14. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
14. Et sanarunt plagam filiae populi mei super levitate (hoe est, super nihilo, de nihilo,) dicendo, Pax, pax, et non pax.
This is to be applied to the prophets and priests alone; they not only corrupted the people by their bad example, but also shook off every fear of God, and by their impostures and false boasting took away every regard and respect for the teaching of the true prophets. He then says, that they healed to no purpose, or with levity or slightness, the wound of the people He says, by way of concession, that they had healed the wounds of the people: but it was no cure, when the evil was increasing. They were like the unskillful, who by rashly applying false remedies, cause inflammation, even when the disease is not serious; or like those who are only bent on easing pain, and cause the increase of the disease within, which is the more dangerous as it is more hidden. This is not to heal, but to kill. But the Prophet, as I have said, concedes to them the work of healing, and then states the issue, -- that they were executioners and not physicians. They have healed, he says, the wound of my people: He takes the words, as it were, from their mouth, |Ye are verily good physicians! for by your flatteries ye have soothed my people: there was need not only of sharp medicine to stimulate and to cause pain, but also of caustics and of amputations; but ye have only applied lenients. This is your way of healing! ye have thus healed the wound of my people, even by plasters and ointments to drive inward the disease; but what has been the effect?|
He then immediately shews what sort of healing it was: It was saying, Peace, peace The evil we know is an old one, common almost to all ages; and no wonder, for no one wishes otherwise than to please himself; and what we observe daily as to the ailments of the body, is the same as to the diseases of the soul. No sick person willingly submits to the advice of his physician, if he prohibits the use of those things which he desires: |What am I then to do? it were better to die than to follow this advice.| And then, if the physician bids him to take a bitter dose, he will say, |I would rather a hundred times endure any pain than to drink that draught.| And when it comes to bleeding and other more painful operations, as caustics and things of this kind, O the sick man can stand it no longer, and wishes almost any evil to his physicians. What then experience proves to be true as to bodily diseases, is also true, as I have said, as to the vices of the mind. All wish to deceive themselves; and thus it happens that they wish for such prophets as promise them large vintages and an abundant harvest, according to what is said by the Prophet Micah:
|Behold,| says God, |ye wish to have prophets who will speak to you of rich provisions and of every kind of affluence; and ye do not wish them to prophesy evil; ye would not have them to denounce on you the punishment which you fully deserve.| (Micah 2:11)
As, then, the despisers of God wished to be soothed by flatteries, and reject the best and the most salutary remedies, hence God has from the beginning given loose reins to Satan, and hence impostors have gone forth, whose preaching has been, Peace, peace; but to no purpose; for there is nothing real in such healing, for the Lord says, there is no peace
The bolder any one is who professes to heal, if he be unskillful, the more disastrous will be the issue. Hence the Prophet shews that the cause of the extreme calamity of the Jews was, because they were deceived by their own priests and teachers. He does not at the same time, as it has been elsewhere observed, excuse them, as though the whole blame belonged to their false teachers. For how was it that the false prophets thus fascinated them? Even because they knowingly and willfully destroyed themselves; for they would not receive honest and skillful physicians: it was therefore necessary to give them up to such as killed them. It follows --