|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.
Verse 16. - The leaders of this people cause them to err (comp. Isaiah 3:12). Both the peoples were led into idolatry by their rulers, but Israel especially. Jeroboam, the first king, introduced the calf-worship, and his successors from first to last persisted in his sin. Ahab added the still grosset idolatry of Baal. Those who held high position under the kings were equally bad examples to the people (see above, Isaiah 1:2:3). Are destroyed. First, morally corrupted and debased, then physically given over to destruction - slaughtered by Philistines, Syrians, and Assyrians.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the leaders of this people cause them to err,.... Or, "who bless this people", as the Septuagint and Arabic versions; and so the Targum,
"who praise this people;''
that call them blessed, pronounce them happy, see Malachi 3:15 and promise them happiness, both in this world and that to come, though guilty of notorious sins, and live a vicious course of life; and so harden them in their iniquities, and cause them to wander more and more from the way of truth and righteousness; and lead them unto, and leave them in, fatal mistakes about their state and condition. These seem to design the ecclesiastical leaders of the people, the blind leaders of the blind, see Isaiah 3:12,
and they that are led of them are destroyed; or, "they" that "are blessed of them are swallowed up" (c); and so irrecoverably lost; the deceivers and the deceived perish together; as it is sinful in teachers and leaders of the people to teach them false things, and lead them out of the way, it is criminal in the people to be led and taught by them, who ought to take care what they hear and receive; and therefore both are righteously punished; for the words are a reason why the Lord would cut off both the one and the other.
(c) "qui ex hoc populo beati dicuntur, absorbebuntur", Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. leaders, &c.—(See Isa 3:12, Margin, and see on Isa 3:12.)
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