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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 27

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

Verse 1

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. The prophecy that follows was, according to this reading, given in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, 15 years before it was published in the reign of Zedekiah, to whom it refers; it was thus long deposited in the prophet's bosom, in order that by it he might be supported under trials in his prophetic career in the interim (Calvin). But "Zedekiah" may be the true reading. So the Syriac and Arabic versions. Jeremiah 27:3; Jeremiah 27:12; Jeremiah 28:1 confirms this. Also one of Kennicott's manuscript. The English version's reading may have originated from Jeremiah 26:1: "Son of Josiah" applies to Zedekiah as truly as to "Jehoiakim" or "Eliakim." The 4th year may, in a general sense, here, as in Jeremiah 28:1, be called "the beginning of his reign," as it lasted 11 years (2 Kings 24:18). It was not long after the 4th year of his reign that he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 51:59; Jeremiah 52:3; 2 Kings 24:20), in violation of an oath before God which Nebuchadnezzar made him to take (2 Chronicles 36:13).

Verse 2

Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,

Make thee bonds - by which the yoke is made fast to the neck (Jeremiah 5:5).

Yokes - literally, the carved piece of wood attached at both ends to the two yokes on the necks of a pair of oxen, so as to connect them. Here the yoke itself. The plural is used, as he was to wear one himself and to give the others to the ambassadors (Jeremiah 27:3). Jeremiah 28:10; Jeremiah 28:12, proves that the symbolical act was in this instance (though not in others, Jeremiah 25:15) actually done (cf. Isaiah 20:2, etc.; Ezekiel 12:3; Ezekiel 12:11; Ezekiel 12:18).

Verse 3

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 come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;

Send them to the king of Edom ... by the hand of the messengers which come ... unto Zedekiah - appropriate symbol, as these ambassadors had come to Jerusalem to consult as to shaking off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Pherecydes in Clemens Alexandrinus 'Stromata,' 567, Idanthura, king of the Scythians, intimated to Darius, who had crossed the Danube, that he would lead an army against him, by sending him, instead of a letter, a mouse, a frog, a bird, an arrow, and a plow. The task assigned to Jeremiah required great faith, as it was sure to provoke alike his own countrymen and the foreign ambassadors and their kings, by a seeming insult, at the very time that all were full of confident hopes grounded on the confederacy.

Verse 4

And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters;

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

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 unto me.

I have made the earth ... and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. God here, as elsewhere, connects with the symbol doctrine which is as it were its soul, without which it would be not only cold and frivolous, but even dead (Calvin). God's mention of His supreme "power" is in order to refute the pride of those who rely on their own power (Isaiah 45:12).

Given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me - (Psalms 115:15-16: cf. the case of Nebuchadnezzar dethroned in the midst of his boasts of "the might of his power," and cast out from among men for a time, "till he should know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will," Daniel 4:17; Daniel 4:25; Daniel 4:32).

Verse 6

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 him.

Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar - not for his merits, but of my own sole good pleasure (Estius).

Beasts of the field - not merely the horses to carry his Chaldean soldiers and oxen to draw his provisions Beasts of the field - not merely the horses to carry his Chaldean soldiers, and oxen to draw his provisions (Grotius); not merely the deserts, mountains, and woods, the haunts of wild beasts, implying his unlimited extent of empire (Estius); but the beasts themselves, by a mysterious instinct of nature. A reproof to men that they did not recognize God's will, which the very beasts acknowledged (cf. Isaiah 1:3). As the beasts are to submit to Christ, the Restorer of the dominion over nature, lost by the first Adam (cf. Genesis 1:28; Genesis 2:19-20; Psalms 8:6-8), so they were appointed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the representative of the world-power delegated to him by God, which, however, when he abused, ruling for himself instead of for and under God, he became the prefigurer of Antichrist; this universal power was suffered to be held by him to show the unfitness of any to wield it, "until He come whose right it is" (Ezekiel 21:27).

Verse 7

And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.

And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son - (2 Chronicles 36:20). Nebuchadnezzar had four successors, Evil-merodach his son; Neriglissar, husband of Nebuchadnezzar's daughter; his son, Labosodarchod; and Naboned (with whom his son Belshazzar was joint king), son of Evil-merodach. But Neriglissar and Labosodarchod were not in the direct male line; so that the prophecy held good to "his son and his son's son," and the intermediate two are omitted.

Until the very time of his land come - i:e., the time of its subjugation, or its being "visited" in wrath (Jeremiah 27:22; Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10; Jeremiah 50:27; Isaiah 13:22; Daniel 5:26, "MENE: God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it").

Serve themselves of him - make him their servant (Jeremiah 25:14). So "his day" for the destined day of his calamity (Job 18:20).

Verse 8

And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom 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.

That nation will I punish ... until I have consumed them by his hand - until by these consuming visitations I have brought them under his power.

Verse 9

Therefore 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:

Hearken not ye - the Jews especially, for whom the address to the rest was intended.

Enchanters - augurs (Calvin), [ `onªneeykem (H6049)] from a root [ `ayin (H5869)], the eyes - i:e., lookers at the stars and other means of taking omens of futurity; one who holds the eyes spell-bound with fascination; or another root, a fixed time [ `ownaah (H5772)], observers of times; forbidden in the law (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Deuteronomy 18:14). Others from [ `aanaan (H6051)] the clouds, one who predicts by observations of the clouds.

Verse 10

For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.

They prophesy a lie ... to remove you - expressing the event which would result. The very thing they profess by their enchantments to avert they are by them bringing on you. Better to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and remain in your land, than to rebel, and be removed from it.

Verse 11

But the nations that bring 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.

The nations that ... serve him ... shall till it. The same Hebrew [ `aabad (H5647)] expresses serve and till, or cultivate. Serve ye the king of Babylon, and the land will serve you (Calvin).

Verse 12

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.

Ikl I spake also - translate, 'and I spake,' etc. Special application of the subject to Zedekiah.

Verse 13

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?

Why will ye die - by running on your own ruin in resisting Nebuchadnezzar after this warning (Ezekiel 18:31).

Verse 14

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.

They prophesy a lie - (Jeremiah 14:14).

Verse 15

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.

In my name. The devil often makes God's name the plea for lies (Matthew 4:6), and the plea for hypocrisy and hollow professions (Jeremiah 7:22-23). The lie of the false prophets is specified in Jeremiah 27:15-20. Their works, not their words, are the test whereby to know false prophets.

Verse 16

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.

Your prophets ... prophesy ... Behold, the vessels of the Lord's house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon. The "vessels" had been carried away to Babylon in the reign of Jeconiah (2 Kings 24:13); also previously in that of Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:5-7; 2 Chronicles 36:10).

Verse 17

Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 18

But if they be prophets, and if the word 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.

If they be prophets ... let them make intercession ... that the vessels ... left ... at Jerusalem go not to Babylon - i:e., "left" in other houses containing such vessels, besides the house of God and the king's palace. Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard under Nebuchadnezzar, carried all away (2 Kings 25:13-17; 2 Chronicles 36:18). The more costly vessels had been previously removed in the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.

Verse 19

For thus saith the 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,

The pillars ... bases ... residue of the vessels - (Jeremiah 52:17; Jeremiah 52:20-21).

Verses 20-21

Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

They shall 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.

Until the day that I visit them - until I visit the Babylonians in wrath by Cyrus (Jeremiah 32:5). In 70 years from the first carrying away of captives in Jehoiachin's reign (Jeremiah 29:10; 2 Chronicles 36:21).

I will restore them - "the vessels" of the temple, by the hand of Cyrus (Ezra 1:7) through Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah; also subsequently by Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:19) through Ezra.


(1) How futile it is to attempt to resist the will of God. God, who has made the earth and all things therein, by "His great power and His outstretched arm," can give it to whomsoever He pleases (Jeremiah 27:5). We must not, therefore, resist the authority which He has delegated to human rulers, but cheerfully submit.

(2) It is true we see power often in the hands of bad men; but God has His own all-wise purposes to serve, and our part is to believe He doeth all things well, and will make what is dark now, clear at last, if we but wait in patient faith.

`Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan God's work in vain; God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.'

(3) The day of God's wrathful visitation of the proud oppressor, whom God has exalted for a time, is coming at last (Jeremiah 27:7; Jeremiah 27:22). Meanwhile we may judge how inferior in value are worldly riches and grandeur to the true riches, from the fact that often God gives the largest measure of the former to unbelievers.

(4) By a meek spirit, by quietness, and by a contented resignation to circumstances which we cannot alter, we may turn a cross into a blessing. Many would have escaped destroying providences had they submitted to humbling providences. It is better to take up a light cross that God puts in our way, than to pull down a heavier one on our head by impatience and impotent fretfulness. It would have been better for the Jews to have submitted to Nebuchadnezzar's yoke, as appointed by God, and so to have remained in their own land, than by their rebellion to bring on themselves their expulsion from it, and lengthened exile in Babylon (Jeremiah 27:10). In resisting Nebuchadnezzar, after the warning of God, they virtually rushed upon their own destruction. O that sinners would submit to the light yoke (Jeremiah 27:2) of Messiah, to whom the Father hath given power over all nations, and over the beasts of the field (Psalms 2:1-12 and Psalms 8:6-8: cf. Genesis 2:19-20), rather than "die" (Jeremiah 27:13) by the vain effort to "break His hands asunder (Psalms 2:3), and to cast away His cords from them." Rather let them "cast away from them all their transgressions, and make them a new heart and a new spirit." For God saith-now saith-as He did to Israel of old, "Why will ye die?" (Ezekiel 18:31.) Why should you die the second death, infinitely worse than that "by sword, famine, and pestilence?" (Jeremiah 27:13.)

(5) What a grievous responsibility they incur who, by false promises of safety, without regeneration and conversion, flatter sinners to their ruin (Jeremiah 27:15-18). They and their dupes shall perish together, but especial woe awaits those by whom the offence came; they shall be beaten with many stripes.

(6) There is hope to the Church in her days of great est depression. Though one's lot be cast in times of her affliction, he must not despair, but confidently expect that, if not in his time, at least in God's own good time, better days are in store for the Church, and through her for the world. Her holy vessels shall be restored as at the first (Jeremiah 27:22), believing ministers and people, about to be "vessels of honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use" (2 Timothy 2:21).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jeremiah-27.html. 1871-8.
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