Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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,
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.
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
2. broken the yoke—I have determined to break: referring to Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 27:12).
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:
3. two full years—literally, "years of days." So "a month of days," that is, all its days complete (Ge 29:14, Margin; Ge 41:1). It was marvellous presumption to speak so definitely without having any divine revelation.
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.
4. bring again … Jeconiah—not necessarily implying that Hananiah wished Zedekiah to be superseded by Jeconiah. The main point intended was that the restoration from Babylon should be complete. But, doubtless, the false prophet foretold Jeconiah's return (2Ki 24:12-15), to ingratiate himself with the populace, with whom Jeconiah was a favorite (see on Jer 22:24).
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,
5. the prophet Jeremiah—the epithet, "the prophet," is prefixed to "Jeremiah" throughout this chapter, to correspond to the same epithet before "Hananiah"; except in Jer 28:12, where "the prophet" has been inserted in English Version. The rival claims of the true and the false prophet are thus put in the more prominent contrast.
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.
6. Amen—Jeremiah prays for the people, though constrained to prophesy against them (1Ki 1:36). The event was the appointed test between contradictory predictions (De 18:21, 22). "Would that what you say were true!" I prefer the safety of my country even to my own estimation. The prophets had no pleasure in announcing God's judgment, but did so as a matter of stern duty, not thereby divesting themselves of their natural feelings of sorrow for their country's woe. Compare Ex 32:32; Ro 9:3, as instances of how God's servants, intent only on the glory of God and the salvation of the country, forgot self and uttered wishes in a state of feeling transported out of themselves. So Jeremiah wished not to diminish aught from the word of God, though as a Jew he uttered the wish for his people [Calvin].
Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;
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.
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.
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.
9. peace—Hananiah had given no warning as to the need of conversion, but had foretold prosperity unconditionally. Jeremiah does not say that all are true prophets who foretell truths in any instance (which De 13:1, 2, disproves); but asserts only the converse, namely, that whoever, as Hananiah, predicts what the event does not confirm, is a false prophet. There are two tests of prophets: (1) The event, De 18:22. (2) The word of God, Isa 8:20.
Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it.
10. the yoke—(Jer 27:2). Impious audacity to break what God had appointed as a solemn pledge of the fulfilment of His word. Hence Jeremiah deigns no reply (Jer 28:11; Mt 7:6).
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.
11. neck of all nations—opposed to Jer 27:7.
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,
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.
13. Thou hast broken … wood … thou shalt make … iron—Not here, "Thou hast broken … wood," and "I will make … iron" (compare Jer 28:16). The same false prophets who, by urging the Jews to rebel, had caused them to throw off the then comparatively easy yoke of Babylon, thereby brought on them a more severe yoke imposed by that city. "Yokes of iron," alluding to De 28:48. It is better to take up a light cross in our way, than to pull a heavier on our own heads. We may escape destroying providences by submitting to humbling providences. So, spiritually, contrast the "easy yoke" of Christ with the "yoke of bondage" of the law (Ac 15:10; Ga 5:1).
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.
14. I have put—Though Hananiah and those like him were secondary instruments in bringing the iron yoke on Judea, God was the great First Cause (Jer 27:4-7).
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.
15. makest … trust in a lie—(Jer 29:31; Eze 13:22).
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.
16. this year … die—The prediction was uttered in the fifth month (Jer 28:1); Hananiah's death took place in the seventh month, that is, within two months after the prediction, answering with awful significance to the two years in which Hananiah had foretold that the yoke imposed by Babylon would end.
rebellion—opposition to God's plain direction, that all should submit to Babylon (Jer 29:32).
So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.