Jeremiah 10:21
For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
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(21) The pastors.—The “shepherds,” used, as in Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 3:15, and elsewhere, of rulers generally, rather than of priests as such.

Therefore they shall not prosper.—Better, therefore they have not done wisely. This is the primary meaning of the word (that of prosperity, as the result of prudence, the secondary), and is adopted by the LXX., Vulg., and most other versions.

All their flocks.—Literally, all their pasture, the place, or the act, of pasturing, taken practically for the sheep that fed on it.

Jeremiah 10:21-22. For the pastors are become brutish — The prophet pursues the foregoing metaphor, and says, that the reason why the tents are destroyed, is because the shepherds, meaning the governors, both civil and ecclesiastical, had, like so many brute creatures, forgotten God and their duty to him, and thereby engaged the people committed to their charge in idolatry, and in all manner of wickedness, which had ended in ruin to themselves and their flocks. And have not sought the Lord — Have neither made their peace with him nor addressed their prayers to him; they have had no eye to him and his providence in their management of affairs, have neither acknowledged the judgment nor expected the deliverance to come from his hand. Observe well, reader, those are brutish people that do not seek the Lord, that live without prayer and without God in the world: they are unworthy of the name of rational beings. But the state of a people is indeed deplorable when their pastors, that should feed them with knowledge and understanding, are themselves thus brutish. And what is the consequence? Therefore they shall not prosper — None of their attempts for the public safety shall succeed. How, indeed, can those expect to prosper who do not take God along with them in their ways? And when the pastors are brutish, what else can be expected but that all their flocks should be scattered? for if the blind lead the blind both will fall into the ditch. Behold, the noise of the bruit is come — The word bruit here signifies noise, or rumour, which is the meaning of the Hebrew, שׁמועה. This is explained in the following clause to be that of the tumultuary invasion of the country by the Chaldeans from the north, of which notice had been repeatedly given. Blaney translates the verse, Hark! a noise! Behold, it advanceth, even a great commotion from the north country. To make the cities of Judah a desolation, a dwelling-place for dragons.10:17-25 The Jews who continued in their own land, felt secure. But, sooner or later, sinners will find all things as the word of God has declared, and that its threatenings are not empty terrors. Submission will support the believer under every grief allotted to him; but what can render the load of Divine vengeance easy to be borne by those who fall under it in sullen despair? Those cannot expect to prosper, who do not, by faith and prayer, take God with them in all their ways. The report of the enemy's approach was very dreadful. Yet the designs which men lay deep, and think well formed, are dashed to pieces in a moment. Events are often overruled, so as to be quite contrary to what we intended and expected. If the Lord has directed our steps into the ways of peace and righteousness, let us entreat him to enable us to walk therein. Say not, Lord, do not correct me; but, Lord, do not correct me in anger. We may bear the smart of God's rod, but we cannot bear the weight of his wrath. Those who restrain prayer, prove that they know not God; for those who know him will seek him, and seek his favour. If even severe corrections lead sinners to be convinced of wholesome truths, they will have abundant cause for gratitude. And they will then humble themselves before the Lord.Therefore they shall not prosper - Rather, "therefore they have not governed wisely." "The pastors," i. e., the kings and rulers Jeremiah 2:8, having sunk to the condition of barbarous and untutored men, could not govern wisely.21. pastors—the rulers, civil and religious. This verse gives the cause of the impending calamity. The pastors are become brutish; not that the prophet takes off all blame from the people, but that he layeth it chiefly upon the rulers of church and state; for so is pastor taken frequently. See Jeremiah 23:1-3,

And have not sought the Lord; not sought unto him, and taken him into their counsels.

Therefore they shall not prosper: the prophet gives the reason why nothing went well with them, namely, because there was no regard had to godliness, without which we cannot expect a blessing upon any thing.

All their flocks shall be scattered, i.e. all that have been committed to their care shall be carried unto Babylon, and divers of them dispersed abroad into several countries for their sakes. For the pastors are become brutish,.... The "kings" of Judah, so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, as Jehoiakim and Zedekiah; though it need not be restrained to these only, but may include all inferior civil magistrates, and even all ecclesiastical rulers, who were the shepherds of the people; but these being like the brute beasts, and without understanding of civil and religious things, and not knowing how to govern the people either in a political or ecclesiastical way, were the cause of their ruin.

And have not sought the Lord; this is an instance of their brutishness and stupidity, and opens the source of all their mistakes and misfortunes; they did not seek the Lord for counsel, by whom kings reign well, and princes decree justice; nor doctrine from the Lord, as the Targum, as the priests and prophets should have done, in order to instruct the people, and feed them with knowledge and understanding; nor did either of them seek the glory of God in what they did, but their own interest, worldly advantage, or applause:

therefore they shall not prosper; in their kingdom, and in the several offices and stations in which they were. Some render the words, "therefore they do not act prudently" (b); not consulting the Lord, nor warning the people, nor giving them notice of approaching danger:

and all their flocks shall be scattered; the people of the Jews that were under their government, civil or ecclesiastical, should be dispersed in several nations, and especially in Chaldee; wherefore it follows:

(b) "non egerunt prudenter", Vatablus, Tigurine version; "non intellexerunt", Pagninus, Montanus.

For the shepherds {n} have become senseless, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

(n) The governors and ministers.

21. shepherds] See on Jeremiah 2:8.Verse 21. - The pastors; i.e. the civil authorities (see on Jeremiah 2:8). They shall not prosper; rather, they have not prospered; or, better still, they have not acted wisely, the notion of prospering being rather suggested than expressed (the same word is used in Isaiah lit. 13). In presence of such marvels of divine power and wisdom, all men seem brutish and ignorant (away from knowledge equals without knowledge), and all makers of idols are put to shame "because of the image" which they make for a god, and which is but a deception, has no breath of life. נסך, prop. drink-offering, libamen, cf. Jeremiah 7:15; here molten image equals מסּכה, as in Isaiah 41:29; Isaiah 48:5; Daniel 11:8. Vanity they are, these idols made by the goldsmith. A work of mockings, i.e., that is exposed to ridicule when the nullity of the things taken to be gods is clearly brought to light. Others: A work which makes mockery of its worshippers, befools and deludes them (Hitz., Ng.). In the time of their visitation, cf. Jeremiah 6:15.
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