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in the house of Israel; they have been encouraged in the use of these proverbs and foolish expectations by some false prophets; but by seeing events happen quite contrary to their predictions, 25 they shall regard such prophets no more. For I [am] the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.
26 Again the word of the LORD, knowing how ready they were to flatter themselves with the delay of judgments, came to me, 27 saying, Son of man, behold, [they of] the house of Israel say,
The vision that he seeth [is] for many days [to come,] and 28 hé prophesieth of the times [that are] far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD; it shall come to pass immediately, and be executed in all its terror.
HOSE who will not use the faculties, and improve the means which God has given them, are here paid to he rebellious. This is not only the character of those who profane God's name, and slight his authority and laws; but of those also who will not employ the powers of their souls upon religious ob jects their ignorance will be no excuse for them, because it is voluntary. Let us therefore apply our minds to wisdom, and our hearts to understanding; lest we perish in rebellion against the Lord.
2. God observes how men are affected by the pains that ministers take to awaken and reform them. He asks the prophet, whether the people had not inquired into the meaning of what he had been doing: they could not but know that some instruction was designed to be given them by it. It is the wisdom and duty of ministers to try every prudent method to convince the judgment of men, and to influence their hearts. Cod observes what attention their hearers pay to their addresses; what effect they have upon their minds; and is much displeased if they are careless and negligent; and will, for the neglect of these advantages,, bring them into judgment.
3. When God preserves or raises up persons from threaten. ing dangers, his design is that they may glorify his name, v. 16. The few that were left were to give glory to God, by confessing their guilt, and making his being, power, and righteousness, known among the heathen; as well as by knowing him better themselves. Thus, when his peculiar mercy is extended to us, particularly by supporting our lives, while many die around us, it
should lead us to humble ourselves before him; and if we have done injury to others, to acknowledge it, and make them what amends we can. It becomes us to own God's righteousness and goodness, and exhort and admonish others to know him, and fear before him.
4. See how wretchedly men deceive themselves with the expectation that divine judgments are far off. With what false and trifling reasons did this people buoy themselves up with hopes of escape! Thus when men are now warned of the threatenings of God's word, and the approach of the eternal state, they will not consider, but say, v. 27. he prophesieth of the times that are far off. At least they think that death is not near, and that they shall live many years. But this is an ungrateful abuse of the patience of God, and may provoke him to cut them off in their sins and if so, their destruction, being unexpected, will be so much the more dreadful. Watch, therefore, and pray, lest ye enter into temptation; and, lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.
Contains solemn warnings and threatenings against the false proph ets, who deceived the people to their ruin.
ND the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son
ANP than, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that
prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their 3 own hearts, without any commission from me, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord God; Wo unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! who declare what suits their present inclination and in4 terest. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts, 3 crafty, ravenous creatures. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD; when sin had made gaps in the fence of divine protection, and at these breaches judgments came in, they did not by their admonitions lead the people to repentance, nor by their prayers avert the anger of 6 God, when it was ready to be poured out. They have seen vanity and lying divination, they have forged lies concerning peace, saying, The LORD saith and the LORD hath not sent them and they have made [others] to hope that they would confirm the word; rather, that the word should be confirmed; that is, they led others confidently to expect pros7 perity. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith
8 [it] albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I [am] against you, saith the Lord God; 9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Isra10 el; and ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.* Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and [there was] no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered [mortar ;] instead of providing a defence for the people, they have only palliated a bad matter, like men finely plaistering a rotten wall, which has no strength, but soon tumbles and buries the workmen in its ruins ; so, some of them have raised false hopes in the people, and others, seeing how agreeable this was to their countrymen, have 11 pursued the same method. Say unto them which daub [it] with untempered [mortar,] that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend [it,] that is, this rotten wall: God's judgments shall destroy them and their false hopes 12 together. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where [is] the daubing wherewith you have daubed [it] men shall ridicule your vain hopes and assurances. 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; I will even rend [it] with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in [my] 14 fury to consume [it.] So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered [mortar,] and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst there. 15 of and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. Thus will I
accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered [mortar,] and will say unto you, 16 The wall [is] no [more,] neither they that daubed it; [To wit,] the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and [there is] no peace, saith the Lord GOD. This explains the former. verses, and introduces a reproof to some prophetesses, who were carrying on the same wicked design.
17 Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daugh ters of thy people which prophesy out of their own heart, and promise them safety, in order to make them their prey, and 18 prophesy thou against them. And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Wo to the [women] that sew pillows to all armholes,
There is here a reference to the list, or record, of any society or corporation, of such as are entitled to its privileges; and it declares that they should be carried captive. never return to Jerusalem, should die without children, and have their name lost in Israel.
who, as a sign, put pillows under persons' arms, to denote, that instead of being slaves, they should sit at their ease, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls, a beautiful head dress, or garland, wore in times of rejoicing, to intimate, that instead of desolation and distress, they should be in a state of joy and triumph; and thus were hunting or destroying souls: Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive [that come] unto you? or, Will ye save your own souls alive? ye cannot preserve your own lives, much 19 less the lives of others. And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley, and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear [your] lies will ye thus wickedly insult me, and abuse my people, for such small presents as handfuls of barley and pieces of bread ?* 20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make [them] fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, [even] the souls that ye hunt to make [them] fly. 21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of
your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunt22 ed; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.† Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad; whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life; discouraging those who surrendered to the Chaldeans by groundless fears, and encouraging those who obstinately held out by groundless hopes directly contrary to what my prophets have 23 warned and foretold: Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver my people out of your hand and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD; ye shall be discouraged so as to make no more pretences to prophesy; or be made incapable of any further attempt.
E are here taught who are really patriots, the best friends of their country; even those who make up the hedges and fences which sin has broken down, and by which
* Mr. Costard, an ingenious critic in the eastern languages, by comparing the words here used with some of the same kind in Arabic, gives a better translation of this passage, free from the odd jumble of metaphors in our translation: he renders it thus: Wo to the women that weave nets to catch all levs, (or paws of beasts,) and make nets (of a smaller kind) for the head of every (bird) rising up to fly; in allusion to two sorts of nets, the one stronger, with which they took wild beasts, the other smaller, with which they caught birds.
† Or thus; Behold. I am against your nets, with which ye hant souls, and will tear them from your arms on which ye carry them; and your smaller nets will I tear. This makes a beautifal consistent sense, and admirably suits the connection; while they were prophesying peace to the people, they were only hunting them down, and destroying their
judgments are entering in; they are those who endeavour by their admonitions, prayers, and examples, to restrain vice and avert the wrath of God; who stand up against the iniquities of the times, and endeavour to bring the workers and abettors of them to just punishment. When iniquity abounds, let not our love wax cold; but let us boldly appear on the Lord's side, that we may have the honour to be repairers of breaches, and restorers of faths to dwell in.
2. All attempts that are made to lessen the dread which men have of sin and of God's judgments, are displeasing to him. Wick. ed men are fond of any thing which may lead them to believe that sin is not so great an evil, nor the punishment of it in a fu ture state so dreadful and durable, as they have been sometimes taught to believe: and there have been many, who have given them too much encouragement to make light of sin and the wrath to come. But this is only plaistering and whitening a rot ten wall, which will soon tumble, prove a refuge of lies, and destroy those who shelter under it. And those who have propagated and encouraged such dangerous notions, will find that they have been polluting God's name, and ruining themselves and those who were deceived by them.
3. We are taught how to behave, both to the righteous and the wicked. God would not have the righteous sad; and therefore we ought to be very careful not to do any thing to make them so; by confounding virtue and vice; representing some of the best men as hypocrites and enthusiasts; or by any other methods rendering them odious and despicable; whereas they ought to be honoured, comforted, and encouraged; to be kept in reputation, and have their hands strengthened by all who profess themselves friends to religion, to virtue, and to their country. On the other hand, let us be careful never to strengthen the hands of the wicked, by giving countenance to those who corrupt the morals or injure the families of others, by representing the vices of men in a favourable light, and willingly associating with those. who are known to be enemies to God and goodness; which is too much the case in the present age. We see how God resents such a conduct, and what mischief it does to a nation; and therefore should be upon our guard against it; and show our concern for the honour and support of religion, by, frowning upon those who make themselves vile, and by honouring those who fear the Lord.