23:1 Woe be to a the shepherds that destroy and scatter the b sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds that c 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.
(a) Meaning the princeís governors and false prophets as in (Ezekiel 34:2).
(b) For which I have special care, and have prepared good pastures for them.
23:3 And I will gather the d remnant of my flock from all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
(c) Whose charge is to feed the flock but they eat the fruit of it, (Ezekiel 34:3).
(d) Thus the prophets always used to mix the promises with the threatenings lest the godly should be too much beaten down and therefore he shows how God will gather his Church after this dispersion.
23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous e Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice upon the earth.
23:7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The f LORD liveth, who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
(e) This prophecy is of the restitution of the Church in the time of Jesus Christ, who is the true branch, read (Isaiah 11:1,45:8; Jeremiah 35:15; Daniel 9:24).
23:9 My heart within me is broken because of the g 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.
(f) Read (Jeremiah 16:14).
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 h course is evil, and their force [is] not right.
(g) Meaning, the false prophets who deceive the people: in which appears his great love toward his nation, read (Jeremiah 14:13).
(h) They run headlong to wickedness and seek vain help.
23:11 For both prophet and priest are profane; even, in my i house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
(i) My temple is full of their idolatry and superstitions.
23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem k 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 l to me as Sodom, and the inhabitants of it as Gomorrah.
(k) They who should have profited by my rods against Samaria, are become worse than they.
23:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with m wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
(l) Though to the world they seem holy fathers, yet I detest them as I did these abominable cities.
23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not to the words of the prophets that prophesy to you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own n heart, [and] not from the mouth of the LORD.
(m) Read (Jeremiah 8:14).
(n) Which they have invented of their own brain.
23:17 They say still to them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye o shall have peace; and they say to every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
23:18 For p who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard [it]?
(o) Read (Jeremiah 6:14,8:11).
23:20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he shall have executed, and till he shall have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye q shall consider it perfectly.
(p) Thus they derided Jeremiah as though the word of God was not revealed to him, so also spoke Zedekiah to Micaiah, (1 Kings 22:24).
(q) Both that God has sent me, and that my words will be true.
23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and r 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.
(r) He shows the difference between the true prophets and the false, between the hireling and the true minister.
23:23 [Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God s afar off?
(s) Do I not see your falsehood, however you cloak it, and wherever you commit it?
23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I t have dreamed, I have dreamed.
23:27 Who think to cause u 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.
(t) I have a prophecy revealed to me as in (Numbers 12:6).
(u) He shows that Satan raises up false prophets to bring the people from God.
23:28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him x tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. y What [is] the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
(x) Let the false prophet declare that it is his own fantasy, and not slander my word as though it were a cloak to cover his lies.
23:30 Therefore, behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that z steal my words every one from his neighbour.
(y) Meaning, that it is not enough for Godís ministers to abstain from lies and to speak the word of God but that there is judgment in alleging it, and that it may appear to be applied to the same purpose that it was spoken, (Ezekiel 3:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13,4:2; 2 Timothy 2:25).
(z) Who set forth in my Name that which I have not commanded.
23:31 Behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, a He saith.
(a) That is, the Lord.
23:33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What [is] the b burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say to them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.
(b) The prophets called their threatenings Godís burden, which the sinners were not able to sustain, therefore the wicked in deriding the word, would ask of the prophets, what was the burden as though they would say, "You seek nothing else, but to lay burdens on our shoulders" and thus they rejected the word of God as a grievous burden.
23:34 And [as for] the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The c burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.
(c) Because this word was brought to contempt and derision, he will teach them another manner of speech, and will cause this word burden to cease and teach them to ask with reverence, "What says the Lord?"
23:36 And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every manís d word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
(d) The thing which they mock and contemn will come on them.