But if they had stood in my counsel
As they boasted they did; or, as they reproached the true prophets, and charged them with vanity and arrogance, in talking as if they had; had this been truly their case, as it was that of the prophets of the Lord: and had caused my people to hear my words;
or, "then they would have caused my people to hear my words"; had it been so, they would have heard first the words of the Lord themselves in secret and privately, and then they would have caused the people to have heard them; they would not have gone to them with their own lies; they would not have dared to have done that; they would have delivered nothing but what they had heard from the Lord: then they should,
or, "and they would", have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their
and not have strengthened their hands, and hardened them in their wickedness, and so kept them from repentance and reformation, ( Jeremiah 23:14 ) . The Lord argues from the efficacy and success of the ministry of the word to the truth of it, and their miss:, on from him; for though a good ministry is not always successful, at least so successful as could be wished for, and as it might reasonably be expected it would; yet it is more or less so; and at least it has a tendency to bring men off from their evil practices; and it attempts to do it, though it may fail in the execution; whereas a wicked ministry, such as this of the false prophets, had no tendency hereunto; nor was it the design of it; nor did they attempt it; but, on the contrary, encouraged and hardened men in sin.