Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
3:1 Is it not for you - Ought not you to understand, and conform to, the just laws of your God. You princes, magistrates, and ruling officers, ought of all men to know and do right.
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
3:2 The good - Ye who hate not only to do good, but the good which is done, and those that do it. The evil - Chuse, and delight in, both evil works and evil workers. Who pluck it off - Ye who use the flock as cruelly as the shepherd, who instead of shearing the fleece, would pluck off the skin and flesh.
Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
3:3 The flesh - Ye who devour the goods, and livelihood of your brethren. Break their bones - An allusion to wolves, bears, or lions, which devour the flesh, and break the bones of the defenceless lambs.
Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
3:4 Then - When these miseries come upon them.
Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
3:5 That bite - When they are furnished with gifts, and well fed. Prepare war - They do them all the mischief they can.
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
3:6 Night - Heavy calamities. A vision - You shall no more pretend to have a vision, or dare to foretell any thing. And the sun - The hand of God shall be against them, making their sorrows the more dreadful, as darkness by the sun going down at noon.
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
3:7 The seers - So called by the deceived people. Cover their lips - Mourners did thus, Ezek 24:17,22. So these shall mourn and pine in their shame. No answer - Because the answer they had formerly, pretended to be from God, now appears not to have been from him.
But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
3:8 Power - Courage, and vivacity. Of judgment - To discern times and seasons, right from wrong. Might - Resolution.
Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
3:10 They - The heads and great ones enlarge, beautify, and fortify, the house in Zion, particularly the temple and the royal palace. Blood - With wealth, which they made themselves masters of by violence, taking away the life of the owners.
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
3:11 Lean - Pretend to trust in him. Among us - As our God and our shield.
Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
3:12 For your sake - Because of your sins. The mountain - The mountain, on which the temple stood. This is that passage, which is quoted, Jer 26:18, which Hezekiah and his princes took well: yea, they repented and so the execution of it did not come in their days.