Jeremiah 23:21
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Yet they ran.—The image is that of messengers who rush eagerly, as from the king’s council-chamber, on their self-appointed mission, without waiting for the command of the Master in whose name they profess to come. (Comp. the question, “Who will go for us?in Isaiah 6:8.)

Jeremiah 23:21-22. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran — They were always ready to bring you pleasing tidings as from me, though I had given them no commission so to do, or revealed any thing to them. But if they had stood in my counsel — Been made acquainted by me with my will and pleasure; and had caused my people to hear my words — And not their own conceits and inventions; then they should have turned therefrom their evil way — This was the design of all God’s messages by his prophets, and therefore all true prophets made this their principal aim. And the giving encouragement to men to continue in their sinful courses, or in a state of carnal security, is often mentioned as a mark of a false 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.Ran - i. e., hurried to take upon them the responsibilites of the prophetic office. 21. sent … spoken—"sent" refers to the primary call: "spoken" to the subsequent charges given to be executed. A call is required, not only external, on the part of men, but also internal from God, that one should undertake a pastor's office [Calvin]. No text from Poole on this verse. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran,.... They might be sent of men, and be encouraged by them; but they were not sent of God: it is not only necessary that men employed in religious affairs should have an external call, in an orderly way, from the church of God; but also an internal call from the Lord himself; he qualifying them with gifts, putting his word into their mouths, and inclining their hearts to publish it; see Hebrews 5:4; but these false prophets had no mission nor commission from the Lord, nor were they sent on any errand, or with any message from him; and

yet they ran; showed great diligence and zeal, and made haste to tell the people what the Lord had never said to them, but what were the warm imaginations of their own heads and hearts; they ran a race or course of ministry, but it was not good, as in Jeremiah 23:10. The Targum adds,

"to do evil:''

I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied; wherefore what they prophesied was not the word of the Lord, but what they themselves devised; and so was what was false, as the Targum adds: it is a sad character of men when they speak in public neither by the will of God, nor according to the word of God.

I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21–24. See introd. summary to section. Here we again take up the thought of Jeremiah 23:18.Verses 21, 22. - In vers. 17-20 Jeremiah has shown that these cannot be true prophets, because their message is diametrically opposed to the true revelation. He now proves it from the absence of any moral effect from their preaching. To 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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