|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:9-22 The false prophets of Samaria had deluded the Israelites into idolatries; yet the Lord considered the false prophets of Jerusalem as guilty of more horrible wickedness, by which the people were made bold in sin. These false teachers would be compelled to suffer the most bitter part of the Lord's indignation. They made themselves believe that there was no harm in sin, and practised accordingly; then they made others believe so. Those who are resolved to go on in evil ways, will justly be given up to believe strong delusions. But which of them had received any revelation of God, or understood any thing of his word? There was a time coming when they would reflect on their folly and unbelief with remorse. The teaching and example of the true prophets led men to repentance, faith, and righteousness. The false prophets led men to rest in forms and notions, and to be quiet in their sins. Let us take heed that we do not follow unrighteousness.
Verses 13, 14. - The prophets of Samaria were no doubt guilty enough, but their offences dwindled by the side of the "horrible" transgressions of those of the southern kingdom. The prophet apparently means, not only that the former, having fewer spiritual advantages, were less responsible than the latter, but also that they had not violated the moral code so conspicuously. Verse 13. - I have seen folly; rather, absurdity or unseemliness; literally, that which is unsavory (comp. Job 6:6). The word occurs with a similar reference to Jehovah in Job 1:22; Job 24:12. To "prophesy by Baal" was "absurd," "unseemly," because Baal was a "non-entity" (Isaiah's word for an idol). In Baal; rather, by, or by means of, Baal (see on Jeremiah 2:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria,.... The ten tribes of Israel, among whom, in Ahab's time there were many false prophets, Baal's prophets, even four hundred and fifty; whose "folly" the Lord had formerly taken notice of; even their idolatry and impiety for giving into which the ten tribes had been carried captive years ago. The word (r) here used signifies that which is "unsavoury": something very unsavoury in their doctrines, and in their lives; they were as salt which has lost its savour and is good for nothing; to which bad ministers are compared, Matthew 5:13. These words are to be read in connection with the following, and may be rendered, "indeed I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria"; of Israel in times past; "but I have seen in the prophets of Jerusalem" (s) that which is far worse; and therefore they must not expect to escape; or, as the Syriac version, "as I have seen in the prophets of Samaria--so have I seen in the prophets of Jerusalem", &c. so that here is a comparison run between them; and the latter are represented as worse than the former, though they were bad enough; as follows: for
they prophesied in Baal; in the name of Baal, whose prophets they were; so the Targum,
"they prophesied in the name of idols:''
or, "they prophesied by Baal", as the Septuagint version (t); they pretended to be inspired by him, and to receive their prophecies from him: or, "they prophesied concerning Baal"; what he would do for them, for those that worshipped him. The Arabic version is, "they prophesied in my name to Baal"; which seems to be foreign from the sense of the place:
and caused my people Israel to err; by following their directions and instructions, and worshipping Baal.
(r) "insulsitatem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt; "intulsa", Pagninus; "insulsam rem", Munster, Vatablus; "insulsum", Montanus, Cocceius. (s) So Schmidt. (t) , Sept. "per Baalem", Schmidt. So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. folly—literally, "insipidity," "unsavouriness" (Job 6:6), not having the salt of godliness (Col 4:6).
in Baal—in the name of Baal; in connection with his worship (see Jer 2:8).
caused … to err—(Isa 9:16).
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