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, spoke to 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. The priests and all the people are warned to give no belief to the false prophesyings of a speedy restoration of the vessels carried off to Babylon. - Jeremiah 27:16. "Thus hath Jahveh said: Hearken not to the sayings of your prophets that prophesy unto you: Behold, the vessels of Jahveh's house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon; for they prophesy a lie unto you. Jeremiah 27:17. Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon and live; wherefore should this city become a desert? Jeremiah 27:18. But if they be prophets, and if the word of Jahveh be with them, let them now make intercession to Jahveh of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of Jahveh, and in the king's house, and in Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. Jeremiah 27:19. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts concerning the pillars and the [brazen] sea and the frames, and concerning the other vessels that are left in this city, Jeremiah 27:20. Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not away when he carried away captive Jechoniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah 27:21. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of Jahveh, and in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: Jeremiah 27:22. To Babylon shall they be brought, and there shall they remain until the day that I visit them, saith Jahveh, and carry them up, and bring them back to this place."

Here Jeremiah gives King Zedekiah warning that the prophecies of a speedy end to Chaldean bondage are lies, and that confidence in such lies will hurry on the ruin of the state. He at the same time disabuses the priests of the hope raised by the false prophets, that the vessels of the temple and of the palace that had been carried off at the time Jechoniah was taken to Babylon will very soon be restored; and assures them that such statements can only procure the destruction of the city, since their tendency is to seduce king and people to rebellion, and rebellion against the king of Babylon means the destruction of Jerusalem - a prophecy that was but too soon fulfilled. The vessels of the temple, Jeremiah 27:16, are the golden vessels Solomon caused to be made (1 Kings 7:48.), which Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylon, 2 Kings 24:13. מבּבלה, from towards Babylon, i.e., from Babylon, whither they had been taken; cf. Ew. 216, b. "Now shortly," lit., hastily or speedily, i.e., ere long, cf. Jeremiah 28:3, where the prophet Hananiah foretells the restoration of them within two years, in opposition to Jeremiah's affirmation that the exile will last seventy years.

(Note: These words are not given in lxx, and so Mov. and Hitz. pronounce them spurious. Haev., on the other hand, and with greater justice, says (Introd. ii. 2), that the lxx omitted the words, because, according to an Alexandrian legend, the temple furniture was really very soon restored, even in Zedekiah's time, cf. Baruch 1:8ff.; so that the false prophets were in the right. The passage cited from Baruch does not indeed give a very rigorous proof of this. It alleges that the silver vessels which Zedekiah had caused to be made after Jechoniah's exile had been brought back by Baruch. But considering the innumerable arbitrary interferences of the lxx with the text of Jeremiah, the omission of the words in question cannot justify the slightest critical suspicion of their genuineness.)

To show more clearly the irreconcilableness of his own position with that of the false prophets, Jeremiah further tells what true prophets, who have the word of Jahveh, would do. They would betake themselves in intercession to the Lord, seeking to avert yet further calamity or punishment, as all the prophets sent by God, including Jeremiah himself, did, cf. Jeremiah 7:16. They should endeavour by intercession to prevent the vessels that are still left in Jerusalem from being taken away. The extraordinary expression לבלתּי באוּ has probably come from the omission of Jod from the verb, which should be read יבאוּ. As it stands, it can only be imperative, which is certainly not suitable. לבלתּי is usually construed with the infinitive, but occasionally also with the temp. fin.; with the imperf., which is what the sense here demands, in Exodus 20:20; with the perf., Jeremiah 23:14. - Of the temple furniture still remaining, he mentions in Jeremiah 27:19 as most valuable the two golden pillars, Jachin and Boaz, 1 Kings 7:15., the brazen sea, 1 Kings 7:23., and המּכונות, the artistic waggon frames for the basins in which to wash the sacrificial flesh, 1 Kings 7:27.; and he declares they too shall be carried to Babylon, as happened at the destruction of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25:13. (בּגלותו for בּהגלותו.)

(Note: The statement in Jeremiah 27:19-22 is wide and diffuse; it is therefore condensed in the lxx, but at the same time mutilated. From the fact Mov., with Hitz. agreeing thereto, concludes that the Hebr. text has been expanded by means of glosses. Graf has already shown in reply to this, that the hand of a later glossator interpolating materials from Jeremiah 52:17; 2 Kings 24:13 and 2 Kings 24:1 is not betrayed in the extended account of the furniture remaining, and of the occasion on which it was left behind. He goes on to show that it is rather the editorial hand of Baruch than the hand of the glossator that is to be presumed from the fact that, in consequence of the narrative part of Jeremiah 27:20, Jeremiah 27:19 is repeated in Jeremiah 27:21; and from the further fact that it is impossible here to discriminate the interpolated from the original matter. Graf has also so conclusively proved the worthlessness of the distinguishing marks of the glossator adduced by Mov. and Hitz., that we adopt in full his argument. Such marks are (we are told), (1) the scriptio plena of מכונות here, as contrasted with Jeremiah 52:17; 2 Kings 25:13; 2 Chronicles 4:14, and of יכוניה, as against 2 Chronicles 24:1; 2 Chronicles 28:4; 2 Chronicles 29:2; and yet the interpolations in Jeremiah 27:19 and Jeremiah 27:20 are said to have been taken directly from Jeremiah 52:17 and Jeremiah 24:1. (2) The expression חרים, which is alleged not to have come into use till the exile. But the fact of its standing here and in Jeremiah 39:6 is enough to show it to have been earlier in use; cf. also 1 Kings 21:8, 1 Kings 21:11; and since it is not used in Jeremiah 24:1 and Jeremiah 29:2, it is certain that it has not been got from there. (3) The "slip-shod" וירושׁלים, Jeremiah 27:21, for ובירושׁלים, Jeremiah 27:18, which is, however, occasioned simply by the preceding accusative of place, 'בית יהוה וגו (Jeremiah 27:18 also בּבית יהוה).)

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