Jeremiah 23:14
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
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(14) They commit adultery, and walk in lies . . .—The union of the claim to prophesy in the name of Jehovah with these flagrant breaches of His law was more hateful in the prophet’s eyes even than the open recognition of Baal. In the terrible language of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:10), prophets and people had become like the dwellers in the cities of the plain. Here, also, the language of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 29:23; Deuteronomy 32:32) probably influenced that of the prophet.

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.Rather, "But in the prophets of Jerusalem" etc. Their conduct is more strongly condemned than that of the Baal-priests.

They strengthen ... - First by neglecting to warn and rebuke sinners: secondly by the direct influence of their bad example.

They are all of them - They have become, "all of them," i. e., the people of Jerusalem, and not the prophets only.

14. "Jerusalem" and Judah were even worse than "Samaria" and the ten tribes; the greater were the privileges of the former, the greater was their guilt. They had the temple in their midst, which the ten tribes had not; yet in the temple itself they practised idolatry.

strengthen … hands of evildoers—(Eze 13:22).

as Sodom—(De 32:32; Isa 1:10).

An horrible thing; the word signifies

filthiness, stench, or an abominable thing, things every whit as bad, in some kind worse, than what I saw in the prophets of the ten tribes.

They commit adultery; they commit not spiritual adultery only, but carnal adultery, they are whoremongers.

And walk in lies; and they make it their business to instil falsehoods into people, and entitle me to them; and this is their trade, not a single act, but their ordinary practice.

They strengthen also the hands of evil-doers, that none doth return from his wickedness: this is the great aggravation of the sin of those that occupy the place of spiritual guides, that they encourage profane men, either by their false doctrine, extenuating sin, and putting a fair gloss upon them; or at least by their mealy mouths fearing or forbearing to tell sinners of their wicked courses; or by their wicked examples, the most of people thinking they may do what their teachers do, by which means sinners, instead of being brought to a sense of their sins, and a repentance for them, are hardened in their wicked courses. By this means all of them, either of their prophets and priests, or all of the people, (the first seemeth chiefly here intended,) are become to me as contemptible and abominable as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah: though they were the sons of Aaron, and of the priestly order, yet living lewd lives, and acting quite contrary to the end of their holy calling, God declares himself to value them no more than as the vilest of men, such were the Sodomites. Or by those words God threatens that he would destroy them with as notorious a destruction as he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Thus the comparison is used Isaiah 1:9, and consonant to this are the words in the next verse.

I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing,.... Or "but", or "so have I seen", &c. as before observed; even in the prophets of Jerusalem, where the temple was, and where the pure worship of God was professed to be observed, and that now, at the present time; as he had formerly seen and observed what was foolish, ridiculous, and impious, in the prophets of the ten tribes, and had punished them for it; so now at this instant he sees that in the prophets of Judea which was enough to make a man's hair stand an end, as the word (u) signifies; or, as it may be derived from another root, what was "filthy" (w) and obscene; as follows:

they commit adultery; or, "in committing adultery" (x); with their neighbours' wives; for this rather than idolatry or spiritual adultery seems to be meant:

and walk in lies; or, "walking in lies" (y); constantly speaking lies in their common talk and conversation; so that they were not to be believed in anything they said; which was monstrous; and delivering out false doctrines in the name of the Lord, pretending they received them from him; which was worse than prophesying in the name of Baal:

they strengthen also the hands of evil doers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they hardened them in sin; partly by their false doctrines, extenuating their sins, putting a false gloss upon them, and promising them peace, though they lived in sin; and partly by their own wicked examples; the people concluding that what the prophets did they might do also; so that they never thought of repentance for their sins, or amendment of their lives; but went on in sin without remorse or reformation; not thinking anything about it, and not seeing any need of it; see Ezekiel 13:22;

they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah; the prophets were all of them in God's account as the men of Sodom; who were exceeding great sinners before the Lord, daring and impudent in sinning; and the people, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that were led by them into the same wicked sentiments and practices, were like unto Gomorrah; and as they were like to them in sinning, So they would be in punishment; or a like punishment would be inflicted upon the prophets and people of Jerusalem as were upon Sodom and Gomorrah; see Isaiah 1:9.

(u) a "pilus". (w) "Turpitudinem", Munster, Montanus. (x) "adulterando", Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt. (y) "et eundo in mendacio", Schmidt; "et ambulando in falsitate", Junius & Tremellius.

I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem {k} an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them {l} to me as Sodom, and the inhabitants of it as Gomorrah.

(k) They who should have profited by my rods against Samaria, are become worse than they.

(l) Though to the world they seem holy fathers, yet I detest them as I did these abominable cities.

14. all of them] the prophets and their hearers alike.

thereof] of Jerusalem.

Verse 14. - I have seen also, etc.; rather, But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen. Horrible; as in Jeremiah 5:30. They commit adultery, etc.; literally, the committing adultery and the walking in lies - a much more forcible way of putting it. They are all of them; rather, They have become all of them; vie. either the prophets or the people in general. The inhabitants thereof; viz. of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 23:14To display the vileness of the prophets, these are parallelized with the prophets of Samaria. The latter did foolishly (תּפלה, prop. of that which is unsalted, insipid, Job 6:6, hence irrational, insulsum), since they prophesied, being inspired by Baal the no-god, and by such prophesying led the people into error; cf. 1 Kings 18:19. Much more horrible is the conduct of the prophets of Jerusalem, who commit adultery, walk in lying, and strengthen the wicked in their wickedness, not merely by their delusive pretences (cf. Jeremiah 23:17, Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 14:13), but also by their immoral lives, so that no one turns from his wickedness, cf. Ezekiel 13:22. לבלתּי is here and in Jeremiah 27:18, as in Exodus 20:20, construed, contrary to the usage everywhere else, not with the infin., but with the verb. fin. As the prophets, instead of converting the wicked, only confirmed them in their sins, therefore all the inhabitants of Judah or Jerusalem are become as corrupt as Sodom and Gomorrah. "They all" are not the prophets, but the inhabitants of Judah or Jerusalem; and "the inhabitants thereof" are those of the capital, cf. Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10. On the seducers the Lord will therefore inflict punishment, because impiousness has gone forth from them over the whole land. With the punishment threatened in Jeremiah 23:15, cf. Jeremiah 9:14.
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