Jeremiah 28:1
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,
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(1) And it came to pass the same year . . .—The chapter stands in immediate sequence with that which precedes and confirms the conclusion that the name Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 27:1 is simply a transcriber’s mistake. Of the Hananiah who appears as the most prominent of the prophet’s adversaries, we know nothing beyond what is here recorded. He was clearly one of the leaders of the party of resistance whom we have seen at work trying to form an alliance with the neighbouring rations in Jeremiah 27, and whose hopes had been revived by the accession of Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) to the throne of Egypt in B.C. 595. The mention of Gibeon suggests two or three thoughts not without interest :—(1) It was, like Anathoth, within the tribe of Benjamin, about six or seven miles from Jerusalem, and so the antagonism between the true prophet and the false in Jerusalem may have been the revival of older local conflicts. (2) Gibeon, like Anathoth, was one of the cities of priests (Joshua 21:17), and Hananiah was probably, therefore, a priest as well as prophet. (3) As still retaining the venerable relics of a worship that had passed away; it had also once been the sanctuary of Jehovah (1Chronicles 16:39). There the old tabernacle stood which had been with the people in the wilderness—which had been removed from Shiloh when the sacred ark was taken (2Chronicles 1:3). There Solomon, at the beginning of his reign, offered a stately sacrifice (1Kings 3:4). Ought not the prophet who had grown up in the midst of those surroundings to have learnt that no place, however sacred, could count on being safe from the changes and chances of time, all fulfilling the righteous purposes of God? The occasion on which he now appears was probably one of the new moon, Sabbath, or other feast-days on which the courts of the Temple were crowded.

Jeremiah 28:1-4. And it came to pass the same year — Namely, the same in which the preceding prophecy was delivered; for the words manifestly refer to the time specified at the beginning of the foregoing chapter, and confirm the conjecture there made, that Jehoiakim is put there, by a mistake in the copies, for Zedekiah: see note on Jeremiah 26:1, where the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign is termed the beginning of it. Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet — That is, a pretended prophet. Being of Gibeon, a city belonging to the priests, it is probable he was a priest as well as Jeremiah; spake unto me in the house of the Lord — Delivered publicly, and solemnly, and in the name of the Lord, what he wished to be considered as a true prediction; in the presence of the priests and of the people — Who probably were expecting to have some message from Heaven. In delivering this reigned prophecy, Hananiah designed to confront and contradict Jeremiah. His prediction is, that the king of Babylon’s power, at least over Judah and Jerusalem, should be speedily broken; that within two full years the vessels of the temple should be brought back, and Jeconiah, and all the captives that were carried away with him, should return; whereas Jeremiah had foretold that the yoke of the king of Babylon should be bound on yet faster, and that the vessels and the captives should not return for seventy years.

28:1-9 Hananiah spoke a false prophecy. Here is not a word of good counsel urging the Jews to repent and return to God. He promises temporal mercies, in God's name, but makes no mention of the spiritual mercies which God always promised with earthly blessings. This was not the first time Jeremiah had prayed for the people, though he prophesied against them. He appeals to the event, to prove Hananiah's falsehood. The prophet who spake only of peace and prosperity, without adding that they must not by wilful sin stop God's favours, will be proved a false prophet. Those who do not declare the alarming as well as the encouraging parts of God's word, and call men to repentance, and faith, and holiness, tread in the steps of the false prophets. The gospel of Christ encourages men to do works meet for repentance, but gives no encouragement to continue in sin.In the beginning ... Zedekiah - Probably a gloss put into the margin to explain "the same year," from where it has crept into the text.

Gibeon - A city of priests Joshua 21:17. Hananiah was probably a priest as well as a prophet. He chose either a Sabbath or a new moon, that he might confront Jeremiah not only in the presence of the priests, but also of all the people. He used Jeremiah 28:2 the solemn formula which claims direct inspiration.


Jer 28:1-17. Prophecies Immediately Following Those in the Twenty-seventh Chapter. Hananiah Breaks the Yokes to Signify that Nebuchadnezzar's Yoke Shall Be Broken. Jeremiah Foretells that Yokes of Iron Are to Succeed Those of Wood, and that Hananiah Shall Die.

1. in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah—The Jews often divided any period into two halves, the beginning and the end. As Zedekiah reigned eleven years, the fourth year would be called the beginning of his reign, especially as during the first three years affairs were in such a disturbed state that he had little power or dignity, being a tributary; but in the fourth year he became strong in power.

Hananiah—Another of this name was one of the three godly youths who braved Nebuchadnezzar's wrath in the fear of God (Da 1:6, 7; 3:12). Probably a near relation, for Azariah is associated with him; as Azur with the Hananiah here. The godly and ungodly are often in the same family (Eze 18:14-20).

Gibeon—one of the cities of the priests, to which order he must have belonged.Hananiah’s false prophecy: Jeremiah’s answer, Jeremiah 28:1-9. Hananiah breaketh Jeremiah’s yoke: he foretelleth an iron yoke, and Hananiah’s death, Jeremiah 28:10-17.

Here is a great appearing difficulty, viz. how the fourth year could be called

the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, who reigned in all but eleven years, which if they be divided into three parts, the fourth year can hardly be in any propriety called the beginning of his reign. Many things are said to untie this knot, which by such as are curious may be read both in the English Annotations and in Mr. Pool’s Synopsis, I shall only repeat what seemed to both them, and seemeth also to me, the best solution. Though it be said in the fourth year, yet it is not said, in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign; they therefore think, that the fourth year of the sabbatical course is here intended. The Jews had a kind of jubilee every seventh year, it was a year when the land was to rest, and not be tilled, Leviticus 25:1-4, and in that year they were to release their debtors and servants, Deu 15:1; which notion of this fourth year is very probable, if the year wherein the city was besieged was a sabbatical year, or year of rest. For if Zedekiah’s first year were the fourth of the seven that made the sabbatical circle, his third year was another sabbatical year, and his tenth another, presently after which the city was taken.

Of this

Hananiah we read no more in Scripture; it is probable from the place where he lived, which was one of the cities of the priests, that he was a priest, but no more than a pretended prophet. He comes to Jeremiah in the temple, where he was wont to deliver his prophecies, to confront him in the presence both of the priests and the people, saying,

And it came to pass the same year,.... That the prophet was bid to make yokes and bonds, and send them to the neighbouring kings, whose ambassadors were in Zedekiah's court; and when he spoke the things related in the preceding chapter to Zedekiah, the priests, and people:

in the beginning the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah; perhaps in the first year of his reign:

in the fourth year, and in the fifth month; not in the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign, though the Septuagint and A table versions so render it; since his reign was but eleven years in all, and therefore the fourth could not be called with so much propriety the beginning of his reign: though, according to Jarchi, it was the fourth of Zedekiah's reign, the same year in which he paid a visit to the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 51:59; and was not only confirmed in his kingdom by him, but, according to the same writer, had it enlarged, and was made king over five neighbouring kings; and so this, though the fourth of his reign over Judah, was the first of his enlarged dominions: but rather this was the fourth year of the sabbatical year, or the fourth after the seventh year's rest of the land, as Kimchi observes; which was the first of Zedekiah's reign, who reigned eleven years, and the temple was destroyed at the end of a sabbatical year; in which he is followed by many, though there is nothing in the text or context that directs to it. Some divide Zedekiah's reign into three parts, the beginning, and middle, and end; and so what was done within the first four years of his reign might be said to be in the beginning of it. Others think that here are two distinct dates; that the former respects the things in the preceding chapter, which were in the beginning of his reign; and the latter that affair of Hananiah, which was in the fourth year of it. But Noldius (m), after Glassius (n), gets clear of the difficulties of this text, by rendering the words, "and it was from that year, the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, unto the fourth year of his reign"; that is, the prophet went on for the space of four years, signifying the will of the Lord by words and types; when in the fifth month of the fourth year, which was the month of Ab, answering to part of our July and of August,

Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet; the false prophet, as the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions call him,

which was of Gibeon; a city of the priests; so might be a priest, though not the high priest, as some have thought:

spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests,

and of all the people; he came to the temple, where Jeremiah was, to confront him; and he addressed himself to him, the priests and all the people being present, who were come thither to minister and worship:

saying; as follows:

(m) Concord. Ebr. Partic. p. 143. No. 677. (n) Philolog. Sacr. l. 4. p. 625.

And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the {a} reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the {b} fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, who was of {c} Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying,

(a) When Jeremiah began to bear these bonds and yokes.

(b) After the land had rested, as in Le 25:2.

(c) This was a city in Benjamin belonging to the sons of Aaron, Jos 21:17.

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).

Verse 1. - In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah. It seems strange that the fourth year of a reign which only lasted eleven years in all should be called "the beginning. Is it not probable that the clause was interpolated here by a later copyist on account of Jeremiah 27:1, where at present a similar clause (see note) is found? Originally placed in the margin as a gloss upon the words "the same year," it would very easily find its way into the text. Hananiah... the prophet (see on ver. 15). Gibeon. This was a priestly city (Joshua 21:17), so that Hananiah was probably himself a priest like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1) and Pashur (Jeremiah 20:1). The modern El Jib, on an isolated, rocky hill, doubtless represents the ancient Gibeon. In the presence of the priests and of all the people. Apparently the event took place on either a new moon or a Sabbath, when the people would throng to the temple. Jeremiah 28:1Against the False Prophet Hananiah. - Jeremiah 28:1-4. This man's prophecy. At the same time, namely in the fourth year of Zedekiah (cf. rem. on Jeremiah 27:1. The Chet. בּשׁנת is supported by Jeremiah 46:2 and Jeremiah 51:59; the Keri בּשּׁנה is an unnecessary alteration), in the fifth month, spake Hananiah the son of Azur, - a prophet not otherwise known, belonging to Gibeon, a city of the priests (Joshua 21:17; now Jib, a large village two hours north-west of Jerusalem; see on Joshua 9:3), possibly therefore himself a priest - in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and people assembled there, saying: Jeremiah 28:2. "Thus hath Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, said: I break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Jeremiah 28:3. Within two years I bring again into this place the vessels of the house of Jahveh, which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon took away from this place and carried them to Babylon. Jeremiah 28:4. And Jechoniah, the son of Jehoiakim the king of Judah, and all the captives of Judah that went into Babylon, bring I again to this place, saith Jahveh; for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon." - The false prophet endeavours to stamp on his prediction the impress of a true, God-inspired prophecy, by copying the title of God, so often used by Jeremiah, "Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel," and by giving the utmost definiteness to his promise: "within two years" (in contrast to Jeremiah's seventy years). "Two years" is made as definite as possible by the addition of ימים: two years in days, i.e., in two full years.See on Genesis 41:1; 2 Samuel 13:23.
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