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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 27

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-3

Jer 27:1-3

Jeremiah 27:1-3

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, came this word unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah to me: Make thee bonds and bars, 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 children of Ammon, and to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers that come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;

Jeremiah 27:1 here places the events of this chapter in the accession year of Jehoiachim; but it is evident from Jeremiah 27:3 that Zedekiah was the king during the events of this chapter. What we have here is some kind of an error; and scholars usually agree that some ancient copyist accidentally copied the first verse of the preceding chapter. The Revised Standard Version is evidently correct, which gives the verse thus: "In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, etc."

Such errors are quite rare; and it is fortunate that the subsequent verses of the chapter enable the necessary correction to be made.

Make thee bonds and bars...

(Jeremiah 27:2). These are the elements of an ancient ox yoke which consisted of two pieces of wood, one to be place above the neck of the animal, and the other to placed under it, with both pieces held together by thongs of leather.

And put them upon thy neck...

(Jeremiah 27:2). An ox yoke was for two animals; and thus this contraption made quite a cumbersome and uncomfortable piece of wearing apparel for Jeremiah. He must have exhibited a startling spectacle at the court of’ the king.

Send them to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon...

(Jeremiah 27:3). These were the neighboring kingdoms of Judah; and the presence of representatives from these kingdoms at this time in Judah was due to the political intrigue going on at that time against Babylon. There was a strong party in Judah who still regarded Jehoiachin as the rightful king of Judah and who hoped for his speedy return. The king of Babylon about the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign had encountered some opposition at home; and the vassal kingdoms, including Judah, were trying to form a coalition against Babylon with the hope of regaining their independence. Jeremiah was divinely inspired to oppose such a foolish maneuver.

Send them...

(Jeremiah 27:3). This indicates that five such yokes were to be made, not counting the one Jeremiah was wearing, and these were indeed sent to each of the five kings mentioned. Some dispute this; but we cannot interpret them as meaning only one yoke! After all, it would not be much harder to make six yokes than it would to make only one. If, as some say, only the messages were sent to the kings, the import of the instruction would have been the same either way.


Jeremiah 27:1 to Jeremiah 28:17

In chapters 27 and 28 Jeremiah uses an ox yoke as an object lesson to drive home his point that Judah should submit to Babylon. It was Jeremiah’s position that God had given all the nations of the Near East into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years. In spite of the bitter opposition of the political and religious leaders Jeremiah continued to forcefully assert that his pronouncements were of God. National survival demanded submission to the yoke of Babylonian world rule. In chapters 27 and 28 the warning is sounded to the foreign nations (Jeremiah 27:1-11), king Zedekiah (Jeremiah 27:12-15), the priests and people (Jeremiah 27:16-22) and the fake prophets (Jeremiah 28:1-17).

Instructions for the Prophet Jeremiah 27:1-3

Jeremiah 27:1 clearly sets forth the date of the events in chapter 27 as being “in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim.” However the remaining portion of the chapter makes very clear that these messages are to be dated in the reign of Zedekiah (see Jeremiah 27:3; Jeremiah 27:12; Jeremiah 27:20). As a matter of fact according to Jeremiah 28:1 the events of chapter 27 can be dated precisely to the fourth year of Zedekiah. How then did the name Jehoiakim get into Jeremiah 27:1? It is conceded by practically all scholars that the name of Jehoiakim in this verse is the error of a copyist. Some scribe as he copied the manuscript of the Book of Jeremiah was probably subconsciously influenced by the heading which appears over the preceding chapter and inadvertently wrote Jehoiakim for Zedekiah in Jeremiah 27:1.

It is not infrequent in prophetic books to find the Lord instructing His Prophets to do some dramatic and sensational things in order to call attention to their messages and vividly illustrate their points. Here Jeremiah is commanded by the Lord to “make bands (thongs) and bars” i.e., an ox yoke consisting of wooden bars held together by leather bands. He is then to put this yoke upon his neck. Jeremiah seems to have appeared in the streets of Jerusalem for several days with his yoke-bar around his neck proclaiming his message of submission to Babylon. From what is said in Jeremiah 27:3 it would appear that Jeremiah made at least six other yoke-bars, perhaps miniature replicas, to be sent to various kings of the region.

Ambassadors from several neighboring states had gathered in Jerusalem for a consultation with Zedekiah. Representatives from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon were present. While the purpose of the meeting is not stated, it is evident from the warning of the prophet that revolt against Babylon was being contemplated. Perhaps the envoys were attempting to persuade Zedekiah to join the revolt. Jeremiah appeared in some public place where the ambassadors would be sure to pass, with a yoke upon his neck and in this strange guise delivered an impressive exhortation to the foreign visitors. The Hebrew prophets had a great deal to say about foreign nations but only on rare occasions were their messages given directly to those foreign peoples. For other possible examples Of Prophets addressing messages to foreign ambassadors see Isaiah 14:28-32; Isaiah 18:1-3.

It is perhaps worth noting here that Zedekiah made a trip to Babylon in this same fourth year of his reign. He either voluntarily chose to go and renew his oath of fidelity to Nebuchadnezzar or else he was summoned by the great king who heard rumors of the revolt which was being plotted in this chapter.

Verses 4-11

Jer 27:4-11

Jeremiah 27:4-7

and give them a charge unto their masters, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say unto your masters: I have made the earth, the men and the beasts that are upon the face of the earth, by my great power and by my outstretched arm; and I give it unto whom it seemeth right 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 also have I given him to serve him. And all the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the time of his own land come: and then many nations and great kings shall make him their bondman.

The Bible makes it clear indeed that "The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:25). By divine inspiration, Jeremiah here made it plain enough that God had given dominion over the world of that period into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

This is a staggering thought, especially in view of the truth that very evil men often prove to be the very ones to whom God gives such vast power and dominion. The wisdom of Matthew Henry in contemplating this is appropriate.

The things of this world are not the best things, for God often gives the largest share of them to bad men, men who are rivals of God and rebels against him. Nebuchadnezzar was a proud, wicked man, but he had world dominion by divine fight. He was a very bad man, but God called him his servant. If God so uses and rewards evil men who serve him, however unwittingly, how much more wonderfully will God reward and honor those who love God and truly serve him! F1

I have made the earth and the men and the beasts that are upon the face of the earth...

(Jeremiah 27:5). God here reveals himself to be not merely the Creator and Sustainer of all created things, but as their Sovereign Lord and Controller also. He is the God of history who has his hand firmly upon the progression of the nations as well. As Paul expressed it, God made of one every nation of men to dwell on the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:26). Note in this very paragraph, God had appointed a season for the dominion of Babylon, and also that there would be another season when Babylon’s time came to be themselves the bondmen of others!

Him and his son, and his son’s son...

(Jeremiah 27:7). Cheyne declared that this is not intelligible unless we should understand the seventy years of captivity as a round number. Cheyne’s error was his failure to see that the expression here is, a very general one, signifying Nebuchadnezzar and all of his successors until the whole seventy years expired. Of course, there were other successors to Nebuchadnezzar during this period. Thus it is not the number seventy which is round, but this abbreviation of Nebuchadnezzar’s successors.

Until the time of his own land come...

(Jeremiah 27:7). Of course, this is the predictive prophecy of an event to occur many years after the death of Jeremiah; and the radical critics, following their crazy rule about there being no predictive prophecy in the Bible promptly label this verse as a vatticinium ex eventu. But, as noted above, if this event had already happened why was it necessary for the announcer to dress himself up in an ox yoke? Henderson, Keil, Graf, and many other discerning scholars refuse to allow such ridiculous, high-handed, illogical misinterpretations of the scriptures.

This predictive prophecy of the end of Babylonian domination and the subjection of them to others "was fulfilled in the destruction of the Chaldean Empire by Cyrus and his allies at the termination of the seventy years of Jewish exile in Babylon."

Jeremiah 27:8-11

And it shall come to pass, that the nation and the kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith Jehovah, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. But as for you, hearken ye not to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreams, nor to your soothsayers, nor to your sorcerers, that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: 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. But the nation that shall bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, that [nation] will I let remain in their own land, saith Jehovah; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.

It appears from this paragraph that even the captivity of the whole of Judah might have been averted, even at that late date, provided that Zedekiah had led the people to accept the verdict of Jehovah and faithfully serve the king of Babylon. It was the eventual rebellion of Zedekiah against Babylon that resulted in the final total ruin of Jerusalem and the wholesale deportation of the people into their captivity. It seems to have been the possibility, however remote, of avoiding that ultimate disaster which was the very thing Jeremiah had in mind in his message to the false priests and prophets in Jeremiah 27:16 ff.

Zedekiah was a weak and wavering monarch; and he managed to stand with Jeremiah in the events of his fourth year (the date of this chapter); but in his eleventh and final year, he went with the popular movement in favor of rebellion; and the final ruin of Judah was shortly accomplished. In this fourth year of Zedekiah, that monarch made a pilgrimage to Babylon, probably for the purpose of reaffirming his loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar, and for the purpose of convincing Nebuchadnezzar that he had not participated in the coalition which the neighboring nations had attempted to form against Babylon.

All of the evil practitioners mentioned here, the prophets, diviners, soothsayers, sorcerers, dreamers, etc. were banned and forbidden by the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). "They were pedlars of falsehood." They had no message at all from God. They merely told the people what they believed the people wanted to hear. If the nation consented to the overlordship of Babylon, they would have to pay tribute; but they could go on living in their land. Following their false leaders robbed them of this more favorable option.

Instructions for the Foreign Ambassadors Jeremiah 27:4-11

Jeremiah, the ambassador of the King of the universe, urges the ambassadors of the neighboring lands to carry a message back to their respective kings. Basically the message drives home the point that the God of Judah is not a local deity who controls only the territory in which His worshipers dwell. He is not a god; He is God! He exercises His sovereign pleasure over all nations of the earth. Jeremiah makes four points in this message to the nations.

He points out the basis of God’s sovereign decrees (Jeremiah 27:5). God’s right to direct the affairs of men is grounded in the fact that He is creator of the world and all that is in it. The God of creation is also the God of history. Because He is Creator, God may do with His creation whatsoever seems good to Him. He may, if He so chooses, appoint an overseer, a superintendent, a governor over His world. God need not consult with the children of men to see when and if He should take such action. He simply exercises His prerogative as Creator and appoints the one who seems right to Him.

Jeremiah announces God’s sovereign will with regard to the world of the early sixth century before Christ (Jeremiah 27:6-7). God has given all the lands of the Fertile Crescent into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Even the beasts of the field have been brought under his jurisdiction. All nations are to serve him (Jeremiah 27:6). Thus decrees the Great King! Nebuchadnezzar is here again called “My servant” (cf. Jeremiah 25:9). The idea that the beasts of the field are to serve the king of Babylon is most likely an idiom expressing the all-embracing extent and unlimited power of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion (cf. Jeremiah 28:14; Daniel 2:38).

As if to temper somewhat the divine decree which he has just announced Jeremiah hastens to add that the supremacy of Babylon will not be permanent. “All nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson until the time of his own land” (Jeremiah 27:7). In other passages Jeremiah has indicated that the duration of the Babylonian world empire would be seventy years. Here he is probably saying the same thing in different words. It is unlikely that Jeremiah had in mind three specific kings. The successive sovereigns of Babylon were: Nebuchadnezzar, 44 years; Evil Merodach, 2 years; Neriglissor, 4 years; and Nabonidus, 17 years. Rather he seems to be saying that the nations would serve Babylon for a long time but not forever. Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 6:2 use an equivalent expression in the general sense of a long time. “The time of his own land” would refer to the time when Babylon would become subservient to another power. God Almighty has predetermined the duration of the Babylonian empire. Babylon is nothing more than a tool in His hands which is discarded when God no longer has need of it. At the end of the appointed time “many nations and great kings shall enslave him.” After the appointed time of world supremacy Babylon would become subservient to other nations. This prophecy was fulfilled when Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.

The prophet warns those nations which refuse to submit to God’s sovereign decrees (Jeremiah 27:8-10). God will severely punish the nations which refuse to submit to the yoke of Babylon. God would use Nebuchadnezzar as the agent of His wrath to bring the sword against those nations which were in rebellion against the will of the Almighty. Famine and pestilence usually accompanied war in antiquity (Jeremiah 27:8).

A further warning appears in Jeremiah 27:9-10. The foreign ambassadors are warned not to listen to those other voices which were counseling revolt against Babylon. Five classes of prognosticators are singled out: prophets, diviners, dreams (or perhaps dreamers), soothsayers and sorcerers. Exact distinctions between each of these classes is impossible. It is interesting though that Jeremiah here recognizes the existence of prophet-like individuals among the foreign nations. The closest parallels to the Biblical prophets yet discovered are to be found at Mari in the eighteenth century B.C.

Those who were advocating rebellion against Babylon and pretending that such advice came from the deity were lying (Jeremiah 27:10). The phrase “to remove you far from your land” does not indicate purpose but result. That is to say, it was not the purpose of these false prophets, diviners and soothsayers to cause their peoples to go into captivity. Far from it! They were ultra patriots who could not conceive of the deity appointing a foreign ruler over their land. But the consequence of their lying words would be the destruction of their lands and the exile of their peoples.

Following the warning, there is a promise to those who submit to God’s sovereign decrees (Jeremiah 27:11). Those nations which humbly and obediently submitted their neck to the yoke of Babylon would be allowed by God to remain in their own land. Thus it has always been that people who submit to the will of the Almighty have a peace which the world cannot know.

Verses 12-15

Jer 27:12-15

Jeremiah 27:12-15

And I spake 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 Jehovah hath spoken concerning the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? And 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 Jehovah, but they prophesy falsely in my name; that I may drive you out, and that ye may perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.

Green spoke of this chapter thus: "Jeremiah provides proof positive of his superb statesmanship in his assessment of the political situation." Although seemingly innocent, such a statement violates every true conception of the message of the inspired prophets of the Old Testament. It was not shrewd statesmanship on Jeremiah’s part. What God revealed through him was in no sense dependent upon what the prophet himself might have been able to guess or forecast from the basis of his own knowledge or experience. "The revelations of this chapter are not shrewd political comment but something which Jeremiah received as he stood in the counsels of Yahweh."

This paragraph reveals that Jeremiah repeated for Zedekiah the same message which had been sent, along with the yokes, to the five neighboring kings by their ambassadors.. So powerful was the influence of all the false prophets, soothsayers, dreamers, sorcerers etc. of that day that Jeremiah found it appropriate to warn the king Zedekiah against paying any attention to their falsehoods. "To underestimate the power of a lie in times of national distress is sheer folly."

The Septuagint (LXX) has omitted much of this chapter; and, upon that basis, some scholars attempt to reject what is written here; but, "It is far too bold to insist that the shorter form is the original." Additionally, we reject the silly critical rule that the shorter of two passages is more likely to be the original. It is just as likely, or even more likely, that the shorter passage is merely an abbreviation. This is just another foolish critical dictum designed to serve their evil purposes. Furthermore, as Keil pointed out, "Considering the innumerable arbitrary interferences of the LXX with the text of Jeremiah, the omission of the words in question cannot justify the slightest critical suspicion of their genuineness." For many reasons, we are unwilling to accept changes found in the Septuagint (LXX) as any dependable reason whatever for altering the text of the American Standard Version.

A Warning to Zedekiah Jeremiah 27:12-15

In Jeremiah 27:12-15 Jeremiah moves from the general warning which embraces all the small nations of Syria-Palestine to a specific warning for king Zedekiah of Judah. As a “prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5) Jeremiah was concerned about the course of action which these small states might follow. But naturally his concern for his native Judah in these perilous days was paramount so the prophet directly addressed Zedekiah and his advisers perhaps on the very same occasion on which he addressed the foreign ambassadors. The short resume of his message to the king contains three elements. First, there is exhortation (Jeremiah 27:12). Jeremiah exhorts Zedekiah to submit to the yoke of Babylon. The use of the plural “your necks” suggests that princes or advisers were present with the king at the time Jeremiah delivered this message. The word “live” while in the imperative mood actually has the force of a promise. The sense is, “if you submit to Babylon you will live.”

Exhortation is followed by argumentation (Jeremiah 27:13) and warning (Jeremiah 27:14). Jeremiah backs up his exhortation with an argument couched in the form of a question. Why will you allow your people to suffer such calamity as the Lord has predicted for every nation which refuses to serve Babylon? It is utter futility and national suicide to attempt to throw off the yoke of Babylon. It is stupid to bring upon yourself sword, famine and pestilence when you might live in peace if you would only submit to Babylon. Jeremiah moves hastily to deal with a possible objection which might be arising in the mind of the king. Other prophetic voices were urging an independent course for Judah. They were promising success in the rebellion against Babylon. Jeremiah does not hesitate to brand these prophets as liars. They are no better than the prophets of the heathen nations mentioned in the previous paragraph. God has not sent these prophets! To hearken to their voice will bring disaster on the land. Jeremiah 27:15 b does not indicate the purpose of these prophets but the inevitable result of their lies.

Verses 16-22

Jer 27:16-22

Jeremiah 27:16-18

Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of Jehovah’s house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon; for they prophesy a lie unto you. Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city become a desolation? But if they be prophets, and if the word of Jehovah be with them, let them now make intercession to Jehovah of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of Jehovah, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.

What a courageous, blunt, overwhelming challenge this is. Jeremiah did not merely call the false prophets, diviners, soothsayers, etc. liars; but he did so to their face, and laid down the challenge that they were not merely lying when they prophesied the speedy return of the golden vessels from Babylon, but that if the false teachers had one word of truth in them they would be praying that the remaining "vessels" would not also be carried away to Babylon, a prophecy which Jeremiah at once pronounced in their hearing, namely, that the remaining vessels indeed, not merely of the temple, but of the king’s house and of all Jerusalem also, would also all be carried to Babylon! (See next paragraph).

John Bright in the Anchor Bible commentary stated that "vessels" in Jeremiah 27:16 is an inadequate word, because much more was meant, as indicated in Jeremiah 27:19, below.

As Green observed, "Jeremiah’s conflict with the false prophets was growing more and more acute."

Jeremiah 27:19-22

For thus saith Jehovah of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that are left in this city, 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; yea, thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of Jehovah, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem: They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be, until the day that I visit them, saith Jehovah; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.

Behold, what a magnificent predictive prophecy we have here:

(1) the remaining treasures of the temple, the king’s house, and the city of Jerusalem shall also be carried away to Babylon;

(2) the vessels shall not be destroyed there, but shall be preserved to that day when God will visit them; and

(3) He will indeed visit them and restore them to Jerusalem at the time when his Divine Will may desire to do so!

Did it happen? Certainly! Was this prophecy written after the event? Ridiculous! The man who stated this was wearing an ox yoke; and if it had all already happened, he would never have been dressed like that! He was wearing the yoke only as an effort to persuade those sinners to believe the truth. They did not believe it; and of course they would have believed it if it had already come to pass.

Of course, the infidel critics never stop trying to "prove" the prophecy came after the captivity. As Smith said, "They seized upon the word ’nobles’ which Jeremiah used here; and they claimed that it was a word that came into use after the captivity; but that is not true.

Jeremiah used it again in Jeremiah 39:6; Isaiah used it Isaiah 34:12; and in 1 Kings 21:8, the word is used of the nobles of Samaria. In fact it was a word in very common usage both in Chaldee and Syriac."

Then will I bring them up and restore them to this place...

(Jeremiah 27:22). Ash stated that, The Septuagint (LXX) says nothing about the eventual restoration of the treasures, nor does it offer any restoration hope. Some argue that the Septuagint (LXX) may represent the original text, since a restoration hope would be out of place in an oracle of this tenor. We regret that respected commentators would include a canard of this kind in their commentaries. Of course, it is true that some argue in this manner; but no believer can accept such false arguments.

Why all of this attention to the LXX? The critics glorify it when it supports their denials; but when it contradicts their denials, they seem to be totally ignorant of its existence. For example, the Septuagint (LXX) properly translates the Hebrew word [~’almah] as The Virgin; but has anyone ever heard of a radical critic accepting that?

Two radical critical dictums are respected in such a comment: (1) that the shorter text of similar ones is "original," a foolish rule that has never been proved and is clearly untrue in many cases; and (2) that a promise of blessing cannot be included in a prophecy of condemnation, disaster, or punishment. This rule also is false. Christ promised heaven in the same passage that speaks of hell; and we refuse to accept a rule that would butcher almost every statement Jesus Christ ever uttered.

A hundred years before Jeremiah was born, Isaiah promised the "return of the remnant," and proved the prophecy by naming one of his sons, "A Remnant Shall Return." Did Jeremiah know about that promise? Indeed he did; and can any one deny that this would have been an appropriate time for him to mention it and to embellish the thought of it with the additional prophecy that the sacred vessels of the temple would also return?

A Warning to the Priests and People Jeremiah 27:16-22

One cannot be absolutely positive that this message was delivered on the same day as the preceding two messages. The point of transition from the previous paragraph to the present paragraph is the blast against the false prophets. Not only had these false prophets given disastrous advice to the king and his court, they had raised false hopes among the priests and the people. Jeremiah now moves to shatter those delusions. The message as it has been recorded here contains a warning against the false prophets (Jeremiah 27:16-17), a challenge to the false prophets (Jeremiah 27:18), and a contradiction of the fake prophets (Jeremiah 27:19-22).

1. A warning against the fake prophets (Jeremiah 27:16-17)

Lies are often more attractive than truth. Certain prophets in Jerusalem were optimistically predicting that the vessels of the house of God which had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar on his two previous assaults against Jerusalem (in 605 B.C. and 597 B.C.) would shortly be brought back from Babylon (Jeremiah 27:16). The implication of such a prediction was that Babylon would shortly be destroyed. Since this was the kind of news most men of Judah wished to believe, the false prophets must have had quite a following. such a prophecy regarding the return of the ‘Temple vessels would most likely have gained the support of the influential priests for the proposed revolt against Babylon. Again, for the third time in this chapter alone, Jeremiah calls such prophets liars, He urges the priests and people not to hearken to these lies, to face reality. “Rebellion against Babylon will mean the desolation of this city! Do not support the proposed revolt and you will live.” In other words Jeremiah is saying, you should not be so concerned about getting those Temple vessels back but about preventing a policy which would destroy the entire city including the Temple.

2. A challenge to the fake prophets (Jeremiah 27:18)

In Jeremiah 27:18 Jeremiah challenges the false prophets to prove that they are men called by God. If they are true spokesmen for God as they claim let them be praying as well as preaching. Let them pray that the vessels still remaining in Jerusalem be not carried away to Babylon. True prophets of God were always fervent and effective intercessors on behalf of their people. Jeremiah in this verse seems to be saying that not only are the prophets creating a delusion by insisting that the subservience to Babylon will shortly be ended, they are in reality powerless to prevent further humiliation at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. They can neither create good fortune by their preaching nor prevent disaster by their praying.

3. A contradiction of the fake prophets (Jeremiah 27:19-22)

Before concluding his message to the priests and people Jeremiah produces a double “thus saith the LORD” which directly contradicts all that the false prophets had been propagating. Those vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had left behind in the Temple when he took Jeconiah (i.e., Jehoiachin) into captivity in 597 B.C. will shortly be carried away by the Great King. This of course implies that Nebuchadnezzar will successfully besiege and conquer Jerusalem. Among the items which had not yet been taken away are named the pillars, the sea, and the bases. The pillars of brass were twenty-seven feet high and eighteen feet in circumference. One was called Jachin (“He shall establish”) and the other Boaz (“In it is strength”). These enormous pillars were no doubt one of the most attractive and distinctive aspects of the Temple of Solomon. Jachin and Boaz were broken up by the Chaldeans and carried to Babylon in 587 B.C. (Jeremiah 52:17). The large molten sea of Solomon’s Temple is described in 1 Kings 7:23-26. It was forty-five feet in circumference and rested upon a beautiful base consisting of twelve oxen. The priests had to wash themselves at this enormous bowl before entering the Holy Place. The “bases” referred to by Jeremiah were ten in number. The author of Kings gives an elaborate description of them (1 Kings 7:27-37). The bases supported portable lavers.

The vessels of the house of God would not remain forever in Babylon. In God’s own good time He would visit (i.e., punish) Babylon and then the vessels would be returned to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 27:22). Jeremiah’s prediction was fulfilled when in 539 B.C. Cyrus conquered Babylon and issued a decree allowing the Jews to take their sacred vessels and return to their homeland (Ezra 1). Therefore Jeremiah agreed with the false prophets that the Temple vessels would return; it was in the matter of the time element that he disagreed with them.

Judah to Serve Nebuchadnezzar - Jeremiah 27:1 to Jeremiah 28:17

Open It

1. What example of two completely contradictory predictions have you heard, and how did the matter turn out?

2. What types of possessions tend to give people a sense of security?

3. Why do you think some people find it difficult to obey their boss or civil authorities?

Explore It

4. What visual demonstration was Jeremiah ordered to give? (Jeremiah 27:2)

5. What nations, besides Judah, were told that they would be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar? (Jeremiah 27:3-6)

6. How long did God say that certain nations would be subject to Babylon? (Jeremiah 27:7)

7. What did God warn certain nations not to do? (Jeremiah 27:8)

8. Who was advising the kings to resist the Babylonians? (Jeremiah 27:9)

9. How would the nations that submitted to Babylon fare better than those who resisted? (Jeremiah 27:10-11)

10. What did Jeremiah say would happen to Judah if the people and their king believed the false prophets rather than Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 27:12-15)

11. What lie were the prophets of Judah telling the people about the temple treasure? (Jeremiah 27:16)

12. What reasoning did Jeremiah use to convince the people to serve the king of Babylon? (Jeremiah 27:17)

13. What test did Jeremiah set up to prove to the people that the false prophets were wrong? (Jeremiah 27:18)

14. What timetable did Hananiah give for the return of both the sacred articles and the king? (Jeremiah 28:3-4)

15. What was Jeremiah’s initial reply to the idea of a quick deliverance? (Jeremiah 28:5-6)

16. How did Jeremiah say that Hananiah’s prophecy of "peace" would be proven right or wrong? (Jeremiah 28:7-9)

17. What symbolic action did Hananiah take, supposedly to demonstrate the truth of his prophecy? (Jeremiah 28:10-11)

18. How did God Himself contradict Hananiah’s prophecy? (Jeremiah 28:12-14)

19. What personal message of judgment did God send to Hananiah? (Jeremiah 28:15-16)

Get It

20. Which prophet do you think was more popular, Jeremiah or Hananiah, and why?

21. What were some very practical reasons for the nations Babylon attacked to submit rather than resist?

22. How hard or easy do you think it would be for people of our day to believe that God was behind the rise and fall of great powers?

23. How might a person prepare for a "less than ideal" situation which, nevertheless, is God’s will for him or her?

24. Why is it important not to claim God’s endorsement or to claim His inspiration lightly?

25. In what practical ways should our respect for God translate into submission to the laws and authorities He has put over us?

Apply It

26. What will be your plan to discern the truth the next time you get conflicting advice from Christians you respect?

27. What can you do to show proper respect for the authorities God has put over you at work? in your community?

Questions On Jeremiah Chapter Twenty-Seven

By Brent Kercheville

1 What is Jeremiah told to do (Jeremiah 27:1-7)?

2 God expresses his sovereignty over creation in Jeremiah 27:1-7. What is God’s message?

3 What does God tell the people to do (Jeremiah 27:8-11)? How hard would it be to hear this message?

4 What is the message to Zedekiah (Jeremiah 27:12-15)?

5 What is the message to the priests (Jeremiah 27:16-22)?

6 What hope is given by God in this passage (Jeremiah 27:16-22)?


How does this relationship change your relationship with God?

What did you learn about him?

What will you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 27". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-27.html.
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