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Jer 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
Ver. 1. Woe to the pastors, ] i.e., To the rulers and chieftains, whether in the State or Church; woe to the wicked of both sorts; and why?
They destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture. ] So he calleth the people, how bad soever, because of the covenant with their fathers.
Jer 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.
Ver. 2. Against the pastors. ] Impostors, rather.
That feed my people. ] Or, That feed upon my people, rather; attonsioni gregis potius quam attentioni consulentes, more minding gain than godliness.
Ye have scattered my flock. ] And worried them, as so many evening wolves, Zep 3:3 grievous, or fat wolves. Act 20:29 See Trapp on " Act 20:29 "
Behold, I will visit upon you. ] Ludit in voce visitare; I will visit you in another sense, for your not visiting my people according to your duty. Ezekiel 34:4 ; Ezekiel 34:6 ; Eze 34:8
Jer 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Ver. 3. And I will gather the remnant of my flock. ] I will bring them back from Babylon, but especially from out of this present evil world, into the bosom of my Church, by Christ the Arch-shepherd, and by such under-shepherds as he shall make use of to that purpose. Eph 4:11
And they shall be fruitful and increase. ] Gignendo gentes, by begetting the Gentiles unto Christ, through the preaching of the gospel.
Jer 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
Ver. 4. And I will set up shepherds over them. ] "Pastors after mine own heart," such as were Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jehoshua the high priest, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, &c. Christian princes and pastors under the gospel, but especially Christ the "chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls," who is therefore here promised, Jer 23:5-6 for the comfort of God’s elect, who might well be troubled at that former dreadful denunciation. Jer 22:29-30
And they shall fear no more. ] But enjoy spiritual security, and be of an invincible courage.
Neither shall they be lacking. ] Christ the good Shepherd will see to that, Joh 10:28-29 his under-shepherds also, whose motto is Praesis ut prosis, will have a care. a
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Ver. 5. I will raise to David a righteous branch. ] Who shall raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, Amo 9:11 who shall also sit upon the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luk 1:32-33 Annon hoc probe sarcitur, &c. Is not this a good amends for that which is to befall Coniah and his posterity, put beside the kingdom? Of Christ the "righteous branch," see Isaiah 11:1 ; Isa 4:2 Zechariah 3:8 See Trapp on " Isa 11:1 " See Trapp on " Isa 4:2 " See Trapp on " Zec 3:8 "
Jer 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Ver. 6. This is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness. ] Jehovah Tsidkenu. a This is a most mellifluous and sweet name of our Lord Jesus Christ, importing his Godhead, as the righteous Branch of David Jer 23:5 did his manhood; and besides assuring us that as he hath for us fulfilled all righteousness, Mat 3:15 so he is by God made unto us righteousness, 1Co 1:30 and that we are become the righteousness of God in him. 2Co 5:21 This one name of Christ is a strong tower; Pro 18:10 it is such as will answer all our doubts and objections, were they never so many, had we but skill to spell all the letters in it. Cyprian was wont to comfort his friends thus, Venit Antichristus, sed superveniet Christus; Antichrist will come, but then Christ will be at the heels of him. We may well comfort ourselves against all evils and enemies with this consideration, Christ is "Jehovah our righteousness." God hath "laid help on one that is mighty," and he came to "bring in everlasting righteousness." Dan 9:24 Why then should we "fear in the days of evil, when the iniquities of our heels shall compass us about." Psa 49:5 Domine Satan, saith Luther somewhere, nihil me movent minae terrores tui; est enim unus qui vocatur Iehovah iustitia nostra, in quem credo: Is legem abrogavit, peccatum damnavit, mortem abolevit, infernum destruxit, estque O Satan, Satan tuus b - that is, You, Sir Satan, your menaces and terrors trouble me not. For why? There is one whose name is called the Lord our righteousness, on whom I believe. He it is who hath abrogated the law, condemned, sin, abolished death, destroyed hell, and is a Satan to thee, O Satan. Surely this brave saying of Luther may well be reckoned among such of his sentences as a man would fetch, rather than be without them, upon his knees from Rome or Jerusalem.
a Vocat Scriptura nomen Messiae Iehova Tsidkenu, quia erit Mediator Deus, per cuius manus consecuturi sumus iustitiam a Deo ipso, inquit Rabbinus quidam in lib. Ikharim.
b Luth., tom. iv. fol. 55 A.
Jer 23:7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
Ver. 7. Therefore, behold the days come. ] See Jeremiah 16:14 .
Jer 23:8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
Ver. 8. But the Lord liveth. ] See Jeremiah 16:15 .
Jer 23:9 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
Ver. 9. My heart within me is broken. ] Utitur exordiolo pathetico et tragico prorsus. Being to inveigh against the priests and false prophets, those great corrupters of the people, he useth this pathetic preface, Cordicitus et medullitus doles, I am grieved to the very heart, &c.
All my bones shake. ] Heb., Hover or flutter, as birds do, They shake and shudder with extreme fear and horror. Totus contremisco.
I am like a drunken man. ] Totus perturbatus sum, I am not myself, not able to stand high alone.
Because of the Lord. ] Through zeal of his glory.
And because of the words of his holiness. ] His holy words so shamefully slighted, his dreadful threats especially.
Jer 23:10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force [is] not right.
Ver. 10. For the land is full of adulterers. ] It is even become a great brothel house, as sometimes Cyprus was, and as Rome is now said to be:
“ Tota est iam Roma lupanar. ”
“Now Rome is entirely a brothel.”
For because of swearing (or cursing) the land mourneth.] Swearers and cursers, then, are public enemies, traitors to the State. The Jews observe that Beershaba signifies, The well of oath; and Beersaba, The well of plenty. Sure we are that for oaths the land mourneth; of which there is such store, as if men, by an easy mistake of the point, used to draw and drop them, as it were, out of the well of plenty.
And the pleasant places. ] Or, Pastures, or habitations, which, being dried up, seem to mourn, and yet the inhabitants are without all sense of sorrow.
And their course is evil. ] Naught all over, as we say.
And their force is not right. ] Not rightly employed; they are not valiant for the truth, but violent for wrong doing.
Jer 23:11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
Ver. 11. For both prophet and priest are profane. ] What wonder, therefore, that the people were so? I have read of a woman, who, living in professed doubt of the Godhead, after better illumination and repentance, did often protest that the vicious life of a great scholar in that town did conjure up those damnable doubts ia her soul. a And of another, that he desired a profane preacher to point him out a nearer way to heaven than that he had taught in his sermons, for he went not that way himself. Our Saviour foretelleth Mat 24:12 that "iniquity shall abound, love wax cold," &c.; and why? "Many false prophets shall arise."
Yea, in my house have I found their wickedness. ] Sin is not a little aggravated as by the time, sc., If committed on the Lord’s day; so by the place, sc., If done in God’s house, and in his special presence. Unclean glances or worldly thoughts in hearing, &c., argue a profane heart. Like as it were a sign the orthodox party were but weak, if, while they were at sermons, Papists dared come in and put them out.
a Mrs Ward’s Happiness of Paradise.
Jer 23:12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery [ways] in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, [even] the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
Ver. 12. As slippery ways in the darkness. ] They shall fall without fail, for they shall neither see their way nor stand their ground. See Psalms 35:6 .
Jer 23:13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
Ver. 13. And I have seen folly. ] Heb., Insalsity. Folly is as unpleasant to the intelligent as unsavoury meat is to him that tasteth it.
They prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. ] They sold poison to the people, as Laertius a saith Aristotle did - Epicurus is his witness - having first wasted his estate.
a Lib. x. in Epic
Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
Ver. 14. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing. ] a Heb., Fedity, or fetidity; filthiness or stench, such as the devil himself, they say, leaveth behind him going out of a room. It must needs be a horrible thing when doctors turn devils, teaching such impieties, acsi ipse teterrimus Satan eas ore suo docuisset, as if the devil himself, with his own mouth, had taught the same. I would shun a heretic, saith one, as I would do a devil, for he is sent on his errand. Seducers certainly act the part of that horrid fiend, and, together with him, shall be "cast alive into the burning lake." Rev 19:20
They commit adultery. ] As did Eli’s sons, and those two stinking goats, Jeremiah 29:23 .
And walk in lies. ] Make a trade of it. It was not for nothing that Chrysostom b said of those of his time, Non arbitror inter sacerdotes, multos esse qui salvi fient.
They strengthen also the hands of evildoers. ] Roborant manus malignatium; while knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but, both by their false doctrine and loose living, they countenance those that do them. Rom 1:32
They are all become to me as Sodom, ] i.e., Paucissimis exceptis, omnes conscelerati et inemendabiles; they are all stark naught.
a φρικτα . - Septuag.
b Hom. iii. in Act.
Jer 23:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
Ver. 15. I will feed them with wormwood, ] a i.e., I will slay them with most bitter and grievous kinds of deaths. See Jeremiah 8:14 ; Jeremiah 9:15 .
For from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. ] Their place adding two wings to their sin - viz., Example and scandal, whereby it soareth higher and flieth much further. See Jeremiah 23:11 .
a Potabo eos calice maledictionis pessimae, quasi capribus draconum. - Chald. Paraph.
Jer 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, [and] not out of the mouth of the LORD.
Ver. 16. Hearken not unto the words of the prophets. ] Stop your ears to their enchantments, and seriously decline them, as ye would do a serpent in your way, or poison in your meats.
They make you vain. ] Or, Beguile you. Fair words make fools fain. See Romans 16:18 .
Jer 23:17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
Ver. 17. They say still to them that despise me. ] They promise security to the impenitent, and flatter people in their sinful and sensual practices. Socinians set up man’s reason; Arminians, his free will; libertines, his unruly lusts; and Papists gratify his senses with their forms and pomp. In their humble supplication to King James for a toleration, they pleaded for their religion as that which was most agreeable to man’s nature. Sir Walter Raleigh knew what he said, that were he to choose a religion for sensual delights and licentious liberty, he would be a Papist. No sin past, but the Pope can pardon it; none to come, but he could dispense with it; no matter how long they have lived in any sin (thought the sin against the Holy Ghost), yet extreme unction at last will salve all.
Jer 23:18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard [it]?
Ver. 18. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord? ] Quis praeter nos? so Piscator. Who hath, if we have not? say those false prophets, as if they were so many angels newly dropped from heaven.
Jer 23:19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
Ver. 19. Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord, ] q.d., Though these flatterers make all fair weather before you, yet assure yourselves the tempest of God’s wrath, such as shall never be blown over, is even breaking forth upon them and you together. Look to it, therefore.
Jer 23:20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Ver. 20. In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. ] All too late ye shall subscribe to the truth of these threats, which now ye take as uttered in terror only, and will not believe till you feel. Sero, inquit Nero. Too late Nero said. Epimetheus, that after wit, had too many fellows. Sero sapiunt Phryges. The Pyyges understand too late.
Jer 23:21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
Ver. 21. I have not sent these prophets. ] Who I have duped you into the mouth of destruction, as that old Bethelite did the young prophet into the mouth of the lion.
Yet they ran. ] They have from me neither mission nor commission, but do all on their own heads. Observabilis est hic locus contra multos qui hodie plebem docendi munus sibi arrogant, cum tamen non sint missi, saith Oecolampadius. This is a notable place against lay preachers. And, as if he had lived in those loose times of ours, he thus goeth on: - In 1Co 14:40 ; 1 Corinthians 16:1 , order is commanded to be kept; but there are now such as abide not in their own churches, but run into others, where they teach without a calling. These promote not, but hinder the cause of Christ. He is the God of peace, but they go forth and say, Mentiris; Deus amat talem constantiam et fortem confessionem: sic enim recant suam praefractam pertinaciam, Thou liest; God loveth such constance and bold confession of the truth as we hold forth; for so they call, saith he, their stiffness and obstinace. Besides that, they come not into the congregations of unbelievers to convert them to the faith, sed nostras perplexas reddunt, so that good man proceedeth in his complaint on this text - but they trouble our churches, like as of old they came to Antioch, and made disturbance there Acts 15:1-2 ; Act 15:22-29 Luther also, who lived in the same time with Oecolampadius, cries out to like purpose, Decem annis laboratur antequam ecclesiola recte et pie instituta paretur, a &c. We are ten or more years, saith he, ere we can settle a small church as it should be; and yet, when that is done, there creepeth in some silly sectary, whose only skill is to rail against godly ministers, is uno memento evertit omnia, and he presently marreth all. See Jeremiah 14:14 .
a Tom. Oper. iv., fol. 18 A.
Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
Ver. 22. But if they had stood in my counsel, &c. ] As they vainly vaunt they do, Jer 23:18 and that they know more of my mind than any others.
And had caused my people to hear my words. ] And not their own fancies or cunningly devised fables. 2Pe 1:16
Then they should have turned them from the evil of their way. ] Not but that a goodly preacher may want success; Isa 49:4 See Trapp on " Isa 49:4 " And, on the contrary, a bad minister may be a means of good to others, as the dull whetstone edgeth iron, and the lifeless heaven enliveneth other creatures. The head of a toad may yield the precious stone bufonites, and wholesome sugar be found in a poisoned cane. Noah’s builders were a means to save him and his family, yet themselves were drowned; so was Palinurus, Aeneas’s pilot in the poet. a But God usually honoureth his faithful lahourers with some success; and they can say, as Chrysostom doth, Si decimus quisque, si unus persuasus fuerit, ad consolationem abunde sufficit. If but one in ten be converted by our ministry, yea, if but one in all, it is comfort enough. See James 5:20 .
a Virgil, Aeneid, iii.
Jeremiah 23:23 [Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Ver. 23. Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? ] See I not what is done on earth, which seemeth further from me? or think ye that you live out of the reach of my rod because remote from heaven, the habitation of my holiness and of my glory?
“ Iupiter est quodcunque rides, quocunque moveris. ”
Jer 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
Ver. 24. Can any man hide himself in secret places? ] Hide he may God from himself, but not himself from God; though atheists are apt to think (as they say the struthiocamelus doth when he hath thrust his head in a hole) a that because they see none, therefore none seeth them.
Do I not fill heaven and earth? ] See Psalms 139:3 ; Psalms 139:5 ; Psalms 139:7 ; Psa 139:11 Isaiah 66:1 . See Trapp on " Psa 139:3 " See Trapp on " Psa 139:5 " See Trapp on " Psa 139:7 " See Trapp on " Psa 139:11 " See Trapp on " Isa 66:1 "
Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
Ver. 25. I have dreamed, I have dreamed, ] i.e., I have a prophetic revelation in a dream. Such lying prophets were the ancient and modern enthusiasts and high attainers. Messalanian heretics they were called of old, A.D. 371.
Jer 23:26 How long shall [this] be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, [they are] prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
Ver. 26. How long shall this be in the hearts? &c., ] q.d., Will they never give over lying to the Holy Ghost, Act 5:3 and flying against the light (of their own consciences), as bats do. Nam quod argute commenti sunt, haec aiunt ex Spiritu se dicere; studio enim suis mendaciis plebi imponunt, falsumque data opera docent; a for they father their falsities upon the Spirit of truth, cozening the credulous multitude. And this they do wittingly and incessantly.
Jer 23:27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
Ver. 27. Which think to cause my people to forget my name. ] To drive them to atheism, which sometimes creepeth in at the back door of a reformation, "by the sleight of seducers and their cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Our Church is at this day pestered with atheists (who first have been Seekers, Ranters, Antinomians, Antiscripturists, &c.), and is even dark with them, as Egypt once was with the grasshoppers. They seemed to speak with judgment that said formerly, As Antichristianism decreaseth, so atheism prevaileth. And they seem still not to judge amiss that say that the Jesuits are acting vigorously by our sectaries to bring in Popery again - quasi postilimino - upon us. It hath been long the opinion and fear of some grave divines that Antichrist, before his abolition, shall once again overflow the whole face of the West, and suppress the whole Protestant churches - quod Deus avertat. Take we heed that these sect makers make us not forget God’s name by their fopperies, as our fathers forgot his name for Baal.
Jer 23:28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What [is] the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
Ver. 28. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream. ] Or, Let him tell it as a dream, and not as a divine revelation, making more of it than the matter comes to, and
“ Laudans venales quas vult obtrudere merces. ”
What are dreams ordinarily but very vanities, Ecc 5:7 Zec 10:2 pleasant follies and delusions, the empty bubbles of the mind, children and tales of fancy, idle and fruitless notions, mere baubles? Why, then, should men make so much of them? why should they tell their Midianitish dreams to others with so much confidence, as if they were oracles?
And he that hath my word. ] So he be sure he hath it, and can on good ground say, I believed, therefore have I spoken.
What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord, ] i.e., What is false doctrine to true? surely nothing in comparison; you may better set Palea, that is, chaff, upon it, than the Pope doth upon anything in the decrees of his predecessors that pleaseth him not. Shall not the whole body of Popery, founded, most part of it, upon revelations and feigned miracles (think the same of Ranters, Quakers, and some Anabaptists) prove palea - that is, chaff, hay, and stubble that shall be surely burnt. 1Co 3:11-15 Some render the text Quid paleae cum tritico? what hath chaff to do with the wheat? as Hos 14:9 Joh 2:4 Away with any such mixtures. In the writings of some sectaries,
“ Sunt bona mista malis, sunt mala mista bonis. ”
The speech in the text seemeth to have been proverbial, and is not unlike that of the apostle, 2Co 6:14-16 and those in human authors, Quid sceptro et plectro? Quid specillo et gladio? quid lecytho et strophio? quid hyaenae et cani? quid bovi et delphino? quid cani et balneo? a What has a septre to do with a quill, a surgeon’s knife with a sword, bottle with a head band, a hyena with a dog, a cow with a dolphin, a dog with a bath. So what communion hath faith and unbelief, zeal and passion? &c. And yet unbelief may be with faith - "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief" Mar 9:24 - zeal with passion; yea, in young Christians, heat and passion goeth sometimes for zeal; and yet it is but chaff, which, when blown away, the heap is little else but wheat - that is, faith, zeal, humility, though we have less pride, passion, presumption. But this by the way only.
Jeremiah 23:29 [Is] not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer [that] breaketh the rock in pieces?
Ver. 29. Is not my word like a fire? ] As it is like solid wheat, wholesome food; 1Ti 6:3 so it is no less like fire, that most active element, called πυρ , because it is pure, saith one; and fire, because it was fair. It enlighteneth, enliveneth, warmeth, purgeth, assimilateth, aspireth, consumeth combustible matter, congregat homogenea, segregat heterogenea; so doth the Word, when accompanied by the Spirit, who is of a fiery nature and of a fiery operation. Isa 4:4 Mal 3:2 Mat 3:11 "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Joh 6:63 "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and opened unto us the Scriptures?" Luk 24:32 When the word comes home to the heart in the power of it, the preacher was sent of God. See Galatians 2:8 .
And like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? ] i.e., The rockiest hearts and sturdiest stomachs are tamed and terrified by the Word, when God once takes them to do. It is as his plough to break up their fallow ground, and as his sword to run them through, Jer 4:3 Heb 4:2 and to lay them for dead. Rom 7:9 And like as the hardest ice is broken with hot waters, as well as with hammers, so is the hardest heart with the gospel, as well as with the law.
Jer 23:30 Therefore, behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
Ver. 30. Behold, I am against those prophets. ] Heb., Behold, I against, by an angry aposiopesis. a
That steal my word every one from his neighbour. ] That filch it, either by hiding it from others, as the Popish doctors do from the common people, or by wresting it to the defence of their false doctrines, as Marcion the heretic, whom, therefore, Tertullian fitly calleth Murem Ponticum, the rat of Pontus, for his gnawing and tawing of the Scriptures, to bring them to his purpose. Or, by a fraudulent imitating of God’s true prophets, taking up their parables, and making use of their expressions, such as are, Thus saith the Lord; Grace be to you and peace, &c. Wasps also have their combs as well as bees; and apes will be doing as they see men to do. Or, lastly, by causing the people to forget and lose the good that they had once learned of the true prophets. This we see daily done by the cunning fetches and flatteries of the seducers of our times, causing many to lose the things that they had wrought. 2Jn 1:8
a A rhetorical artifice, in which the speaker comes to a sudden halt, as if unable or unwilling to proceed.
Jer 23:31 Behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
Ver. 31. That use their tongues. ] Or, Abuse them rather, to smoothing and soothing up people in their sins: lenificant linguas, id est, blando sermone alliciunt plebem, they flatter and collogue; or tollunt linguam, they lift up their tongues, viz., by extolling themselves, and speaking magnifically of their own doing. As one hath observed of some sectarians among us, that they often call upon their hearers to mark - for it may be they shall hear that which they never heard before - when the thing is either false, or if true, no more than is ordinarily taught by others, and which they have stolen out of the writings of others. a
And say, He saith. ] See on Jeremiah 23:30 .
a Dulcorantium, mollificantium. - False prophets soothe and sweeten men.
Jer 23:32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
Ver. 32. That cause my people to err by their lies and by their lightness. ] By their lying discourses and light or loose courses. So Zep 3:4 Judges 9:4 . If these false prophets had been of a sober, grave behaviour, the people might have been with better excuse deluded by them; as Aristotle noteth of Eudoxus (and the same is true of Epicurus himself, as Cicero telleth us) that he prevailed much in disputing for pleasure, because he was no voluptuous man himself. But these in the text were no less lewd than loud liars.
Jer 23:33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What [is] the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.
Ver. 33. What is the burden of the Lord? ] Ironicum interrogandi genus: thus they profanely asked by way of scoff or despite, such as he will drive down their throats again, plaguing them for their profane malignity.
Then shalt thou say, What burden? ] q.d., I will burden you to some purpose, since ye profanely count and call my Word a burden. You shall suddenly have your back burden of plagues and miseries for the contempt of it.
I will even forsake you. ] And then woe be unto you, Hos 9:12 you shall be eased of these burdens and of me together; and that you will find misery enough. See Jeremiah 12:7 . Learn therefore to speak holily and honourably of God’s Word, lest thou hear this word of his, Thou shalt never enter into my rest.
Jer 23:34 And [as for] the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.
Ver. 34. That shall say, The burden of the Lord. ] Nempe per ludibrium, in contempt and derision. See 2 Chronicles 36:16 .
Jer 23:35 Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
Ver. 35. Thus shall ye say. ] God sets them a form, who otherwise knew not how to lisp out a syllable of sober language. Loquamur verba Scripturae, Let us speak the words of the Bible, saith Peter Ramus, utamur sermone Spiritus Sancti, Let us inure ourselves to Scripture expressions.
Jer 23:36 And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
Ver. 36. For every man’s word shall be his burden.] That jeer of his afore mentioned shall lie heavy upon him, and cost him dear, for under the weight he shall sink and be crushed in pieces.
Jer 23:37 Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
Ver. 37. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet. ] See on Jeremiah 23:35 .
Jer 23:38 But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;
Ver. 38. But since ye say, The burden of the Lord. ] Since ye accuse me as unmerciful, my Word as a ponderous burden, and my messengers as telling you nothing but terrible things and bloody businesses, which therefore you are resolved to slight and neglect; -
Jer 23:39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, [and cast you] out of my presence:
Ver. 39. Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you. ] I nunc ergo, lude pasquillis et putidis dicteriis, saith one. Go thy ways now, thou that thinkest it a goodly thing to gibe and jeer at God’s ministers and their messages. Consider of this dreadful denunciation, and thereby conceive aright of the heinousness of thy sin; for God doth not use to kill flies upon men’s foreheads with beetles, to threaten heavy punishments for light offences.
Jer 23:40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
Ver. 40. And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you. ] Contempt of the Word is such an enraging sin that God cannot easily satisfy himself in saying what he will do to such as are guilty of it.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 23". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26