|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-8 Men cannot expect to do ill, and fare well; but to find that done to them which they did to others. How seldom do wholesome truths reach the ears of those in high stations or in authority! Those who deceive others are preparing confusion for their own faces. The prophet had ardent love to God and to the souls of men; deep concern for his glory and their salvation, and zeal against sin. The difficulties he met with did not drive him from his work. He had this strength; not from and of himself, but he was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. Those who act honestly, may act boldly. And those who come to hear the word of God, must be willing to be told of their faults, must take it kindly, and be thankful.
Verse 7. - Shall the seers be ashamed. The false prophets shall be ashamed because their oracles are proved to be delusive. They shall all cover their lips; the upper lip; i.e. the face up to the nose, in sign of mourning and shame (see Leviticus 13:45; Ezekiel 24:17, 22). It is equivalent to covering the head for the same reason, as Esther 6:12; Jeremiah 14:4. Septuagint, Καταλαλήσουσι καὶ αὐτῶν πάντες αὐτοί, taking the verb to mean "shall open" (not "cover") their lips against them. For there is no answer of God. There was no revelation (Psalm 74:9; Ezekiel 7:26). Septuagint, Διότι οὐκ ἔσται ὁ ἐπακούων αὐτῶν, "Because there shall be none that hearkeneth unto them."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded,.... When the events of things will make it most clearly appear to all that their visions, divinations, and prophecies, are false; they will not be able to lift up their heads, or show their faces, but shame and confusion will cover them:
yea, they shall all cover their lips; stop their mouths, hold their tongues, and be entirely and totally silenced; they will not pretend to utter any other vision or prophecy; nor be able to say one word in defence of themselves, and of what they have before prophesied; every thing in providence being contrary to what they had said, and agreeable to the words of the true prophets; or they shall cover their lips as mourners; as the Targum adds, by way of explanation; see Ezekiel 24:17. It is said (e) there were two gates in Solomon's temple; one called the gate of the bridegrooms, the other the gate of mourners; to those that entered the latter, if their lip was covered, it was said, he that dwells in this house comfort thee; and so the lips of the false prophets being covered may signify that they were now sorry for what they had done, at least because of the calamities on them and the people; though the former sense seems best:
for there is no answer of God; not that they shall be ashamed and silenced because they shall now have no answer of God, for they never had any, which this would imply; but that it shall now be most plain and clear to all that the Lord never spoke by them, and they never had any answer from him; all their visions, divinations, and prophecies, were of, themselves, and not of him; what they delivered was not the word of the Lord, but their own; and this now being discovered and manifest to everyone, wilt put them to utter silence and shame. The Targum is,
"for there is not in them a spirit of prophecy from the Lord.''
(e) R. Jacob, Sepher Musar, c. 9. apud Drusii Proverb. claSongs 2. l. 21. sect. 194.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. cover their lips—The Orientals prided themselves on the moustache and beard ("upper lip," Margin). To cover it, therefore, was a token of shame and sorrow (Le 13:45; Eze 24:17, 22). "They shall be so ashamed of themselves as not to dare to open their mouths or boast of the name of prophet" [Calvin].
there is no answer of God—They shall no more profess to have responses from God, being struck dumb with calamities (Mic 3:6).
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