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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Jeremiah 28

Introduction

A.M. 3408. B.C. 596.

In the foregoing chapter Jeremiah had charged those prophets with speaking lies who foretold the speedy breaking of the yoke of the king of Babylon, and the speedy return of the vessels of the sanctuary; now here we have his contest with a particular prophet upon those heads.

(1,) Hananiah, in contradiction to Jeremiah, pretends to foretel that, within two years, the Babylonish yoke should be broken, and the vessels which had been carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, together with all the captives, should within that time be restored, Jeremiah 28:1-4 .

(2,) Jeremiah consents to allow of Hananiah’s pretensions to the character of a true prophet, in case his prediction should be accomplished, Jeremiah 28:5-9 .

(3,) Hananiah, in confirmation of what he had foretold, breaketh off the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck. 10, Jeremiah 28:11 .

(4,) Jeremiah is ordered to declare, that the king of Babylon’s yoke, instead of wood, should be made of iron, Jer 28:12-14

(5,) He foretels the death of Hananiah within the year; and he dies accordingly two months after, Jeremiah 28:15-17 .

Verses 1-4

Jeremiah 28:1-4. And it came to pass the same year Namely, the same in which the preceding prophecy was delivered; for the words manifestly refer to the time specified at the beginning of the foregoing chapter, and confirm the conjecture there made, that Jehoiakim is put there, by a mistake in the copies, for Zedekiah: see note on Jeremiah 26:1, where the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign is termed the beginning of it. Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet That is, a pretended prophet. Being of Gibeon, a city belonging to the priests, it is probable he was a priest as well as Jeremiah; spake unto me in the house of the Lord Delivered publicly, and solemnly, and in the name of the Lord, what he wished to be considered as a true prediction; in the presence of the priests and of the people Who probably were expecting to have some message from Heaven. In delivering this reigned prophecy, Hananiah designed to confront and contradict Jeremiah. His prediction is, that the king of Babylon’s power, at least over Judah and Jerusalem, should be speedily broken; that within two full years the vessels of the temple should be brought back, and Jeconiah, and all the captives that were carried away with him, should return; whereas Jeremiah had foretold that the yoke of the king of Babylon should be bound on yet faster, and that the vessels and the captives should not return for seventy years.

Verses 5-9

Jeremiah 28:5-9. The Prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so! Thereby expressing his hearty concern for the good of his nation, and wishing that God would repent him of the evil wherewith he had threatened them by his ministry; for such an affection had he for them, and so truly desirous was he of their welfare, that he would have been content to lie under the imputation of being a false prophet so that their ruin might have been prevented. Nevertheless, hear thou now this word As if he had said, The word which I am about to speak concerns thee, and not thee alone, but all the people, therefore do thou mark it well, and let them observe it also. The prophets that have been before me and before thee Namely, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and others; prophesied both against many countries and great kingdoms, &c. “Jeremiah offers two reasons in defence of his own prophecies, and against those of Hananiah. 1st, That many other prophets agreed with him in prophesying evil against the Jews, and other neighbouring countries; whereas Hananiah, being single in his predictions, nothing but the perfect answering of the event to them could give him the authority of a true prophet. 2d, That, considering the general corruption of the people’s manners, it was highly probable that God would punish their iniquities. To this the Jews add a third explication of the words, namely, that when any prophet foretold peace and prosperity, (namely, unconditionally and absolutely, as Hananiah here did,) his prophecy must certainly be fulfilled to prove him to be a true prophet; whereas, when a prophet foretold evil, which was Jeremiah’s case, the event might be suspended by the repentance of the persons concerned.” Lowth.

Verses 10-14

Jeremiah 28:10-14. Then Hananiah took the yoke from off Jeremiah’s neck Thus it appears that Jeremiah wore this yoke, agreeably to the command given him by God, as a symbol of that subjection to the king of Babylon to which he admonished the Jews and other neighbouring nations to submit, in order that they might prevent the extreme evil which would otherwise fall upon them: and this yoke Hananiah took off the prophet’s neck, and broke it, by way of a symbolical sign that the Jews, and these other nations, should be freed from the Babylonian yoke within two years. And the Prophet Jeremiah went his way Quietly and patiently, knowing that it would answer no good end to contend with one whose mind was heated, and in the midst of the priests and people that were violently set against him. Doubtless he expected that God would soon send a special message to Hananiah, and he would say nothing till he received it. It is often our wisdom and duty to yield to violence, to bear revilings with patience, and to retreat rather than contend. Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah To ratify and confirm the prophecy he had lately uttered; saying, Go and tell Hananiah, Thou hast broken the yokes of wood, &c. Which were light and easy; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron Such as no human strength can break; that is, thou shalt bring a heavier and more grievous yoke upon them than they otherwise would have had, by persuading them not to submit to Nebuchadnezzar.

Verses 15-17

Jeremiah 28:15-17. Then said Jeremiah, Hear now, Hananiah Jeremiah, being a second time confirmed in the truth of what he had foretold, and having likewise a special revelation relating to this false prophet, comes and calls him by his name, and tells him his doom, that he should die within a year, because he had taught rebellion against the Lord Had taught people to believe and trust to what was false, contradicting God’s will revealed by Jeremiah, and encouraging and exciting the people to hold out against Nebuchadnezzar, and not quietly to yield to this dispensation of God. “Thus, as Hananiah had limited the accomplishment of his prophecy to the space of two years, to gain credit with the people by such a punctual prediction, so Jeremiah confines the trial of his veracity to a much shorter time, and the event, exactly answering to the prediction, evidently showed the falsehood of Hananiah’s pretences.” Lowth. So Hananiah died the same year in the seventh month Two months after he had uttered this false prophecy, as appeareth from Jeremiah 28:1. So dangerous a thing it is for those who speak in the name of God to teach people contrary to his revealed will!

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 28". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/jeremiah-28.html. 1857.