“Both the prophets and priests are godless.
I have even found them doing evil in my temple!
23:12 So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery.
They will stumble and fall headlong.
For I will bring disaster on them.
A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 3
The Lord affirms it! 4
doing something that was disgusting. 7
They prophesied in the name of the god Baal
and led my people Israel astray. 8
doing something just as shocking.
They are unfaithful to me
and continually prophesy lies. 10
So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,
with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 11
I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,
and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 12
have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: 14
‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering
and drink the poison water of judgment. 15
For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason 16
that ungodliness 17 has spread throughout the land.’”
“Do not listen to what
those prophets are saying to you.
They are filling you with false hopes.
They are reporting visions of their own imaginations,
not something the Lord has given them to say. 20
‘Things will go well for you!’ 23
They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,
‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?
will come like a storm! 28
Like a raging storm it will rage down 29
on the heads of those who are wicked.
23:20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. 30
In days to come 31
you people will come to understand this clearly. 32
23:21 I did not send those prophets.
Yet they were in a hurry to give their message. 33
I did not tell them anything.
Yet they prophesied anyway.
1 tn The particle כִּי (ki) which begins this verse is parallel to the one at the beginning of the preceding verse. However, the connection is too distant to render it “for.” “Moreover” is intended to draw the parallel. The words “the
2 tn Heb “Oracle of the
4 tn Heb “Oracle of the
5 tn The words “The
8 tn Heb “by Baal.”
sn Prophesying in the name of the god Baal was a clear violation of Mosaic law and punishable by death (see Deut 13:1-5). For an example of the apostasy encouraged by prophets of Baal in the northern kingdom of Israel see 1 Kgs 18:16-40.
10 tn Or “they commit adultery and deal falsely.” The word “shocking” only occurs here and in 5:30 where it is found in the context of prophesying lies. This almost assures that the reference to “walking in lies” (Heb “in the lie”) is referring to false prophesy. Moreover the references to the prophets in 5:13 and in 14:13-15 are all in the context of false prophesy as are the following references in this chapter in 23:24, 26, 32 and in 28:15. This appears to be the theme of this section. This also makes it likely that the reference to adultery is not literal adultery, though two of the false prophets in Babylon were guilty of this (29:23). The reference to “encouraging those who do evil” that follows also makes more sense if they were preaching messages of comfort rather than messages of doom. The verbs here are infinitive absolutes in place of the finite verb, probably used to place greater emphasis on the action (cf. Hos 4:2 in a comparable judgment speech.)
11 tn Heb “So they strengthen the hands of those doing evil so that they do not turn back from their evil.” For the use of the figure “strengthen the hands” meaning “encourage” see Judg 9:24; Ezek 13:22 (and cf. BDB 304 s.v. חָזַק Piel.2). The vav consecutive on the front of the form gives the logical consequence equivalent to “so” in the translation.
12 tn Heb “All of them are to me like Sodom and its [Jerusalem’s] inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
sn The rhetoric of this passage is very forceful. Like Amos who focuses attention on the sins of the surrounding nations to bring out more forcefully the heinousness of Israel’s sin, God focuses attention on the sins of the prophets of Samaria to bring out the even worse sin of the prophets of Jerusalem. (The oracle is directed at them, not at the prophets of Samaria. See the announcement of judgment that follows.) The
13 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
14 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the
15 tn Heb “I will feed this people wormwood and make them drink poison water.” For these same words of judgment on another group see 9:15 (9:14 HT). “Wormwood” and “poison water” are not to be understood literally here but are symbolic of judgment and suffering. See, e.g., BDB 542 s.v. לַעֲנָה.
16 tn The compound preposition מֵאֵת (me’et) expresses source or origin (see BDB 86 s.v. אֵת 4.c). Context shows that the origin is in their false prophesying which encourages people in their evil behavior.
17 sn A word that derives from this same Hebrew word is used in v. 11 at the beginning of the
18 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
19 tn The words “to the people of Jerusalem” are not in the Hebrew text but are supplied in the translation to reflect the masculine plural form of the imperative and the second masculine plural form of the pronoun. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
20 tn Heb “They tell of a vision of their own heart [= mind] not from the mouth of the
21 tn The translation reflects an emphatic construction where the infinitive absolute follows a participle (cf. GKC 343 §113.r).
22 tc The translation follows the Greek version. The Hebrew text reads, “who reject me, ‘The
24 tn Or “has been the
25 tn The form here is a jussive with a vav of subordination introducing a purpose after a question (cf. GKC 322 §109.f).
26 tc Heb “his word.” In the second instance (“what he has said” at the end of the verse) the translation follows the suggestion of the Masoretes (Qere) and many Hebrew
27 tn Heb “Behold!”
28 tn The syntax of this line has generally been misunderstood, sometimes to the point that some want to delete the word wrath. Both here and in 30:23 where these same words occur the word “anger” stands not as an accusative of attendant circumstance but an apposition, giving the intended referent to the figure. Comparison should be made with Jer 25:15 where “this wrath” is appositional to “the cup of wine” (cf. GKC 425 §131.k).
29 tn The translation is deliberate, intending to reflect the repetition of the Hebrew root which is “swirl/swirling.”
30 tn Heb “until he has done and until he has carried out the purposes of his heart.”
31 tn Heb “in the latter days.” However, as BDB 31 s.v. אַחֲרִית b suggests, the meaning of this idiom must be determined from the context. Sometimes it has remote, even eschatological, reference and other times it has more immediate reference as it does here and in Jer 30:23 where it refers to the coming days of Babylonian conquest and exile.
32 tn The translation is intended to reflect a Hebrew construction where a noun functions as the object of a verb from the same root word (the Hebrew cognate accusative).
33 tn Heb “Yet they ran.”
sn The image is that of a messenger bearing news from the king. See 2 Sam 18:19-24; Jer 51:31; Isa 40:9; 52:7; Hab 2:2 (the tablet/scroll bore the message the runner was to read to the intended recipients of his message). Their message has been given in v. 17 (see notes there for cross references).