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Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from
2 the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee
3 bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which
4 come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; and command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your
5 masters; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet
6 unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve
7 him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his
eleven years in all cannot properly be called its beginning is not a very serious one. Any part of Zedekiah's reign which preceded his journey to Babylon in the fourth year (chap. li. 59) might naturally be spoken of in these terms.
2. bonds and yokes] The former were cords by which the wooden beams composing the yoke proper were fastened together. The use of the plural 'yokes' here seems to shew that Jeremiah did not merely exhibit one yoke on his own neck (chap. xxviii. 10), and consider this act as a figurative sending of yokes to the various kings (compare xxv. 17), but that he made one for each king and gave them to the ambassadors.
3. The five kings are enumerated in geographical order from south to north, if we assume that the Ammonites were at any rate not south of Moab. Their position, probably from the wandering character of the nation (observe the expression Ammonites, not Ammon), is ill-defined in any notices that we have.
the messengers] These, as we may gather from the import of Jeremiah's message to them, had come for the purpose of bringing about a defensive and offensive alliance against the Babylonian power.
5. The terms of the message are these:—God, as Creator of the world and of all that is in it, has the right to give it to whomsoever He will. He has therefore placed Nebuchadnezzar in power for such time as it shall please Him, and none may resist His will.
6. the king of Babylon, my servant] So xxv. 9, where see note. and the beasts of the field ] Compare xxviii. 14; Dan. ii. 38.
7. him, and his son, and his son's son] If this prophecy be meant to be taken literally, it will signify that the power of Babylon would last for three generations of rulers. According to profane history however son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom s which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. There- 9 fore hearken not ye to your prophets; nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you, to 10 remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring n their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.
it was somewhat more prolonged. For the successive rulers and their lengths of reign see note on chap. xxv. 11. In the seventeenth year of Nabonnedus Babylon was taken by Cyrus. We may thus conclude that the expression in the text merely means that for the Jews and the other nations there was to be no speedy riddance of Babylon, as the false prophets taught. Compare the use of the phrase in Deut. iv. 25, vi. 2. The Septuagint omit the verse, perhaps from the difficulty which they felt in harmonising its statements, when taken literally, with the facts of history.
the very time] the appointed end. Compare Is. xiii. 22, where a similar expression is used of Babylon.
many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him] For the phrase see xxv. 14. Babylon should yield her dominions to the empires and kingdoms that should follow, viz. Persia, Greece, and the fragments of the latter empire.
8. by his hand] Death not only by the sword, but also by famine and pestilence might well be ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar's hand, as the two latter would closely attend upon war.
9. dreamers] dreams, either those which the diviners etc. professed to have had, or those which the people brought to them for interpretation.
enchanters] The exact sense of the Heb. word is disputed. According to some it means bringers of clouds (storms); others explain fascinators, bewitching with the evil eye.
11. the nations...] In the Heb. it is 'the nation' that brings its neck' etc.
12—22. Warning to the king, priests and people.
I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you. For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the Lord's house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon : for they prophesy a lie unto you. Hearken not unto them;
12—22. Warning To The King, Priests And People.
12—15. These verses correspond in the main to the previous section, the warning against the false prophets in verses 14, 15, answering to that of 9, 10. Although Zedekiah is addressed, the plural is used throughout on account of his many sympathisers among all ranks.
16—22. The same message is addressed to the priests and to the people.
16. the vessels of the Lord's house] They had been-made by Solomon (1 Kings vii. 15, 23, 27, 48—50). Some had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the time of Jehoiachin (ver. 20; 2 Kings xxiv. 13). The rest (ver. 22) should follow. See the fulfilment in 2 Kings xxv. 13. In the Septuagint these verses appear in a very much shortened form, viz.:—"For thus saith the Lord of the rest of the vessels, which the king of Babylon took not, when he carried away Jechonias from Jerusalem, they shall go to Babylon, saith the Lord." That the Septuagint have thus omitted the statement that the vessels should remain in Babylon till the end of the captivity ("until the. day that I visit them," ver. 22), has been thought, as in ver. 7 above, to point to an historical difficulty, the vessels according to this view having in point of fact been sent back to Jerusalem soon after the commencement of the captivity. The passage of Baruch (i. 8) however, which alone■is quoted in support of this view, besides sharing in the uncertainty which would belong to any unsupported statement in an Apocryphal Book, only asserts that there were returned "silver vessels, which Sedecias (Zedekiah) the son of Josias king of Juda had made."
serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste? But if they be prophets, and if the word 18 of the Lord be with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. For thus saith the 19 Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, which Nebuchadnezzar 20 king of Babylon took not, when he carried away Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; yea," thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem; they shall 22 be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
Chap. XXVIII. 1—n. Warning to the false prophets through Hananiah. Hananiah's rejoinder.
And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of 28 the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house
18. intercession] This word had by no means once that limited meaning of prayer for others which we now ascribe to it. See Ap. Trench, Synonyms,- 7th ed. p. 179. Compare chap. xxxvi. 25.
19. the sea] at which the priests washed their hands and feet before offering sacrifice (r Kings vii. 23—26).
the bases] the supports of the ten lavers at which the animals about to be offered as burnt-offerings are washed (1 Kings vii. 27—37; 2 Chron. iv. 6)i
Chap. XXVIII. 1—11. Warning To The False Prophets Through Hananiah. Hananiah's Rejoinder.
1. in the beginning] See note on xxvii. 1.
which was of Gibeon] Gibeon was one of the cities of the priests (Josh. xxi. 17), and therefore Hananiah may well have been himself a priest, as was Jeremiah.
The false prophets were among the severest trials to which Jeremiah had to submit; see xxiii. 9, xxix. 8, 9; 31, 32. Compare Ezek. xiii.
of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the
2 people, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of
3 Babylon. Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and
4 carried them to Babylon: and I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the
6 people that stood in the house1 of the Lord, even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so: the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the Lord's house, and all that is carried
7 away captive, from Babylon into this place. Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in
8 the ears of all the people. The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of
9 evil, and of pestilence. The prophet which prophesieth of
2. The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel] Either this solemn form of introduction was a usual one with all who claimed the prophetic gift, or Hananiah assumed it as implying an equal claim to inspiration with Jeremiah, in whose mouth we so constantly find the formula, e.g. vii. 3, 21, xvi. 9, xix. 3, 15, xxv. 27, xxvii. 4, 21, ver. 14 of the present chapter and often subsequently (xxix. 4, 8, 21, 25, etc.).
4. Hananiah here contradicts Jeremiah's prophecy in chap. xxii. 26, 27. It is by no means necessary to assume that there is here involved an expression of personal hostility towards the present king Zedekiah, or that he was absent at this time on his visit to Babylon to take the oath of allegiance which he so soon afterwards violated, and hence might safely be alluded to as unpopular. The words of Hananiah need not mean more than that all the captives should return home within two years.
6. Amen.] So be it. 'Compare xi. 5 with note.
7. 9. The tenor of all preceding prophecies has been calamity and war. If then Hananiah's forecasts are in opposition to these, the presumption is against him, and he can only be proved a true prophet by the fulfilment of his predictions, an event which Jeremiah in spite of his wishes is assured will not take place.
8. of war, and of evil, and of pestilence] For * evil' another reading