Bible Commentaries

Geneva Study Bible

Jeremiah 23

Verse 1

Woe be to a the shepherds that destroy and scatter the b sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

(a) Meaning the prince's governors and false prophets as in (Ezekiel 34:2).

(b) For which I have special care, and have prepared good pastures for them.

Verse 2

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds that c feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

(c) Whose charge is to feed the flock but they eat the fruit of it, (Ezekiel 34:3).

Verse 3

And I will gather the d remnant of my flock from all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

(d) Thus the prophets always used to mix the promises with the threatenings lest the godly should be too much beaten down and therefore he shows how God will gather his Church after this dispersion.

Verse 5

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous e Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice upon the earth.

(e) This prophecy is of the restitution of the Church in the time of Jesus Christ, who is the true branch, read (Isaiah 11:1), (Isaiah 45:8) ; (Jeremiah 35:15) ; (Daniel 9:24).

Verse 7

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The f LORD liveth, who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

(f) Read (Jeremiah 16:14).

Verse 9

My heart within me is broken because of the g prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.

(g) Meaning, the false prophets who deceive the people: in which appears his great love toward his nation, read (Jeremiah 14:13).

Verse 10

For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their h course is evil, and their force [is] not right.

(h) They run headlong to wickedness and seek vain help.

Verse 11

For both prophet and priest are profane; even, in my i house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.

(i) My temple is full of their idolatry and superstitions.

Verse 14

I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem k an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them l to me as Sodom, and the inhabitants of it as Gomorrah.

(k) They who should have profited by my rods against Samaria, are become worse than they.

(l) Though to the world they seem holy fathers, yet I detest them as I did these abominable cities.

Verse 15

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with m wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

(m) Read (Jeremiah 8:14).

Verse 16

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not to the words of the prophets that prophesy to you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own n heart, [and] not from the mouth of the LORD.

(n) Which they have invented of their own brain.

Verse 17

They say still to them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye o shall have peace; and they say to every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

(o) Read (Jeremiah 6:14), (Jeremiah 8:11).

Verse 18

For p who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard [it]?

(p) Thus they derided Jeremiah as though the word of God was not revealed to him, so also spoke Zedekiah to Micaiah, (1 Kings 22:24).

Verse 20

The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he shall have executed, and till he shall have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye q shall consider it perfectly.

(q) Both that God has sent me, and that my words will be true.

Verse 22

But if they had stood in my counsel, and r had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

(r) He shows the difference between the true prophets and the false, between the hireling and the true minister.

Verse 23

[Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God s afar off?

(s) Do I not see your falsehood, however you cloak it, and wherever you commit it?

Verse 25

I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I t have dreamed, I have dreamed.

(t) I have a prophecy revealed to me as in (Numbers 12:6).

Verse 27

Who think to cause u my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

(u) He shows that Satan raises up false prophets to bring the people from God.

Verse 28

The prophet that hath a dream, let him x tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. y What [is] the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

(x) Let the false prophet declare that it is his own fantasy, and not slander my word as though it were a cloak to cover his lies.

(y) Meaning, that it is not enough for God's ministers to abstain from lies and to speak the word of God but that there is judgment in alleging it, and that it may appear to be applied to the same purpose that it was spoken, (Ezekiel 3:27) ; (1 Corinthians 2:13), (1 Corinthians 4:2) ; (2 Timothy 2:25).

Verse 30

Therefore, behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that z steal my words every one from his neighbour.

(z) Who set forth in my Name that which I have not commanded.

Verse 31

Behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, a He saith.

(a) That is, the Lord.

Verse 33

And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What [is] the b burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say to them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.

(b) The prophets called their threatenings God's burden, which the sinners were not able to sustain, therefore the wicked in deriding the word, would ask of the prophets, what was the burden as though they would say, "You seek nothing else, but to lay burdens on our shoulders" and thus they rejected the word of God as a grievous burden.

Verse 34

And [as for] the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The c burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.

(c) Because this word was brought to contempt and derision, he will teach them another manner of speech, and will cause this word burden to cease and teach them to ask with reverence, "What says the Lord?"

Verse 36

And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's d word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

(d) The thing which they mock and contemn will come on them.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 23". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsb/jeremiah-23.html. 1599-1645.