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Hananiah prophesieth falsely the return of the vessels, and of Jeconiah. Jeremiah, wishing it to be true, sheweth that the event will declare who are true prophets. Hananiah breaketh Jeremiah's yoke. Jeremiah foretelleth of an iron yoke, and of Hananiah's death.
Before Christ 595.
Jeremiah 28:1. And it came to pass the same year— Houbigant very properly renders this, It was the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah; in that year, in the fifth month, &c. Hananiah, &c.—for otherwise, it is impossible to reconcile the verse to itself. See his note.
Jeremiah 28:6. Amen: The Lord do so— Jeremiah well knew the falsity of Hananiah's prediction: he testified it by his answer: he would only shew, that if he foretold melancholy things to his country, and if he opposed the false prophets, it was not through malice or envy. "God grant that you may find this man a true prophet, and that my predictions may not be verified: may the Lord deign to turn from my country, and from the princes of my people, the miseries which I have denounced!" See Calmet.
Jeremiah 28:8. The prophets that have been before me— Namely, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habbakuk, and others. Jeremiah offers two reason's in defence of his own prophesies, and against those of Hananiah. First, That many other prophets agreed with him in prophesying evil against the Jews, and other neighbouring people; whereas, Hananiah being single in his predictions, nothing less than the perfect answering of the event could give him the authority of a true prophet. Secondly, That, considering the corruption of the people's manners, it was highly probable that God would punish their iniquities. This is one of the principles laid down by Maimonides, whereby to judge a true prophet: "He is a true prophet (says he) who is not deceived in foretelling things future:" and this principle is deduced from Jeremiah 28:9. See Deu 18:22 and Chandler's "Defence." Instead of prophesied, we may read, have prophesied; and instead of, the word of the prophet, in the next verse, the word of that prophet.
Jeremiah 28:16. This year thou shalt die— As Hananiah had limited the accomplishment of his prophesy to the space of two years, in order to gain credit with the people by so punctual a prediction; so Jeremiah confines the proof of his veracity to a much shorter time; and the event being exactly conformable, evidently shewed the falsehood of Hananiah's pretences.
Jeremiah commonly counts the months according to the ecclesiastical year. The seventh month answers to August and September. Compare the 17th with the first verse.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The date of this prophesy is the fourth of Zedekiah, called the beginning of his reign, or the former part, it continuing seven years longer; or because in this year he paid a visit to the king of Babylon, and received, as some suggest, a fresh investiture of his dominions, with considerable additions of territory, chap. Jeremiah 51:59.
We have here the struggle between a false and true prophet.
1. Hananiah, the son of Azur, a false prophet, in the Lord's house; in the presence of the priests and people, undertook to contradict all that Jeremiah had spoken, and, using the solemn preface of Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, as if he spoke by inspiration from him, confidently asserts, both that the Babylonish yoke should be broken, the vessels of the sanctuary restored, and the captive king Jeconiah, with all the prisoners, return from Babylon to Judaea; and fixes the term, within two full years. Note; The smooth tongues of lying prophets never speak reproof, but flattery. By this ye shall know them.
2. Jeremiah heard him, and immediately replied. Warm in his country's interest, he wished nothing more ardently than its prosperity, and therefore adds his Amen, the Lord do so; the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied; as, if the Lord so pleased, he could be content to be counted a false prophet for the sake of his brethren; so unjust were all their calumnies against him, as if he desired the ruin of the nation. Though some suppose that he spoke these words ironically, fully sure, as the next words shew, of the determined destruction coming upon them; and therefore appeals to the event to prove the falsehood of Hananiah's assertion. He reminds him, before the people, how the prophets who were before their days spoke, all of whom, to a man, had denounced God's judgments against that and the neighbouring lands; such as Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum; it was, therefore, rather a presumption in Jeremiah's favour, who corresponded with them herein, that he had drank at the same fountain of inspiration; whereas the prophet which prophesied of peace, as Hananiah had done, and unconditionally, without any calls to repentance, was much to be suspected that he sought to please men; and at least the event of the prediction should be waited for, ere his claim to a divine mission should be admitted.
2nd, Enraged at such a reply,
1. Hananiah seizes the yoke which Jeremiah wore in token of the subjection of the nations by Nebuchadnezzar, and, plucking it from his neck, broke it in the presence of all the people, impiously and daringly adding this explication, which he prefaces with, Thus saith the Lord; so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. Note; (1.) Falsehood, advanced with solemnity and confidence, often gains regard. (2.) Many dare affirm that to be God's truth, which shortly, to their own damnation, will be found to be a lie.
2. Jeremiah went his way, disdaining to contend with him; or abhorring his profaneness; or withdrawing himself from the rage that he saw kindling; or patiently sitting down under these reproaches; or to wait an answer from God.
3. He is sent back with a fearful message; probably the same day, perhaps the same hour, while the people were yet assembled before the temple, and Hananiah triumphing, as if the day was his own; but short is the triumphing of the wicked. So far should the nations be from breaking the yoke of the king of Babylon, as Hananiah had broken the yoke of wood, that it should grow more rigorous and severe, a yoke of iron; all efforts to shake it off would be fruitless, and all the foregoing prophesies, chap. Jeremiah 27:6., &c. be to a tittle fulfilled. Such is the nation's doom. But Hananiah has a burden peculiarly his own, the punishment of his atrocious crimes. He had pretended a commission from God, and with his name given sanction to his own lies; he had led the people with a delusive hope, to rush on their destruction; and, above all, had taught rebellion against the Lord, encouraging them to reject the warnings of the true prophets, and despise the divine admonitions; for which crimes he is doomed to death by the immediate judgment of God, within the course of that very year; which was within two months fulfilled; for he died in the seventh month, and this was the fifth: and in his doom the people might have read the certainty of their own, and the truth of all that Jeremiah had spoken; but their foolish hearts were darkened. Note; (1.) God will not suffer his prophets to be insulted with impunity. (2.) None may expect a heavier judgment than they who are hinderers of the word of God, and who seek to prejudice men's minds against the faithful ministers of it. (3.) That sudden death is terrible indeed, which comes from God in a way of judgment.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 28". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29