Jeremiah 23:37
Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) Thus shalt thou say to the prophet . . .—The verse repeats Jeremiah 23:35, with the one difference that men are to use this, the simpler form of language, when they come to the prophet, as well as when they are speaking one to another. The affectation of big words was equally out of place in either case. In modern phraseology, the whole passage is a protest against the hypocrisy which shows itself in cant—i.e., in the use of solemn words that have become hollow and unmeaning.

23:33-40 Those are miserable indeed who are forsaken and forgotten of God; and men's jesting at God's judgments will not baffle them. God had taken Israel to be a people near to him, but they shall now be cast out of his presence. It is a mark of great and daring impiety for men to jest with the words of God. Every idle and profane word will add to the sinner's burden in the day of judgment, when everlasting shame will be his portion.Every man's word ... - Rather, every man's burden shall be his word; i. e., his mocking use of the word "burden" shall weigh him down and crush him.

Perverted - i. e., put into a ridiculous light.

36. every man's word … his burden—As they mockingly call all prophecies burdens, as if calamities were the sole subject of prophecy, so it shall prove to them. God will take them at their own word.

living God—not lifeless as their dumb idols, ever living so as to be able to punish.

Thus shalt thou say to the prophet; to my true prophet. You shall speak to them reverently, and as becometh you.

Thus shall thou say to the prophet,.... To Jeremiah, or any true prophet of the Lord; after the following manner should everyone address him, that made any inquiry of the will of the Lord by him:

what hath the Lord answered thee? and what hath the Lord spoken? this is repeated from Jeremiah 23:35; for the confirmation of it, and for the direction of the people, and to show how much the Lord approved of such a way of behaving towards his prophet, and himself by him.

Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jeremiah 23:37A rebuke of their mockery at Jeremiah's threatening predictions. - Jeremiah 23:33. "And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest ask thee, saying: What is the burden of Jahveh? then say to them: What the burden is - now I will cast you off, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 23:34. And the prophet, the priest, and the people that shall say: burden of Jahveh, on that man will I visit it and on his house. Jeremiah 23:35. Thus shall ye say each to the other, and each to his brother: What hath Jahveh answered, and what hath Jahveh spoken? Jeremiah 23:36. But burden of Jahveh shall ye mention no more, for a burden to every one shall his own word be; and ye wrest the words of the living God Jahveh of hosts, our God. Jeremiah 23:37. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet: What hath Jahveh answered thee, and what hath He spoken? Jeremiah 23:38. But if ye say: burden of Jahveh, therefore thus saith Jahveh: Because ye say this word: burden of Jahveh, and yet I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say: burden of Jahveh; Jeremiah 23:39. Therefore, behold, I will utterly forget you, and cast away from my face you and this city that I gave you and your fathers, Jeremiah 23:40. And will lay upon you everlasting reproach, and everlasting, never-to-be-forgotten disgrace."

The word משּׂא, from נשׂא, lift up, bear, sig. burden, and, like the phrase: lift up the voice, means a saying of weighty or dread import. The word has the latter sig. in the headings to the prophecies of threatening character; see on Nahum 1:1, where this meaning of the word in the headings is asserted, and the widespread opinion that it means effatum is refuted. Jeremiah's adversaries - as appears from these verses - used the word "burden" of his prophetic sayings by way of mockery, meaning burdensome prophecies, in order to throw ridicule on the prophet's speeches, by them regarded as offensive. Thus if the people, or a prophet, or a priest ask: What is the burden of Jahveh, i.e., how runs it, or what does it contain? he is to answer: The Lord saith: I will cast you off, i.e., disburden myself of you, as it were - the idea of "burden" being kept up in the answer to the question. The article on the word prophet is used to show that the word is used generally of the class of prophets at large. The את in the answering clause is nota accus., the following phrase being designedly repeated from the question; and hence the unusual combination את־מה. The sense is: as regards the question what the burden is, I will cast you away. There is no reason to alter the text to fit the lxx translation: ὑμεῖς ἐστὲ τὸ λῆμμα, or Vulg.: vos estis onus, as Cappell., J. D. Mich., Hitz., Gr., etc., do. The lxx rendering is based, not on another reading, but on another division of the words, viz., אתם המשׂא. - In Jeremiah 23:34 the meaning of this answer is more fully explained. On every one that uses the word "burden" in this sneering way God will avenge the sneer, and not only on his person, but on his house, his family as well. In Jeremiah 23:35 they are told how they are to speak of prophecy. Jeremiah 23:36. They are no longer to make use of the phrase "burden of Jahveh," "for the burden shall his word be to each one," i.e., the word "burden" will be to each who uses it a burden that crushes him down. "And ye wrest," etc., is part of the reason for what is said: and ye have equals for ye have wrested the words of the living God. The clause is properly a corollary which tells what happens when they use the forbidden word.

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