Hear ye this, O priests
Though idolatrous ones, who called themselves priests, and were reckoned so by others, though not of the tribe of Levi, but such as Jeroboam had made priests, or were their successors; and there might be some of the family of Aaron and tribe of Levi, that might continue in the cities of Israel, and who gave in to the idolatrous worship of those times. Some render it "princes" F3 and the word signifies both: and hearken, ye house of Israel;
not the kingdom of Judah, as Kimchi, for this is manifestly distinguished from Israel in this chapter; nor the sanhedrim, to which sense Aben Ezra seems to incline; but the ten tribes, the whole kingdom of Israel, the common people in it: and give ye ear, O house of the king;
of the king of Israel, who, at this time, is thought to be Menahem; the royal family, the princes of the blood, and all that belonged to the king's court; all of every office, priestly or kingly, of every rank, high and low, are called upon to hearken to what is about to be said, both concerning their sin and punishment: for judgment [is] toward you:
either to know and do that which is just and right; it belonged to the priests to know and teeth divine judgment, to instruct the people in the knowledge of the judgments, statutes, and laws of God; and it belonged to, the king to execute human judgment, to do justice and judgment according to the laws of God, and of the realm; and it belonged to the people to attend to both: so the Targum,
``does it not "belong" to you to know judgments?''or rather this is to be understood of punitive justice and judgment, of the sentence of condemnation, or denunciation of punishment for sin: the reasons of which follow, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor;
these were two high mountains in the land of Israel; the former was near Hermon and Lebanon, and the same with Gilead, ( Joshua 11:3 ) ( Judges 11:29 ) ; the latter was a mountain in Galilee, between Issachar and Zebulun, six miles from Nazareth: it was, according to Joseph ben Gorion F4 almost four miles high, had on the top of it a plain of almost three miles; the true Josephus
F5 says is was three and a quarter miles; (See Gill on Jeremiah 46:18); the Jews F6 have a tradition, that Jeroboam set spies upon these mountains at the time of the solemn feasts, to watch who went to them out of Israel, and to inform against them; but these could not command all the roads leading to Jerusalem. It may be these mountains were much infested with hawkers and hunters, to which there may be an allusion; and the sense be, ye priests, people, and king, are like to those that set snares and nets on those hills, as they to ensnare and catch creatures, so ye to ensnare and draw men into idolatrous practices; or rather, since there is no note of comparison, the meaning is, that they set up altars, and offered sacrifices on these hills, and thereby ensnared not only those of their own tribes, but drew and enticed many of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to fall in with the same idolatrous practices.
F3 (Mynhkh) "significat sacerdotes et principes", vid. 2 Sam. viii. 18. "Sacerdotes ac domum regis", i.e. "regem cum principibus et aulicis", Liveleus.
F4 Hist. Heb. l. 4. c. 25. p. 635.
F5 De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 1. sect. 9.
F6 Jarchi ex Tanehuma, Abendana ex Midrash.