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Jeremiah 23:11

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

11. Quia tam propheta quam sacerdos impia egerunt; etiam in domo mea deprehendi (vel, reperi) malitiam ipsorum, dicit Jehova.

 

He adds here that it ought not to appear strange that the prophets were silent when they ought to have loudly cried out, because they were guilty themselves: and whence can freedom of speech come except from a good conscience? Hypocrites, who indulge themselves, are indeed often severe against others, and even more than necessary; but no one can dare honestly to cry out against wickedness, but he who is innocent. For he who condemns others seems to make a law for himself, according to what a heathen writer has said, (Cicero in Salustium.) Then the Prophet here shews to us why the prophets were not only idle, but were even like stocks and stones; for in speaking against wickedness, it was necessary for them in the first place to amend themselves; for their lives were wholly dissolute. As then they were of all the most wicked, they could not boldly cry out against others; and hence the Prophet condemns them, because their own impiety prevented them to perform their own duty.

It is, indeed, possible for one to live soberly, honestly, and justly, and yet to connive at the wickedness of others; but the Prophet here condemns the prophets and priests on two accounts, — for being mute, and for not undertaking God’s cause when they saw the land polluted with all kinds of defilements; and he then shews the fountain of this evil, that is, the cause why they were idle and wholly indifferent, and that was, because they dared not say a word against those crimes of which they were themselves guilty, yea, with which they were more loaded than even the common people. We now perceive the Prophet’s object in saying that both the priests and the prophets had acted impiously; 9090     This verb is used three times in Jeremiah 3:1, 2, and 9, and in every instance in the sense of defiling the land with adultery, and in the two last verses, with spiritual adultery — idolatry. It is rendered here passively by the Sept. and the Vulg., “have become defiled;” but it is most commonly used in a transitive sense; and so Jun. and Trem. render it here, and consider it, the land, as understood after it; and this is most consistent with the context, —
   For both prophet and priest have defiled it: Also in my house have I found Their wickedness, saith Jehovah.

   The “house” of God is here put in contrast with the land or the country; and in Jeremiah 23:15, it is expressly said that from Jerusalem pollution had gone forth throughout all the land. Idolatry is evidently what is meant throughout this passage, from verse 9 to 15 (Jeremiah 23:9-15). Calvin as to this verb has followed the Syriac version. — Ed.
it was to shew, that their contempt of God, for which they were notorious, and also their wickedness, had taken away from them all power and freedom in acting.

It is added, Even in my house have I found their wickedness He enhances what he had said of their impiety; for they were not only infamous and wicked in common life, as to the duties of the Second Table; but they also corrupted the whole service of God, and the true Prophets were derided by them. For what was found to be the priests’ wickedness in the Temple, except that they practiced a sort of merchandise under the cover of the priesthood? and then the prophets vitiated and adulterated God’s worship; and what was religion to them but the means of filthy lucre or gain? When, therefore, the prophets thus trod under foot the service of God, corrupted and perverted the Law to make gain or to acquire power, their impiety was not only seen in the habits of daily life, but also in the very Temple of God, that is, with regard to the sacerdotal office.

Now, since this is true as to what took place under the Law, there is no wonder that such a base example is to be seen in the present day. And hence also is discovered the folly of the Papists, who think that they ingeniously evade every objection as to the crimes of the Pope and his filthy clergy, by saying that the Pope indeed may be wicked, as almost all of them have been, and that the same thing may be said of their mitred bishops; but that the Pope, as a Pope, cannot err, and that the bishops, as bishops, that is, in their government and office, are ruled by the Holy Spirit, because they represent the Church. But are they better than these ancient priests, whom God himself had expressly appointed, and to whom he commanded obedience to be rendered by the whole people? But the Prophet not only says here that they were wicked, that they acted impiously and wickedly towards their neighbors, that they committed plunders and robberies, that they were given to violence and rapacity, that they abandoned themselves to adultery and to every other crime; but he says also, that their wickedness was found in the very Temple, that is, in the very sacred office itself; for not only was their life wicked, but they also impiously and perfidiously corrupted the doctrine of God and subverted his worship.


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