|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-6 God's almighty power and sovereign dominion, should engage and encourage sinners to repent and turn to Him. It is very desirable to have the Lord of hosts for our friend, and very dreadful to have him for our enemy. Review what is past, and observe the message God sent by his servants, the prophets, to your fathers. Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings. Be persuaded to leave your sins, as the only way to prevent approaching ruin. What is become of our fathers, and of the prophets that preached to them? They are all dead and gone. Here they were, in the towns and countries where we live, passing and repassing in the same streets, dwelling in the same houses, trading in the same shops and exchanges, worshipping God in the same places. But where are they? When they died, there was not an end of them; they are in eternity, in the world of spirits, the unchangeable world to which we hasten apace. Where are they? Those of them who lived and died in sin, are in torment. Those who lived and died in Christ, are in heaven; and if we live and die as they did, we shall be with them shortly and eternally. If they minded not their own souls, is that a reason why their posterity should ruin theirs also? The prophets are gone. Christ is a Prophet that lives for ever, but all other prophets have a period put to their office. Oh that this consideration had its due weight; that dying ministers are dealing with dying people about their never-dying souls, and an awful eternity, upon the brink of which both are standing! In another world, both we and our prophets shall live for ever: to prepare for that world ought to be our great care in this. The preachers died, and the hearers died, but the word of God died not; not one jot or title of it fell to the ground; for he is righteous.
Verse 5. - To compel them to listen to the warning, he asks them, Your fathers, where are they! What became of those who paid no heed to the admonitions of the prophets? Have they not suffered dire calamities and perished miserably? And the prophets, do they live forever? They can teach and threaten no longer. It is true that the seers who warned your fathers are no more, but did not their words come true (see ver. 6)? Jerome referred these words to the false prophets, resting, doubtless, on Jeremiah 37:19. But it is more natural to refer them to the "former prophets" mentioned above and in the following verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Your fathers, where are they?.... They are not in the land of the living; they perished by the sword of the Chaldeans, or died in captivity:
and the prophets, do they live for ever? meaning either the false prophets, as Hananiah and Shemaiah, Jeremiah 28:17 or the true prophets of the Lord; and the words may be considered as a prevention of an objection the people might make, taken from their prophets dying in common with their fathers; and so the Targum paraphrases them, "and if you should say, the prophets, do they live for ever?" which is followed by Jarchi, and embraced by many interpreters: the answer is, it is true they died; but then their words live, and have had their full accomplishment.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Your fathers … and the prophets, do they live for ever?—In contrast to "My words" (Zec 1:6), which "endure for ever" (1Pe 1:25). "Your fathers have perished, as was foretold; and their fate ought to warn you. But you may say, The prophets too are dead. I grant it, but still My words do not die: though dead, their prophetical words from Me, fulfilled against your fathers, are not dead with them. Beware, then, lest ye share their fate."
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