14. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
14. Et dixit Jehova mihi, Mendacium prophetae prophetant in nomine meo; non misi eos, et non praecepi illis, et non loquutus sum cum illis: visionem mendacii (hoc est, mendacem) et divinationem et vanitatem (vel, rem nihili) et fraudem cordis sui ipsi prophetant vobis.
We now see more clearly why the Prophet related his own complaint, and also his astonishment, of which God alone had been the witness, and that was, that the people might be more attentive to his warning. For had he only said, "The prophets deceive you, and God would have this to be made known to you," his address would not have been so powerful, as when this question precedes, "Lord God, what is this? the prophets promise peace to this people, and forbid them to fear pestilence and war." As then the Prophet had set forth this according to his own view and the common view of the whole people, the answer, as I have said, becomes more forcible, and more easily penetrates into the mind. God then gives this answer,
He afterwards adds,
He says first, that they were not sent, for they obtruded themselves. Hence a call is necessary, for God would not have disorder and confusion in his ChurJeremiah It is indeed true that the call of Jeremiah was extraordinary; for when the state of the Church was rightly formed, the chief priest was the teacher of religion and true doctrine, who was now the adversary of God's faithful servant. There were indeed some, like Amos, who were taken from the common people; yet there were none more fit for the prophetic office than the priests, for they were, as Malachi says, the messengers of the God of hosts. (Malachi 2:4, 7) But when they became degenerate, God, in order to reproach them, raised up other prophets from obscure vinages and from the common people. It was then sometimes an interior call only; but when the Church was duly formed, a regular outward call was also necessary. However this may have been, it is certain that such as were not called by God, falsely and wickedly pretended to have his authority, being both without the outward call and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is the first thing.
It then follows,
But the third mark, which is added, is still more clear: God says, that he had not spoken to them; for he thus intimates that no voice but his ought to be heard in the ChurJeremiah Why then does he bid honor and reverence to be payed to his prophets? Even because they bring nothing but what he has delivered. We hence see how God allows men no power of their own to rule in his Church; but he will have obedience to be rendered to himself, so that their duty is faithfully to declare what he has committed to them. Therefore as to the command, it refers to what was particular; but when he says, I have not spoken to them, what was general is intended; it is the same as though he had said, that it was not lawful nor right for prophets and teachers to bring forward anything but what they had received from beaven.
Hence he concludes, that they spoke
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou dealest so kindly with us as daily to shew to us our sins and to exhort us to repent, and teachest us that thou art ready to give us forgiveness, -- O grant, that we may not be of a refractory mind, nor flee away from thee, while thou so kindly invitest us to thyself, but learn seasonably to repent, and be touched with the fear of thy judgment, so that we may truly and from the heart seek that reconciliation, which has been procured for us by the blood of thine only -- begotten Son; and as we can bring nothing of our own, may we submissively humble ourselves before thee, and also by faith embrace the gift of thine only -- begotten Son. -- Amen.
1 I render the verse as follows, --
14. And Jehovah said to me, -- Falsehood do the prophets prophesy in my name; I have not sent them, nor given them a command, Nor have I spoken to them: A vision of the fidsehood and divination, And vanity and delusion of their own heart, Do these of themselves prophesy to you.
God had not sent them, the final act; he had given them no command or commission, the preceding act; he had not spoken to them, the first act. God first speaks, then gives a commission, and afterwards sends forth his servants. The vision the false prophets had was that of the falsehood of their own heart, of the divination, of the vanity, and of the delusion of their own heart. Such seems to be the meaning given by the Septuagint and the Vulgate. It was the lying vision of their own heart, it was the divination or the presage, the vanity, and the delusion of their own heart. The word for "prophesy" in the last line is in Hitthpael; and hence "of themselves" is added.
Blayney gives a different view; his version is, --
A false vision, and divination, and vanity, And the guile of their own heart, do these prophesy unto you.
He considers "a false vision" to be an imaginary revelation; "divination," to be something discovered by that art; "vanity," to be the oracular response of an idol; and "guile," to be the fraudulent suggestion of their own heart.
But the simplest exposition is what I have stated: The vision, being that of their own heart, was false; it was their own divination or prognostication; it was worthless, vain, and empty; it was the effect of their own delusion. This was the character of what they prophesied. We may render the words thus, --
The false vision and the divination And the vanity and the delusion of their own heart, Do these of themselves prophesy to you.-- Ed.
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