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Under the type of bonds and yokes, he prophesieth the subduing of the neighbour kings unto Nebuchadnezzar: he exhorteth them to yield, and not to believe the false prophets: the like he doeth to Zedekiah: he foretelleth that the remnant of the vessels shall be carried to Babylon, and there continue until the day of visitation.
Before Christ 598.
THE prophesies contained both in this chapter, and in that which follows next, belong to the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign. About this time ambassadors came to Zedekiah from the kings of Edom, Moab, and other neighbouring nations, to solicit him, as it should seem, to join with them in a confederacy against the king of Babylon. On this occasion Jeremiah is ordered to put bands and yokes about his neck, and to send them afterwards to the before-mentioned kings, declaring the sovereignty of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors to be of divine appointment, and promising peace and protection to such as submitted quietly, but menacing evil in case of resistance, Jeremiah 26:1-11. A like admonition is delivered to Zedekiah, advising him not to expose himself and his people to certain ruin by listening to the suggestions of false prophets, and revolting from the service of the king of Babylon; Jeremiah 26:12-15. The priests and all the people are also warned not to give credit to the false prophets, who taught them to expect a speedy restoration of the vessels, which had been carried to Babylon together with Jeconiah. Instead of which it is foretold, that the remaining vessels in the house of God, and in the king's house at Jerusalem, should be carried after the other, and should not return till the appointed period of Judah's captivity was at an end; Jeremiah 26:16.—to the end.
Jeremiah 27:1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim— Of Zedekiah. Houbigant. There can be no doubt from the 3rd, 12th, and 20th verses, that our reading is an error. See particularly chap. Jeremiah 28:1.
Jeremiah 27:2. Make thee bonds and yokes— See ch. Jer 28:10 and the note on ch. Jeremiah 25:15. The yoke was a pole which went over the shoulders of a man, and was fastened by bands to the neck: it was used by slaves to carry burdens, which were suspended at the extremities of the pole; so that it resembled that which is made use of by milkmen in our metropolis to carry their pails. This was an information by action, instead of words, says Bishop Warburton, foretelling the conquers of Nebuchadnezzar over Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon.
Jeremiah 27:7. All nations shall serve him, and his son, &c.— Balthasar or Evil-Merodach being killed, this prophesy was fulfilled; for this prince was son of Nebuchodonosor the IId. or the grandson of Nebuchodonosor or Nebuchadnezzar, mentioned Jeremiah 27:8.
Until the very time— Houbigant renders the latter part as he did the beginning of Jer 27:14 chap. 25:
Jeremiah 27:9. Therefore, hearken not, &c.— He speaks to Zedekiah and to the messengers of the other princes spoken of in Jeremiah 27:3. The diviners, dreamers, &c. belonged to the idolatrous nations; as the prophets to the Jews.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The date of this prophesy is in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim; then probably the yokes were made in token of Judah's subjection, which soon began, though only sent to the neighbouring nations several years after, in the reign of Zedekiah, when the time of their captivity drew nearer.
1. The sign given is, the making bonds and yokes, and the putting one (probably a light, small one) on his own neck, in token of the bondage to which the people should be delivered; and this he wore for many years, as appears from chap. Jeremiah 28:1-10.
2. He is commanded to send one of these to all the neighbouring nations, by the hand of the messengers who came to Jerusalem to congratulate Zedekiah on his accession, or to make a league with him to oppose the growing power of the king of Babylon, and, in case of invasion, to unite their forces. A vain design! which God had determined to disappoint; and therefore they are enjoined to tell their masters from God, when they delivered the prophetic symbol of their captivity, that the Lord of Hosts, at whose beck are the armies of heaven and earth; the God of Israel; the great Creator of all, and who, therefore, had an absolute right to dispose of all the creatures of his hand, had given these lands, with all their produce, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his servant, raised up to be his minister of wrath; and under his dominion they must continue, and under that of his son, and his son's son, see chap. Jer 25:14 till the seventy years should be completed, during which the captivity should last; and then other mightier kings and nations should destroy this monarchy, and raise another on its ruins. Resistance to the divine decree would but aggravate their misery, and expose them to more horrid desolation, and diverse kinds of death; nor must they give heed to their diviners and sorcerers, who would flatter them with lying hopes, which would infallibly disappoint them, and, by encouraging them to resist, exasperate their conquerors more fearfully to destroy them; while those who patiently submitted and surrendered themselves should find favour in the sight of their enemies, and be suffered quietly to remain under tribute, and not be carried away captive into a strange land. Note; (1.) The earth is the Lord's, and he doth as pleases him with it, and none have reason to murmur against his disposal of his own. (2.) The wicked frequently enjoy the greatest share of this world's good. (3.) To struggle against God's providence is to oppose in vain; for when he judges he will overcome. (4.) Patience will alleviate the burdens which perverseness but aggravates.
2nd, Jerusalem was now tributary to the king of Babylon: but Zedekiah was meditating rebellion, and his false prophets encouraging him with hopes of success; but the consequence would be, the completion of the nation's ruin.
1. The prophet addresses the king of Judah with earnestness, beseeching him, for his own and his people's sake, patiently to submit and live, since all revolt against the king of Babylon would certainly prove fatal in the issue, and expose them to all the miseries of a siege and the massacre of a city taken by storm, notwithstanding the lies of the false prophets who flattered him and the people to their ruin, and would themselves fall under the judgment. Note; (1.) Rebellion against God will be attended with still more fearful consequences: how much better is it to bow our necks to the easy yoke of Christ, and live! (2.) They who embolden sinners in their evil ways shall perish with them, the deceived and the deceiver together.
2. He gives the priests and people the same warning as he had given to their king, admonishing them of the folly of hearkening to the false prophets; your prophets he calls them, because they chose their lying visions, and loved to have it so. They told them, that they should be successful in their revolt, and that the king of Babylon would soon be willing to purchase peace from them by the restoration of the sacred vessels which had been carried to Babylon; but, alas! they were only pushing them to the precipice of destruction, bringing on the utter ruin of their city, and the demolition of the temple; when, as Nebuchadnezzar had before taken the vessels of gold, 2Ki 24:13-15 so far would he be from restoring them, that all the other vessels, with the pillars, sea, and bases of brass, should follow them into Babylon. Better, therefore, far better were it, that they should become intercessors with God to prevent the impending judgments, and preserve what was left, than flatter them with the delusive hopes of the restoration of what had been carried away. Note; (1.) True prophets will be advocates before God in prayer for those to whom they preach. They who maintain no communion with God can have no commission from him. (2.) The general ruin of sinners arises from false hopes, with which their lying and lazy teachers flatter them, who cry peace! when there is no peace.
3. The prophesy concludes with a gleam of hope amid the darkness of this long captivity. Though the vessels of the Lord's house, and of the houses of the kings and princes of Judah, should be thus carried to Babylon, they should not be lost, but safely laid up against the time appointed of God, when, after the seventy years were fulfilled, they should again be restored; which was marvellously accomplished by Cyrus, Ezra 1:7. Note; (1.) In wrath God still remembers mercy. (2.) Though the time of the church's distress be long, we must not despair; the vision is for an appointed time, at the end it shall speak: blessed are all they that wait for it.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 27". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17