Therefore have I hewed [them] by the prophets; I have slain
them by the words of my mouth
Sharply reproved them for their sins by the prophets, who were as lapidaries that cut stone, or us hewers of timber that cut off the knotty parts; so these by preaching the terrors of the law, which is a killing letter, and by delivering out the threatenings of the Lord, and denouncing his judgments upon them for their sins, cut them to the heart, and killed them; for their foretelling and prophesying of their being slain, ruined, and destroyed, was a slaying of them; see ( Jeremiah 1:10 ) . The Targum is,
``because I admonished them by the message of my prophets, and they returned not, I will bring upon them those that slay, because they have transgressed the word of my will.''But the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and so Aben Ezra and Joseph Kimchi, understand these words, not of hewing, and cutting, and slaying of the people by the prophets, but of the cutting and slaying the prophets themselves, and read the words, "therefore have I cut off the prophets, and slain them &c.", either the false prophets, some of them that caused the people to err, that they might not repent, as Aben Ezra; as the prophets of Baal in the times of Elijah, and the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ's time, who were in the way of the people's repentance, reformation, and reception of Christ; these he cut off, and their doctrine, and condemned by his own, and the doctrine of his apostles, the words of the Lord's mouth; see ( Zechariah 11:8 ) ; and this he did for the good of his people, in answer to the question put by himself in ( Hosea 6:4 ) ; so Schmidt interprets it: or else the true prophets of God, who were exposed to death, to be cut off and slain, for the messages they were sent with: or those messages were such as were killing to them to carry them, and deliver them; and they were so constantly employed, early and late, in such service, that for the work of the Lord they were often nigh unto death: but our version, and the sense agreeable to it, scent best; and thy judgments [are as] the light [that] goeth forth;
that is, their judgments, the people's, a sudden change of person: meaning either the statutes and judgments prescribed them by the Lord, and to be observed by them; which were clear and plain as the light at noon day, and therefore could not plead any excuse of ignorance of them, that they did not observe them: or the judgments of God upon them for their sins; which were open and manifest to all, and increasing like the light, more and more, and no more to be resisted than that; and the righteousness of God in them was very conspicuous; his judgments were manifest, and the justice of them. Some understand this of the judgments or righteousnesses of the saints, both imputed and inherent, ( Romans 5:16 ) ( Luke 1:6 ) ; which appear light and clear, the darkness of pharisaism being removed by Christ. The Targum is,
``my judgment goes forth as the light.''