Jeremiah received a message from the Lord toward the beginning of King Zedekiah"s reign. The Jews sometimes divided periods of time into halves: the beginning half and the end half. Thus the writer probably meant that this prophecy came in the first half of Zedekiah"s reign (cf. Jeremiah 28:1). [Note: E. Henderson, The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, p171.] The first verse of chapter28 locates the time of this prophecy more exactly, namely, in the king"s fourth year (594or593 B.C.).
Jeremiah"s warning to the foreign messengers27:1-11
The prophet was to make fetters, specifically yokes, and to put one set of them on his neck. Evidently Jeremiah walked around wearing this half-filled yoke as a lopsided burden to illustrate his message. This was another of his symbolic acts (cf. Jeremiah 13:1-11; Jeremiah 19:1-13; 1 Kings 22:11; Isaiah 20). The animal yoke, of course, represented submission, servitude, and captivity (cf. 1 Kings 22:11; Ezekiel 7:23).
Jeremiah was then to send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through the envoys that had come from those places to visit King Zedekiah (cf. Jeremiah 25:21-22). [Note: ] These ambassadors were to take a message from Yahweh back to their masters. He apparently made one set of the object lesson, a yoke, for each of the ambassadors to take back home with him. These kingdoms had all been vassals or treaty partners with David and Solomon in the past (cf. 2 Samuel 8:11-12; 1 Kings 5; 1 Kings 7:13-47).
The Babylonian Chronicles illuminate the historical background of this situation. Two years earlier an unnamed enemy had attacked Nebuchadnezzar, and the following year he had to deal with a revolt within his borders. Smaller nations in the west saw this as an opportunity to throw off Babylon"s authority. The same nations had formed a confederacy to revolt against Assyria years earlier, so the purpose of these messengers seems to have been to form another treaty but this time against Babylon. [Note: Thompson, p532.] The recent accession of Psammetik II as Pharaoh of Egypt may have been another inducement to revolt. [Note: Feinberg, p544.]
Yahweh announced that He was the Creator of all things, and that He would give His creation to whomever was pleasing in His sight.
"Marduk of Babylon might claim authority over nations by right of conquest, but the LORD claims the right to rule as creator." [Note: Scalise, p49.]
The Lord had determined to give their lands to Nebuchadnezzar, His servant (cf. Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 43:10), until the time came when He would turn over Nebuchadnezzar"s lands to another master (i.e, Cyrus the Persian). This, however, would not be until Nebuchadnezzar"s son and grandson had ruled, namely: Evilmerodach and Belshazzar ( Jeremiah 52:31; Daniel 5:1; Daniel 5:30).
If any of the nations Jeremiah was addressing failed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord would destroy that nation using Nebuchadnezzar as His instrument. War, famine, and disease would follow resistance to the Babylonian invader.
"To resist the known will of God is always spiritual suicide." [Note: Feinberg, p544.]
These foreign kings should not listen to their counselors and prophets who advocated resistance to Nebuchadnezzar. If they did, they would only experience greater destruction, deportation, and death.
However, if those kings surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, their people would be able to remain in their own land and live in it.
"To be able to discern the signs of the times ( Matthew 16:3) and know what the will of the Lord is ( Ephesians 5:17) demands close fellowship with God and an obedient, perceptive spirit." [Note: Harrison, Jeremiah and . . ., p129.]
Jeremiah also counseled Zedekiah to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. If he did, the Judahites could continue to live. But if he resisted, the people of Judah would die by the sword, starvation, and sickness.
Jeremiah"s appeal to King Zedekiah27:12-15
Jeremiah told Zedekiah not to listen to the false prophets, who were advocating resistance, because Yahweh had not sent them. Listening to their advice would result in exile and death for the king and the false prophets.
"To underestimate the power of a lie in times of national distress is sheer folly." [Note: Feinberg, p545.]
Jeremiah also prophesied to the priests and the people, assuring them that the prophecies of the speedy end of the captivity, and of the soon return of the people that had already gone into exile, were lies.
Jeremiah"s appeal to the priests and people of Jerusalem27:16-22
The priests and people should not listen to these false prophets. They should submit to Nebuchadnezzar and live, rather than to resist, and see Jerusalem destroyed.
If the false prophets were true, they should ask Yahweh to keep the remaining temple, palace, and city furnishings and accessories still in Jerusalem, from being taken captive to Babylon (cf. 2 Kings 25:13-17; Daniel 1:1-2). The granting of their petition would validate them as authentic prophets.
The Lord"s prediction concerning these treasures was that Nebuchadnezzar would take them to Babylon, where they would remain until the Lord restored His people to their land (cf. Ezra 1:7-11).
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 27". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/
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