Introduction to Jeremiah Chapter 23
This chapter contains threatenings to the Jewish governors, and to their priests and prophets, on account of their manifold sins; intermixed with gracious promises to the Lord's people, and particularly with a famous promise of the Messiah. The pastors or governors of Israel are charged with scattering and driving away the Lord's flock, for which they are threatened, Jeremiah 23:1; and a promise is made of the gathering of the remnant of them, and of setting up other shepherds over them, under whom they should increase, and be comfortable, Jeremiah 23:3; particularly the Messiah is promised; as David's righteous Branch; as a prosperous and righteous King; as the author of righteousness to his people, under whom they should have salvation and safety, Jeremiah 23:5; so that in comparison of this salvation, the deliverance out of Egypt should not be spoken of,
Jeremiah 23:7; and then follows a sad complaint of the priests and prophets; of their profaneness, their adultery, swearing, lying, hypocrisy, and deception of the people; for all which they are severely threatened, Jeremiah 23:9; wherefore the people are exhorted not to hearken to them, promising them peace and safety; whereas, by attending to the word of God, it might easily be seen that a storm of wrath was gone forth, and was ready to break, and would fall upon the head of the wicked, to the executing of the thoughts and purposes of God's heart,
Jeremiah 23:16; and the Lord declares he had not sent these prophets, as might be known from their not turning the people from their evil ways, Jeremiah 23:21; whose conduct and behaviour could not be hid from the sight of the Lord, nor their prophecies from his ears, which were no other than dreams, and the deceits of their own hearts; and there was as great a difference between them and the word of the Lord, as between chaff and wheat; seeing his word in his hand is of great virtue and efficacy, whereas there was none in theirs,
Jeremiah 23:23; wherefore the Lord declares himself to be against these prophets, for stealing his word from their neighbour; for making use of his name, when they were not sent by him; and for causing the people to err by their lies, Jeremiah 23:30; and both people, priest, and prophet, are severely threatened for jeering and scoffing at the word of the Lord, calling it the burden of the Lord; which phrase they are forbid to use in a sneering way; and should they persist in it, they are told that God would forsake and forget them, and cast them out, and everlastingly punish them, Jeremiah 23:39.