28. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully: what is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.
28. Propheta apud quem est somnium, narrabit somnium; et apud quem est sermo meus, narrabit sermonem meum veritatis: quid palae ad triticum, dicit Jehova?
We ought also to read this verse attentively, for doubtless it contains a doctrine especially useful. I have already said, that the faith of many might have failed at seeing a conflict in the Temple of God, not only among the common people, but also among the prophets of God. God did not appear from heaven, nor did he send his angels, but would have himself to be heard through men. They who came to the Temple expected the prophets to teach them. There the ministers of Satan appeared, who corrupted and perverted all things. There were a few, who sincerely declared the truth of God, and faithfully explained what God commanded. What could miserable men do in this case, who were willing to obey, and possessed a teachable spirit? Hence it was, that many threw aside every concern for religion, and gave themselves up to despair: "What means all this? why are there so many discords, so many disputes, so many contentions, so many invectives? Where can we now betake ourselves? It is better not to care for anything any more." Thus many took occasion to indulge their indifference, choosing not to weary themselves any more, nor to seek what God was, what his will was, whether there was salvation for them, whether there was any hope, rather than to entangle themselves in troublesome and thorny disputes.
Such a temptation existed in the time of Jeremiah. He, therefore, applied in due time a suitable remedy and said,
Unless we attend to this which the Prophet had in view, the passage will appear unmeaning. It has been often quoted, but this circumstance has not certainly been observed. We ought, therefore, ever to consider, why is a thing said. This verse depends on what is gone before; and God here answers a question, which might have been raised, -- "What then must we do, for falsehoods conflict with truth?" God answers, that his word ought not to be prejudiced by this circumstance; as though he had said, "Let nothing prevent my Prophets from teaching; I bid them to be heard." We hence conclude, that those do wrong to God, who allege the controversies, by which religion is torn and as it were lacerated, and think that they thus obtain a license to indulge their impiety; for it is not a reason that can avail them, that Satan and his ministers labor to discredit the authority of God and of his servants. Though these false prophets insinuate themselves, though they may set up themselves against the true and faithful servants of God, yet let dreams, that is, prophetic revelations, retain their weight, and
It afterwards follows,
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou art graciously pleased daily to set before us thy sure and certain will, we may open our eyes and cars, and raise all our thoughts to that which not only reveals to us what is right, but also confirms us in a sound mind, so that we may go on in the course of true religion, and never turn aside, whatever Satan and his ministers may devise against us, but that we may stand firm and persevere, until having finished our warfare, we shall, at length come unto that blessed rest which has been prepared for us in heaven by Jesus Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
We saw yesterday that though the false prophets corrupted the true doctrine, yet the prophetic office remained in its honor without any loss to its authority. Hence Jeremiah said that all their fallacies ought not to be an hinderance to the faithful, so as to prevent them to proceed in the course of their calling, and that no one should object and say, that in so confused a state of things he could not know what to avoid and what to follow; he said that the difference between wheat and chaff was easily perceived, provided men were not wilfully blind. He now adds, --
1 All the early versions and the Targ. render the last verb in the imperative mood, "Let him speak," etc. And so most of modern expounders. -- Ed
2 The difference between the chaff and the wheat is what the Sept. and Vulg. intimate, "What is the chaff to the wheat?" But the Syr. has another idea, "Why mingle ye the chaff with the wheat?" The literal rendering of the Hebrew is, "Why to the chaff the wheat?" The mixture is what seems to be intended. So thought Gataker and Blayney, who rendered it, "What has the chaff to do with the wheat?" that is, why do you mix them together? And so does Adam Clarke view the phrase. Venema, Henry, Scott, and Lowth take the first meaning, which is also that of our version; but the other is more agreeable to the original. -- Ed