Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Jeremiah
Book: Jeremiah
Chapter: 23

The restoration of the Jews to their own land. (1-8) The
wickedness of the priests and prophets of Judah, The people
exhorted not to listen to false promises. (9-22) The pretenders
to Inspiration threatened. (23-32) Also the scoffers at true
Prophecy. (33-40)

1-8 Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but take
No concern to do them good! Here is a Word of comfort to the
neglected Sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left,
he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former
habitations. Christ is spoken of as a Branch from David's
family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people
are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of
Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying
Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and
dominion of Sin. In the days of Christ's government in the soul,
the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as "the Lord our
Righteousness." He is So our Righteousness as No Creature could
be. His obedience unto Death is the justifying Righteousness of
believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their
Sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is
the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this
Spirit. By this name every true believer shall Call him, and
Call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has
died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our
Lord. This Righteousness which he has wrought out to the
satisfaction of Law and Justice, becomes ours; being a free Gift
given to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us,
clothes us with it, enables us to lay Hold upon it, and claim an
interest in it. "The Lord our Righteousness" is a sweet name to
a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of Sin in his
Conscience; seen his need of that Righteousness, and the worth
of it. This great Salvation is far more glorious than all former
deliverances of his Church. May our souls be gathered to Him,
and be found in him.

9-22 The false prophets of Samaria had deluded the Israelites
into idolatries; yet the Lord considered the false prophets of
Jerusalem as guilty of more horrible wickedness, By which the
people were made bold in Sin. These false teachers would be
compelled to suffer the most Bitter part of the Lord's
indignation. They made themselves believe that there was No harm
in Sin, and practised accordingly; then they made others believe
So. Those who are resolved to go On in evil ways, will justly be
given up to believe strong delusions. But which of them had
received any Revelation of God, or understood any thing of his
Word? There was a time coming when they would reflect On their
folly and unbelief with remorse. The teaching and Example of the
true prophets led men to Repentance, Faith, and Righteousness.
The false prophets led men to Rest in forms and notions, and to
be quiet in their sins. Let us take heed that we do not follow

23-32 Men cannot be hidden from God's all-seeing Eye. Will they
never see what judgments they prepare for themselves? Let them
consider what a vast difference there is between these
prophecies and those delivered By the true prophets of the Lord.
Let them not Call their foolish dreams Divine oracles. The
promises of peace these prophets make are No more to be compared
to God's promises than Chaff to Wheat. The unhumbled Heart of
Man is like a Rock; if not melted By the Word of God as a Fire,
it will be broken to Pieces By it as a Hammer. How can they be
long safe, or at all easy, who have a God of almighty power
against them? The Word of God is No smooth, lulling, deceitful
message. And By its faithfulness it may certainly be
distinguished from false doctrines.

33-40 Those are miserable indeed who are forsaken and forgotten
of God; and men's jesting at God's judgments will not baffle
them. God had taken Israel to be a people near to him, but they
shall now be cast out of his presence. It is a Mark of great and
daring impiety for men to jest with the words of God. Every idle
and profane Word will add to the sinner's Burden in the Day of
Judgment, when Everlasting shame will be his portion.