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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 sceing events happen quite contrary 10 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 he 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.
1. THOSE who will not use the faculties, and improve the
1 means which God has given them, are here said to be 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 obe 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 min. isters lake 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 judge ment of men, and to influence their hearts. God 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 threatening 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 goodaess, 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 trilling 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 fur aff. 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
els, who deceived the people to their ruin.
1 AND the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son 2 01 of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that
propresy, 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 fool. ish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen noth
ing! who declare what suits their present inclination and in. 4 terest. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts, 5 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 averi the anger of 6 God, when it was ready to be noured 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 prose 7 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 ; 80, some of them have raised false hopes in the people, and oth
ers, seeing how agreeable this was to their countryven, 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, ( 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 un
to 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 over
flowing 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 untenpered [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 there15 of: and ye shall know that I sam] 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 bere 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 fireserve 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 peofile, 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) fiy, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let
the souls go, [even] the souls that ye hunt to make (them] fiy. 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 80 as to make no more pretences to furophesy ; or be made incapable of any further attempi.
W E are here taught who are really patriots, the best
V 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 sanie kind in Arabic, gives a better translation of Mis massage, free from the odd jamble of inetaphors in our translation : he renders it thus : W to che Veren that weave mets to catch all lies (or paws of beasts,) and make nets (of a smaller $d) fur the head of every (bird) risin: up to ty ; in allusion to two sorts of nets, the one stronger, with which they took wild beasis, ihe other smaller, with which they cauglio
1 Or thus ; Behold. I am against your nets, with which ye hunt sculs, and will tror IN from you arms on which ye carry them; and your smaller nets will I terr. This makes a beautifal consistent sense, and admirably suits the connection; while they were prophesyiag peace to the people, th:y were only hunting thacin down, and destroying their dres.
judgments are entering in ; they are those who endeavour by their admonitions, prayers, and examples, to restrain vice and as vert 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 paths 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. Wicked 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 rotten wall, which will soon tumble, prove a refuge of lies, and de. stroy 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 there. fore 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 there« fore should be upon our guard against it ; and show our con. cern for the honour and support of religion, by frowning upon those who make themselves vile, and by honouring those who fear the Lord.