Err "Pervert" - בלעו billeu, "swallow." Among many unsatisfactory methods of accounting for the unusual meaning of this word in this place, I choose Jarchi's explication, as making the best sense. "Read בללו billalu, 'confound.' Syriac." - Dr. Judd. "Read בהלו beholu, 'disturb or trouble.'" - Secker. So Septuagint. This verse might be read, "The collectors of grapes shall be their oppressors; and usurers (noshim, instead of nashim, women) shall rule over them."
As for my people, children are their oppressors - This refers, doubtless, to their civil rulers. They who “ought” to have been their “protectors,” oppressed them by grievous taxes and burdens. But whether this means that the rulers of the people were “literally” minors, or that they were so in “disposition and character,” has been a question. The original word is in the singular number (מעולל me‛ôlēl ), and means a “child,” or an infant. It may, however, be taken collectively as a noun of multitude, or as denoting more than one. To whom reference is made here cannot easily be determined, but possibly to “Ahaz,” who began to reign when he was twenty years old; 2 Kings 16:2. Or it may mean that the “character” of the princes and rulers was that of inexperienced children, unqualified for government.
Are their oppressors - literally, ‹are their exactors,‘ or their “taxers” - the collectors of the revenue.
And women rule over them - This is not to be taken literally, but it means either that the rulers were under the influence of the “harem,” or the females of the court; or that they were effeminate and destitute of vigor and manliness in counsel. The Septuagint and the Chaldee render this verse substantially alike: ‹Thy exactors strip my people as they who gather the grapes strip the vineyard.‘
They which lead thee - Hebrew “They who bless thee, or call thee blessed.” (See the margin.) This refers, doubtless, to the public teachers, and the false prophets, who “blessed” or flattered the people, and who promised them safety in their sins.
Cause thee to err - Lead you astray; or lead you into sin and danger.
And destroy - Hebrew “Swallow up.”
“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.” FE 222.1
“O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” FE 222.2
I am alarmed for you at Battle Creek. Teachers are very exact in visiting with denunciation and punishments those students who violate the slight rules, not from any vicious purpose, but heedlessly; or circumstances occur which make it no sin for them to deviate from rules which have been made, and which should not be held with inflexibility if transgressed, and yet the person in fault is treated as if he had grievously sinned. Now I want you to consider, teachers, where you stand, and deal with yourselves and pronounce judgment against yourselves; for you have not only infringed the rules, but you have been so sharp, so severe upon students; and more than this, there is a controversy between you and God. You have not made straight paths for your feet lest the lame be turned out of the way. You have departed from safe paths. I say “teachers”; I do not specify names. I leave that to your own consciences to appropriate. The Lord God of Israel has wrought in your midst again and again. You have had great evidences of the stately steppings of the Most High. But a period of great light, of the wonderful revealings of the Spirit and power of God, is a period of great peril, lest the light shall not be improved. Will you consider Jeremiah 17:5-10; 18:12-15? For you are most surely coming under the rebuke of God. Light has been shining in clear and steady rays upon you. What has this light done for you? Christ, the Chief Shepherd, is looking upon you with displeasure, and is inquiring, “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” FE 222.3Read in context »
“They which lead thee,” the prophet continued, “cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Verse 12. During the reign of Ahaz this was literally true; for of him it is written: “He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom;” “yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 28:2, 3; 2 Kings 16:3. PK 324.1
This was indeed a time of great peril for the chosen nation. Only a few short years, and the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel were to be scattered among the nations of heathendom. And in the kingdom of Judah also the outlook was dark. The forces for good were rapidly diminishing, the forces for evil multiplying. The prophet Micah, viewing the situation, was constrained to exclaim: “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men.” “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.” Micah 7:2, 4. “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,” declared Isaiah, “we should have been as Sodom, and ... Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9. PK 324.2
In every age, for the sake of those who have remained true, as well as because of His infinite love for the erring, God has borne long with the rebellious, and has urged them to forsake their course of evil and return to Him. “Precept upon precept; line upon line, ... here a little, and there a little,” through men of His appointment, He has taught transgressors the way of righteousness. Isaiah 28:10. PK 324.3Read in context »
All are in constant danger. I warn the church to beware of those who preach to others the word of life but do not themselves cherish the spirit of humility and self-denial which it inculcates. Such men cannot be depended on in a crisis. They disregard the voice of God as readily as did Saul, and like him many stand ready to justify their course. When rebuked by the Lord through His prophet, Saul stoutly asserted that he had obeyed the voice of God; but the bleating sheep and lowing oxen testified that he had not. In the same manner do many today assert their loyalty to God, but their concerts and other pleasure gatherings, their worldly associations, their glorifying of self, and their eager desire for popularity all testify that they have not obeyed His voice. “As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” 5T 88.1
That is a high standard which the gospel sets before us. The consistent Christian is not only a new but a noble creature in Christ Jesus. He is an unfailing light to show others the way to heaven and to God. He who is drawing his life from Christ will have no desire for the frivolous, unsatisfying enjoyments of the world. 5T 88.2
Among the youth will be found great diversity of character and education. Some have lived in an element of arbitrary restraint and harshness, which has developed in them a spirit of obstinacy and defiance. Others have been household pets, allowed by overfond parents to follow their own inclinations. Every defect has been excused, until their character is deformed. To deal successfully with these different minds the teacher needs to exercise great tact and delicacy in management, as well as firmness in government. 5T 88.3Read in context »
The prophecy of Isaiah 3 was presented before me as applying to these last days, and the reproofs are given to the daughters of Zion who have thought only of appearance and display. Read verse 25: “Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.” I was shown that this scripture will be strictly fulfilled. Young men and women professing to be Christians, yet having no Christian experience, and having borne no burdens and felt no individual responsibility, are to be proved. They will be brought low in the dust and will long for an experience in the things of God, which they have failed to obtain. 1T 270.1
War lifts his helmet to his brow;
O God, protect Thy people now. 1T 270.2
*****Read in context »