Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
This forms the epilogue to the denunciations of the four kings in Jeremiah 21:1-14; Jeremiah 22:1-30.
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep - Shallum, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah (Ezekiel 34:2).
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.
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 - just retribution. Play upon the double sense of "visit." "Visit upon," namely, in wrath (Exodus 32:34). As you have failed to visit the flock with pastoral care, I will visit you with judicial retribution. "The evil of your doings" will recoil upon yourselves.
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.
Restoration of Judah from Babylon foretold in language which in its fullness can only apply to the final restoration of both "Judah" and "Israel" (cf. Jeremiah 23:6); also, "out of all countries," in this verse and Jeremiah 23:8; also, "neither shall they be lacking," - i:e., none shall be missing or detached from the rest; a prophecy never yet fully accomplished. It holds good also of the spiritual Israel, the elect of both Jews and Gentiles (Malachi 3:16-17; John 10:28; John 17:12; also 12:51,52). As to the future gathering out of all countries, and restoration to Palestine of literal Israel also (see Jeremiah 32:37; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 60:21; Ezekiel 34:11-16).
I will set up shepherds ... which shall feed them - (Jeremiah 3:15; Ezekiel 34:23-31). Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jews after the restoration from Babylon, were but typical of the consummating fulfillment of these prophecies under Messiah. As Messianic prophecy extended over many years, in which many political changes took place in harmony with these, it displayed its riches by a variety more effective than if it had been manifested all at once. As the moral condition of the Jews required in each instance, so Messiah was exhibited in a corresponding phase, thus becoming more and more the soul of the nation's life, so that He is represented as the antitypical Israel (Isaiah 49:3).
I will raise unto David - Hengstenberg observes that Isaiah dwells more on His prophetic and priestly office, which had already been partly set forth (Deuteronomy 18:18; Psalms 110:4). Other prophets dwell more on His kingly office. Therefore here He is associated with "David" the king, but in Isaiah 11:1 with the then poor and unknown "Jesse."
Righteous Branch - "the Branch of righteousness" (Jeremiah 33:15); "The Branch" simply (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12); "The Branch of the Lord" (Isaiah 4:2).
A King shall ... prosper - the very term applied to Messiah's undertaking (Isaiah 52:13, margin; 53:10). Righteousness or justice is the characteristic of Messiah elsewhere too, in connection with our salvation or justification (Isaiah 53:11; Daniel 9:24; Zechariah 9:9). So in the New Testament He is not merely "righteous" Himself, but made of God "righteousness to us" (1 Corinthians 1:30); so that we become "the righteousness of God in Him," He being "the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Romans 10:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Phil He being "the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Romans 10:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Philippians 3:9).
Shall execute judgment and justice on earth - (Psalms 72:2; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 32:1; Isaiah 32:18). Not merely a spiritual reign, in the sense in which He is "our righteousness," but a righteous reign "in the earth" (Jeremiah 3:17-18). In some passages He is said to come to judge, in others to reign. In Matthew 25:34 He is called "the king." Psalms 9:7-8 unites them (cf. Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:26-27).
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.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
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.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely - (cf. Jeremiah 33:16, where "Jerusalem" is substituted for "Israel" here). Only Judah, and that only in part, has as yet returned. So far are the Jews from having enjoyed, as yet, the temporal blessings here foretold as the result of Messiah's reign, their lot has been for 18 centuries worse than ever before. The accomplishment must therefore be still future, when both Judah and Israel, in their own land, shall dwell safely under a Christocracy far more privileged than even the old theocracy (Jeremiah 32:37); but no longer isolated in national exclusiveness, and "alone" (Deuteronomy 33:28; Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 60:1-22; Isaiah 65:17-25; Zechariah 14:11).
This is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD - "shall be called" - i:e., shall be (Isaiah 9:6) Yahweh (Hebrew #3068), God's incommunicable name. Though when applied to created things it expresses only some special connection they have with Yahweh (Genesis 22:14, "Yahweh-jireh" the name given by Abraham to the place of his offering of Isaac; Exodus 17:15, "Yahweh-nissi," the name given by Moses to the altar that commemorated the overthrow of Amalek); yet, when applied to Messiah, it must express His Godhead manifested in justifying power toward us (1 Timothy 3:16).
OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS - "Our" marks His manhood, which is also implied in His being a Branch raised unto David, whence His human title, "Son of David" (cf. Matthew 22:42-45). "Righteousness" marks His Godhead, because only God can justify the ungodly (cf. Romans 4:5; Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 45:24-25).
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;
Repeated from Jeremiah 16:14-15. The prophet said the same things often, in order that his sayings might make the more impression. The name promise substantially as in Jeremiah 23:3-4. The wide dispersion of the Jews at the Babylonian captivity prefigures their present wider dispersion (Isaiah 11:11; Joel 3:6). Their second deliverance is to exceed far the former one from Egypt. But the deliverance from Babylon was inferior to that from Egypt in respect to the miracles performed, and the numbers delivered. The final deliverance under Messiah must therefore be meant, of which that from Babylon was the earnest.
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.
Because of the prophets - so the Masorites and Targum. But the Vulgate, Septuagint, etc., make this the inscription of the prophecy, CONCERNING THE PROPHETS [ lan
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.
The land is full of adulterers - spiritual, i:e., forsakers of God, Israel's true Husband (Isaiah 54:5) for idols, at the instigation of the false "prophets" (Jeremiah 23:9; Jeremiah 23:15). Literally, "adultery" and fornication, the usual concomitants of idolatry, are also meant.
Because of swearing. Maurer, etc., translate, 'Because of the curse (of God on it) the land mourneth.' The curses pronounced on the Israelites, in the event of their becoming transgressors of the law and covenant of God (Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Isaiah 24:5-6). More then usual notoriety had been given to the curses of the law by the finding and reading of it in Josiah's time, (2 Kings 22:11, etc.) But Hosea 4:2-3 favours the English version (cf. Jeremiah 12:4). A drought was sent by God on the pastures ("pleasant places," oases) in the desert on account of the "profaneness" of the priests, prophets, and people (Jeremiah 23:11).
Their course is evil - they (both prophets and people) rush into wickedness (Jeremiah 23:21; Isaiah 59:7).
Their force is not right - their powers are used, not on the side of rectitude, but on that of falsehood.
For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
Prophet and priest are profane - (Ezekiel 23:39; Zephaniah 3:4).
In my house - (Jeremiah 7:30). They built altars to idols in the very temple (2 Kings 23:12; Ezekiel 8:3-16). (Compare as to covetousness under the roof of the sanctuary, Matthew 21:13; John 2:16).
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.
Their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness - their "way" is their false doctrine, which proves fatal to them (Jeremiah 13:16; Psalms 35:6; Proverbs 4:19).
I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation - still more calamities than those already inflicted. See note, Jeremiah 11:23; "visitation," namely, in wrath.
And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
I have seen folly - literally, insipidity unsavouriness (Job 6:6) not having the salt of godliness (Colossians 4:6).
They prophesied in Baal - in name of Baal; in connection with his worship (see Jeremiah 2:8).
Caused my people to err - (Isaiah 9:16).
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.
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem. "Jerusalem" and Judah were even worse than "Samaria" and the ten tribes: the greater were the privileges of the former the greater was their guilt. They had the temple in their midst, which the ten tribes had not; yet in the temple itself they practiced idolatry.
They strengthen also the hands of evil-doers - (Ezekiel 13:22).
As Sodom - (Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10).
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.
Gall - poison (note, Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:15).
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.
They make you vain - they seduce you to vanity - i:e., idolatry, which will prove a vain trust to you (Jeremiah 2:5; 2 Kings 17:15; Jonah 2:8). (Gesenius.) Rather, 'they delude you with vain promises of security' (Jeremiah 23:17); (cf. Psalms 62:10). (Maurer)
The imagination of his own heart - of their own invention (Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 14:14).
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.
They say still - Hebrew, say in saying - i:e., say incessantly.}
Ye shall have peace - (Zechariah 10:2, "The diviners have seen a lie; they comfort in vain").
Imagination - Hebrew, obstinacy (Jeremiah 13:10, margin).
No evil shall come - (Micah 3:11).
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?
For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord? A reason is given why the false prophets should not be heeded; they have not stood in the counsels of Yahweh-an image from ministers present, in a standing posture, at councils of Eastern kings - (cf. Job 15:8). The spiritual man alone has the privilege, as Abraham had (Genesis 18:17; Psalms 25:14; Amos 3:17; John 15:15; 1 Corinthians 2:16 .
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.
Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury - so far from all posterity awaiting the people, as the false prophets say (Jeremiah 23:17), wrath is in store for them.
Grievous - `eddying, whirling itself about,' a tornado (Maurer, Henderson). But Buxtorf takes it 'lasting,' 'continuing' - [ mitchowleel (Hebrew #2342), from chuwl (Hebrew #2342)]. The English version takes it from the same Hebrew verb, in its common sense to grieve, so grievous. In Jeremiah 30:23 "continuing" is substituted for "grievous." But see note there on the different Hebrew word [ mitgowreer (Hebrew #1641)].
Fall grievously upon - it shall be hurled on (Henderson). 'It shall continue' - i:e., rest continuously on (Buxtorf). The English version, "fall grievously upon," takes the Hebrew [ yaachuwl (Hebrew #2342), from chuwl (Hebrew #2342)] to grieve. This perhaps is best.
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.
In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly - i:e., in "the year of their visitation" (Jeremiah 23:12). Primarily the meaning is, the Jews will not "consider" now God's warnings (Deuteronomy 32:29); but when the prophecies shall be fulfilled in their Babylonian exile they will consider and see, by bitter experience, their sinful folly. The ultimate scope of the prophecy is, the Jews, in their final dispersion, shall at last "consider" their sin, and turn to Messiah "perfectly" (Hosea 3:5; Zechariah 12:5; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 12:14; Luke 13:35, "Ye shall not see me (Messiah) until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!")
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied - "sent" refers to the primary call: "spoken," to the subsequent charges given to be executed. A call is required, not only external, on the part of men, but also internal, from God, that one should undertake a pastor's office (Calvin).
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.
If they had stood in my counsel - (Jeremiah 23:18).
They should have turned them from their evil way - they would have given such counsels to the people as would have turned them from their sins (Jeremiah 25:5), and so would have averted punishment, (Isaiah 55:11, "my word," etc.) Their not teaching the law in which God's counsel is set forth is one of the "fruits" by which they may be "known" not to be His prophets, though they boast of being so (Matthew 7:15-20).
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Am I a God at hand ... and not a God afar off? - Let not the false prophets fancy that their devices (Jeremiah 23:25) are unknown to me. Are ye so ignorant as to suppose that I can only see things near me?-namely, things in heaven, and not earthly things, as being too remote.
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.
Can any hide himself ... that I shall not see him? (Psalms 139:7, etc.; Amos 9:2-3.)
Do not I fill heaven and earth? - with my omniscience. providence, power, and essential being (1 Kings 8:27).
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. The prophets ... prophesy lies ... saying, I have dreamed - I have received a prophetic communication by dream (Numbers 12:6; Deuteronomy 13:1, etc.; Joel 2:28).
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;
How long shall this be in the heart of ... prophets - [ nib
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.
They "think" to make my people utterly to forget me. But I will oppose to those dreamers my true prophets.
As their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal - (Judges 3:7; Judges 8:33-34).
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.
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream - God answers the objection which might be started, 'What, then, must we do, when lies are spoken as truths, and prophets oppose prophets?' Do the same as when wheat is mixed with chaff: do not reject the wheat because of the chaff mixed with it, but discriminate between the false and the true revelations. The test is adherence to or forgetfulness of me and my law (Jeremiah 23:27).
That hath a dream ... What is the chaff to the wheat? - let him that pretends to have a divine communication by dream tell it "faithfully," that it may be compared with "my word" (2 Corinthians 4:2). The result will be the former (both the prophets and their fictions) will soon be seen to be chaff; the latter (the true prophets, and the word of God in their mouth) wheat (Psalms 1:4; Hosea 13:3).
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
Is not my word like as a fire? - as the "fire" consumes the "chaff," so "my word" will consume the false prophets (Matthew 3:12; Hebrews 4:12). "My word," which is "wheat" - i:e., food-to the true prophet and his hearers, is a consuming "fire" and a crushing "hammer" to false prophets and their followers (Matthew 21:44, "On whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder"). On this two-fold a power of the Gospel-word, "a savour of life" to believers, "a savour of death" to unbelievers, see 2 Corinthians 2:16. The word of the false prophets may be known by its promising men peace in sin. "My word," on the contrary, burns and breaks the hard-hearted (Jeremiah 20:9). The "hammer" symbolizes destructive power, (Jeremiah 50:23; Nahum 2:1, margin)
Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
I am against the prophets ... that steal my words - a two-fold plagiarism; one steals from the other and all steal words from Yahweh's true prophets, but misapply them (see Jeremiah 28:2; John 10:1; Revelation 22:19).
Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
Use their tongues - rather, 'take' [ haloq
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.
I am against them that prophesy false dreams - third class; inventors of "lies:" the climax, and worst of the three.
Lightness - wanton inventions (Zephaniah 3:4).
They shall not profit - i:e., they shall greatly injure this people.
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.
When this people ... shall ask thee ... What is the burden? - play on the double sense of the Hebrew [ masaa' (Hebrew #4853)] - an oracle and a burden. They scoffingly ask, Has he got any new burden (burdensome oracle; for all his prophecies are disasters) to announce? (Malachi 1:1.) Jeremiah indignantly repeats their own question, Do you ask What burden? This, then it is, "I will forsake you." My word is burdensome in your eyes, and you long to be rid of it. You shall get your wish. There will be no more prophecy; I will forsake you, and that will be a far worse burden to you.
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.
As for the prophet ... that shall say, The burden of the Lord - whoever shall in mockery call the Lord's word "a burden" shall be visited (margin) in wrath.
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?
Thus shall ye say - the result of my judgments shall be, ye shall address the prophet more reverentially hereafter, no longer calling his message a burden, but a divine response or word: "What hath the Lord answered?" "What hath the Lord spoken?"
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.
Every man's word shall be his burden - as they mockingly call all prophecies burdens, as if calamities were the sole subject of prophecy, so it shall prove to them. God will take them at their own word, He will send burdensome calamities on them.
Ye have perverted the words of the living God - not lifeless, as their dumb idols-ever living, so as to be able to punish.
Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
No JFB commentary on these verses.
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:
I will utterly forget you - just retribution for their forgetting Him (Hosea 4:6). But God cannot possibly forget His children (Isaiah 49:15). Rather, by a different pointing of the Hebrew [ w
And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
Not be forgotten. If we translate Jeremiah 23:39 as the English version, the antithesis is, though I forget you, your shame shall not be forgotten.
(1) How terrible will be the judgments of God on the pastors that scatter the sheep from, instead of gathering them to Him (Jeremiah 23:1-2).} But their unfaithfulness will not set aside God's faithfulness to His own covenant with His elect. He will, in His own time and way, "gather the elect remnant of His flock," both the spiritual Israel, the elect Church, and the literal Israel, "out of all countries."
(2) Messiah, "the righteous Branch," raised by God the Father unto David, is the Instrument by Whom alone this glorious work is being consummated.} Already He reigns in the heart of His elect saints invisibly. Already He is most precious to them, in the character which His name Yahweh-Tsidkenu, "the Lord our righteousness," expresses (Jeremiah 23:6). Having no righteousness of their own wherewith to answer the demands of the law and the accusations of conscience, and knowing that the infinitely holy God requires a perfect righteousness for man's justification, how sweet it is to them to feel that Christ is made of God to them the very thing they need-not merely righteous, but righteousness itself-not merely righteousness, but "the righteousness of God," - and that made over to us; "for He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). This character of Jesus, known now to His elect church, shall hereafter be manifested also to Judah and Israel. Then shall His reign, which heretofore has been only spiritual, become also visible in all its glory revealed on earth. The Jews shall be restored to their own land with an exhibition of divine power far transcending that of the former Exodus from Egypt (Jeremiah 23:7-8); and Christ, as their King, "shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."
(3) What a sad transition it is from the glories of that coming blessedness on earth to the disorders of the present course of this world. It would be enough to break the heart (Jeremiah 23:9) of the faithful, when they look abroad and see on every side false teachers, immorality, swearing, and profanity (Jeremiah 23:10-11), were it not that they have God's own promise of better and brighter days to come. It is a sure test of false teaching when the teacher "strengthens the hands of evil-doers" (Jeremiah 23:14) by letting them remain undisturbed in their sins, so that they feel no need of "returning from their wickedness" by repentance. The faithful minister leads men to repentance (Jeremiah 23:22), faith, and righteousness, as the only way of peace. The false teacher, whose aim is to please man, and who has no commission from God (Jeremiah 23:21), promises "peace" to them that "despise" God (Jeremiah 23:17) and "walk after the imagination of their own heart." So far from "peace" awaiting such, "a whirlwind of the Lord shall fall grievously on their heads" (Jeremiah 23:19).
(4) "In the latter days" the Jews "shall consider perfectly" God's whole course of dealing with them, and shall then thoroughly humble themselves before Him at the remembrance. So, in the case of individuals among ourselves, God often, by a long course of trying discipline and chastisement, brings them to be truly wise at last, and to "consider their own ways," God's ways with them, and their latter end. (5) Let not any, whether ministers or people, delude themselves with the fancy that God is so "far off" (Jeremiah 23:23) as not to take strict account of all their ways. There is no hiding-place that can conceal one from the eye of Him who "fills heaven and earth" (Jeremiah 23:24). He requires His ministers to "speak His word faithfully" (Jeremiah 23:28). Their fidelity to His revealed Word is the discriminating test whereby the hearers can distinguish between them and false teachers-that is, between "the wheat and the chaff." God's Word is the "fire" that consumes the chaff, and the "hammer" that "breaks in pieces" all teachings and teachers that are unscriptural and false. Let us take heed that we be not led away by any error, however eloquently and with whatsoever seeming sincerity set forth. Let us beware of giving hard names to faithful preachings, which are "a burden" (Jeremiah 23:33) to our worldly, carnal, and self-seeking spirits, lest the Lord should take us at our word (Jeremiah 23:36; Jeremiah 23:39), and make His Word a burden upon us, "grinding us to powder" (Matthew 21:44). Rather let us joyfully take Christ's yoke upon us; so shall we find "His yoke easy, and His burden light" (Matthew 11:29-30).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany