III The prophet reproves oppressing princes, ver. 1-4. And false prophets, ver. 5-7. And threatens both, ver. 8-12.
Verse 1. Is it not for you - Ought not you to understand, and conform to, the just laws of your God. You princes, magistrates, and ruling officers, ought of all men to know and do right.
Verse 2. The good - Ye who hate not only to do good, but the good which is done, and those that do it. The evil - Chuse, and delight in, both evil works and evil workers. Who pluck it off - Ye who use the flock as cruelly as the shepherd, who instead of shearing the fleece, would pluck off the skin and flesh.
Verse 3. The flesh - Ye who devour the goods, and livelihood of your brethren. Break their bones - An allusion to wolves, bears, or lions, which devour the flesh, and break the bones of the defenseless lambs.
Verse 4. Then - When these miseries come upon them.
Verse 5. That bite - When they are furnished with gifts, and well fed. Prepare war - They do them all the mischief they can.
Verse 6. Night - Heavy calamities. A vision - You shall no more pretend to have a vision, or dare to foretell any thing. And the sun - The hand of God shall be against them, making their sorrows the more dreadful, as darkness by the sun going down at noon.
Verse 7. The seers - So called by the deceived people. Cover their lips - Mourners did thus, Ezek xxiv, 17, 22. So these shall mourn and pine in their shame. No answer - Because the answer they had formerly, pretended to be from God, now appears not to have been from him.
Verse 8. Power - Courage, and vivacity. Of judgment - To discern times and seasons, right from wrong. Might - Resolution.
Verse 10. They - The heads and great ones enlarge, beautify, and fortify, the house in Zion, particularly the temple and the royal palace. Blood - With wealth, which they made themselves masters of by violence, taking away the life of the owners.
Verse 11. Lean - Pretend to trust in him. Among us - As our God and our shield.
Verse 12. For your sake - Because of your sins. The mountain - The mountain, on which the temple stood. This is that passage, which is quoted, Jer. xxvi, 18, which Hezekiah and his princes took well: yea, they repented and so the execution of it did not come in their days.