A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master,.... Or, "will honour", or "should honour"; it is their duty to do so, both according to the laws of God and man; and so the Targum,
"lo concerning a son it is said (or commanded) that be should honour his father; and of a servant, that he should fear (or show reverence) before his master;''
see Exodus 20:12:
if then I be a father; as he was the Father of his divine and eternal Son; the Father of spirits, angels, and the souls of men; the Father of all men by creation; and the Father of all mercies to them in providence, as he was to Israel; and, besides, was their Father by national adoption, as he was not to other people; and to many of them stood in this relation by special adopting grace:
where is mine honour? there is an honour due to God on account of this relation; which should be shown by loving him, trusting in him, calling upon him, imitating and obeying him, and by making use of what he has given for his glory; he is to be honoured in heart and life, by words and actions, and with our substance. This question suggests, that he had not the honour given him, which belonged unto him:
and if I be a master; the word is in the plural number, and may be understood of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit; though the first Person seems rather designed, who stands in this relation to Christ, as Mediator; to the angels, his ministering spirits; to the ministers of the Gospel, and to all the saints; and indeed to all men, and particularly to the Israelites; as appeared by the special laws and commands he enjoined them, and by his special government, protection, and care of them:
where is my fear? fear and reverence are due to the Lord from his people, considered in such a relation to them; not a slavish fear of wrath and punishment; but a godly filial fear, which is influenced by the goodness of God, and appears in a carefulness not to offend him, and by the performance of all religious worship, both private and public; and in this not only natural men, but professors of religion, and even God's own people, are wanting; yea, those that should set examples to others, as men in public office, and of a public character, as follows:
saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name; for what is before said is not only said to the people in general; but to the priests in particular, who ought to have honoured and feared the Lord; and yet they despised his name, or made it contemptible; by not paying that regard to his authority, as a Father and master, they ought; by neglecting his worship, and not taking that care of offerings and sacrifices as became them:
And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? as if they were entirely innocent and guiltless.