Malachi 4:1

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven,.... Not the day of judgment, as Kimchi and other interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, think; but the day of Christ's coming in his kingdom and power, to take vengeance on the Jewish nation, which burned like an oven, both figuratively and literally; when the wrath of God, which is compared to fire, came upon that people to the uttermost; and when their city and temple were burnt about their ears, and they were surrounded with fire, as if they had been in a burning oven: and this being so terrible, as can hardly be conceived and expressed, the word "behold" is prefixed to it, not only to excite attention, but horror and terror at so dreadful a calamity; which though future, when the prophet wrote, was certain:

and all the proud; yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; the proud Pharisees, that boasted of their own righteousness, trusted in themselves, and despised others; all workers of iniquity, in private or in public; all rejecters of Christ, contemners of his Gospel and ordinances, and persecutors of his people; as well as such who were guilty of the most flagitious crimes, as sedition, robbery, murder, &c. of which there were notorious instances during the siege of Jerusalem; these were all like stubble before devouring fire, weak and easily destroyed:

and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts: which is repeated, to show the certainty of it, and to apply it to the persons before described:

that it shall leave them neither root nor branch: which signifies an entire and complete destruction; the city and temple so utterly destroyed, that not one stone shall be left on another; both magistrates and subjects shall perish, priests and people, so that there shall be no form of government, civil nor ecclesiastical; tribes and families lost, they and their posterity: and so the Targum,

"which shall not leave them son and nephew:''

and, indeed, the numbers cut off were so many, and the destruction so general, that it may be wondered at that any remained: it is a proverbial expression, setting forth the greatness of the calamity; see Matthew 3:10.