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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 28

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of 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 of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying,

In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah. The Jews often divided any period into two halves, the beginning and the end. Since Zedekiah reigned 11 years, the 4th year would be called the beginning of his reign, especially as during the first 3 years affairs were in such a disturbed state that he had little power or dignity, being a tributary; but in the 4th year he became strong in power.

Hananiah. Another of this name was one of the three godly youths who braved Nebuchadnezzar's wrath, in the fear of God (Daniel 1:6-7; Daniel 3:12). Probably a near relation, because Azariah is associated with him, as Azur with the Hananiah here. The godly and ungodly are often in the same family (Ezekiel 18:14-20).

Gibeon - one of the cities of the priests, to which order he must have belonged.

Verse 2

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

Thus speaketh the Lord ... I have broken the yoke - I have determined to break; referring to Jeremiah's prophecy (Jeremiah 27:2-3; Jeremiah 27:12).

Verse 3

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 carried them to Babylon:

Within two full years - literally, years of days. So "a month of days" - i:e., all its days complete (Genesis 29:14, margin; 41:1). It was marvelous presumption to speak so definitely without having any divine revelation.

Verse 4

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.

And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah - not necessarily implying that Hananiah wished Zedekiah to be superseded by Jeconiah. The main point intended was, that the restoration from Babylon should be complete. But, doubtless the false prophet foretold Jeconiah's return (2 Kings 24:12-15), to ingratiate himself with the populace, with whom Jeconiah was a favourite (Jeremiah 22:24, note).

Verse 5

Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the LORD,

The prophet Jeremiah. The epithet, "the prophet," is prefixed to "Jeremiah" throughout this chapter, to correspond to the same epithet before "Hananiah;" except Jeremiah 28:12, where "the prophet" has been inserted in the English version. The rival claims of the true and the false prophet are thus put in the more prominent contrast.

Verse 6

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 away captive, from Babylon into this place.

Amen. Jeremiah prays for the people, though constrained to prophesy against them (1 Kings 1:36). The event was the appointed test between contradictory predictions (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). 'Would that what you say were true.' I prefer the safety of my country even to my own estimation. The prophets had no pleasure in announcing God's judgments, but did so as a matter of stern duty, not thereby divesting themselves of their natural feelings of sorrow for their country's woe. (Compare Moses' word, Exodus 32:32, If thou wilt not forgive their sin, "blot me out of thy book," - and Paul's prayer, Romans 9:3, "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh," - as instances of how God's servants, intent only on the glory of God and the salvation of the country, forgat self, and uttered wishes in a state of feeling transported out of themselves.) So Jeremiah wished not to diminish ought from the word of God, though as a Jew he uttered the wish for his people (Calvin).

Verse 7

Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 8

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 evil, and of pestilence.

The prophets that have been before me - Hosea, Joel, Amos, and others.

Prophesied ... of evil. A few manuscript read famine, which is more usually associated with the specification of war and pestilence (Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 18:21; Jeremiah 27:8; Jeremiah 27:13). But evil here includes all the calamities flowing from war-not merely famine, but also desolation, etc. Evil, being the more difficult reading, is less likely to be the interpolated one than famine, which probably originated in copying the parallel passages.

Verse 9

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.

The prophet which prophesieth of peace. Hananiah had given no warning as to the need of conversion, but had foretold prosperity unconditionally. Jeremiah does not say that all are true prophets who foretell truths in any instance (which Deuteronomy 13:1-3 disproves), but asserts only the converse-namely, that whoever, as Hananiah, predicts what the event does not confirm, is a false prophet. There are two tests of prophets --

(1) The event (Deuteronomy 18:22).

(2) Accordance with the Word of God (Isaiah 8:20).

Verse 10

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it.

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it - (Jeremiah 27:2). Impious audacity to break what God had appointed as a solemn pledge of the fulfillment of His word. Hence, Jeremiah deigns no reply (Jeremiah 28:11; Matthew 7:6).

Verse 11

And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

So will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar ... from the neck of all nations - opposed to Jeremiah 27:7.

Verse 12

Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.

Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron - not here, "Thou hast broken ... word," and "I will make ... iron" (cf. Jeremiah 28:16). The same false prophets who, by urging the Jews to rebel, had caused them to throw off the then comparatively easy yoke of Babylon, thereby themselves brought on them a more severe yoke imposed by that city. "Yokes of iron," alluding to Deuteronomy 28:48. It is better to take up a light cross in our way than to pull a heavier on our own heads. We may escape destroying providences by submitting to humbling providences. So, spiritually, contrast the "easy yoke" of Christ, which men so often set aside for legalism and ritualism, with the "yoke of bondage" of the law (Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1).

Verse 14

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.

I have put. Though Hananiah and those like him were secondary instruments in bringing the iron yoke on Judea (Jeremiah 28:13), God was the great First Cause (Jeremiah 27:4-7).

Verse 15

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.

Thou makest this people to trust in a lie - (Jeremiah 29:31; Ezekiel 13:22).

Verse 16

Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.

This year thou shalt die. The prediction was uttered in the fifth month (Jeremiah 28:1); Hananiah's death took place in the seventh month - i:e., within two months after the prediction-answering with awful significance to the two years in which Hananiah had foretold that the yoke imposed by Babylon would end.

Thou hast taught rebellion - opposition to God's plain direction that all should submit to Babylon (Jeremiah 29:32).


(1) Wherever there is genuine coin there generally follows its counterfeit. We are not to argue, as infidels, from the falsity of some prophesyings, that all claims to miraculous prophetic inspiration are false. Each claimant to inspiration must stand on his own warrant. Does his prophecy accord with the existing revelation in the Word of God? And does the event verify the prediction? Hananiah wanted both tests. He promised to sinners peace and safety without repentance: he went directly counter to the recognized prophet of God (Jeremiah), breaking the very yokes which Jeremiah had, by the direction of God, made as the symbol of the nation's coming subjection to Nebuchadnezzar. The existence of the spurious confirms the reality of true revelations-since, if the latter had no real existence, the former would not start up in imitation of them. Let us shun that religious teacher who flatters us in our sins, rather than rouses us by plainly telling us their awful consequences. Let us set our hearts less on temporal ease, such as Hananiah promised, and more on the spiritual peace and heavenly blessings which Hananiah, like many false teachers, kept in the background.

(2) Though Jeremiah, in the discharge of his divine commission, was constrained to prophesy against His nation, he prayed not the less for them. He who is faithful to his God is likely to be so to his country's truest interests. The Christian is ever the true patriot. Self and one's own glory are willingly sacrificed by such a one to the glory of God and the good of one's fellow-men. Even though his ungrateful fellow-citizens may hate and misunderstand him, he will say, like Samuel, "As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23).

(3) False teachers, who set aside the yoke of the Lord, bring upon their hearers and upon themselves an infinitely more galling yoke (Jeremiah 28:13-14). The yokes of wood which Jeremiah made, and which Hananiah broke, were replaced by yokes of iron. So they who will not preach the alarming as well as the comforting truths of the Gospel, or who substitute formal and ritual service for repentance, faith, and obedience, as the means of giving peace and safety, in the end bring the iron yoke of the law's curse upon themselves and their hearers.

(4) Though generally God does not, in the present dispensation, visit the liar and false teacher with immediate and palpable retribution, yet in some cases even still the guilty are overtaken by the sudden judgment of God. Hananiah in the Old Testament, and his namesake Ananias (Acts 5:1-42) in the New Testament, are awful warnings of the terrible vengeance which, however long delayed in appearance, really "lingereth not" (2 Peter 2:3), and which shall finally overtake "all liars" (Revelation 21:8), and everyone "whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Revelation 22:15), "in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jeremiah-28.html. 1871-8.
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