Isaiah 30:10
Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
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30:8-18 The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss. But faithful ministers will not be driven from seeking to awaken sinners. God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find him. They did not like to hear of his holy commandments and his hatred of sin; they desired that they might no more be reminded of these things. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.Which say to the seers - The prophets (see the note at Isaiah 1:1).

See not - They desire not that they should communicate to them the will of Yahweh.

Prophesy not unto us right things - It is not probable that they "openly" demanded of the prophets that they should declare falsehood and deceit, but their conduct was as if they had required that. The sense is, they bore with impatience the theatenings and commands of the true prophets; they were offended at their plainness and their reproofs of their vices; and they preferred the false prophets, who fell in with their prejudices, and who did not denounce the judgment of God for their crimes.

Speak unto us smooth things - That is, those things which are in accordance with our feelings, prejudices, and desires; which assure us of prosperity and success, and which will not disturb us with the apprehension of punishment. This was spoken particularly of their desire to make a league with Egypt, an enterprise for which the true prophets threatened them with the divine displeasure, but which probably the false prophets encouraged.

Prophesy deceits - Not that they would openly and avowedly demand to be deceived, but they demanded that which the prophet says would be deceits. No man "professedly" desires to be deceived; but many a man is willing to put himself under that kind of teaching which is deceit, and which he might know to be falsehood if he would examine it.

10. (Mic 2:6, 11; 3:5).

See not—as you now do, foretelling misfortune.

Prophesy not … right things—Not that they avowedly requested this, but their conduct virtually expressed it. No man, professedly, wished to be deceived; but many seek a kind of teaching which is deceit; and which, if they would examine, they might know to be such (1Ki 22:13). The Jews desired success to be foretold as the issue of their league with Egypt, though ill had been announced by God's prophet as the result; this constituted the "deceits."

He speaks not of the words of their mouths; for none could be so mad of impudent as to have or profess a desire to be cheated, but of the language of their actions. They do so discourage and threaten God’s faithful prophets, and so encourage their own false prophets, as if they had rather be deceived to their destruction, than hear the truth for their preservation and salvation. They prefer the pleasing of their humours before the saving of themselves. Which say to the seers, See not,.... The same with the prophets in the next clause, which explains this:

and to the Prophets, prophesy not unto us right things; things agreeable to the mind and will of God, and which ought to be done; not that they, in so many words, said this, but this was the language of their hearts and actions. The Targum is,

"who say to the prophets, prophesy not, and to the teachers, teach us not the doctrine of the law:''

speak unto us smooth things; that peace and prosperity should attend them, though they went on in their sinful courses:

prophesy deceits; for to prophesy peace to them, when destruction was at hand, was to deceive them; and yet they chose rather to be told the one than the other.

Who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy {k} deceits:

(k) Threaten us not by the word of God, neither be so rigorous, nor talk to us in the Name of the Lord, as in Jer 11:21.

10. the seers] (1 Samuel 9:9.)

the prophets] The word rightly rendered “seer” in Amos 7:12 and elsewhere. See on Isaiah 1:1. The prophets referred to can hardly (in view of Isaiah 30:11) be merely the false prophets, who were at the beck and call of the people, but all representatives of the prophetic office. Cf. Amos 2:12; Amos 7:12; Hosea 9:7-8; Micah 2:6; Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5; Micah 3:11; Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 14:13 ff.; Ezekiel 13:10 ff.

deceits] illusions; the word is used only here. It is Isaiah’s own estimate that is put into the mouth of the people.Verse 10. - Which say, etc. Not, of course, directly, in so many words. But indirectly they let it be understood that this was what they wished. Compare the advice given to Micaiah by Ahab's messenger, who, no doubt, correctly interpreted the wishes of the monarch and his nobles (1 Kings 22:13). Seers... prophets. Not two classes of persons, but two names for the same class. The" parallelism" of Hebrew poetry leads to the constant employment of synonymous clauses. Right things; i.e. the truth in all its plainness. Smooth things; i.e. soft, pleasant announcements. Deceits; or, illusions (comp. Jeremiah 9:5, "They will deceive" or "mock" - where we have the same root). The plan which, according to Isaiah 29:15, was already projected and prepared in the deepest secrecy, is now much further advanced. The negotiations by means of ambassadors have already been commenced; but the prophet condemns what he can no longer prevent. "Woe to the stubborn children, saith Jehovah, to drive plans, and not by my impulse, and to plait alliance, and not according to my Spirit, to heap sin upon sin: that go away to travel down to Egypt, without having asked my mouth, to fly to Pharaoh's shelter, and to conceal themselves under the shadow of Egypt. And Pharaoh's shelter becomes a shame to them, and the concealment under the shadow of Egypt a disgrace. For Judah's princes have appeared in Zoan, and his ambassadors arrive in Hanes. They will all have to be ashamed of a people useless to them, that brings no help and no use, but shame, and also reproach." Sōrerı̄m is followed by infinitives with Lamed (cf., Isaiah 5:22; Isaiah 3:8): who are bent upon it in their obstinacy. Massēkhâh designates the alliance as a plait (massēkheth). According to Cappellus and others, it designates it as formed with a libation (σπονδη, from σπένδεσθαι); but the former is certainly the more correct view, inasmuch as massēkhâh (from nâsakh, fundere) signifies a cast, and hence it is more natural here to take nâsakh as equivalent to sâkhakh, plectere (Jerome: ordiremini telam). The context leaves no doubt as to the meaning of the adverbial expressions ולא־מנּי and ולא־רוּחי, viz., without its having proceeded from me, and without my Spirit being there. "Sin upon sin:" inasmuch as they carry out further and further to perfect realization the thought which was already a sinful one in itself. The prophet now follows for himself the ambassadors, who are already on the road to the country of the Nile valley. He sees them arrive in Zoan, and watches them as they proceed thence into Hanes. He foresees and foretells what a disgraceful opening of their eyes will attend the reward of this untheocratical beginning. On lâ‛ōz b', see at Isaiah 10:31 : ‛ōz is the infinitive constr. of ‛ūz; mâ‛ōz, on the contrary, is a derivative of ‛âzaz, to be strong. The suffixes of שׂריו (his princes) and מלאכיו (his ambassadors) are supposed by Hitzig, Ewald, and Knobel, who take a different view of what is said, to refer to the princes and ambassadors of Pharaoh. But this is by no means warranted on the ground that the prophet cannot so immediately transfer to Zoan and Hanes the ambassadors of Judah, who were still on their journey according to Isaiah 30:2. The prophet's vision overleaps the existing stage of the desire for this alliance; he sees the great men of his nation already suing for the favour of Egypt, first of all in Zoan, and then still further in Hanes, and at once foretells the shameful termination of this self-desecration of the people of Jehovah. The lxx give for יגיעוּ חנּס, μάτην κοπιάσουσιν, i.e., ייגעוּ סהנּם, and Knobel approves this reading; but it is a misunderstanding, which only happens to have fallen out a little better this time than the rendering ὡς Δαυίδ given for כּדּוּר in Isaiah 29:3. If chinnâm had been the original reading, it would hardly have entered any one's mind to change it into chânēs. The latter was the name of a city on an island of the Nile in Central Egypt, the later Heracleopolis (Eg. Hnēs; Ehnēs), the Anysis of Herodotus (ii. 137). On Zoan, see at Isaiah 19:11. At that time the Tanitic dynasty was reigning, the dynasty preceding the Ethiopian. Tanis and Anysis were the two capitals. הבאישׁ ( equals היבשׁ equals ( ה, a metaplastic hiphil of יבשׁ equals בּושׁ, a different word from יבשׁ) is incorrectly pointed for הבאישׁ, like ריאשׁנה (keri) for ראישׁנה in Joshua 21:10. הבאישׁ signifies elsewhere, "to make stinking" (to calumniate, Proverbs 13:5), or "to come into ill odour" (1 Samuel 27:12); here, however, it means to be put to shame (בּאשׁ equals בּושׁ).
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