, a little one, from whence they took fire in the censer to burn incense every day; the third had no other use for it but to confirm the command concerning fire; as it is said, "the fire shall ever be burning", Leviticus 6:13 F13Maimon. Hilchot Tamidin, c. 2. sect. 4. and this fire was kindled to burn the sacrifices, the daily sacrifice, and other burnt offerings, for which they were paid out of the tithes, and other oblations; see 1 Corinthians 9:13 this was an aggravation of their negligence and carelessness about what offerings were brought and sacrificed; seeing they were so well taken care of, and such a sufficient maintenance provided for them; so that they did not the least piece of service in the temple but they were fully rewarded for it; even not so much as to shut a door, or kindle a fire; and therefore it is no wonder their conduct should be resented, as follows:
I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts; neither in your persons, nor in your offerings:
neither will I accept an offering at your hand: the "minchah" or meat offering, any meat offering, particularly that which was offered morning and evening with the daily sacrifice, Exodus 29:40 and it is sometimes used particularly for the evening meat offering, 2 Kings 16:15 or rather, "a wheat" or "bread offering"; since this offering was made of fine flour, with oil poured upon it, and frankincense put upon that, Leviticus 2:1 hence mention is made of "incense" in the next verse Malachi 1:11; and it was either baked in an oven, or fried in a pan; and either way, when it was brought to the priest, it was burnt on the altar, and was an offering by fire to the Lord, and of a sweet savour to him, when rightly performed; and was a figure of the sacrifice of Christ, which is of a sweet smelling savour to God; and this passage respects Gospel times, as appears from the following verse Malachi 1:11, when Christ's sacrifice would be offered up, and so the oblation or meat offering made to cease, Daniel 9:27 hence God would not accept of it any more; or else because not rightly offered, as it was not when any leaven was mixed with it, or that and honey were burnt with it; signifying it should be offered with sincerity, and without hypocrisy, and other carnal lusts; and indeed no legal sacrifices were acceptable to God but such as were offered up in the faith of Christ, and with a view to his sacrifice, without trusting to, and depending upon, the outward offering, as hypocrites and carnal persons did: wherefore to this is opposed a pure "minchah" or meat offering in the next verse Malachi 1:11; which designs spiritual sacrifices, such as are now offered up under the Gospel dispensation; when offering and sacrifice of a ceremonial kind God desires not; he will have no more offered up; he takes no pleasure in them; they are not acceptable to him, being superseded by the sacrifice of his Son, they were types of; see Psalms 40:6 and agreeably to which passages the words may be understood, as expressing the Lord's rejection of legal sacrifices in general among the Jews, which he would have no longer continued than till the Messiah came; by whose sufferings and death the daily sacrifice was caused to cease, Daniel 9:27 when sacrifices of another kind should be offered up in the Gentile world, through every part of it, as in the following verse Malachi 1:11.