Therefore listen not you to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak to you, saying, You shall not serve the king of Babylon:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Therefore hearken ye not to your prophets.—The almost exhaustive list of the names given to the men who claimed the power of prevision, may have had its ground in the fact that each of the five names was characteristic of this or that among the five nations to whom the message was sent. Of the names themselves, the prominent idea in “prophet” is that of full-flowing utterance; in “diviners,” that of casting lots, as in Ezekiel 21:21; in “dreamers,” what the English word indicates; in enchanters, that of practising “veiled” or “secret” arts (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10); in “sorcerers,” that of muttered and whispered spells (Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 47:9-13; 2Kings 9:22). It is clear that the five nations of the confederacy were sustained in their rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar by a unanimity of prediction from men of all these classes like that which lured Ahab to his destruction (1Kings 22:22). Every oracle was tuned, as it were, in favour of the policy of resistance.Jeremiah 27:9-11. Hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners — These nations, it must be observed, had their prophets as well as the Jews, or rather persons that pretended to foretel future events by consulting the stars, by dreams, and various arts of divination; and they, to please their patrons, flattered them with assurances that they should not be brought into subjection and servitude by the king of Babylon. By these means they designed to animate them to a vigorous resistance: and though they had no ground for such an expectation, they hoped hereby to do them service. But Jeremiah here tells them, that it would prove to their destruction; for by resisting they would provoke the conqueror to deal severely with them, to remove them from their land, and to drive them out into a miserable captivity, in which they should be buried in oblivion, and perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke, &c. — That, upon the first summons, or without making any hostile opposition, shall yield themselves subjects to the king of Babylon, shall continue in their own country and possessions, being only made tributaries to that king.
enchanters—augurs [Calvin], from a root, the "eyes," that is, lookers at the stars and other means of taking omens of futurity; or another root, a "fixed time," observers of times: forbidden in the law (Le 19:26; De 18:10, 11, 14).
diviners, dreamers, enchanters, and sorcerers, so the Jews had them also, Isaiah 47:12,13: the meaning is, Hearken to none of them that pretend as from God to foretell your escape from this judgment, and not being brought into servitude to the king of, Babylon, for you shall serve the king of Babylon. By prophets he means such as pretended to some Divine revelations. By diviners he means soothsayers, of which were several sorts. By dreamers, such as pretend to revelations in their sleep. By enchanters and sorcerers, he means their astrologers, and such as used necromancy, or by any unlawful ways and means pretended to know the mind and will of God.
nor to your diviners; or soothsayers; such an one as was Balaam:
nor to your dreamers; or "dreams"; such as they had themselves, and laid great stress upon; or to those who pretended to interpret them to them:
nor to your enchanters; or stargazers; astrologers, who pretended by the position of the stars to foretell what would come to pass:
nor to your sorcerers; or wizards, or necromancers; who, by unlawful methods, pretended to acquire knowledge of future things:
which speak unto you, saying, ye shall not serve the king of Babylon; meaning, either that they ought not to become tributary to him; or they should not be brought into subjection by him: and so were stirred up to oppose him, and not submit to him.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:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. dreams] those which the diviners, etc. professed to have had. Cp. Jeremiah 23:25, Jeremiah 29:8. We should have expected rather dreamers (so LXX Syr. Targ.), and MT. may have been introduced here from the analogy of the latter passage.Verse 9. - Your dreamers; rather, your dreams. So in Jeremiah 29:8 the "dreams" of the people are expressly distinguished from the utterances of the prophets and soothsayers. In our passage the "dreamers" are appropriately mentioned between the "diviners" and the "enchanters," because the skill of the soothsayers partly lay in the interpretation of dreams (comp. Genesis 41:8; Daniel 2:2). 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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