Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 27-28 The Yoke and Events

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don't understand

As I reflect over many years of life, there have been many situations, or an unlikely person, that have had a specific effect on where I am today.  Many times, when something happens in our life, we don’t see the results immediately and are often left wondering ‘why in the world did that just happen?’  We don’t always understand why events in our life occurs, but usually over time, the reason for the events becomes visible, sometimes not.  God uses people and situations in our life to correct us, or to lead us in the direction we are to travel.

Jeremiah 27:1-8Jeremiah 27:1-8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

27 1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, saith...: or, hath the LORD said 3 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; 4 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; to say...: or, concerning their masters, saying 5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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.  

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1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah.
2 This is what the LORD said to me:  “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps.  3 Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem.  4 Give them this message for their master:  ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  5 With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal.  I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose.  6 Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant.  I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.  7 All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up.  Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon.  8 So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke!  I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the LORD.  I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.

This message that Jeremiah is delivering is directed to the kings of the nations that prepare to strike back against Nebuchadnezzar and his invading forces.  These kings are trying to find a way to evade defeat, but God’s message is for the people to prepare themselves for submission to Nebuchadnezzar.  The yoke that Jeremiah wears around his neck demonstrates the bondage these nations will endure.

yoke

Jeremiah 27:9-18Jeremiah 27:9-18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 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: dreamers: Heb. dreams 10 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. 11 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. 12 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. 13 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? 14 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. 15 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. a lie: Heb. in a lie, or, lyingly 16 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. 17 Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste? 18 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.  

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9 “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babyon will not conquer you.”  10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land.  I will drive you out and send you far away to die.  11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual.  I, the LORD, have spoken!'”
12 Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah.  “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people.  13 Why do you insist on dying – you and your people?  Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the LORD will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s kin?  14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.  ‘ They are liars.  15 This is what the LORD says:  ‘I have not sent these prophets!  They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land.  You will all die – you and all these prophets, too.'”
16 Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the LORD says:  ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon.  It is all a lie!  17 Do not listen to them.  Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live.  Why should this whole city be destroyed?  18 If they really are prophets and speak the LORD’S messages, let them pray to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  Let them pray that the articles remaining in the LORD’S Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’

Jeremiah put Zedekiah in a tough spot.  Jeremiah was telling him that he needed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, while many other leaders wanted Zedekiah to form an alliance and fight.  In any king’s eyes, surrendering to the enemy would make them look like a coward.  It would be a disgrace.  The false prophets took this opportunity to reinforce what they had been saying to the nation:  the Babylonians would not defeat Jerusalem and that God would never allow the Temple to be destroyed.  It was of great importance that King Zedekiah heard God’s message over the false prophet’s message.  Their nation depended on it.

Jeremiah 27:19-22Jeremiah 27:19-22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 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, 20 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; 21 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; 22 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.  

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19 “For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles.  20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem.  21 Yes, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple and in the palace of Judah’s king:  22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for the,’ says the LORD.  ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.'”

Back in 605 B.C. and then again in 597 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took away many important people from Jerusalem when he invaded Judah.  This included Daniel and Ezekiel.  Even though these men were held captive, they had a tremendous impact on the leaders in Babylon.  Jeremiah was predicting that not only would more people be taken into captivity by the Babylonians, but sacred objects would also be taken from the Temple.  All of this occurred in 586 B.C., which would be Babylon’s third and final invasion.
Only the true prophets, sent from God, would not be concerned with what was going to happen to the objects of the Temple  for they knew that in time, all objects would be returned to Jerusalem.

Satan

Today, we can see so many changes rapidly occurring in our nation’s government and people; more so than in any other time in history.  Those people who have submitted their life to God; who have faith in God and study His Word, know the prophesies throughout the Bible.  We understand what must happen before the Rapture of the Church and Jesus’ Second Coming, and have prepared ourselves for this happening.  We see evil escalating at an alarming rate, and know that it is only a matter of time before God delivers His judgment upon the people who dwell on this earth.  But, as the true prophets of Jeremiah’s time, we also know by the Word of God what the end result will be – we shall reign with Jesus over all the earth. Jerusalem will be restored!  What a glorious day that shall be!

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deception

Why is it so easy for us to become deceived by someone who is only saying what we want to hear?  Are we a gullible people?  Or is it just easier to put our heads in the sand and hope that all of the bad will go away?  It is not an uncommon practice for individuals to turn away from the bad, instead of finding the remedy for the problem.  Facing the bad in life sometimes takes us our of our comfort zone.  It is much easier for some to put their trust in someone who is telling them what they ‘want’ to hear instead of what they ‘need’ to hear.

Jeremiah 28:1-4Jeremiah 28:1-4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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, 2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the LORD'S house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon: two...: Heb. two years of days 4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. captives: Heb. captivity  

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1 One day in late summer of that same year – the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah – Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened.  He said, 2 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks.  3 Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon.  4 And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon.  I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks.  I, the LORD, have spoken!'”

Hananiah addresses Jeremiah publicly with a prophecy that directly contradicts the prophecy of Jeremiah.  He is telling the people that God has told him that their captivity will only last 2 years, instead of 70 years, which Jeremiah prophesied.  Notice the similarities Hananiah uses in his prophecy, referencing the ‘yoke’ and ‘Temple treasures, as Jeremiah revealed in his.  Hananiah was native to Judah, whereas Jeremiah was an outsider, so to speak.  He was born in Anathoth, which is about 3 miles north of Jerusalem.  Hananiah is doing nothing more than telling the people what they ‘want’ to hear.

yoke

Jeremiah 28:5-11Jeremiah 28:5-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the LORD, 6 Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the LORD do so: the LORD perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the LORD'S house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place. 7 Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people; 8 The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence. 9 The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him. 10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it. 11 And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.  

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5 Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple.  6 He said, “Amen!  May your prophecies come true!  I hope the LORD does everything you say.  I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives.  7 But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people.  8 The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease.  9 So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right.   Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the LORD.”
10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it in pieces.  11 And Hananiah said again to the crowd that had gathered, “This is what the LORD says:  ‘Just as this yoke has been broken, within two years I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.'”  With that, Jeremiah left the Temple area.

Jeremiah is very gracious in dealing with Hananiah.  He wishes that what Hananiah is saying is true, but he knows better, and repeats what the LORD has told him.  He is telling Hananiah that the preceding prophets spoke of war, famine, and disease and now Hananiah is claiming that the people will have peace after only two years.  With this change in prophesy regarding peace, the truth of Hananiah’s words would be tested by time.  Hananiah was not only going against Jeremiah’s words, but also of all the prophets who came before him.  Hananiah was a false prophet.  In Deuteronomy 13; 18:20-22, God outlined the mark of a true prophet:  their predictions always came true, and they never contradicted a previous revelation.  Also notice Hananiah’s reaction to Jeremiah.  He responds angrily by removing the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck and breaking it into pieces.  Hananiah is not conceding to Jeremiah’s words while Jeremiah remains calm without protest.

Jeremiah 28:12-17Jeremiah 28:12-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 13 Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also. 15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD. rebellion: Heb. revolt 17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.  

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12 Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah:  13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the LORD says:  You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron.  14 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.'”
15 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah!  The LORD has not sent you, but the people believe your lies.  16 Therefore, this is what the LORD says:  ‘You must die.  Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the LORD.'”
17 Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.

God gives Jeremiah a very strong message to pass on to Hananiah:  he may have broken the yoke of wood, but his actions have dire consequences.   Hananiah has lied to the people and deceived them and because of this, he will die.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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