|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:29-37 The nation had not been wrought upon by the judgements of God, but sought to justify themselves. The world is, to those who make it their home and their portion, a wilderness and a land of darkness; but those who dwell in God, have the lines fallen to them in pleasant places. Here is the language of presumptuous sinners. The Jews had long thrown off serious thoughts of God. How many days of our lives pass without suitable remembrance of him! The Lord was displeased with their confidences, and would not prosper them therein. Men employ all their ingenuity, but cannot find happiness in the way of sin, or excuse for it. They may shift from one sin to another, but none ever hardened himself against God, or turned from him, and prospered.
Verse 30. - Have I smitten your children. The cities and towns of Judah are represented as so many mothers, and the populations as their children. It would, no doubt, be more natural to take "children" literally; but then we must read the verb in the next clause, "Ye have received," as the Septuagint actually renders. In the former case the "smiting" will refer to all God's "sore judgments" -sword, drought, famine, pestilence; in the latter, to the loss of life in battle. Your own sword hath devoured your prophets (comp. 2 Chronicles 24:21; 2 Kings 21:16). Manasseh's persecution (which extended, according to Josephus, especially to the prophets) may account for the preponderance of "false prophets" referred to in ver. 8 (cf. Matthew 23:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In vain have I smitten your children,.... Or, "for vanity" (g); for vain speaking, for making vain oaths and vows; so it is explained in the Talmud (h); but the sense is, that the rod of chastisement was used in vain; the afflictions that came upon them had no effect on them to amend and reform them; they were never the better for them:
they received no correction; or instruction by them; see Jeremiah 5:3,
your own sword hath devoured your prophets; as Isaiah, Zechariah, and Uriah, who were sent to them to reprove and correct them, but they were so far from receiving their correction, that they put them to death; though Kimchi mentions it as the sense of his father, and which he approves of, that this is to be understood, not of the true prophets of the Lord, but of false prophets; wherefore it is said, "your prophets"; and they had no prophets but false prophets, whose prophecy was the cause of the destruction of souls, and this brought ruin upon the prophets themselves; and this sense of the words Jerom gives into; it follows:
like a destroying lion; that is, the sword of the Lord, according to the latter sense; the judgments of God, by which the people fall, and their false prophets with them, were like a lion that destroys and devours all that come near it. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add,
and ye were not afraid; which confirms what was before said, that chastisement and correction were in vain.
(g) "propter vanitatem, sive vaniloquentiam", Vatablus. (h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 32. 2. & Cetubot, fol. 72. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30. (Jer 5:3; 6:29; Isa 1:5; 9:13).
your children—that is, your people, you.
your … sword … devoured … prophets—(2Ch 36:16; Ne 9:26; Mt 23:29, 31).
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