Jeremiah 29:25
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
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(25) Because thou hast sent letters in thy name . . .—The letters were probably sent through the envoys named in Jeremiah 29:3 on their return from Babylon. Their object was to urge Zephaniah, who appears in 2Kings 25:18 as the Sagan, or second priest, to exercise his authority to restrain Jeremiah from prophesying, and to punish him as a false prophet. It was an attempt to turn the tables on him for the manner in which he had thwarted the plans of the party of revolt at Babylon. The part taken by Zephaniah in acting for the king when he wished to consult Jeremiah (Jeremiah 21:1), and imploring his intercession (Jeremiah 37:3), makes it probable that he endeavoured to maintain a neutral Gamaliel-like position between the two parties, and had seemed so lukewarm and temporising that he was open to the influence of threats. On the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuzaradan he was taken prisoner and slain (Jeremiah 52:24-27).

29:20-32 Jeremiah foretells judgments upon the false prophets, who deceived the Jews in Babylon. Lying was bad; lying to the people of the Lord, to delude them into a false hope, was worse; but pretending to rest their own lies upon the God of truth, was worst of all. They flattered others in their sins, because they could not reprove them without condemning themselves. The most secret sins are known to God; and there is a day coming when he will bring to light all the hidden works of darkness. Shemaiah urges the priests to persecute Jeremiah. Their hearts are wretchedly hardened who justify doing mischief by having power to do it. They were in a miserable thraldom for mocking the messengers of the Lord, and misusing his prophets; yet in their distress they trespass still more against the Lord. Afflictions will not of themselves cure men of their sins, unless the grace of God works with them. Those who slight the blessings, deserve to lose the benefit of God's word, like Shemaiah. The accusations against many active Christians in all ages, amount to no more than this, that they earnestly counsel men to attend to their true interest and duties, and to wait for the performance of God's promises in his appointed way.A narrative showing the effects of Jeremiah's letter. Shemaiah the leader of the false prophets wrote to Zephaniah, urging him to restrain the prophet's zeal with the prison and the stocks.

Jeremiah 29:24

To Shemaiah - Rather, concerning.

The Nehelamite - Not as in the margin; but one belonging to the village of Nehlam (unknown).

25. in thy name—without sanction of "the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel," which words stand in antithesis to "thy name" (Joh 5:43).

Zephaniah—the second priest, or substitute (Sagan) of the high priest. He was one of those sent to consult Jeremiah by Zedekiah (Jer 21:1). Slain by Nebuchadnezzar at the capture of Jerusalem (2Ki 25:18-21). Zephaniah was in particular addressed, as being likely to take up against Jeremiah the prophet's prediction against his brother Zedekiah at Babylon (Jer 29:21). Zephaniah was to read it to the priests, and in the presence of all the people, in the temple.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying,.... See Gill on Jeremiah 29:4;

because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem; not in the name of the captives, whom he consulted not; nor with Ezekiel the prophet of the Lord, who was of the captivity; but in his own name, taking upon him to direct and order what should be done in Jerusalem. These letters were sent, very probably, by the hands of the king's messengers, when they returned, whose names are mentioned, Jeremiah 29:3; some of them were sent to the people, to set them against the prophet of the Lord, Jeremiah, that they might not give any heed and credit to him; and others to the priests, as follows:

and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest; not the high, priest, but his sagan or deputy; the second priest, as he is called, Jeremiah 52:24; for Seraiah was high priest, unless he was now become high priest in his room. This Maaseiah was either his immediate parent, or else the head of that course to which Zephaniah belonged, as a common priest, which was the twenty fourth in order, 1 Chronicles 24:18;

saying: as follows:

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
25. in thine own name] not, as Jeremiah spoke, in the name of the Lord.

unto all the people that are at Jerusalem] LXX rightly omit.

Zephaniah] See on Jeremiah 21:1 (which however belongs to a somewhat later time than this). In ch. Jeremiah 52:24 = 2 Kings 25:18 he is called “second priest,” i.e. next in rank to the high-priest.

and to all the priests] LXX rightly omit.

Jeremiah 29:25"Because thou hast sent in thy name (without divine commission) letters to all the people in Jerusalem, and to Sephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying." ספרים may be a single letter, cf. 2 Kings 10:1-2; but since these were sent to the people, the priest Zephaniah, and all the people, the word doubtless means here letters in the plural. As to Zephaniah ben Maaseiah, see at Jeremiah 21:1. - In Jeremiah 29:26-28 follows the main substance of the letter: "Jahveh hath set thee to be priest in the stead of the priest Jehoiada, that there should be officers in the house of Jahveh for every man that is mad and prophesieth, that thou shouldest put him in the stocks and in neck-irons. Jeremiah 29:27. And, now, why hast thou not restrained Jeremiah of Anathoth, that prophesieth to you? Jeremiah 29:28. For therefore hath he sent to us to Babylon (a letter) to the effect: It will last long; build houses and dwell (therein), and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them." Zephaniah occupied, acc. to Jeremiah 29:26, the post of a chief officer of the temple, was a chief warden, as Pashur had been before him, Jeremiah 21:1, who had charge of the police regulations of the temple.

In the stead of the priest Jehoiada. These words Grot., Hitz., and Gr. refer to the high priest Jehoiada under King Joash, 2 Kings 11:18, who set up officers (פּקדּות) over the temple. But this view cannot be reconciled with the words of the text: "Jahveh hath set thee to be priest in Jehoiada's stead, that there should be officers;" since from these ambiguous words, Zephaniah filled the same post as Jehoiada had done, and was his successor in office. The other well-known Jehoiada was high priest, who appointed officers; Zephaniah, on the other hand was only "the second priest," and as such had charge of the temple arrangements and of public order there. Nor is there any hint here or elsewhere that Zephaniah was the immediate successor of Pashur in this office, nor any indication to make it unlikely that Jehoiada held the post after Pashur and that Zedekiah succeeded him. The plural "officers" is general: that at all times there should be officers. "For every man that is mad an prophesieth." משׁגּע, the deranged or mad person, is here closely associated with מתנבּא, him that bears himself as prophet. The former word is used in the evil sense of the apparently deranged behaviour of the man on whom the Spirit of God has laid hold, 2 Kings 9:11; Hosea 9:7. The idea is not: for (or against) every prophet, but: for every madman that plays the prophet. The temple, i.e., the outer court of the temple, was the usual place for prophets to take their stand. Shemaiah accordingly means that it was the duty of the chief warden of the temple to repress attempts to speak in the temple on the part of pretended prophets, by putting such persons in stocks and irons. As to מהפּכת, see on Jeremiah 20:2. צינק is ἁπ λεγ.. It certainly does not mean prison after צנק, in Samaritan equals clausit; but apparently neck-irons after Arab. znâq, necklace, ring. Since both words are used together here, and since the meaning is apparently that Jeremiah should be put into both instruments at once, Hitz. conjectures that both together were needed to make the stocks complete, but that each had its own proper name, because it was possible to fix in the neck, leaving hands and feet free, or conversely, as in Jeremiah 20:2. - גּער, rebuke, check by threats, restrain, cf. Ruth 2:16; Malachi 3:11, etc. "For therefore," sc. just because thou hast not restrained him from prophesying he has sent to Babylon. שׁלח with לאמר following, send to say, means: to send a message or letter as follows. לאמר ארכה היא Hitz. renders: for he thought: it (Babylon) is far away; Jeremiah's meaning being, that in Jerusalem they would know nothing about his letter he was sending to Babylon. But such a hidden purpose is utterly foreign to the character of the prophet. He had publicly predicted in Jerusalem the long seventy years' duration of the exile; and it was not likely to occur to him to wish to make a secret of the letter of like import which he sent to Babylon. Besides, Hitz.'s interpretation is forced. Since there is no לאמר before בּנוּ בתּים, the לאמר before ארכה can only be introductory to the contents of the letter. For ארך used of duration in time, cf. 2 Samuel 3:1; Job 11:9. "Long-lasting it is," sc. your sojourn in Babylon. These words give the burden of his prophecy, that on which he founded his counsel: build houses, etc.

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