Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Jer 27:1-22. The Futility of Resisting Nebuchadnezzar Illustrated to the Ambassadors of the Kings, Desiring to Have the King of Judah Confederate with Them, under the Type of Yokes. Jeremiah Exhorts Them and Zedekiah to Yield.
1. Jehoiakim—The prophecy that follows was according to this reading given in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, fifteen years before it was published in the reign of Zedekiah to whom it refers; it was thus long deposited in the prophet's bosom, in order that by it he might be supported under trials in his prophetic career in the interim [Calvin]. But "Zedekiah" may be the true reading. So the Syriac and Arabic Versions. Jer 27:3, 12; Jer 28:1, confirm this; also, one of Kennicott's manuscripts. The English Version reading may have originated from Jer 26:1. "Son of Josiah" applies to Zedekiah as truly as to "Jehoiakim" or "Eliakim." The fourth year may, in a general sense here, as in Jer 28:1, be called "the beginning of his reign," as it lasted eleven years (2Ki 24:18). It was not long after the fourth year of his reign that he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 51:59; 52:3; 2Ki 24:20), in violation of an oath before God (2Ch 36:13).
Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,
2. bonds—by which the yoke is made fast to the neck (Jer 5:5).
yokes—literally, the carved piece of wood attached at both ends to the two yokes on the necks of a pair of oxen, so as to connect them. Here the yoke itself. The plural is used, as he was to wear one himself, and give the others to the ambassadors; (Jer 27:3; 28:10, 12) proves that the symbolical act was in this instance (though not in others, Jer 25:15) actually done (compare Isa 20:2, &c.; Eze 12:3, 11, 18).
And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;
3. And send them to the king of Edom, &c.—Appropriate symbol, as these ambassadors had come to Jerusalem to consult as to shaking off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Pherecydes in Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 567], Idanthura, king of the Scythians, intimated to Darius, who had crossed the Danube, that he would lead an army against him, by sending him, instead of a letter, a mouse, a frog, a bird, an arrow, and a plough. The task assigned to Jeremiah required great faith, as it was sure to provoke alike his own countrymen and the foreign ambassadors and their kings, by a seeming insult, at the very time that all were full of confident hopes grounded on the confederacy.
And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters;
I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.
5. God here, as elsewhere, connects with the symbol doctrine, which is as it were its soul, without which it would be not only cold and frivolous, but even dead [Calvin]. God's mention of His supreme power is in order to refute the pride of those who rely on their own power (Isa 45:12).
given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me—(Ps 115:15, 16; Da 4:17, 25, 32). Not for his merits, but of My own sole good pleasure [Estius].
And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
6. beasts of the field—not merely the horses to carry his Chaldean soldiers, and oxen to draw his provisions [Grotius]; not merely the deserts, mountains, and woods, the haunts of wild beasts, implying his unlimited extent of empire [Estius]; but the beasts themselves by a mysterious instinct of nature. A reproof to men that they did not recognize God's will, which the very beasts acknowledged (compare Isa 1:3). As the beasts are to submit to Christ, the Restorer of the dominion over nature, lost by the first Adam (compare Ge 1:28; 2:19, 20; Ps 8:6-8), so they were appointed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the representative of the world power and prefigurer of Antichrist; this universal power was suffered to be held by him to show the unfitness of any to wield it "until He come whose right it is" (Eze 21:27).
And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.
7. son … son's son—(2Ch 36:20). Nebuchadnezzar had four successors—Evil-merodach, his son; Neriglissar, husband of Nebuchadnezzar's daughter; his son, Labosodarchod; and Naboned (with whom his son, Belshazzar, was joint king), son of Evil-merodach. But Neriglissar and Labosodarchod were not in the direct male line; so that the prophecy held good to "his son and his son's son," and the intermediate two are omitted.
time of his land—that is, of its subjugation or its being "visited" in wrath (Jer 27:22; Jer 25:12; 29:10; 50:27; Da 5:26).
serve themselves of him—make him their servant (Jer 25:14; Isa 13:22). So "his day" for the destined day of his calamity (Job 18:20).
And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
8. until I have consumed them by his hand—until by these consuming visitations I have brought them under his power.
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:
9. ye—the Jews especially, for whom the address to the rest was intended.
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).
For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.
10. to remove you—expressing the event which would result. The very thing they profess by their enchantments to avert, they are by them bringing on you. Better to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and remain in your land, than to rebel, and be removed from it.
But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.
11. serve … till it—The same Hebrew root expresses "serve" and "till," or "cultivate." Serve ye the king of Babylon, and the land will serve you [Calvin].
I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live.
12. I spake also—translate, "And I spake," &c. Special application of the subject to Zedekiah.
Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
13. Why … die—by running on your own ruin in resisting Nebuchadnezzar after this warning (Eze 18:31).
Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
14. lie—(Jer 14:14).
For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.
15. in my name—The devil often makes God's name the plea for lies (Mt 4:6; 7:22, 23; Jer 27:15-20, the test whereby to know false prophets).
Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the LORD'S house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
16. The "vessels" had been carried away to Babylon in the reign of Jeconiah (2Ki 24:13); also previously in that of Jehoiakim (2Ch 36:5-7).
Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?
But if they be prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.
18. at Jerusalem—that is, in other houses containing such vessels, besides the house of God and the king's palace. Nebuzara-dan, captain of the guard under Nebuchadnezzar, carried all away (2Ki 25:13-17; 2Ch 36:18). The more costly vessels had been previously removed in the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,
19. (Jer 52:17, 20, 21).
Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;
Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;
They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
22. until … I visit them—in wrath by Cyrus (Jer 32:5). In seventy years from the first carrying away of captives in Jehoiachin's reign (Jer 29:10; 2Ch 36:21).
restore them—by the hand of Cyrus (Ezr 1:7). By Artaxerxes (Ezr 7:19).