God's judgment against oppression. A lamentation for the removal of his people. A reproof for their injustice and delight in false prophets. A promise of restoration.
1WOE to them that devise iniquity, and 1work evil upon their 2beds! when 3the morning is light, they practise it, because it is 4in the power of their hand.
1 The Hebrew word, which otherwise signifies to work and do or act, is here used for contriving and intending to do.
2 When they should have rested and to think upon God and to meditate their walk before Him, etc. Also Psalm 36:4.
3 Hasting and burning to satisfy their evil lusts. Compare Hosea 7:6.
4 That, while the state and condition of justice and government is such in the land, they are able to do it freely. They are masters and do whatever they want, as follows. Compare the phrase with Neh. 5:5; Prov. 3:27. Other, for their hand is against God.
2And they 5coveta fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a 6man and his 7house, even a 8man and his 9heritage.
5 If they but desire any piece of land or any house, or get a mind thereto, they will have it by force. Compare 1 Kings 21:1, etc.
a Isa. 5:8.
6 Making him poor and sad.
7 Dispossessing and bereaving the proprietor thereof.
8 Or, every one.
9 Which God would in no wise allow to be taken away or alienated from the heir.
3Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an 10evil, from which 11ye shall not remove your 12necks; neither shall ye go 13haughtily: for this time is 14evil.b
10 Even as they wickedly devise, contrive and practice the evil of sin, so do I now devise the evil of punishment upon them.
11 Here is a change of the person, by a vehement application, as verse 8, and frequently elsewhere.
12 As it shall be a strong yoke of servitude under which ye shall have to bow. Compare Lev. 26:13; Jer. 11:11, with the annotations.
13 Hebr. with or in grandeur, loftiness, that is, with the neck or head raised, upright, on high. The sense is: Ye shall not look so high, nor carry yourselves so insolently, as ye do now.
14 See Amos 5 on verse 13.
b Amos 5:13.
4¶In that day shall 15one take up a 16parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be 17utterly spoiled: 18he hath changed the 19portion of my people: 20how hath he removed it from me! 21turning away he hath divided our fields.
15 Hebr. he shall, that is, one shall, etc.
16 To mock you in your miseries and lamentations every where; or, the following bitter laments and complaints shall be so common that it will grow into a common proverb among men that Israel mourns thus and thus.
17 Hebr. spoiling or with spoils we are spoiled; that is, we are utterly ruined and undone.
18 Namely, God (through the Assyrians) gives away the land, which He had given unto His people, unto strangers; He changes it from lords and proprietors.
19 See Psalm 16 on verses 5, 6. Also of the cord and lot in the next verse.
20 Words of astonishment, which are brief and abrupt, representing very lively the turmoil about the distribution of the land, as if they saw it taking place before their eyes.
21 Namely, over unto others; or, Doth he divide our fields to restore them unto us? By no means, they want to say; there is now no more hope left, since they have been given away to foreign landowners forever. Thus they were to be made sensible of the punishment of their own iniquity, and their dispossessing of others, mentioned before, verses 1, 2; as they bereaved their own brethren, so they are now bereaved by strangers. See the next verse, and further in verses 8, 9, 10.
522Therefore 23thou shalt have none that shall castc a cord 24by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
22 By reason of the aforesaid sins, or because your land is now totally delivered up to strangers, so that you have been deprived from it, and do not have a Joshua to divide anew by lot the land to you. Some point to the spiritual rejection out of God’s church, which communion was typified by the dividing of the land of Canaan by lots and cords.
23 The speech is addressed here to every one in particular of those wicked oppressors, who were threatened with the Woe in verse 1.
c Deut. 32:8, 9.
24 Or, in the lot, that is, who is to cast the lot for thy share; for, there shall be nothing unto good for thee among the people of God, no place or portion.
62526Prophesy ye not, sayd they to them 27that prophesy: 28they shall not prophesy to 29them, that they 30shall not take 31shame.
25 This verse, by reason of its abrupt expressions, is obscure, and is variously rendered. It appears that here are brought in the words or common speech of the wicked people, whereupon follows a heavy reproof in the next verse.
26 Hebr. drop not, and so in the sequel, that is, do not prophecy. See Deut. 32 on verse 2 and compare Isa. 30:10, 11; Jer. 11:21; Amos 2:12; 7:12, 13, 16. These are the words of the people to the true prophets.
d Isa. 30:10; Amos 7:16.
27 The false prophets. Compare verse 11.
28 The true prophets.
29 The other, namely, the false prophets; or, of those things of which the true prophets dropped.
30 That is, these (true) prophets do not refrain from slander, from calling names, from expressing shame, threatening with all manner of evil, they are intolerable. Compare 1 Kings 22:8.
31 Or, reproaches, revilements (this is to shame daily or steady) cease not. Others render this verse thus: Drop not (the people’s words); yet they will drop; but they shall not drop for or unto them (God’s words), that he (Israel) may get no shame (as the false prophets prophesied), or that they (My prophets) may get no shame, or that no shame come upon them. Thus it would be a threatening, that, by reason of their horrible ingratitude, God would bereave them of the true prophets, and spare His ministers. Compare Isa. 8:16; Mat. 7:6.
7¶O thou that art 32named the house of Jacob, is the 33spirit of the LORD 34straitened? are these 35his doings? do not 36my words do good to him that walketh 37uprightly?
32 Ye bear that name indeed, the Lord here intimates, and boast of it, but very wrongfully; such words become not Jacob’s house at all. Compare John 8:33, 37, 39, 40, 44.
33 The Holy Spirit, by Whom the true prophets were moved, 2 Peter 1:21.
34 Or, shortened; so that He would not be able to direct and govern His servants aright? Or, would not have liberty to cause them to prophecy with what He is pleased? Or, that He at this time would not have the power anymore to reprove you for your wickedness, and consequently would not be able to punish you according what you deserve, that ye go on thus to embitter and aggravate Him? Compare the phrase with Num. 11:23; Isa. 50:2; 59:1.
35 Namely, God’s works. That is, are these the works which God commands you, or which are acceptable unto Him? (Compare John 6:29). This agrees well with the sequel. Others apply it to the house of Jacob, thus: Are these works becoming the house of Jacob?
36 Of God. The sense is: Are not My words indeed pleasing and acceptable for and with the godly, to whom they do not only promise all manner of good things, but likewise instruct and correct them for their good? If you were pious, both My own and My prophets’ words would likewise be pleasing and acceptable to and among you. The fault is yours, that they must prophecy other things to you.
37 See Psalm 7 on verse 10.
838Even 39of late my people is risen up as an 40enemy: 41ye pull off the 42robe 43with the garment from them that pass by 44securely as men 45averse from war.
38 As if God said: How is it possible that My words would be pleasing and acceptable to such a people as this is?
39 That is, the other day, it has not been so long ago, it has shortly happened. Other, whom yesterday (that is, earlier) were my people, are rebelled against me as against an enemy.
40 That is, in an hostile manner, as enemies, ruffians and highway robbers are apt to do, lurking for a robbery.
41 A change of person, as verse 3.
42 Or, goodly upper garment. Touching the Hebrew word, compare Jonah 3 on verse 6.
43 Hebr. over against a. To see whether one may meet with any who was wearing a good garment to strip it from him. Here God returns again to that with which He has upbraided them in verses 1, 2.
44 Or, with confidence (not thinking about any enemy, having no suspicion about you in the least) and do no harm to you.
45 Having no thoughts anymore about robbing and plundering, since the war was ended. Other, being averse from the fight, that is, such as have no mind to fight, or to wrong any, going along their way with confidence. Or, whereas ye are turned away from war, that is, live in peace, and have no war in the land.
9The women of my people have ye cast out from their 46pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away 47my glory 48for ever.
46 In which they (keeping at home for the most part) had their abode, pleasure and freedom, with their own husbands and children. Some understand it of the widows; others of cruel and groundless divorces, the men in a tyrannous manner repudiating their own wives by letters of divorce, at their own pleasure.
47 As clothes, livelihood, inheritance and the like, all which I have bestowed upon them by My special Fatherly Providence as proof of My goodness and power. Ye bereave and dispossess them of all this, to My dishonor. Some refer it to the dissolving and divorce of the marriage of the parents; likewise to the slavery and bondage from which God had delivered them from Egypt, and made them a free people and His children.
48 That is, ye commit these practices without ceasing and remorse, or ye take it away from them for ever and ever, so that there is no redress to obtain again. Compare Jonah 2:6.
10Arise ye, and 49depart; for 50this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a 51sore destruction.
49 Namely, into captivity, out of the land.
50 This land, which I had given you for a rest, shall not be able to endure you longer, because of the abominations whereby you have defiled the same, but it shall spew you out, and (as taking vengeance against you) utterly and forcibly destroy you. See Deut. 12:9; Psalm 95:11; Heb. 4:5, 6. Likewise Lev. 18:25, 27, 28; Ezek. 36:13, 17, etc.
51 Or, sharp. Compare 1 Kings 2:8.
11If a man 52walking in the 53spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will 54prophesy unto thee of 55wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the 56prophet of this people.
52 Or, walk with the wind, and lie falsely, saying, etc.
53 That is, with vain and false prophecies, which are able to edify and comfort the soul as little as the body can be fed with wind. Compare Job 6 on verse 26; Jer. 5 on verse 13; Isa. 41:29; Jer. 22:22. Other, with the spirit, that is, falsely boasts of revelations from the Spirit of God. See Ezek. 13:3; Hosea 9:7.
54 As verse 6.
55 Or, by the wine. Compare Micah 3:5; Isa. 28:7, 8. Or, of wine, etc., that is, of a fruitful wine-year, happiness, prosperity and peace. See Jer. 13 on verse 12; 23:16, 17; 29:8, 9; Lam. 2:14.
56 That is, an acceptable prophet to them, or for this people.
12¶I will 57surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of 58Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their 59fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
57 Hebr. assembling I will assemble, and so gathering I will gather. These two following verses are taken by many interpreters to contain a gracious, evangelical promise of the gathering of the catholic church by their King, the Messiah Jesus Christ, because the prophetical style, usual in such matters, seems to require this sense, and God being wont in His severest reproofs and threatenings often times to intermix most gracious promises, for the comfort of His faithful ones. (Compare especially Jer. 16:14, 15; Hosea 2:13, etc. See also below the last verse of chapter 3 and the first verse of chapter 4, etc.) The christian reader may likewise compare Jer. 31:10; Hosea 1:11; 3:5, etc., especially Ezek. 36:37, 38; Zech. 2:4. Others, nevertheless, considering what goes before and what follows, take it to be a prophecy of the sieges, the oppressions and desolations of the ten tribes and Judah by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and the carrying away captive of both their kings Hosea and Zedekiah, 2 Kings 17:4, etc.; 18:10, etc.; 25:6, 7, whereof the reasonable reader shall be able to judge and see a similar phrase in Zech. 10:3, 4, 5, with the annotations.
58 A plentiful place of cattle among the Moabites. See 2 Kings 3:4; Jer. 48:24, with the annotations.
59 Or, stable.
13The breaker 60is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their 61king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the 62head of them.
60 Hebr. is marched, and so in the sequel; that is, shall surely march. God shall remove out of the way all hostile impediments to His work of grace, and make the way for it plain and smooth. Others refer it to the enemies, as was noted in the previous verse; for which the words breaker and break through are frequently used. See Psalm 17 on verse 4. Yet, when God delivers His people bodily and spiritually, He likewise violently destroys the temporal and spiritual adversaries of Him and of His church. See 2 Sam. 5:20; Isa. 28:21; 63:3, 4, 5; Micah 4:13, etc.
61 See on the previous verse.
62 Or, in the front. Hebr. head, that is, in front; taking, as it were, the vanguard among His people. Compare Isa. 52:12. Others understand that God, being become an enemy and adversary to His people, would be with the enemy, and lead them, as a general, against His rejected people. Compare Isa. 63:10; Jer. 21:5.