Jeremiah 23:11
For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in my house have I found their wickedness, said the LORD.
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(11) In my house have I found their wickedness.—Prophet and priest are joined, as before (Jeremiah 5:31; Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10), as playing into each other’s hands. It seems probable, from Jeremiah 32:34, that the sins of Ahaz and Manasseh had been repeated under Jehoiakim, and that the worship of other gods had been carried on side by side with that of Jehovah. With this, almost as its natural accompaniment, there may have been sins of another kind—shameless greed or yet more shameless profligacy—like those of the sons of Eli (1Samuel 2:22).

Jeremiah 23:11-12. For both the prophet and the priest are profane — The priests, by their formality and hypocrisy, profaned the ordinances of God which they were appointed to administer; and the prophets, by their lies, false doctrine, and corrupt practice, profaned the word of God, which they pretended to deliver. Yea, in my house have I found their wickedness: saith the Lord — Even in my temple, where they assemble under a pretence to worship and do me honour, they say and do many things contrary to my law, and are guilty of various acts of profaneness and immorality. Such profaners of things sacred were formerly Hophni and Phinehas. Wherefore their way shall be as slippery ways — In which they shall not walk with any steadiness, safety, or satisfaction: or they shall fail and miscarry in all their designs.23:9-22 The false prophets of Samaria had deluded the Israelites into idolatries; yet the Lord considered the false prophets of Jerusalem as guilty of more horrible wickedness, by which the people were made bold in sin. These false teachers would be compelled to suffer the most bitter part of the Lord's indignation. They made themselves believe that there was no harm in sin, and practised accordingly; then they made others believe so. Those who are resolved to go on in evil ways, will justly be given up to believe strong delusions. But which of them had received any revelation of God, or understood any thing of his word? There was a time coming when they would reflect on their folly and unbelief with remorse. The teaching and example of the true prophets led men to repentance, faith, and righteousness. The false prophets led men to rest in forms and notions, and to be quiet in their sins. Let us take heed that we do not follow unrighteousness.For both prophet and priest are profane - While by their office they are consecrated to God, they have made themselves common and unholy by their sins. See Jeremiah 3:9 note.

Yea, in my house - This may refer to sins such as those of the sons of Eli 1 Samuel 2:22, or that they had defiled the temple by idolatrous rites.

11. profane—(Eze 23:39; Zep 3:4).

in my house—(Jer 7:30). They built altars to idols in the very temple (2Ki 23:12; Eze 8:3-16). Compare as to covetousness under the roof of the sanctuary, Mt 21:13; Joh 2:16.

Those whose work was to reveal the mind of God to the people, and who pretended to that office; and those that were employed in offering sacrifices, and other works which belonged to the priestly office, according to the law; the whole ecclesiastical order, all their ministry, were

profane; not merely hypocritical, but lewd, immoral, and debauched. Yea, they were grown to that impudence, that they made the temple, which was the Lord’s house, a den of thieves, a place where they committed

wickedness. Thus it was in the time of Eli, 1 Samuel 2:22, and more generally afterward, 2 Chronicles 36:14. See Jeremiah 7:10,11, and Jeremiah 23:14 of this chapter. There is no more certain sign of a ruining nation, than when God suffereth in it a lewd and corrupt ministry. For both prophet and priest are profane,.... Being guilty of the afore mentioned sins. The Targum is,

"the scribe and the priest;''

and such were the scribes and priests in the time of our Lord; they played "the hypocrite" (q), as some render the word here; and are often charged with the sin of hypocrisy, and called hypocrites, Matthew 22:18;

yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord; where they officiated in holy things, or should have done so; where the one should have instructed the people, and the other offered sacrifices for them, according to the will of God; there they committed wickedness, which was an aggravation of their sin, as was the case of Eli's sons, 1 Samuel 2:22; perhaps the same sin was committed by these men; or idolatry may be meant; setting up images, and building altars for them in the house of God; see Jeremiah 7:30; or carrying on traffic and merchandise, whereby the temple was made a house of merchandise, as it was in the times of Christ, John 2:14.

(q) "hypocritae fuerunt", Vatablus, Montanus; "hypocritas agunt", Piscator; "hypocrisin exercent", Schmidt, Cocceius.

For both prophet and priest are profane; even, in my {i} house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.

(i) My temple is full of their idolatry and superstitions.

11. in my house have I found their wickedness] Cp. Jeremiah 6:13, and see 2 Kings 21:5; 2 Kings 23:12.Verse 11. - Both prophet and priest are profane; i.e. are unholy, disobeying the Divine commands (see on Jeremiah 5:7). The same two important classes specified as in Jeremiah 6:13. Yea, in my house, etc. Evidently some sin specially incongruous with its locality is referred to, either idolatry (comp. Jeremiah 7:30) or the totemistic worship of figures of animals (Ezekiel 8:10, 11). Comp. note on Jeremiah 5:7. When the Lord shall gather His people out of the dispersion, then will He raise up shepherds over them who will so feed them that they shall no longer need to fear or to be dismayed before enemies who might be strong enough to subjugate, slay, and carry them captive. The figurative expressions are founded on the idea that the sheep, when they are neglected by the shepherds, are torn and devoured by wild beasts; cf. Ezekiel 34:8. They shall not be lacking; cf. for נפקד with this force, 1 Samuel 25:7; in substance equals not be lost. לא יפּקדוּ is chosen with a view to לא פקדתּם אתם (Jeremiah 23:2): because the shepherds did not take charge of the sheep, therefore the sheep are scattered and lost. Hereafter this shall happen no more. The question as to how this promise is to be accomplished is answered by Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 23:6. The substance of these verses is indeed introduced by the phrase: behold, days come, as something new and important, but not as something not to happen till after the things foretold in Jeremiah 23:4. According to Jeremiah's usage throughout, that phrase does not indicate any progress in time as compared with what precedes, but draws attention to the weightiness of what is to be announced. There is also a suggestion of "the contrast between the hope and the existing condition of affairs, which does not itself justify that hope. However gloomy the present is, yet there is a time coming" (Hgstb.). The promise: I make to arise (raise up) to David a righteous branch, rests upon the promise, 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Chronicles 17:12 : I raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons-which the Lord will hereafter fulfil to David. Graf tries to show by many, but not tenable arguments, that צמח has here a collective force. That he is wrong, we may see from the passages Zechariah 3:8 and Zechariah 6:12, where the same "branch" foretold by Jeremiah is called the man whose name is צמח; and even without this we may discover the same from the context of the present passage, both from "He shall reign as king," and still more from: they shall call his name Jahveh Tsidkenu. Neither of these sayings can be spoken of a series of kings. Besides, we have the passages Jeremiah 30:9 and Ezekiel 34:23., Ezekiel 37:24, where the servant to be raised up to David by Jahveh is called "my servant David." Although then צמח has a collective force when it means a plant of the field, it by no means follows that "it has always a collective force" in its transferred spiritual signification. And the passage, Jeremiah 33:17, where the promise is explained by: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel (cf. Jeremiah 33:21), does not prove that the branch of David is a collective grouping together of all David's future posterity, but only that this one branch of David shall possess the throne for ever, and not, like mortal men, for a series of years only; 2 Samuel 7:16. צמח denotes the Messiah, and this title is formed from צמח, Isaiah 4:2 (see Del. on this passage). Nor does the mention of shepherds in the plural, Jeremiah 23:4, at all oppose this. An untenable rendering of the sense is: first I will raise up unto you shepherds, then the Messiah; or: better shepherds, inprimis unum, Messiam (Chr. B. Mich.). The two promises are not so to be joined. First we have the raising up of good shepherds, in contrast to the evil shepherds that have destroyed the people; then the promise is further explained to the effect that these good shepherds shall be raised up to David in the "righteous branch," i.e., in the promised "seed" of his sons. The good shepherds are contrasted with the evil shepherds, but are then summed up in the person of the Messiah, as being comprised therein. The relation of the good shepherds to the righteous branch is not so, that the latter is the most pre-eminent of the former, but that in that one branch of David the people should have given to them all the good shepherds needed for their deliverance. The Messiah does not correspond to the series of David's earthly posterity that sit upon his throne, in that He too, as second David, will also have a long series of descendants upon His throne; but in that His kingdom, His dominion, lasts for ever. In the parallel passage, Jeremiah 33:15, where the contrast to the evil shepherds is omitted, we therefore hear only of the one branch of David; so in Ezekiel 34, where only the one good shepherd, the servant of the Lord, David, stands in contrast to the evil shepherds (Jeremiah 23:23). Hence neither must we seek the fulfilment of our prophecy in the elevation of the Maccabees, who were not even of the race of David, nor understand, as Grot., Zerubbabel to be the righteous branch, but the Messiah, as was rightly understood by the Chald. He is צדּיק in contrast to the then reigning members of the house of David, and as He who will do right and justice in His realm; cf. Jeremiah 22:15, where the same is said of Josiah as contrasted with his ungodly son Jehoiakim. מלך is subjoined to מלך to bespeak His rule as kingship in the fullest sense of the word. Regnabit rex, i.e., magnifice regnabit, ut non tantum appareant aliquae reliquiae pristinae dignitatis, sed ut rex floreat et vigeat et obtineat perfectionem, qualis fuit sub Davide et Salomone ac multo praestantior (Calv.). השׂכּיל, deal prudently, rule wisely, as in Jeremiah 3:15, not: be fortunate, prosperous. Here the context demands the former rendering, the only one justified by usage, since the doing of right and justice is mentioned as the fruit and result of the השׂכיל. These words, too, point back to David, of whom it is in 2 Samuel 8:15 said, that he as king did right and justice to all his people.
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