1. Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
1. Audite hoc sacerdotes, et attendite domus, et domus regis auscultate, quia vobis judicam (hoc est, judicium in vos dirigitur) nam laqueus fuistis (hoc est, tanquam laqueus, sabaudienda est
The Prophet here again preaches against the whole people: but he mainly directs his discourse to the priests and the rulers; for they were the source of the prevailing evils: the priests, intent on gain, neglected the worship of God; and the chief men, as we have seen, were become in every way corrupt. Hence the Prophet here especially inveighs against these orders, and at the same time, records some vices which then prevailed among the people, and that through the fault of the priests and rulers. But before I pursue farther the subject of the Prophets something must be said of the words.
When he says,
Some again take
Let us now return to what he teaches:
And to show his earnestness, he uses three sentences:
Now this passage teaches, that even kings are not exempted from the duty of learning what is commonly taught, if they wish to be counted members of the Church; for the Lord would have all, without exception, to be ruled by his word; and he takes this as a proof of men's obedience, their submission to his word. And as kings think themselves separated from the general class of men, the Prophet here shows that he was sent to the king and his counselors. The same reason holds good as to priests; for as the dignity of their order is the highest, so this impiety has prevailed in all ages, that the priests think themselves at liberty to do what they please. The Prophet therefore shows, that they are not raised up so much on high, but that the Lord shines eminently above their heads with his word. Let us know, lastly, that in the Church the word of God so possesses the highest rank, that neither priests, nor kings, nor their counselors, can claim a privilege to themselves, as though their conduct was not to be subject to God's word.
This then is a remarkable passage for establishing the word of God: and thus we see how abominable is the boast of the Papal clergy of this day; for they spread before us the mask of the priesthood, when the word of God is brought forward, as though they would outshine by the splendor of their dignity the whole Law, all the Prophets, and the very Gospel. But the Lord here upholds his word against all degrees of men, and shows that both kings and priests must be brought down from their eminence, that they may obey the word. Yea, we must bear in mind what I have before said, that though the whole people had sinned, yet kings and priests are here in a special manner reproved, because they deserved a heavier punishment, inasmuch as by their depraved examples they had corrupted the whole people.
When he compares them to snares and nets, I do not then confine this to one thing; but as the contagion among the whole people had proceeded from the priests and the king's counselors, and also from the king himself, the Prophet compares them, not without reason, to snares; not only because they were the authors of superstitions, but also because they perverted judgment and all equity. Let us go on --
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