Thus said the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace…
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. Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision, etc. The following is the version of Delitzsch: "Thus saith Jehovah concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who bite with their teeth and preach peace. And whoever should put nothing into their mouths, against him they sanctify war. Therefore night to you because of the vision, and darkness to you because of the soothsaying; and the sun will set over the prophets, and the day blacken itself over them. And the seers will be ashamed and the soothsayers blush, and all cover their head, because there is no answer of God." Here he attacks the false prophets, as before he had attacked the 'princes.' 'That make my people err' - knowingly mislead my people, by not denouncing their sins as incurring judgments. 'That Bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace;' i.e. who, so long as they are supplied with food, promise peace and prosperity in their prophecies. 'And he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.' Whenever they are not supplied with food, they foretell war and calamity: they sanctify war, i.e. proclaim it as a holy judgment of God, because they are not fed. 'Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark.' Calamities press on you so overwhelmingly as to compel you to cease pretending to divine (Zechariah 13:4). Darkness is often the image of calamity (Isaiah 8:22; Amos 5:18; Amos 8:9). 'Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips.' The Orientals prided themselves on the moustache and beard. To cover the upper lip, therefore, was a token of shame, mourning, and sorrow (Leviticus 13:45; Ezekiel 24:17). 'Cover not thy lips,' i.e. assume not the usual token of one mourning (Ezekiel 24:22). They shall be so ashamed of themselves as not to dare to open their mouths, or boast of the name of prophet. 'For there is no answer of God.' They shall no more profess to have responses from God, being struck dumb with calamities (Fausset). False prophets are here brought under our attention again, and three things are suggested concerning them.
I. THEY ARE DECEIVING. God says, they "make my people err." Preachers often make their hearers err.
1. In theology. They propound ideas, crude and ill digested, concerning God, Christ, moral conditions and relations, utterly inconsistent with truth.
2. In worship. The forms they propose to use in worship, the rules they enjoin for it, are often such as to give the people wrong ideas as to what worship really is.
3. In morality. Their standard of duty is often wrong; hence wars are sanctioned, priestly exactions and assumptions encouraged and maintained. Ah me! how the preachers make men err on these great subjects!
II. THEY ARE AVARICIOUS. They "bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace." Greed governs them in all their ministries. They are ever hungering after gain; pelf with them is a passion. Their eyes are ever on pew rents, offerings, tithes, etc. If their greed is offended, they "prepare war against" the offender; they raise an opposition strong and deadly against him. They are "greedy of filthy lucre."
III. THEY ARE CONFOUNDED. Confounded in darkness. "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." They were blind leaders of the blind, and they themselves fall into the ditch. Confounded in shame. "Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners be confounded." Jehovah ignores them. "There is no answer of God." "Those," says Matthew Henry, "who deceive others are but preparing confusion for their own faces." - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; for those who feed their teeth, they proclaim, "Peace!" and whoever doesn't provide for their mouths, they prepare war against him: