Does God Sometimes Deceive People? - Ezekiel 14:9; Jeremiah 4:10; 20:7
There are many truths found in the Holy Scriptures that many present day Christians find unpalatable. Most Christians today do not read their Bibles, so they don't come across these truths, and the modern versions are doing their best to hide them, if one should stumble upon them in God's word. Such is the case with Ezekiel 14:9.
The context is clearly about a false prophet and the person who comes to him.
Beginning at Ezekiel 14:7 we read: "For everyone of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself; And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. And IF THE PROPHET BE DECEIVED when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD HAVE DECEIVED that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him." (Eze. 14:7-11)
God does deceive. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 tells of those who received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness and "for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."
"For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered."
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because THOU HAST HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, BECAUSE that Esaias said again, HE HATH BLINDED THEIR EYES, and HARDENED THEIR HEART; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
"O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance."
In 1 Kings 22:19-23 the LORD was sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven were about Him. He asked who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead. A spirit volunteered to go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets."
Job 12:16 tells us "the deceived and the deceiver are his."
Here in Ezekiel 14:9 the phrase "If the prophet be DECEIVED when he hath spoken a thing, I THE LORD HAVE DECEIVED that prophet" is the same in the Geneva Bible 1599, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Revised Version 1881, the ASV 1901, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the RSV 1971, NRSV 1989, the 2001 ESV 2001-2016, Green's interlinear 2005, the 1936 Hebrew-English translation put out by the Hebrew Publishing Company, New York, the Catholic Douay Version 1950, the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, Bible in Basic English 1961, the Spanish Reina Valera 1960, the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the Itlalian Diodati, the Greek Septuagint, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the 2009 Holman Standard Version, World English Bible 2000, The Mebust Bible 2007, New Heart English Bible 2010, The New European Version 2010, The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010, the Lexham English Bible 2012, The Voice 2012, The Biblos Bible 2013, Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Modern English Version 2014 and The Tree of Life Version 2015.
This online Hebrew Interlinear - "If a prophet be deceived, I the LORD have deceived that prophet"
And The Jewish Virtual Library Tanach 1994 - "If a prophet be deceived, I the LORD have deceived that prophet."
The NIV departs the least from the true reading with its "if the prophet is ENTICED to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have ENTICED that prophet."
The NKJV changes the whole meaning with: "if the prophet IS INDUCED TO SPEAK anything, I the LORD have INDUCED that prophet."
The NASB basically agrees with the NKJV saying: "if the prophet IS PREVAILED UPON to speak a word, it is I , the LORD, who have PREVAILED UPON that prophet."
Both the NKJV and NASB obliterate the sense of God's deceiving this prophet, and have blandly substituted the idea of God merely moving upon him to cause him to speak.
With the NIV, we could well ask: With what did God entice the prophet? It doesn't hint at any incentive given, or temptation offered. Rather, the prophet is deceived by God as well as the man who comes to him because they have separated themselves from the LORD and set up their idols in their hearts.
I personally believe a similar thing is occuring today with the Bible version issue. Many have set up their own intellects, respected men, and scholarship as an idol in their hearts, and God is handing them over to deception and unbelief. These modern versions are not God's true, inspired words, and the church is being deceived into thinking there is no inerrant, pure word of God on earth today.
Does God sometimes deceive His own people? Jeremiah 4:10 and 20:7
In Jeremiah 4:10 we read: "Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly DECEIVED this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul."
Not only does the KJB say "thou hast greatly DECEIVED this people...saying, Ye shall have peace" but so do Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Darby, the RV 1881, ASV 1901, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, RSV 1971, The New Jewish Version 1985, NRSV 1989, The Jewish Virtual Library Tanach 1994, The Koster Scriptures 1998, The New European Version 2010, The Mebust Bible 2007, The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010, ESV 2001-2016, NASB 1995, NIV 2011, NKJV, Holman Standard, The Biblos Bible 2013, Hebrew Names Version 2014, and the Jewish Publication Society translation 1917, to name just a few.
This can be understood in a couple of ways. It may express what Jeremiah and the people of Israel might have thought God had done to them in that He had promised to bless them and their land, and yet they did not take into account that God had also promised that He would judge them if they turned to idolatry and rebellion. Instead of peace they were now faced with judgment.
Or it may express the thought that God Himself had allowed the false prophets to deceive the people in promising them peace, as we see in Jeremiah 23:17 where it is said of the false prophets: "They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace: and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you."
Remember Ezekiel 14:9 "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."
Jeremiah 20:7-8 "O LORD, thou hast DECEIVED me, and I was DECEIVED: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily."
Not only does the KJB say "thou hast DECEIVED me, and I was DECEIVED" but so too Wycliffe 1395, the Great Bible 1540, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Revised Version 1881, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, Douay 1950, the RSV 1971, The Jewish Virtual Library Tanach 1994, ESV 2001-2016, NASB 1995, The Mebust Bible 2007, The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010, NIV 2011, the Holman Standard 2009, The Biblos Bible 2013, and The Modern English Version 2014.
The NKJV is wrong in that it says "O LORD, You INDUCED me, and I was PERSUADED; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me."
The sense in the King James Bible and many others where Jeremiah complains that God had DECEIVED him seems to reveal the weakness and misunderstanding Jeremiah might have had of what he thought would have been the success of his calling. God had called him to be a prophet of the nations (Jer. 1:5) and said He would make him a defenced city and that the people would not prevail against him (Jer. 1:18-19). Jeremiah had also found God's words to be unto him "the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jeremiah 15:16), but now he was being hounded by his persecutors, smitten and placed in the stocks. (Jer. 20:1-2)
As John Gill and other Bible commentators have said: "O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived,.... What follows from hence to the end of the chapter is thought to have been said by the prophet, when in the stocks, or in prison, and shows mixture of grace and corruption in him; a struggle between flesh and spirit, and the force of a temptation under which he laboured, arising from difficulties and discouragements in his work; and he not only complains to God, but of him."
All of grace, believing the Book - the King James Holy Bible.
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