a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

The Sign of the Yoke


In the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the L ord. 2Thus the L ord said to me: Make yourself a yoke of straps and bars, and put them on your neck. 3Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to King Zedekiah of Judah. 4Give them this charge for their masters: Thus says the L ord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the people and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever I please. 6Now I have given all these lands into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him even the wild animals of the field to serve him. 7All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.

8 But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this king, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, then I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, says the L ord, until I have completed its destruction by his hand. 9You, therefore, must not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon.” 10For they are prophesying a lie to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land; I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, says the L ord, to till it and live there.

12 I spoke to King Zedekiah of Judah in the same way: Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. 13Why should you and your people die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, as the L ord has spoken concerning any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are telling you not to serve the king of Babylon, for they are prophesying a lie to you. 15I have not sent them, says the L ord, but they are prophesying falsely in my name, with the result that I will drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.

16 Then I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus says the L ord: Do not listen to the words of your prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, “The vessels of the L ord’s house will soon be brought back from Babylon,” for they are prophesying a lie to you. 17Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live. Why should this city become a desolation? 18If indeed they are prophets, and if the word of the L ord is with them, then let them intercede with the L ord of hosts, that the vessels left in the house of the L ord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem may not go to Babylon. 19For thus says the L ord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, 20which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take away when he took into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21thus says the L ord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels left in the house of the L ord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall stay, until the day when I give attention to them, says the L ord. Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.

He repeats again the same words, Yea, thus saith Jehovah, etc.; for so ought the particle כי, ki, to be rendered in this place. 191191     A clear instance of the affirmative sense of this particle, for the passage can admit of no other, though the versions, except the Syr., retain its causal sense. — Ed. And he emphatically expresses what was of itself sufficiently clear, that he might deeply imprint on their minds this declaration of God, and that thus some terror might penetrate into the hearts of those who were so obdurate that it was not easy to effect anything by a simple statement of the truth. Thus, then, saith Jehovah of the vessels which yet remain in the Temple of Jehovah and in, the palace of the king, They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall be, etc. Jeremiah intimates that the Jews had no hope, as they were perversely resisting God and refusing to be chastised by his hand. And he says, until the day in which I shall visit them, the vessels; for so the reference may suitably be made; but as it is often the case in Hebrew to put a pronoun when anything remarkable is spoken without any noun, or a subject, as they say, preceding it, I am inclined to refer it to the Jews themselves; for the restoration of the vessels depended on that of the people. He means, then, that the vessels would be held captive until God allowed a free return to the people, which happened through the edict of Cyrus, after he had obtained power in Chaldea and Assyria.

It was the same thing as though the Jews were reminded that the exile which had been predicted would be long, and that they foolishly hoped for what the false prophets had promised as to the vessels; for God had no greater care for the vessels than for his chosen people, as the vessels were acceptable to God for the people’s sake. Here, then, Jeremiah confirms what he has said elsewhere, and that often, that the people would be captives until the day of visitation, that is, till the end of seventy years. When, therefore, says God, I shall visit the Jews themselves, I will then bring back also the vessels; and so it was permitted by the command of Cyrus. We now understand the simple meaning of the words. Another narrative follows, —

VIEWNAME is study