Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?
I. THE PEOPLE ADDRESSED. The visible Church, who lived in the typical land of promise, and under the Old Testament dispensation. It was declared or delivered, by the prophet from God, toward the close of the Babylonish captivity and exile. The "fathers" are represented as including those with whom the Lord had been sore displeased, and the people addressed are their descendants in the flesh, who inherited from their births their evil nature, were encompassed with their high privileges, and laden with their proportionate responsibilities. The "prophets" appear to signify those really sent of God, who spake His true Word, and no vision out of their own hearts.
II. THE INTENTION OR OBJECT OF THE QUESTIONS PROPOSED. The inquiry is not after the existence of the absent "fathers." It doth not touch the truth of the immortality of the souls of the prophets. It regards the mortal existence of both the fathers and the prophets on earth. The inquiry calls a fact to the recollection of the people addressed, which relates to their immediate or remote ancestors. "Where are they?" Not with you now, to influence you. The Church is suffering the loss of the benefit of their labours. The questions are put for the health and profit of the souls of the hearers, or for their greater condemnation, if they will not receive warning.
III. THE PERMANENT USE OF THE RECORD, AS GOD SPEAKS BY IT TO US, AND IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. We have been a highly favoured people, and we have long possessed manifold means and privileges, of a religious and spiritual nature; and in many cases, it is trusted, have, through distinguishing and sovereign grace, derived from the use of them profit unto eternal salvation. Let us make these inquiries matter of admonition for comfort and profit.
(William Borrows, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?