Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. Jeremiah 28:1-17. Warning to the false prophets through Hananiah. Hananiah’s rejoinder and punishment
And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning 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, saying,1. in the beginning, etc.] See on Jeremiah 27:1. If, as seems likely, the utterance of Hananiah which follows was on the same day on which Jeremiah appeared in public, wearing a yoke on his neck (Jeremiah 27:2), and that the messengers from abroad (ib. 3) had not yet departed, we can realise the effect which Hananiah’s words of direct contradiction to Jeremiah’s forecast (ib. 16) would produce.
Hananiah] one of the prophets of the national party, whose unauthorized predictions of peace and safety were among the severest trials to which Jeremiah had to submit. For the relation of the false to the true prophets see Intr. pp. xxxii. f.; Jeremiah 23:9, Jeremiah 29:8-9; Jeremiah 29:31-32. Cp. Ezekiel 13.
Gibeon] El Jib, about five miles N.W. of Jerusalem. It was one of the cities of the priests (Joshua 21:17).
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the LORD'S house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:3. that Nebuchadnezzar … carried them to Babylon] LXX omit.
And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim 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.4. Jeconiah] It shews that the exiled king must still have had a substantial following in Jerusalem, when Hananiah ventured upon this forecast in the face of the de facto ruler.
Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people 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.
Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;7–9. The passage forms an important aid to our grasping of the real nature of O.T. prophecy. True prophets did not flatter with promises of good fortune, seeing that their aim was to preach repentance and reformation to a sinful world. Any future prosperity which they contemplated could only be subsequent to the purging away of evil by the Divine judgements. For such an attitude on the part of the prophet courage and self-denial were needed; hence the presumption was a safe one that one who spoke thus was sent by God, and so refused to pander from selfish motives to the wishes of his hearers. Nothing could avail against this argument in proof of the trustworthiness of the true prophet, except the actual fulfilment of his opponent’s prediction to the contrary. It was probably as realising this that Hananiah, in spite of the risk of exposure involved, fixed an early date for the fulfilment of his pleasing forecast (Jeremiah 28:3), and thereupon had his own weapon turned against him (Jeremiah 28:16 f.). For this passage cp. Deuteronomy 18:22, also Jeremiah 13:1-3.
The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.
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.
Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet 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.11. And the prophet … went his way] Co., maintaining that Jeremiah could not under the circumstances have been silent, rejects these words but Du. rightly pleads for their retention as entirely consonant with the dignity and nobility of Jeremiah’s character. Co. considers them as inserted by a later hand and suggested by “go and tell” of Jeremiah 28:13.
Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,12–17. Jeremiah’s emphatic contradiction of Hananiah’s forecast.
Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.13. thou shalt make] LXX (better) I will make.
bars of iron] Hananiah’s act would only serve, by exciting the Jews to resistance, to render the servitude which they should undergo more harsh.
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.14. and they shall … field also] LXX (probably rightly) omit. The insertion may have been suggested by Jeremiah 27:6, where see note.
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
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 taught rebellion against the LORD.16. because thou hast spoken rebellion against the Lord] LXX omit. The words seem to have been introduced from Deuteronomy 13:5, where, however, as Gi. points out, unlike the present passage, idolatry is spoken of.
So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.17. in the seventh month] i.e. within two months (see Jeremiah 28:1).