And ye have snuffed at it.--Better, and ye puff at it--that is, treat it with contempt, "pooh-pooh it," as we say. The service of the Temple, which they ought to have regarded as their highest privilege and pleasure, they look on as burdensome and contemptible. For "brought," read bring.
Torn.--The word Gaz-l elsewhere means "stolen" (Deuteronomy 28:31), or "robbed "--i.e., "spoiled" (Deuteronomy 28:29). It is perhaps not impossible that it may here be a later word for trephah, "torn" (comp. the cogn. Arabic ajzal, "galled on the back"), but it is not so used in post-Biblical Jewish writings. On the contrary, Rabbinic tradition uses our word when expressly mentioning that which is stolen as unfit to be offered as a burnt offering--e.g., the Sifr?, (Vayyikr?, Perek 6, Parashta 5, ed. Weis 7b), commenting on the words of Leviticus 1:10, says: " 'From the flock,' and 'from the sheep,' and 'from the goats:' These words are limitations--viz., to exclude the sick (comp. also Malachi 1:8), and the aged, and that which has been dedicated in thought to an idol, and that which is defiled with its own filth; 'its offering' [English Version, his offering, comp. Note on Zechariah 4:2], to exclude that which is stolen." (See also Talmud Babli, Baba Kamma 66b.) The English Version has the same in view in its rendering of Isaiah 61:8, where it has the authority of Talmud Babli, Sukkah 30a, and of Jerome and Luther. Perhaps the reason why people were inclined to offer a stolen animal may be, that it might very likely have a mark on it, which would render it impossible for the thief to offer it for sale, and so realise money on it, for fear of detection; so then he makes a virtue of a necessity, and brings as an offering to God that which he could not otherwise dispose of.
"but if ye say, lo, what we have brought is from our labour;''
and so the Syriac version, "and ye say, this is from our labour"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "and ye say, lo, from labour"; and the Septuagint version, "and ye say, these are from affliction"; meaning that what they brought was with great toil and labour, out of great poverty, misery, and affliction:
and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; or, "blown it" (p); filled it with wind, that it might seem fat and fleshy, when it was poor and lean; so Abarbinel and Abendana: or ye have puffed, and panted, and blown, as persons weary with bringing such a heavy lamb, when it was so poor and light, that, if it was blown at, it would fall to the ground; so R. Joseph Kimchi: or ye have puffed at it, thrown it upon the ground by way of contempt; so David Kimchi: or, "ye have grieved him" (q); the owner of the lamb, from whom they stole it; which sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Ben Melech; taking the word rendered "torn", in the next clause, for that which was "stolen". Jarchi says this is one of the eighteen words corrected by the scribes; and that instead of "it", it should be read "me": and the whole rendered, "and ye have grieved me"; the Lord, by bringing such sacrifices, and complaining of weariness, and by their hypocrisy and deceitfulness. Cocceius renders the words, "ye have made him to expire"; meaning the Messiah, whom the Jews put to death:
and ye have brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; See Gill on Malachi 1:8 and if the first word is rendered "stolen", as it may, this offering was an abomination to the Lord, Isaiah 61:8,
thus ye brought an offering; such an one as it was: or a "minchah", a meat offering, along with these abominable ones:
should I accept this of your hands? saith the Lord; which, when offered to a civil governor, would not be acceptable, Malachi 1:8 and when contrary to the express law of God.
(p) "et efflastis illam", Montanus; "anheli isto estis", Tigurine version; "exsufflare possetis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, "difflatis", Drusius; "sufflavistis illud", Burkius. (q) "Et contristastis illum"; so some in Vatablus.