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Hananiah Opposes Jeremiah and Dies
In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, 2“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4I will also bring back to this place King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, says the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; 6and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. 7But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”
10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, and broke it. 11And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: This is how I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went his way.
12 Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13Go, tell Hananiah, Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars only to forge iron bars in place of them! 14For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations so that they may serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they shall indeed serve him; I have even given him the wild animals. 15And the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you made this people trust in a lie. 16Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.”
17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.
Jer 28:1-17. Prophecies Immediately Following Those in the Twenty-seventh Chapter. Hananiah Breaks the Yokes to Signify that Nebuchadnezzar's Yoke Shall Be Broken. Jeremiah Foretells that Yokes of Iron Are to Succeed Those of Wood, and that Hananiah Shall Die.
1. in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah—The Jews often divided any period into two halves, the beginning and the end. As Zedekiah reigned eleven years, the fourth year would be called the beginning of his reign, especially as during the first three years affairs were in such a disturbed state that he had little power or dignity, being a tributary; but in the fourth year he became strong in power.
Hananiah—Another of this name was one of the three godly youths who braved Nebuchadnezzar's wrath in the fear of God (Da 1:6, 7; 3:12). Probably a near relation, for Azariah is associated with him; as Azur with the Hananiah here. The godly and ungodly are often in the same family (Eze 18:14-20).
Gibeon—one of the cities of the priests, to which order he must have belonged.
2. broken the yoke—I have determined to break: referring to Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 27:12).
3. two full years—literally, "years of days." So "a month of days," that is, all its days complete (Ge 29:14, Margin; Ge 41:1). It was marvellous presumption to speak so definitely without having any divine revelation.
4. bring again … Jeconiah—not necessarily implying that Hananiah wished Zedekiah to be superseded by Jeconiah. The main point intended was that the restoration from Babylon should be complete. But, doubtless, the false prophet foretold Jeconiah's return (2Ki 24:12-15), to ingratiate himself with the populace, with whom Jeconiah was a favorite (see on Jer 22:24).
5. the prophet Jeremiah—the epithet, "the prophet," is prefixed to "Jeremiah" throughout this chapter, to correspond to the same epithet before "Hananiah"; except in Jer 28:12, where "the prophet" has been inserted in English Version. The rival claims of the true and the false prophet are thus put in the more prominent contrast.
6. Amen—Jeremiah prays for the people, though constrained to prophesy against them (1Ki 1:36). The event was the appointed test between contradictory predictions (De 18:21, 22). "Would that what you say were true!" I prefer the safety of my country even to my own estimation. The prophets had no pleasure in announcing God's judgment, but did so as a matter of stern duty, not thereby divesting themselves of their natural feelings of sorrow for their country's woe. Compare Ex 32:32; Ro 9:3, as instances of how God's servants, intent only on the glory of God and the salvation of the country, forgot self and uttered wishes in a state of feeling transported out of themselves. So Jeremiah wished not to diminish aught from the word of God, though as a Jew he uttered the wish for his people [Calvin].
8. prophets … before me—Hosea, Joel, Amos, and others.
evil—a few manuscripts, read "famine," which is more usually associated with the specification of war and pestilence (Jer 15:2; 18:21; 27:8, 13). But evil here includes all the calamities flowing from war, not merely famine, but also desolation, &c. Evil, being the more difficult reading, is less likely to be the interpolated one than famine, which probably originated in copying the parallel passages.
9. peace—Hananiah had given no warning as to the need of conversion, but had foretold prosperity unconditionally. Jeremiah does not say that all are true prophets who foretell truths in any instance (which De 13:1, 2, disproves); but asserts only the converse, namely, that whoever, as Hananiah, predicts what the event does not confirm, is a false prophet. There are two tests of prophets: (1) The event, De 18:22. (2) The word of God, Isa 8:20.
11. neck of all nations—opposed to Jer 27:7.
13. Thou hast broken … wood … thou shalt make … iron—Not here, "Thou hast broken … wood," and "I will make … iron" (compare Jer 28:16). The same false prophets who, by urging the Jews to rebel, had caused them to throw off the then comparatively easy yoke of Babylon, thereby brought on them a more severe yoke imposed by that city. "Yokes of iron," alluding to De 28:48. It is better to take up a light cross in our way, than to pull a heavier on our own heads. We may escape destroying providences by submitting to humbling providences. So, spiritually, contrast the "easy yoke" of Christ with the "yoke of bondage" of the law (Ac 15:10; Ga 5:1).
14. I have put—Though Hananiah and those like him were secondary instruments in bringing the iron yoke on Judea, God was the great First Cause (Jer 27:4-7).
16. this year … die—The prediction was uttered in the fifth month (Jer 28:1); Hananiah's death took place in the seventh month, that is, within two months after the prediction, answering with awful significance to the two years in which Hananiah had foretold that the yoke imposed by Babylon would end.
rebellion—opposition to God's plain direction, that all should submit to Babylon (Jer 29:32).