Isaiah 9: 13-16. “For the people turneth not unto Him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, brand and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the head: and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err: and they that are led of them are destroyed.”
One of the sins that earned God’s judgment on Israel was the sin of impenitence. Judgment had already begun, the land was already under attack, but still the hearts of the people were hardened against God.
Those who were largely to blame were the elders and men of prominent position (the ancient and honourable). They are described as “the head” in verses 14-15. The false prophets and teachers were like the wagging tail of a friendly dog, pleasing people with their deceptive flatteries and lies. The leaders were the honored palm branch waving above the crowd; the false prophets were the “rush” down on the marshy ground.