Vv 2,3: The false prophets were convincing --- hence the need
for true prophets to warn against them. We must beware, as the false prophets
are still equally convincing: 2Pe 2:1-3.
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Mat 7:15).
JACKALS AMONG THE RUINS: "What they are building-- if
even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!" (Neh
4:3) -- spoken of the walls of Jerusalem, being rebuilt.
// Deu 18:10. Jeremiah was also beset by false prophets: Jer
28:1-3; 14:15; 23:16,17.
It is easy to look around the whole Christian movement in the
earth and see that there are false prophets -- teaching for doctrines those
things which the people want to hear -- and in our hearts perhaps judge them for
it. It is important to be absolutely sure we are not doing this ourselves. All
beliefs and practices must be looked at again and again in the light of the
requirements which God puts forward, that we might find ourselves in tune with
His will and purpose in all ways.
"Disobedience after the flood brought 'confusion of tongues'
as a punishment. So long as groups of men speaking a common tongue could live
out their own life without much contact with other groups, the full effect of
this calamity was not felt. But in these last days, when there has been a
comparative annihilation of distance, and when an event in any part of the world
may have immediate devastating consequences for all the world, we are
experiencing in full measure the effects of that which happened at Babel. If God
compared the peace efforts of Israel's leaders at the time of the overthrow of
the kingdom to a ramshackle wall, daubed with untempered mortar, to what can the
efforts of the leaders today be compared when they try to construct a world out
of the discordant elements of every nation?" (CHeb 68).
A FLIMSY WALL: "A slight wall" (AV mg): a mere
WHITEWASH: The AV translates here: "untempered mortar",
whereas more modern scholars suggest "whitewash". The second of these is more
likely correct, being supported by the references -- in the New Testament -- to
"whitewashed tombs" in Mat 23:27 and "whitewashed wall" in Acts 23:3.
Nevertheless, either translation presents the same basic point: the putting of a
"good face" on what is a flimsy structure. This the "prophets" of Judah
"A calamity this of very frequent occurrence. I have known
many such during my residence in this land, and this whole passage is so graphic
and true to experience, that the prophet, beyond a doubt, drew the picture from
scenes with which he was personally familiar. This [village] which we are
approaching is a striking specimen of walls built and daubed with such mortar,
and not a few of the houses threaten to crush their inhabitants beneath their
ruins" (LB 391).
WHITEWASH: Cp v 10.
AND WILL LEVEL IT TO THE GROUND SO THAT ITS FOUNDATION WILL
BE LAID BARE: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts
them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain
came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet
it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock" (Mat
WHITEWASH: Cp v 10.
VISIONS OF PEACE: Such messages would be appealing to
human nature, and therefore the false prophets would be esteemed by the people.
The desire to be popular should never detract from the message of the gospel. In
fact, we ought to expect that the message that we preach will be unpalatable --
it was in the days of Jesus and the apostles.
The counterpart of the true, the prophetesses of the LORD:
Miriam (Exo 15:20); Deborah (Jdg 4:4); Huldah (2Ki 22:14); Hannah; Sarah; Anna;
Mary; Isaiah's wife.
The people who were thus deceived were pictured as birds:
flighty, foolish, and about to fly away (into captivity).