|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.
Verse 18. - For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord; rather, in the council. This verse is connected with ver. 16; it gives the reason why the false prophets were not to be listened to. None of them had been admitted to the secret council of the Lord; the interrogation is here a form of denial. "To stand in the council" is not the same as "to sit" (Psalm 1:1); the latter phrase implies taking an active part in the consultations. It is specially applicable to the true prophets, according to ver. 22, and this, as we gather from other passages, m a twofold sense. Sometimes the prophets had visions, in which their inner eye was granted a sight of Jehovah in consultation with his trusted servants (Isaiah 6:1, comp. 8; 1 Kings 22:19); and the words of Eliphaz, "Weft thou listening in the council of God?" (Job 15:8), appear to be descriptive of a similar experience. But the phrase may also be used in a wider sense of entirely unecstatic revelations. Amos says (Amos 3:7), "Surely the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret counsel unto his servants the prophets; ' and a psalmist extends the term "secret counsel" to the communion which God grants to the pious in general (Psalm 25:14; comp. Proverbs 3:32). Thus there is no hard and-fast line between the experiences of the prophets and those of humbler believers. In so far as the latter are "disciples of Jehovah" (Isaiah 54:13), they too may be truly said to "stand," at least in the doorway, "in the council of Jehovah;" just as a well-known collect inherited from the Latin Church beseeches that "by God's holy inspiration we may think those things that he good." Who hath marked his word? A Jewish tradition, represented by the marginal notes in the Hebrew Bible, has taken offence at this variation in the expression, and would correct the reading to "my word." But such changes of person are of frequent occurrence, and we know that the prophets were thoroughly assured that the word which they spoke was not theirs, but that of him who sent them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord,.... These are either the words of the Prophet Jeremiah; signifying that none of the false prophets were of God's privy council, or were acquainted with his secrets, that they could tell the people they should have peace, and no evil come upon them; this they said, not from divine revelation, but from the imagination of their own hearts; for though the Lord does nothing but he reveals it to his servants, the prophets; yet not to men of such bad principles and wicked lives as they were: or rather these are the words of the false prophets; either taking this to themselves, that they were of God's privy council, and knew his secrets, and ask who were besides themselves; or else insulting the prophets of the Lord, as though they took too much upon them to threaten the people with captivity and destruction, as if they were in the secret of the most High, and his privy counsellors; but that they thought themselves in such a situation seems to be the sense, from Jeremiah 23:22;
and hath perceived and heard his word? or, "hath seen and heard his word?" (a) seen a vision from him, and "heard" the word from his mouth, declaring the above things? or "seen" what was in his heart, what he purposed and designed to do; and "heard" what he said he would do?
who hath marked his word, and heard it? listened and attended to it, and obeyed it? not the false prophets, but the true ones; as the Targum of the whole is,
"for they stood not (or rose not up) that the secret from before the Lord might be revealed to them; and they saw not, nor heard his words; nor did they hearken to his word, nor receive;''
or obey; understanding this of the false prophets.
(a) "et vidit", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "qui videat", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. A reason is given why the false prophets should not be heeded: They have not stood in the counsels of Jehovah (an image from ministers present in a standing posture at councils of Eastern kings) (compare Jer 23:22; Job 15:8). The spiritual man alone has the privilege (Ge 18:17; Ps 25:14; Am 3:7; Joh 15:15; 1Co 2:16).
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