Jeremiah 23:18
For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The counsel.—Better, perhaps, the council, the “assembly” of chosen friends with whom a man shares his secret plans. So in Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:17; Psalm 89:7, “assembly.” Could any of the false prophets say that they had thus been called as into the privy council of Jehovah? (Comp. Amos 3:7; 1Kings 22:19-23.)

Jeremiah 23:18. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord? — These are either the words of God expressing that none of these pretended prophets knew any thing of his designs, as he had not revealed them unto them, and they could not otherwise know them; or else they are to be understood as the words of these false prophets, who, among other things, told the people, that God’s counsels were not to be absolutely known; and that therefore neither Jeremiah, nor the rest of the prophets, who foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, were informed more than others of what God intended to do.

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.The prophet now applies this test to the circumstances of the times. A whirlwind has already gone forth Jeremiah 23:19. Had these false prophets stood in God's secret "Council" (so in Jeremiah 23:22), they like Jeremiah would have labored to avert the danger by turning men from their evil way. 18. A reason is given why the false prophets should not be heeded: They have not stood in the counsels of Jehovah (an image from ministers present in a standing posture at councils of Eastern kings) (compare Jer 23:22; Job 15:8). The spiritual man alone has the privilege (Ge 18:17; Ps 25:14; Am 3:7; Joh 15:15; 1Co 2:16). Who besides us hath known

the counsel of the Lord? arrogating to themselves a fellowship and acquaintance with the mind and will of God. Or, (which I should rather judge the sense,) Which of those prophets, that prophesy such terrible things against this city, is a privy-counsellor to God? The words seem rather to be the words of the false prophets, either arrogating to themselves a peculiar acquaintance with God and fellowship with him, from whence they knew his mind, or mocking at Jeremiah, and other true prophets, as arrogating to themselves such a knowledge of the mind and counsels of God as indeed they had not, than (as some think) the words of Jeremiah denying them to have stood in God’s counsels, or to have known his mind and will. This in all ages hath been the practice of corrupt prophets and ministers, to charge those servants of God who have faithfully published the will of God against sinners as making too bold with God’s secret counsels, though they publish nothing but God’s revealed will.

For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord,.... These are either the words of the Prophet Jeremiah; signifying that none of the false prophets were of God's privy council, or were acquainted with his secrets, that they could tell the people they should have peace, and no evil come upon them; this they said, not from divine revelation, but from the imagination of their own hearts; for though the Lord does nothing but he reveals it to his servants, the prophets; yet not to men of such bad principles and wicked lives as they were: or rather these are the words of the false prophets; either taking this to themselves, that they were of God's privy council, and knew his secrets, and ask who were besides themselves; or else insulting the prophets of the Lord, as though they took too much upon them to threaten the people with captivity and destruction, as if they were in the secret of the most High, and his privy counsellors; but that they thought themselves in such a situation seems to be the sense, from Jeremiah 23:22;

and hath perceived and heard his word? or, "hath seen and heard his word?" (a) seen a vision from him, and "heard" the word from his mouth, declaring the above things? or "seen" what was in his heart, what he purposed and designed to do; and "heard" what he said he would do?

who hath marked his word, and heard it? listened and attended to it, and obeyed it? not the false prophets, but the true ones; as the Targum of the whole is,

"for they stood not (or rose not up) that the secret from before the Lord might be revealed to them; and they saw not, nor heard his words; nor did they hearken to his word, nor receive;''

or obey; understanding this of the false prophets.

(a) "et vidit", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "qui videat", Schmidt.

For {p} who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

(p) Thus they derided Jeremiah as though the word of God was not revealed to him, so also spoke Zedekiah to Micaiah, 1Ki 22:24.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. who hath stood, etc.] not meaning that Jeremiah himself had not been admitted to the council of Jehovah, but, as the context sufficiently shews, that this had been denied to the false prophets. Cp. Jeremiah 23:16. Duhm, making the whole passage (see above) to be a 2nd cent. b.c. insertion, holds the writer to be a sober-minded person of that date rebuking those who describe in their writings apocalyptic visions, as beheld by them, “giving themselves out to be as Enoch” of old. But even if that date could be upheld, no writer would then have used words condemning the accepted and the false prophets alike.

council] a conclave or gathering of His familiar friends. To this, Jeremiah says, true prophets have access. See on Amos 3:7 (Driver) in C.B.

my word] less well, his word, as suggested in mg.

Verse 18. - For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord; rather, in the council. This verse is connected with ver. 16; it gives the reason why the false prophets were not to be listened to. None of them had been admitted to the secret council of the Lord; the interrogation is here a form of denial. "To stand in the council" is not the same as "to sit" (Psalm 1:1); the latter phrase implies taking an active part in the consultations. It is specially applicable to the true prophets, according to ver. 22, and this, as we gather from other passages, m a twofold sense. Sometimes the prophets had visions, in which their inner eye was granted a sight of Jehovah in consultation with his trusted servants (Isaiah 6:1, comp. 8; 1 Kings 22:19); and the words of Eliphaz, "Weft thou listening in the council of God?" (Job 15:8), appear to be descriptive of a similar experience. But the phrase may also be used in a wider sense of entirely unecstatic revelations. Amos says (Amos 3:7), "Surely the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret counsel unto his servants the prophets; ' and a psalmist extends the term "secret counsel" to the communion which God grants to the pious in general (Psalm 25:14; comp. Proverbs 3:32). Thus there is no hard and-fast line between the experiences of the prophets and those of humbler believers. In so far as the latter are "disciples of Jehovah" (Isaiah 54:13), they too may be truly said to "stand," at least in the doorway, "in the council of Jehovah;" just as a well-known collect inherited from the Latin Church beseeches that "by God's holy inspiration we may think those things that he good." Who hath marked his word? A Jewish tradition, represented by the marginal notes in the Hebrew Bible, has taken offence at this variation in the expression, and would correct the reading to "my word." But such changes of person are of frequent occurrence, and we know that the prophets were thoroughly assured that the word which they spoke was not theirs, but that of him who sent them. Jeremiah 23:18Warning against the lying prophecies of the prophets. - Jeremiah 23:16. "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you! They deceive you; a vision of their heart they speak, not out of the mouth of Jahveh. Jeremiah 23:17. They say still unto my despisers: 'Jahveh hath spoken: Peace shall ye have;' and unto every one that walketh in the stubbornness of his heart they say: 'There shall no evil come upon you.' Jeremiah 23:18. For who hath stood in Jahveh's counsel, that he might have seen and heard His word? who hath marked my word and heard it? Jeremiah 23:19. Behold a tempest from Jahveh, fury goeth forth, and eddying whirlwind shall hurl itself upon the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 23:20. The anger of God shall not turn till He have done and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart. At the end of the days shall ye be well aware of this. Jeremiah 23:21. I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. Jeremiah 23:22. But if they had stood in my counsel, they would publish my words to my people and bring them back from their evil way and from the evil of their doings."

The warning against these prophets is founded in Jeremiah 23:16 on the fact that they give out the thoughts of their own hearts to be divine revelation, and promise peace and prosperity to all stiff-necked sinners. מהבּלים, lit., they make you vain, i.e., make you to yield yourselves to vain delusion, seduce you to false confidence. This they do by their speaking visions, i.e., revelations of their heart, not what God has spoken, revealed to them. As an illustration of this, Jeremiah 23:17 tells that they prophesy continued peace or well-being to the despisers of God. The infin. abs. אמור after the verb. fin. intimates the duration or repetition of the thing. דּבּר יהוה are words of the false prophets, with which they give out that their prophesyings are God's word. Since we nowhere else find sayings of Jahveh introduced by דּבּר יהוה, but usually by 'כּה אמר י, the lxx have taken offence at that formula, and, reading דבר, join the words with למנאצי: τοῖς ἀπωθουμένοις τὸν λόγον κυρίου. To this reading Hitz. and Gr. give the preference over the Masoretic; but they have not noticed that they thus get an unsuitable sense. For דבר יהוה in prophetic language never denotes the Mosaic law or the "moral law" (Hitz.), but the word of God published by the prophets. By their view of "word of Jahveh" they would here obtain the self-inconsistent thought: to the despisers of divine revelation they proclaim as revelation. The Masoretic reading is clearly right; and Jeremiah chose the unusual introductory formula to distinguish the language of the pseudo-prophets from that of the true prophets of the Lord. וכל־הלך ב' is prefixed absolutely: and as concerning every one that walks...they say, for: and to every one...they say. On the "stubbornness of their heart," see on Jeremiah 3:17. With the speech of the false prophets, cf. Jeremiah 14:13 and Jeremiah 6:14. - In Jeremiah 23:18 a more comprehensive reason is given to show that these prophets are not publishing God's decrees. The question: Who hath stood? has negative force equals None hath stood. By this Jeremiah does not deny the possibility of this universally, but only of the false prophets (Hitz.). This limitation of the words is suggested by the context. To the true prophets the Lord reveals His סוד, Amos 3:7. ויראוישׁמע are not to be taken jussively: let him see and hear (Hitz.), for the foregoing interrogation is not a conditional clause introducing a command. The imperfects with ו are clauses of consequence or design, and after a preceding perfect should be rendered in English by the conditional of the pluperfect. Seeing the word of God refers to prophetic vision. The second question is appended without at all conveying any inference from what precedes; and in it the second verb (with ו consec.) is simply a strengthening of the first: who hath hearkened to my word and heard it? The Masoretes have quite unnecessarily changed the Chet. דּברי .tehC into דּברו. In the graphic representation of the prophets, the transition to the direct speech of God, and conversely, is no unusual thing. The change of ויּשׁמע into ישׁמע, unnecessary and even improper as it is, is preferred by Graf and Ng., inasmuch as they take the interrogative מי in both clauses in the sense of quisquis and understand the verse thus: He who has but stood in the counsel of the Lord, let him see and hear His word (i.e., he must see and hear His word); and he that hath marked my word, let him publish it (i.e., he must publish it). This exposition becomes only then necessary, if we leave the context out of view and regard the question as being to the effect that no one has stood in God's counsel - which Jeremiah could not mean. Not to speak of the change of the text necessary for carrying it through, this view does not even give a suitable sense. If the clause: He that has stood in the counsel of the Lord, he must proclaim His word, is to be regarded as having a demonstrative force, then the principal idea must be supplied, thus namely: "and it is impossible that it should be favourable to those who despise it." In Jeremiah 23:19 Jeremiah publishes a real word of the Lord, which sounds very differently from the words of the false prophets. A tempest from Jahveh will burst over the heads of the evil-doers, and the wrath of God will not cease until it has accomplished the divine decree. "A tempest from Jahveh" is defined by "fury" in apposition as being a manifestation of God's wrath; and the whole first clause is further expanded in the second part of the verse. The tempest from Jahveh goes forth, i.e., breaks out, and as whirling tornado or eddying whirlwind bursts over the head of the wicked. יחוּל is to be taken in accordance with מתחולל: twist, whirl, cf. 2 Samuel 3:29. "The thoughts of His heart" must not be limited to what God has decreed de interitu populi (Calv.); it comprehends God's whole redemptive plan in His people's regard-not merely the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah, but also the purification of the people by means of judgments and the final glorification of His kingdom. To this future the next clause points: at the end of the days ye shall have clear knowledge of this. "The end of the days" is not merely the completion of the period in which we now are (Hitz., Gr. Ng., etc.), but, as universally, the end of the times, i.e., the Messianic future, the last period of the world's history which opens at the close of the present aeon; see on Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14, etc. התבּונן is strengthened by בּינה yb dene: attain to insight, come to clearer knowledge.

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