Isaiah 29:21

That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

That make a man an offender for a word,.... Inadvertently spoken, unwarily dropped, without any bad design or ill meaning; or for a word misplaced or misconstrued; or for preaching and professing the word of God, the Gospel of salvation, and adhering to it; which is the true character of the persecutors of good men in all ages: some render the words, "who make a man sin by a word" {e}; by their words and doctrines; and so apply it to the false prophets, as Jarchi does; and very well agrees with the Pharisees in Christ's time, who made men to sin, to transgress the word of God, by their traditions. The Targum is,

"who condemn the sons of men by their words;''

or for them; particularly for their words of reproof, for which they make them offenders, or pronounce them guilty, as follows:

and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate; either for just judges, who sat in the gate of the city, and faithfully reproved and punished men for their sins; or for such that had boldness and courage enough to reprove wicked men openly, and before all, for their wickedness, the gate being a public place, where people pass and repass; and such that sin openly should be reproved openly; and particularly the true prophets of the Lord may be referred to, who sometimes were sent to publish their messages, which were frequently reproofs of the people, in the gates of the city; but, above all, Christ seems to be respected, who in the most public manner inveighed against the Scribes and Pharisees for their wickedness, on account of which they sought to entangle him in his talk, and to lay snares for his life; see Matthew 22:15:

and turn aside the just for a thing of nought; the Targum is,

"that falsely pervert the judgment of the innocent;''

that turn away their judgment, decline doing them justice, but condemn them on frivolous pretences, for just nothing at all, what is mere emptiness and vanity: Christ is eminently the "just" One, righteous in himself, and the author of righteousness to others; yet, on account of things for which there were no foundation, and contrary to all justice, he was proceeded against as a criminal.

{e} rbdb Mda yayjxm "qui verbie faciunt ut peccent homines", Castalio; "peccare facientes hominem in verbo", Pagninus, Montanus. And to the same sense the Septuagint, V. L. Syr. and Arab.