Michael the archangel: either this is understood of Christ the Prince of angels, who is often in Scripture called an Angel, or of a created angel; and that either:
1. One of the archangels: Dan_10:13, Michael is called oneof the chief princes, which though the word archangel be not found in the plural number in Scripture, may well imply a plurality of them; for what is one of the chief princes among the angels, but an archangel? Or:
2. A principal angel, or one that is chief among others.
When contending with the devil; it may be meant either of Christ contending with the devil, as Mat_4:1-25, in his temptation, and Zec_3:1,2, and Rev_12:7; or rather, of Michael, a created angel.
He disputed about the body of Moses:
1. If Michael the archangel be meant of Christ, then the body ofMoses may be taken figuratively, for that body whereof the Mosaical ceremonies were shadows, Col_2:17, i.e. the truth and accomplishment of the law given by Moses; that accomplishment was to be in Christ, who is represented by Joshua, Zec_3:1-10: him Satan resists in the execution of his office, and by him strikes at Christ, whose type he was, and whom he afterward opposeth in the execution of his office, when he was come in the flesh. Or:
2. If we take Michael for a created angel, which agrees best with the parallel place in Peter, then the body of Moses must be taken properly, (as most take it), and the dispute seems to be: Whether Moses’s body should be so buried as to be concealed from the Israelites? Deu_34:6, it is said God buried him, ( which might be by the ministry of Michael the archangel), and that noman knoweth of his sepulchre. The devil opposeth the angel, desiring to have the place of his burial known, that in after-times it might be a snare to that people, and a means to bring them to idolatry. And this seems very probable, if we consider what work the devil hath made in the world with the bodies of saints and martyrs, and how much idolatry he hath brought in thereby. This passage Jude, most probably, had (as was observed in the argument) from some known tradition among the Jews, the truth of which we are now sure of, because certified here concerning it.
Durst not bring against him; or, could not endure, (as the Greek word is often taken among profane writers), or find in his heart, not from fear of punishment, but by reason of the holiness of his own nature, and to give an example to us. And this sense agrees to the scope of the place, whether we understand it of Christ, or of a created angel, Heb_12:31Pe_2:23.
A railing accusation: see 2Pe_2:11.
But said, The Lord rebuke thee; i.e. put thee to silence, restrain thy insolence, hinder thy design, &c.: hereby the angel refers the cause to God.