Jeremiah 28:8
The prophets that have been before me and before you of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.
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(8) The prophets that have been before me and before thee . . .—The appeal to the past is of the nature of an inductive argument. The older prophets whose names were held in honour had not spoken smooth things. They had not prophesied of peace; war, pestilence, and famine had been the burden of their predictions. And there was, therefore, an antecedent probability in favour of one who spoke in the same tone now, rather than of those who held out flattering hopes of peace and victory. The onus probandi in such a conflict of claims lay with the latter, not the former. Prophecies like those of Elijah (1Kings 17:1; 1Kings 21:21-24), Micaiah (1Kings 22:17), Elisha (2Kings 8:1), Joel (Joel 1:1-20), Hosea (Hosea 2:11-12), Amos (Amos 1-4), Micah (Micah 3:12), Isaiah (Isaiah 2-6), were probably in Jeremiah’s thoughts.

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.Jeremiah's own wishes concurred with Hananiah's prediction, but asserts that that prediction was at variance with the language of the older prophets.8. prophets … before me—Hosea, Joel, Amos, and others.

evil—a few manuscripts, read "famine," which is more usually associated with the specification of war and pestilence (Jer 15:2; 18:21; 27:8, 13). But evil here includes all the calamities flowing from war, not merely famine, but also desolation, &c. Evil, being the more difficult reading, is less likely to be the interpolated one than famine, which probably originated in copying the parallel passages.

That is, Thou and I are not the first prophets that have foretold to countries and nations the great judgments of God coming upon them,

war, evil, pestilence: by evil, some think is to be understood famine, but it is not much material. The prophets that have been before me, and before thee of old,.... Such as Isaiah, Hoses, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and others: these

prophesied both against many countries and against great kingdoms; as Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Ethiopia, Moab, &c. as Isaiah particularly did:

of war, and of evil, and of pestilence; by evil some think is meant famine, because that usually goes along with the other mentioned, and there being but one letter in which the words for evil and famine differ; and now the prophets that prophesied of these were sent of God, were the true prophets of the Lord; and therefore this ought not to be objected to the prejudice of Jeremiah, that his prophecies were of this sort: yea, if they should not come to pass, yet a man is not to be counted a false prophet, because such things are threatened in case nations do not repent of their sins and reform, which they may do; and then the evils threatened are prevented, as in the case of the Ninevites.

The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old {f} prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.

(f) Meaning, that the prophets that denounced war or peace were tried either true or false by the success of their prophecies, even though God makes to come to pass sometimes that which the false prophet speaks to try the faith of his, De 13:3.

Against 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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