Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
THOSE IN THE
WOOD, AND THAT
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
Gibeon--one of the cities of the priests, to which order he must have
2. broken the yoke--I have determined to break: referring to
3. two full years--literally, "years of days." So "a month of days,"
that is, all its days complete
It was marvellous presumption to speak so definitely without having any
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implying that Hananiah wished Zedekiah to be superseded by Jeconiah.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
to ingratiate himself with the populace, with whom Jeconiah was a
favorite (see on
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
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.
6. Amen--Jeremiah prays for the people, though constrained to
prophesy against them
The event was the appointed test between contradictory
(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
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].
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.
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,
(2) The word of God,
10. the yoke--
Impious audacity to break what God had appointed as a solemn pledge of
the fulfilment of His word. Hence Jeremiah deigns no reply
11. neck of all nations--opposed to
13. Thou hast broken . . . wood . . . thou shalt
make . . . iron--Not here, "Thou hast broken
. . . wood," and "I will make . . . iron"
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
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
14. I have put--Though Hananiah and those like him were secondary
instruments in bringing the iron yoke on Judea, God was the great
15. makest . . . trust in a lie--
16. this year . . . die--The prediction was uttered in
the fifth month
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