Jeremiah 27:3
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;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) And send them to the king of Edom.—The princes that are named had, as the context shows, sent their ambassadors to Zedekiah, proposing an alliance against Nebuchadnezzar. They are named in the same order as in the prophecy of Jeremiah 25:21-22, which had been delivered fifteen years before. The prophecy then delivered had been in part fulfilled, but these princes were still struggling against it, encouraged, apparently, by the difficulties which in Media and elsewhere seemed to delay the complete triumph of the Chaldæan king; and the prophet is commissioned to tell all of them alike that their efforts are in vain, and that the supremacy of Babylon was, for the time, part of God’s order, for the chastisement of the nations. In Jeremiah 49 we have a fuller, and probably later, development of the same strain of prediction.

27:1-11 Jeremiah is to prepare a sign that all the neighbouring countries would be made subject to the king of Babylon. God asserts his right to dispose of kingdoms as he pleases. Whatever any have of the good things of this world, it is what God sees fit to give; we should therefore be content. The things of this world are not the best things, for the Lord often gives the largest share to bad men. Dominion is not founded in grace. Those who will not serve the God who made them, shall justly be made to serve their enemies that seek to ruin them. Jeremiah urges them to prevent their destruction, by submission. A meek spirit, by quiet submission to the hardest turns of providence, makes the best of what is bad. Many persons may escape destroying providences, by submitting to humbling providences. It is better to take up a light cross in our way, than to pull a heavier on our own heads. The poor in spirit, the meek and humble, enjoy comfort, and avoid many miseries to which the high-spirited are exposed. It must, in all cases, be our interest to obey God's will.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. 3. And send them to the king of Edom, &c.—Appropriate symbol, as these ambassadors had come to Jerusalem to consult as to shaking off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Pherecydes in Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 567], Idanthura, king of the Scythians, intimated to Darius, who had crossed the Danube, that he would lead an army against him, by sending him, instead of a letter, a mouse, a frog, a bird, an arrow, and a plough. The task assigned to Jeremiah required great faith, as it was sure to provoke alike his own countrymen and the foreign ambassadors and their kings, by a seeming insult, at the very time that all were full of confident hopes grounded on the confederacy. It was and is the custom of neighbour princes, to send ambassadors into each other’s countries to reside there, and maintain correspondence on the behalf of their masters. These nations were neighbours to the Jews, and their princes had their ambassadors resident at Jerusalem. Jeremiah is directed to carry each of these ambassadors a yoke with a bond, as a present from God to their masters; the meaning he is also ordered to tell them in the following words.

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,.... All neighbouring kings and states, to whom the wine cup of God's wrath was to be sent, and they made to drink of it, Jeremiah 25:21; and against whom Jeremiah afterwards prophesies:

by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; who were sent by their masters, either to congratulate Zedekiah upon his accession to the throne; or to enter into a league with him against the king of Babylon, and shake off his yoke; or to reside at his court, as ambassadors of nations at peace and in alliance usually do; and it may be for all those purposes. The yokes therefore are ordered to be sent to them, as being the most proper and easy way and method of conveying them, with the meaning of them, to their respective masters.

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;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. and send them] We should probably omit the pronoun, which (being in the Hebrew only one letter attached to the end of the verb) seems to have crept in under the influence of the preceding clause. It was the warning only that Jeremiah was to send. Du. points out that it was nothing unusual that an Israelitish prophet should be listened to with respect, when addressing a foreign nation (Jdg 3:20; 1 Kings 19:15 ff.; Isaiah 18:2; Isaiah 21:11 f.).

the messengers] rather (with LXX), their messengers. Ezekiel (Jeremiah 17:15) charges Zedekiah with taking the initiative in negotiations with Egypt against Babylon.

Verse 3. - And send them, etc. The letter of the text certainly suggests that Jeremiah actually delivered a separate yoke to each of the five ambassadors. Some commentators, however, finding such an act almost incredible, suppose the statement to be allegorical, and the "sending of the yoke" to mean the declaration of the subjection of the nations to Nebuchadnezzar which follows, somewhat as in Jeremiah 25:15 the "causing all the nations to drink "means the utterance of a prophecy of woe to the various peoples concerned. But we can hardly pronounce upon this passage by itself. We have to consider whether a whole group of similar statements is or is not to be taken literally. It may be enough to instance Jeremiah 13:1-7. Which come; rather, which are come. Jeremiah 27:3The yoke of the king of Babylon upon the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. - Jeremiah 27:2. "Thus said Jahveh to me: Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, Jeremiah 27:3. And send them to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers that are come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. Jeremiah 27:4. And command them to say unto their masters, Thus hath Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, said: Thus shall ye say unto your masters: Jeremiah 27:5. I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched hand, and give it to whom it seemeth meet unto me. Jeremiah 27:6. And how have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field also have I given him to serve him. Jeremiah 27:7. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the time of his land come, and many nations and great kings serve themselves of him. Jeremiah 27:8. And the people and the kingdom that will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and that will not put its neck into the yoke of the king of Babylon, with sword, with famine, and with pestilence I will visit that people, until I have made an end of them by his hand. Jeremiah 27:9. And ye, hearken not to your prophets, and your soothsayers, and to your dreams, to your enchanters and your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying: Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon. Jeremiah 27:10. For they prophesy a lie unto you, that I should remove you far from your land, and that I should drive you out and ye should perish. Jeremiah 27:11. But the people that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and will serve him, that will I let remain in its land, saith Jahveh, to till it and to dwell therein."

The yoke Jeremiah is to make and lay on his neck is a plain emblem of the Babylonian yoke the nations are to bear. The words "bonds and yokes" denote together one yoke. מטות are the two wooden beams or poles of the yoke, which were fastened together by means of the מוסרות, bonds, ropes, so that the yoke might be laid on the beast's neck; cf. Leviticus 26:13. That Jeremiah really put such a yoke on his neck and wore it, we see from Jeremiah 28:10, Jeremiah 28:12, where a false prophet breaks it for him. He is to send the yoke to the kings of Edom, Moab, etc., by means of envoys of those kings, who were come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah. And since Jeremiah laid a yoke on his own neck, and so carried out the commanded symbolical action in objective reality, there is no reason to doubt that he made yokes for the five kings named and gave them to their respective envoys. Chr. B. Mich., Hitz., Graf, hold this to be improbable, and suppose that Jeremiah only made a yoke for himself and put it on his neck; but by appearing abroad with it, he set before the eyes of the ambassadors, the yoke that was to be laid on their kings, and, in a certain sense, emblematically gave it to them. But even though this might have sufficed to accomplish the aim of the prophecy, it is difficulty to reconcile it with the wording of the text; hence Hitz. seeks arbitrarily to change שׁלּחתּם into שׁלּחתּה. And it is a worthless argument that Jeremiah cannot possibly have believed that the envoys would carry the yokes with them and deliver them to their masters. Why should not he have believed they would do so? And if they did not, it was their concern. The plur. "bands and yokes" may indeed mean a single yoke, but it may also mean many; and the verbs נתתּם and שׁלּחתּם, both with plural suffixes, indicate clearly that he was to make not merely one yoke for himself, but yokes for himself and the kings. In Jeremiah 28:10 and Jeremiah 28:12, where one yoke is spoken of, the singular המּוטה is used; while, Jeremiah 28:13, "yokes of wood hast thou broken," does not prove that this plural has the same force as the singular.

We are not told for what purpose ambassadors from the kings named had come to Jerusalem; but we can discover what it was from the message Jeremiah gives them for their lords. From this it appears, without a doubt, that they were come to take counsel as to a coalition with the view of throwing off the Chaldean supremacy. By God's command Jeremiah opposes this design with the announcement, that the God of Israel, the Creator of the world and of all creatures, has given all these lands (those of the kings named in Jeremiah 27:3) into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar; that men, and even beasts, should serve him, i.e., that he might exercise unbounded dominion over these lands and all that belonged to them, cf. Jeremiah 28:14. "My servant," as in Jeremiah 25:9. All nations are to serve him, his son and his grandson. These words simply express the long duration of the king of Babylon's power over them, without warranting us in concluding that he was succeeded on the throne by his son and his grandson, cf. Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 4:25. For, as we know, Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Evil-Merodach; then came his brother-in-law Neriglissar, who murdered Evil-Merodach, who was followed by his son Laborosoarchod, a child, murdered after a nine months' reign by conspirators. Of these latter, Neboned ascended the throne of Babylon; and it was under his reign that the time for his land came that it should be made subject by many nations and great kings, cf. Jeremiah 25:14. גּם הוּא serves to strengthen the suffix on ארצו; and the suffix, like בּו, refers to Nebuchadnezzar.

(Note: Jeremiah 27:7 is wanting in the lxx, and therefore Mov. and Hitz. pronounce it spurious. But, as Graf remarked, they have no sufficient reason for this, since, reference being had to Jeremiah 27:16 and to Jeremiah 28:3, Jeremiah 28:11, this verse is very much in place here. It is not a vaticinium ex eventu, as Hitz. asserts, but was rather omitted by the lxx, simply because its contents, taken literally, were not in keeping with the historical facts. The lxx omit also the clause from "that will not serve" to "king of Babylon and," which is accordingly, and for other subjective reasons of taste, pronounced spurious by Hitz.; but Graf justly opposes this.)

What is said in Jeremiah 27:6 and Jeremiah 27:7 is made sterner by the threatening of Jeremiah 27:8, that the Lord will punish with sword, famine, and pestilence the people and kingdom that will not serve Nebuchadnezzar. ואת introduces a second relative clause, the את being here quite in place, since "the people and the kingdom" are accusatives made to precede absolutely, and resumed again by the 'על הגּוי ה, which belongs directly to the verb "visit." With עד־תּמּי, cf. Jeremiah 24:10 and אתם עד־כּלּותי, corresponding in meaning, in Jeremiah 9:15.

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