Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn you from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Yet the Lord testified against Israel.—Rather, And Jehovah adjured Israel . . . The verb means here, gave solemn warning, or charge. In 2Kings 17:15 it is repeated, with a cognate noun as object: “His testimonies which he testified against them;” or, his charges (i.e., precepts) which he had given them.
By all the prophets, and by all the seers.—The Hebrew text is, by the hand of all his prophets—namely, every seer. One or two MSS. and the Targum have prophet, instead of his prophets. The Syriac has “by the hand of all his servants the prophets, and all the seers.” The Vulg. and Arabic also have both nouns plural. Seers were such persons as, without belonging to the prophetic order, came forward in times of emergency upon a sudden Divine impulse. Thenius thinks Israel and Judah are mentioned together because the reference is to the time before the partition of the kingdom; more probably, because both apostatised, and prophets were sent to both.
And which I sent—i.e., the law which I sent. But—as according to later Jewish ideas, the prophets did not bring the Law, but only interpreted it—it seems better to understand with the Vulg. (“et sicut misi”) “and according to all that I sent to you (i.e., enjoined upon you) by my servants the prophets.”2 Kings 17:13. Yet the Lord testified against Israel — Against their false worship, and all their impieties. By all the prophets, and by all the seers — To whom he declared his mind by extraordinary revelations and visions, and by whom he published it, bearing witness from heaven to their doctrine, by eminent and glorious miracles. Abarbinel, in his commentary on these books, hath noticed one or more prophets in every king’s reign, both in Israel and Judah, from the time of Saul to Zedekiah, in whose time Jerusalem was laid desolate. The ten tribes had lately had among them two most singularly eminent for their zeal, courage, fidelity, and the wonders which they wrought, in the name of God, in confirmation of their divine mission and doctrine, namely, Elijah and Elisha: the latter of whom had been instrumental in rescuing them from their enemies sundry times, when all human means had failed, and their case appeared perfectly hopeless, and who had been mercifully continued to them, a faithful witness for God, and a burning and shining light, for about sixty years. And in the days of this very king, when Israel was carried away captive, they had Hoshea, Amos, Isaiah, and Micah. And in the days of the last king of Judah, when that tribe was carried captive, they had Jeremiah and Ezekiel. All these had made it their care to show both the kings and people their sins, and warn them of the fatal consequences of them; and to exhort, beseech, and urge them to turn from them, to the worship and service of the living and true God.1 Kings 14:2, Jehu the son of Hanani 1 Kings 16:1, Elijah, Micaiah the son of Imlah 1 Kings 22:8, Elisha, Jonah the son of Amittai 2 Kings 14:25, Oded 2 Chronicles 28:9, Amos, and Hosea; in Judah, up to this time, Shemaiah 2 Chronicles 11:2; 2 Chronicles 12:5, Iddo 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 13:22, Azariah the son of Oded 2 Chronicles 15:1, Hanani 2 Chronicles 16:7, Jehu his son 2 Chronicles 19:2, Jahaziel the son of Zechariah 2 Chronicles Zechariah 20:14, Eliezer the son of Dodavah (2 Chronicles 20:37), Zechariah the son of Jehoiada 2 Chronicles 24:20, another Zechariah 2 Chronicles Zechariah 26:5, Joel, Micah, and Isaiah, besides several whose names are not known. Some of these persons are called "prophets," others "seers." Occasionally, the same person has both titles (as Iddo and Jehu the son of Hanani), which seems to show that there was no very important distinction between them.
Probably the conjecture is right that "prophet" נביא nâbı̂y' in strictness designates the official members of the prophetical order only, while "seer" חזה chôzeh is applicable to all, whether members of the order or not, who receive a prophetical revelation.
7. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned—There is here given a very full and impressive vindication of the divine procedure in punishing His highly privileged, but rebellious and apostate, people. No wonder that amid so gross a perversion of the worship of the true God, and the national propensity to do reverence to idols, the divine patience was exhausted; and that the God whom they had forsaken permitted them to go into captivity, that they might learn the difference between His service and that of their despotic conquerors.Testified against Israel; disowned, and gave testimony against their false worship, which they would fasten upon him, and against all their impieties.
By all the prophets, and by all the seers; to whom he declared his mind by extraordinary revelations and visions, and by whom he published it to you, bearing witness from heaven to their doctrine by eminent and glorious miracles.
According to all the law which I commanded your fathers; whereby he accuseth them of partiality, that they observed only those laws of God which they might safely keep, and lived in the constant breach of others, which their kings forbade them to observe.
saying, turn ye from your ways; repent of them, and reform from them, worship of the calves particularly:
and keep my commandments, and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers; which was given them and enjoined them at Mount Sinai:Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. the Lord testified against [R.V. unto] Israel and against [R.V. unto] Judah] The preposition is that which is usually rendered ‘in’. And God’s witness by His prophets was at first a witness of warning and exhortation, and his anger was long restrained and not at first grievously kindled against them.
by all the prophets, and by all the seers] R.V. by the hand of every prophet and of every seer. The R.V. has translated the consonants in the word which is rendered by A.V. ‘prophets’ but has divided them differently. As the A.V. has taken them there is no conjunction ‘and’ expressed, but by dividing the consonants in a different way the word becomes = ‘prophet and’. Thus the sense and grammar are complete, which they were not before.
Turn ye from your evil ways] For the language cf. Jeremiah 7:3; Jeremiah 18:11; Jeremiah 25:5; Jeremiah 26:13; Jeremiah 35:15. But the same message was in substance preached by every one of the prophets from Samuel to Malachi.
by my servants] R.V. by the hand of my servants. As in the earlier part of this verse and again in verse 23, this Hebraism is preserved by the Revisers. It has become so rooted in the Biblical language of our country that there is no need to avoid a literal rendering of it.Verse 13. - Yet the Lord testified - rather, and the Lord testified - against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers. A "seer" is, properly, one who sees visions; a "prophet," one inspired to pour forth utterances. But the words were used as synonyms (see 1 Samuel 9:9). Ever since the revolt of Jeroboam, there had been a succession of prophets in both countries whose office it had been to rebuke sin and to enforce the precepts of the Law. In Judah there had been Shemaiah, contemporary with Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:2; 2 Chronicles 12:5); Iddo, contemporary with Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:22); Azariah, with Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1); Hanani, with the same (2 Chronicles 16:7); Jehu, the son of Hanani, with Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 19:2); Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, with the same (2 Chronicles 20:14); Eliezer, the son of Dodavah, also contemporary with the same (2 Chronicles 20:37); Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, contemporary with Joash (2 Chronicles 24:20); another Zechariah, contemporary with Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:5); Joel, Micah, and Isaiah, besides several whose names are unknown. In Israel, the succession had included Ahijah the Shilonite, contemporary with Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:2); Jehu, the son of Hanani, with Baasha (1 Kings 16:1); Elijah, and Micaiah the son of Imlah, with Ahab (1 Kings 22:8) and Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:3); Elisha, with Jehoram, John, Jehoahaz, and Joash (2 Kings 3:11-13:14); Jonah, with Jeroboam II. (2 Kings 14:25); Hosea and Amos, with the same (Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1): and Oded (2 Chronicles 28:9), contemporary with Pekah. God had never left himself without living witness. Besides the written testimony of the Law, he had sent them a continuous series of prophets, who "repeated and enforced the teaching of the Law by word of month, breathing into the old words a new life, applying them to the facts of their own times, urging them on the con- sciences of their hearers, and authoritatively declaring to them that the terrible threatenings of the Law were directed against the very sins which they habitually practiced." The prophets continually addressed them in the Name of God, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. This was the general burden of the prophetical teaching, both in Israel and in Judah, both before the captivity of Israel and afterwards (see Hosea 12:6; Hosea 14:2; Joel 2:12, 13; Amos 5:4-15; Isaiah 1:16-20; Isaiah 31:6; Jeremiah 3:7, 14; Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 18:30, etc.). 2 Kings 17:7. כּי ויהי, "and it came to pass when" (not because, or that): compare Genesis 6:1; Genesis 26:8; Genesis 27:1; Genesis 44:24; Exodus 1:21; Judges 1:28; Judges 6:7, etc. The apodosis does not follow till 2 Kings 17:18, as 2 Kings 17:7-17 simply contain a further explanation of Israel's sin. To show the magnitude of the sin, the writer recalls to mind the great benefit conferred in the redemption from Egypt, whereby the Lord had laid His people under strong obligation to adhere faithfully to Him. The words refer to the first commandment (Exodus 20:2-3; Deuteronomy 5:6-7). It is from this that the "fearing of other gods" is taken, whereas פּרעה יד מתּחת recall Exodus 18:10.
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