18. But if they be prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.
18. Qued si Prophetae sunt, et si est sermo Jehovae cum ipsis (id est, apud ipsos,) intercedant ipsi apud Jehovam exercituum, ne veniant vasa, quae supersunt in Temple Jehovae, et in dome regis Jehudah et Jerosolymae Babylonem.
Here the Prophet laughs to scorn the foolish confidence with which the false prophets were swollen, when they promised all happiness in time to come. He hence says, that they were not to be believed as to the prosperity of which they prophesied, but that on the contrary they ought to have dreaded a most grievous punishment.
He then says, If they are prophets, let them intercede with Jehovah, that what still remains may not be taken away from Jerusalem. They promised the return of the vessels, which had been already carried away to Babylon; and yet what still remained in the Temple and in the palace of the king and in the whole city, was to be removed to Babylon. We now perceive the Prophet's design; he compares the future with the past, and shews that these impostors foolishly promised some better state of things, even when God's heavy judgment was impending over them; for the city and the Temple were doomed to entire ruin. The verb phg, pego, means to meet, to go to meet, and is taken metaphorically in the sense of interceding; for he who meets one as an intercessor, in a manner restrains the opponent; and the Scripture uses this word, when it speaks of the saints as supplicating God; the proper word is interceding.
From this passage we learn that these two things are united -- teaching and praying. Then God would have him whom he has set a teacher in his Church, to be assiduous in prayer. And so the Apostles said, when they spoke of appointing deacons, that they could not attend to tables; for they said that they were sufficiently engaged in teaching, and they mentioned also prayers. (Acts 6:2-4.) The same also we learn from this place, where Jeremiah ascribes the office of interceding to God's true and faithful servants who conscientiously discharged the office of teaching; If they be prophets, he says, let them intercede with Jehovah, that the remaining vessels be not taken away. Let us at the same time notice the definition he gives; for by this he also shews who are to be counted true prophets, even those who have the word of God, as we have found elsewhere,
|The Prophet who has a dream, and who has my true word, let him speak my word.| (Jeremiah 23:28)
We said by these words of the Prophet it may be determined who they are who deserve to be called prophets, even those who have the word of God. Jeremiah confirms the same here when he says, If they are prophets, and if the word of Jehovah is with them These two clauses ought to be read together, for the latter is exegetic, or explanatory of the former. But I cannot now finish the whole, I must therefore defer the rest till to-morrow.