|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-9 Where God gives a warrant to do any thing, he gives wisdom. What they delivered was not what they had seen or heard, as that is which the ministers of Christ deliver. They were not praying prophets, had no intercourse with Heaven; they contrived how to please people, not how to do them good; they stood not against sin. They flattered people into vain hopes. Such widen the breach, by causing men to think themselves deserving of eternal life, when the wrath of God abides upon them.
Verse 4 - Like the foxes in the deserts, etc. The points of comparison are manifold. The fox is cunning (Luke 13:32, where the term is applied to Herod Antipas). It spoils the vine and its fruits (Song of Solomon 2:15); it burrows among ruins (Nehemiah 4:3; Lamentations 5:18). So the false prophets were crafty, laid waste the vineyard of the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 5:7), made their profit out of the ruin of Israel, and made that ruin worse. The 'Reineke Fuchs,' in satirizing the monks and priests of the sixteenth century under the same comparison, presents a curious, though probably unconscious, analogue. In Matthew 7:15 and Acts 20:29 wolves appear as the types of the false prophet.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes of the deserts. The false prophets, as the Targum; these are called Israel's prophets, because received, embraced, and encouraged by them; not the Lord's, for they were not sent by him, nor had any messages from him; and such are comparable to foxes, for their craftiness and cunning, and lying in wait to deceive, as these seduced the Lord's people, Ezekiel 13:10; and such are false teachers, who walk in craftiness, and handle the word of God deceitfully, and are deceitful workers; and to foxes in the deserts, which are hungry and ravenous, and make a prey of whatsoever comes within their reach, as these prophets did of the people, Ezekiel 13:19. Kimchi interprets "deserts" of breaches and ruinous places in the walls of a vineyard, where the foxes lie, or through which they enter into the vineyard and spoil it; as these false prophets entered in among the Israelites, like to a vineyard, and did them much hurt and damage, by insinuating themselves among the weak, and those of little faith, which the above writer compares to breaches in vineyards; see Sol 2:15. It may be the deserts may have respect to the land of Chaldea, where Israel was carried captive, and where these foxes, the false prophets, could play their part to advantage; not being under the notice and restraints of the sanhedrim at Jerusalem.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. foxes—which cunningly "spoil the vines" (So 2:15), Israel being the vineyard (Ps 80:8-15; Isa 5:1-7; 27:2; Jer 2:21); their duty was to have guarded it from being spoiled, whereas they themselves spoiled it by corruptions.
in … deserts—where there is nothing to eat; whence the foxes become so ravenous and crafty in their devices to get food. So the prophets wander in Israel, a moral desert, unrestrained, greedy of gain which they get by craft.
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