|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.
Verse 31. - The prophets... the priests. (See on Jeremiah 2:26.) Bear rule by their means; rather, rule at their beck. (literally, at their hands, comp. Jeremiah 33:13; 1 Chronicles 25:2, 3; 2 Chronicles 23:18). An example of this interference of the false prophets with the priestly office is given by Jeremiah himself. (Jeremiah 29:24-26). My people love to have it so. Sometimes the prophets speak as if the governing classes alone were responsible for the sins and consequent calamities of their country. But Jeremiah here expressly declares that the governed were as much to blame as their governors.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The prophets prophesied falsely,.... That the people would have peace and prosperity, and not be carried captive into Babylon, as Jeremiah and other true prophets of the Lord had predicted:
and the priests bear rule by their means; or rather "the princes"; for the word signifies princes as well as priests, and to the former government more properly belongs; and so Jarchi interprets it of the judges of the people, and their exactors; these governed the people according to the words of the false prophets, as the same writer explains it; they were "under" their influence and direction, they went after them, as the phrase is sometimes used; see 1 Chronicles 25:2 or, as Kimchi understands it, the priests received gifts by their hands to pervert judgment, and they declined doing justice, according to their will. The Targum is,
"the priests helped upon their hands;''
took the false prophets, as it were, and carried them in their hands. Some render it, "the priests remove, or depart by their means" (h); through their false prophesies they departed from the law, and the worship of God and his ordinances, from attending to them, and performing them in the manner appointed; in the whole it denotes great friendship, unity, and agreement between the priests, or princes, and the false prophets; they agreed together to keep the people in awe and in bondage; and what was of all the most surprising is what follows:
and my people love to have it so; both that the prophets prophesy smooth things to them, though false; and that the princes should govern as they directed:
and what will ye do in the end thereof? that these evils will bring unto; namely, the destruction of the city and nation. The meaning is, what will become of them at last? or what would they do, when this wicked government would come to an end, and they should be taken and carried captive by the Chaldeans? which would be their case; and how would they like that, who love to have things as they were, which would bring on their ruin?
(h) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, for. 62. I.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. bear rule by their means—literally, "according to their hands," that is, under their guidance (1Ch 25:3). As a sample of the priests lending themselves to the deceits of the false prophets, to gain influence over the people, see Jer 29:24-32.
love to have it so—(Mic 2:11).
end thereof—the fatal issue of this sinful course when divine judgments shall come.
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