In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Of Jehoiakim - Really, of Zedekiah, as the Syriac reads (see Jeremiah 27:3). In the Septuagint the verse is missing. Some scribe has confused the title of this chapter with that of Jeremiah 26.
Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,
Yokes - Two curved pieces of wood, the one put over the neck of the ox, the other under, and then fastened together by bonds or cords (compare Psalm 2:3). Compare the marginal references.
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;
Come - Or, are come. The ambassadors of these five kings had probably come to Jerusalem to consult about forming a league to throw off the Babylonian supremacy. The attempt failed.
And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the 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 have I given him also to serve him.
And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.
His son, and his son's son - Evil-Merodach and Nabonadius (see Daniel 5:1 note).
Shall serve themselves of him - See the marginal reference. After long servitude to the Persian and Median kings, the Selucidae ruined the remains of Babylon.
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 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, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:
Dreamers - literally, as in the margin. People dream dreams for themselves, and go to diviners to ask the explanation of them.
For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.
To remove you far ... - That would be the result of their vaticinations.
But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.
Nations ... - Rather, the nation.
I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live.
Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
Zedekiah was restless under the Babylonian yoke, and the false prophets found only too ready a hearing from him. He is addressed in the plural because his feelings were fully shared by the mass of the officers of state and by the people.
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 you.
For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.
Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, 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 shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore 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 house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,
Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;
Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning 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; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.