|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:9-12 Desolating judgments are called for; and this severe rebuke of the rulers and teachers of the Jewish church, is applicable to other ages and places. It is bad with a people when their shepherds slumber, and are eager after the world. Let us pray the Great Shepherd to send us pastors after his own heart, who will feed us with knowledge, that we may rejoice in his holy name, and that believers may be daily added to the church.
Verse 11. - Yea, they are greedy dogs. Another defect is noted. Not only do they fail in the way of neglect of duty, but they are actively culpable. Being worldly and not spiritually minded, they are "greedy" after gain. Anciently, the taking of a gift, or fee, from those who came to consult them was regarded as no dishonour to the prophetic office (Numbers 22:7; 1 Samuel 9:7; 1 Kings 14:3); but the nobler class of prophets declined to make a profit of their spiritual powers, and would receive no fee (2 Kings 5:16; Matthew 10:8; Acts 8:20). In Ezekiel and Micah the taking of gifts by prophets is regarded as discreditable (Ezekiel 13:19; Ezekiel 22:25; Micah 3:3). From his quarter; rather, to the uttermost (Kay), or every one, without exception (Cheyne).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yea, they are greedy dogs,.... Or "strong of soul" (y); of great appetites, and are never satisfied: or "strong of body"; the soul is sometimes put for the body; large bodied, fat bellied men, such as the priests, monks, and friars, that live upon the fat of the land; gluttons, epicures, men of a canine appetite, like dogs,
which can never have enough; know not fulness (z), or what it is to be filled to satisfaction, always craving more. Though some think this denotes their insatiable avarice, their greedy desire of money, not being satisfied with what they have, in order to support their voluptuous way of living.
And they are shepherds that cannot understand; or, "and they are", or "are they shepherds?" these blind and ignorant watchmen; these dumb and greedy dogs; these pretend to be the shepherds of the flock, and to feed them?
yet they know not to understand (a), or "know not understanding"; have no knowledge and understanding of divine things, and therefore unfit and incapable of feeding the people therewith:
they all look to their own way: to do that which is most pleasing to them, agreeable to their carnal lusts; they seek that which is most for their worldly profit and advantage, having no regard to the glory of God, the interest of Christ, and the welfare of the flock:
everyone for his gain from his quarter; from the province, city, or town he is in; from his archbishopric, bishopric, or parish; making the most of his benefice, of his tithes and revenues; increasing his salary as much as he can; getting as much as possible from all sorts of persons, rich and poor, high and low, that are under his jurisdiction; and this is the case of everyone, from the greatest to the least. The Targum is,
"everyone to spoil the substance of Israel;''
as the Pharisees devoured widows' houses, Matthew 23:14.
(y) "fortes animo", Montanus; "fortes anima, sub. appetente", Vatablus; "sunt valido appetitu", Vitringa. (z) "nesciunt, vel non noverunt saturitatem", Paguinus, Montanus, &c, (a) "et iili pastores? non sciunt docere", Cocceius; "et illi cum pastores sunt, mulla pollent discernendi peritia", Vitringa.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. greedy—literally, "strong" (that is, insatiable) in appetite (Eze 34:2, 3; Mic 3:11).
cannot understand—unable to comprehend the wants of the people, spiritually: so Isa 56:10, "cannot bark."
look to … own way—that is, their own selfish interests; not to the spiritual welfare of the people (Jer 6:13; Eze 22:27).
from his quarter—rather, "from the highest to the lowest" [Lowth]. "From his quarter"; that is, from one end to the other of them, one and all (Ge 19:4).
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