26. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
26. Quosque erit in corde prophetarum prophetantium mendacium, et prophetarum doli cordis sui?
27. Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams, which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
27. Cogitantes ut faciant oblivisci populum meum nominis mei per somnia sua (vel, in somniis suis, ad verbum,) qua narrant quisque socio suo; quemadmodum obliti sunt patres eorum nominis mei in Baal.
Here God reproves the false prophets, and also promises to his people what was especially to be desired, -- that he would cleanse his Church from such pollutions. He then shews that it was his purpose to take vengeance, because the false prophets had dared in such an impious and bold manner to abuse his sacred name. For it ever occurred to their minds, "How is it that God permits this? Is it because he cares not for the safety of his people? or does it give him any delight when he sees truth mingled with falsehood, and light with darkness?" Hence God here shews that he for a time bore with that sacrilegious audacity which the false prophets practiced, but that he did not so connive at it as not at length to punish them.
He adds, that they were
And this ought to be carefully noticed; for there are many plausible refinements, in which there is nothing solid, but they are mere trifles. If, then, at any time these vain thoughts seem pleasing to us, let us bear in mind what Jeremiah says here, that whatever proceeds not from God is the
Then follows a clearer definition, that they
We have said elsewhere (Jeremiah 23:21) that their crime was twofold; first, they ran when not called nor sent; and secondly, they brought forward their own fancies and not the word of God. And this passage ought to be carefully noticed; for we here learn, that not only open defection cannot be endured by God, but also indirect depravations, which stealthily withdraw us from the fear of God. Then these two evils must be carefully avoided in the Church, if we desire to continue entire in our obedience to God. One evil is sufficiently known, that is, when truth is openly turned into falsehood, when men are drawn away into idolatry and filthy superstitions, or when the ancient people, as Jeremiah says, forgat the name of God through Baal. But the other evil is more hidden, and therefore more dangerous, that is, when some appearance of true religion is retained, and men are yet insidiously drawn away from the fear of God and his true worship, and from pure doctrine, as we see to be the case at this day in the Churches, which profess to have separated from the Papacy that they might embrace the doctrine of the Gospel: there are many among them who insidiously corrupt the simple and genuine doctrine of the Gospel. We see how many curious men there are at this time, who disturb all things by their own inventions, and how absurdly many seek refinements, and how confidently also do many propound their own inventions as oracles! It behoves us then to be watchful, not only that we may shun open abominations, but that we may also retain the pure and true word of God, so as not to allow false workers insidiously to corrupt and vitiate anything. It follows, --
1 Emendators have been very busy in correcting the first words in this verse, without the authority of any MSS., or of the early versions. When there is a meaning and a striking one, emendations, merely conjectural, are surely to be repudiated. Houbigant, Blayney, and Horsley, have their corrections, but we can do without them. What seems to have prompted conjectural emendations has been the
How long! -- Is it in the heart of these prophets, To be prophesying falsehood, And prophesying the deceit of their own hearts?
To be "in the heart" is to be resolved, to form a purpose or determination. See Isaiah 63:4. It is the same, as though it was said, "Are these prophets resolved?" To be "in the heart" means also to delight in a thing. See Psalm 40:8. The meaning then may be, "Is it the delight of these prophets?" etc. But the first sense is the most suitable. "How long!" is an exclamation of wonder at their perseverance in their wicked course. They had been often warned, and yet they continued. Then follows a question, whether it was their settled purpose to persevere in prophesying falsely? -- Ed.
2 Calvin begins this verse as our version, "Who think," etc. So the Sept.; the Vulg. is, "who seek (or wish), volunt." Blayney has, "who study." The verb means sometimes to contrive or to purpose a thing after counting the reasons for and against. It may be rendered here, "who design." The Syriac is, "whose counsel is." It was their design and intended object to make the people to forget God's name through their dreams. But how to forget his name? for they professed to announce their dreams in his name. God's name here evidently means his revealed name, himself as revealed in his word. -- Ed
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