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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Jeremiah 27

Verses 1-11

The Message for the Envoys

The word of the LORD comes to Jeremiah in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah (Jer 27:1). Jeremiah tells what the LORD has instructed him to do (Jer 27:2). He is to portray something, making the message all the more clear. What is portrayed enlivens the message. Jeremiah is to walk around with bonds and yokes on his neck. The yokes and bonds are symbols of subjection, slavery and exile.

Thereby he shows the state of miserable bondage that will surely come if his message is rejected. He is to take his message not only to God’s people, but also to five other nations (Jer 27:3). He is also the prophet of the nations (Jer 1:10). That this message also goes to the nations is a testimony to God’s grace.

It seems that these nations want to make a covenant with Judah. The fact that these nations were hostile to Israel until recently seems to have been forgotten because they now have the same enemy as Israel. They seek the support of Israel to stand together against the king of Babylon and thus escape God’s discipline. For this purpose they have sent envoys to Zedekiah. But this, probably secret, consultation is not hidden from the LORD. He has a word for all these envoys that He has His servant proclaim openly.

Jeremiah is to speak to those envoys the words of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel (Jer 27:4). God is the almighty God and specifically the God of Israel, but He is also the God of the nations (Rom 3:29). He introduces Himself to the nations as the Creator of the earth, men and beasts (Jer 27:5). He also points to His great power by which He gives every nation and person on earth a place as it is right in His sight.

He, Who is great in power, has given dominion over the earth, man and beast, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, whom He calls “My servant” (Jer 27:6). The wild animals are mentioned to indicate how far-reaching Nebuchadnezzar’s authority is (Jer 28:14; Dan 2:38). The LORD has also determined the length of time Nebuchadnezzar will reign (Jer 27:7). He will yet be succeeded by his son Evil Medorach (Jer 52:31) and his grandson Belshazzar (Dan 5:2).

Although his reign will not be short-lived, the time will also come for him when his reign will be taken away from him (Dan 5:30) and he himself will serve other nations. It proves that God has all nations in His hand. He gives them into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand, but He also puts an end to Nebuchadnezzar’s empire.

When we look at the history of the nations, it seems that God does not interfere with them. Here we see that the nations are just as much under His rule as His own people. It is not the rulers of the world who rule, but God Who rules. We have to be in God’s sanctuary, the sanctuary of His Word, to see that.

God does not let disobedience to His command go unpunished (Jer 27:8). Anyone who does not submit to Nebuchadnezzar is resisting His will. The punishment for this is that He will give that people or kingdom over to sword, famine and pestilence. As a result, He will break its power and He will bring it down by His hand. Whoever throws off the yoke of Babylon from his neck will bring even greater misery upon himself.

Jeremiah warns the envoys not to listen to all those people who tell them not to serve the king of Babylon (Jer 27:9). They are not servants of God, but “your prophets, your diviners” and so on, all people from these five kingdoms who are under demonic influence. That makes all the difference. The false prophets are an international evil. In times of crisis, all kinds of fortune tellers come forward and say how things will go. They find a good outlet for their message, because people do want to be informed about the future, as long as it is not by the truth.

These people all speak lies by which they will be taken far from their land, from which the LORD will drive them out and they will perish (Jer 27:10). However, whoever listens to the LORD and submits to the king of Babylon will be left in his land (Jer 27:11). He will live in it and till it for his livelihood, so that he will dwell there.

Verses 12-15

Speech to Zedekiah

After his words to the five nations, Jeremiah now addresses Zedekiah and calls on him to surrender to the king of Babylon (Jer 27:12). He appeals to his sober mind (Jer 27:13). Why will they die? No one wants to die, right? But that is what awaits him and his people if they will not serve the king of Babylon in disobedience to what God has said.

He should not listen to the lying prophets who claim otherwise by saying not to serve the king of Babylon (Jer 27:14). Jeremiah clearly states that those prophets are not sent by the LORD and that they prophesy lies in His name (Jer 27:15). The result is that Zedekiah will perish along with his prophets.

It is the same today. People would rather believe anyone than a true prophet of the LORD. The reason is obvious. A true prophet calls for repentance, for a breaking with sin. A human being does not want that. He wants to continue living his own life. To do this, the false prophets urge with their false promises of peace.

Verses 16-22

Warning for Priests and People

Jeremiah, after his words to the five nations and to King Zedekiah, also has a word for the priests and for the people (Jer 27:16). He speaks to them about the vessels of the house of the LORD. It is about their service to God. The vessels necessary to serve God will soon be brought back from Babylon, at least so the false prophets prophesy. False prophets tell political and religious lies. Politics and religion are conveniently linked together. False prophets always go against God’s Word, both in serving the government and in serving God. They do not give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, nor do they give to God what is God’s (Lk 20:22-26).

Jeremiah refutes the lying prophets without equivocation. The priests and the people should not listen to them (Jer 27:17). If they listen to the LORD and serve the king of Babylon, they will live. Let them at least recognize that! Why should the city become a ruin? If those prophets are true prophets, they can prove it by urging the LORD that the vessels which are left in the temple not end up in Babylon (Jer 27:18). True prophets are praying prophets. Prayer is having fellowship with God. It is better to pray for what is left than to think about what has been lost.

If we bow down to God’s discipline, we will urge God not to let take away everything to Babylon. The vessels that are left to us will be able to be used by us in worship. We no longer have everything that the first church had, but what we have, we must hold on to and glorify the Lord with it. He will then also bring back certain aspects that have been lost, just as happened in the days of the return from Babylon. Then the temple utensils were brought back with them (Ezra 1:7-11).

What remained in the temple were some large vessels and a few more vessels (Jer 27:19). These Nebuchadnezzar did not take with him in his second deportation, when he carried Jeconiah and all the nobles into exile (Jer 27:20). The LORD does have a word to say about those vessels left behind (Jer 27:21). They are for His attention, just as they are for the attention of the false prophets. But while the false prophets do not want to hear of their being taken away, on the contrary saying that the vessels taken away will soon return, the LORD says that those vessels will also be taken to Babylon.

However, a day is coming when the LORD will look after it. This is a great word of comfort for all who want to be faithful to Him. The LORD will bring the vessels which are carried to Babylon back to Jerusalem. He will do this Personally, of course through the returned exiles.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Jeremiah 27". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.