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3. yokes, and put them upon thy neck,* And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, that is, ambassadors, who came to con.
gratulate Zedekiah on his accession ; or rather, to concert measures 4 10 throw off the yoke of the king of Babylon ; And command them
to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the 5 God of Israel ; Thus shall ye say unto your masters ; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that (are] upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me, And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant ; and the beasts of the field, their cattle,
in which much of their substance consisted, have I given him also 7 to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and
his son's son, thai is, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, until the very time of his land come, the time of his visiting and reckoning with them : and then many nations and great king's
shall serve themselves of him, that is, shall exact service of him.t 8 And it shall come to pass, [that] the nation and kingdom which
will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the
sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have 9 consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to
your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor
to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, 10 saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon : For they proph
esy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land, and that
I should drive you out, and ye should perish ; if therefore you 11 suffor yourselves to be deceived by them, ye shall be removed. But
the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babwon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD'; and they shall till it, and dwell there. in ; they shall become his tributaries, and probably live better than
they did before. 12 I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these
words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of 13 Babylon, and serve him, and his people, and live.ll Why will
ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by
• The prophets used to prophesy by signs and actions, as well as by words The yoke consisted of two boards, with holes cut in the middle to fit the neck, and were tied together with bands ; so that it was somewhat like our pillories, only thicse lay on their shoulders; and they put them on malefactors, as we do fetters. • This is a remarkable prophesy, as the empire of Babylon was now in its greatest power and glory : but it never made any figure after the Persians conquered it.
This threatening was executed by some parts of his arıny harassing their country, during the thirteen years that he besieged Tyre.
I Zedekiah was marle king by the king of Babylon, and had siroru fidelity to him, and is Coproved, and afterward punished for his perjury.
the pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation that 14 will not serve the king of Babylon ? Therefore hearken not unto
the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall
not serve the king of Babylon : for they prophesy a lie unto 15 you. For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they proph
esy a lie in my name ; that I may drive you out, and that ye
might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. 16 Also I spake to the priests and to all this people ; though they
were my inveterate enemies, who had endeavoured to take away my life, yet I faithfully warned them, and thus endeavoured to preserve theirs, saying, Thus saith the LORD ; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the Lord's house, which have been taken away in the
two former reigns, shall now shortly be brought again from 17 Babylon : for they prophesy a lie unto you. Hearken not
unto them ; serve the king of Babylon, and live : wherefore 18 should this city be laid waste ? But if they [be] prophets, and if
the word of the Lord be with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and [in] the liouse of the king of Judah,
and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. '19 For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and
concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning 20 the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, Which Neb
uchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jeru
salem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem ; 21 Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, con
cerning the vessels that remain [in] the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem"; They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD, that is, till I visit the vessels; as if he had said, I will come and survey the catalogue of them, and call it over to see that none are wanting ; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place ; though they are 80 large, weighty and valuable, they shall all be sent by Cyrus, and at his own expense ; all which was remarkably fulfilled.
1. TROM hence we learn to reverence the supreme power and
T universal dominion of God, v. 5. Being the Creator, he is the supreme proprietor and disposer of all countries and persons ;. he gives the earth to the children of men, and to each his share ; changes times and seasons ; sets up kings, and removeth them, Though Nebuchadnezzar was á wicked and tyrannical prince, yet God for wise reasons gave him 'these countries. Large estates, dominions, and possessions, are not the best things ; for God sometimes gives them to the worst of men. Let the thought of his univer
sal government compose our minds in the most troublesome times ; • and engage us to be content with that lot which his Providence hath assigned us.
2. We may infer the reasonableness of submitting to the yoke of Christ. God hath exalted him to be a prince, given him the earth for his possession, and requires us to be subject to him. God's ap. pointment is a sufficient reason for our subjection ; especially when we consider the character of Christ ; that his yoke is easy, that if we serve him, we shall live, and that if we do not submit, God will punish us. False notions of liberty are mischievous ; the restraints of religion are reasonable and useful. Kiss the son, therefore, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that trust in him.
3. God's prophets should be praying men, and use all their in. terest in heaven for the safety and good of the church, v. 18. Which intimates, that true prophets should be men of eminent devotion, and that God would pay a great regard to their intercession. May all God's ministers be devout and holy men ! enter tenderly into the concerns of the church, and be fervent in their intercessions before God for its prosperity! and may they be successful in such friendly endeavours to serve it!
Hananiah, by a prophetic action, contradicts Jeremiah's prophecy ;
who gives a terrible answer, which was soon fulfilled.
1 AND it came to pass the same year, in the beginning
11 of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, (and) in the fifth month,* [that] Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which (was) of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house
of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, 2 saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon, that is,
his tyrannical power, of which Jeremiah's yoke was an emblem. 3 Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the
vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Ba
bylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon : 4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoia
kim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD : for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.t "
• As Zedekiah reigned but eleven years, the fourth could hardly be said to be the beginring of his reign; and therefore some critics would render the words, when it had been so, pat is, when Jeremiah had been prophesying with this yoke from the beginning of the reign of Zedekial to the fourth year, in which year he went to Babylon, see chap. li. 59.) having put it on when he delivered his prophetic messages.
+ This was pleasing enough to the people, because they considered Jeconiah as their lawful king, and Zedekiah, his uncle, as only the lieutenant or viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar : but this prophecy appears at the first view very suspicious, as nothing is said about their scpentance and reformation.
$ Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiab
in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people 6 that stood in the house of the LORD, Even the prophet Jeremiah
said, Amen : the LORD do so: the LORD perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the LORD's house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place; though I have prophesied evil, I heartily wish
the good of my country, and that God would revoke the sentence of 7 tuin which I have pronounced. Nevertheless hear thou now this
word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people ; $ The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old
prophesied both against many countries, and against great king. doms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence ; yea, many of the Jewish prophets foretold the destruction of their city and country, and it came to pass ; therefore I may be a true prophet, though I 9 foretell evil. The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when
the word of the prophet shall come to pass, (then) shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him ; the event
will prove whether I speak truth or thou. 10 Then Hananialı the prophet took the yoke from off the pro11 phet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it. And Hananiah spake in
the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD ; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way, having no di
rections from the Lord what reply to make. 12 Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah (the pro
phet,] after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke 13 from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Go and tell
Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD ; Thou hast brokeri the yokes of wood ; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron ; the more they resist Nebuchadnezzar, the more power he shall have over them ; they shall bring more confusion into their af:
fairs, and suffer more from him. He then renews the former firo. 14 phecy in stronger terms. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the
God of Israel ; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ; and they shall serve him : and I have given him the
beasts of the field also. 15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet,
Hear now Hananiah ; the Lord hath not sent thee ; but thou makest tbis people to trust in a lie ; thou hast taught the people
to disbelieve his word, and rebel against his commandments. 16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off
the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast 17 taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet
died the same year in the seventh month, just two months after his prophecy. He had limited the return of Jeconiah and the ves. sels to two years, that the people mighi more readily believe him ; Jeremiah confined the evidence of his falsehood to one year ; and two months confirmed it.
1. TAITHFUL ministers heartily wish the welfare of sinners,
T though they denounce evil against them, v. 7. Jeremiah sincerely desired the prosperity of his country, and that God would revoke the dreadful message sent by him, though they had hated and persecuted him. Thus christian ministers who are faithful to their trust, desire the hapriness of the worst of men, though they threaten them with the wrath to come ; yea, bear them more good will than those who only prophesy smooth things, and are therefore more agreeable to them. They say no more than Christ and his apostles, and the ministers before them, have said, concerning the evil of sin, and the wrath of God against it: they do not love to terrify and alarm ; it gives them pain to do it. But they are compelled by fidelity to God and love to souls : and their hearers should always consider their admonitions in this light.
2. Let us observe and adore the judgment of God upon this infamous. liar. What a presumptuous wretch was Hananiah, to de. clare that God had sent him, when he had not ; and to teach the people rebellion against God in his name ! All liars are abominable to the God of truth ; especially those who falsify his word, and father their lies upon him. Those who encourage sinners in an evil way, who tell them that they shall have peace, bid them not mind what God's ministers say, and thus make them trust in a lie, are the worst and vilest of sinners. May we avoid and abhor all lying and deceit ; especially where the souls of men are concerned ; for all liars, and particularly such as these, shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire.
3. How great is the stupidity and hardness of those sinners, who will not be alarmed by the word or the judgments of God. These extraordinary predictions were delivered in the presence of the priests and all the people ; and when they saw Hananiah so awfully convicted of being a false prophet by his death, one would have expected that such a providence would have awakened them to attend to Jeremiah's message, and comply with his admonitions. It is strange also that the predictions should have had no effect on Hananiah himself, who knew in his conscience that he was speaking lics in God's name ; yet both he and the people continued obstinate, and Jeremiah's words all came true in their destruction. So dreadfully doth sin stupify and besot the human mind. This should teach us to pay a serious regard to God's word ; and excite our carnest prayers that he would deliver us from hardness of heart.