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Jeremiah 25:1

Context
Seventy Years of Servitude for Failure to Give Heed

25:1 In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1  concerning all the people of Judah. (That was the same as the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.) 2 

Jeremiah 28:1

Context
Jeremiah Confronted by a False Prophet

28:1 The following events occurred in that same year, early in the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. To be more precise, it was the fifth month of the fourth year of his reign. 3  The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah 4  in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people. 5 

Jeremiah 29:10

Context

29:10 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule 6  are over will I again take up consideration for you. 7  Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore 8  you to your homeland. 9 

1 tn Heb “The word was to Jeremiah.” It is implicit from the context that it was the Lord’s word. The verbal expression is more in keeping with contemporary English style.

2 sn The year referred to would be 605 b.c. Jehoiakim had been placed on the throne of Judah as a puppet king by Pharaoh Necho after the defeat of Josiah at Megiddo in 609 b.c. (2 Kgs 23:34-35). According to Jer 46:2 Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at Carchemish in that same year. After defeating Necho, Nebuchadnezzar had hurried back to Babylon where he was made king. After being made king he then returned to Judah and attacked Jerusalem (Dan 1:1. The date given there is the third year of Jehoiakim but scholars are generally agreed that the dating there is based on a different system than the one here. It did not count the part of the year before New Year’s day as an official part of the king’s official rule. Hence, the third year there is the fourth year here.) The identity of the foe from the north referred to in general terms (4:6; 6:1; 15:12) now becomes clear.

3 tc The original text is unusually full here and deemed by many scholars to be corrupt: Heb “And it happened in that year in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month Hananiah…said to…” Many scholars see a contradiction between “in the fourth year” and “in the beginning of the reign.” These scholars point to the fact that the Greek version does not have “in that year” and “in the beginning of the reign of”; it merely reads “in the fourth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month.” These scholars generally also regard the heading at 27:1 to be unoriginal and interpret the heading in the MT here as a faulty harmonization of the original (that in the Greek version) with the erroneous one in the Hebrew of 27:1. However, it is just as possible that the Greek version in both places is an attempt to harmonize the data of 27:1 and 28:1. I.e., it left out both the heading at 27:1, and “in that year” and “at the beginning of the reign of” in the heading here because it thought the data was contradictory. However, it is just as likely that there is really no contradiction here. I.e., the term “beginning of the reign” can include the fourth year. E. H. Merrill has argued that the term here refers not to the accession year (see the translator’s note on 26:1) but to the early years in general (“The ‘Accession Year’ and Davidic Chronology,” JANESCU 19 [1989]: 105-6, and cf. note 18 for bibliography on Akkadian parallels). Hence the phrase has been translated both here and in 27:1 “early in the reign of…” For other attempts at harmonization see the discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 41, n. 1a.

sn The dating here is very full and precise. “In that same year” ties the events here in with the messages that Jeremiah delivered to the envoys, the king and his court, and the priests and people while wearing the yoke symbolizing servitude to Nebuchadnezzar. The text wants to show that the events here transpired shortly after those in Jer 27 and that Jeremiah is still wearing the yoke. The supplying of the precise month is important because the end of the chapter will show that Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Hananiah was fulfilled two months later. Hence Jeremiah is the true prophet and Hananiah and the others (27:16) are false. The supplying of the year is perhaps significant because the author states in 51:59 that Zedekiah went to Babylon that same year, probably to pledge his loyalty. The suggestion lies ready to hand that the events of this chapter and the preceding one lead to his dismissal of the false prophet Hananiah’s advice and the acceptance of Jeremiah’s.

4 tn Heb “to me.” The rest of the chapter is all in third person narrative (see vv. 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15). Hence, many explain the first person here as a misunderstanding of the abbreviation “to Jeremiah” (אֶל יִרְמִיָּה [’el yirmiyyah] = אֵלַי, [’elay]). It is just as likely that there is a similar kind of disjunction here that was found in 27:1-2 only in the opposite direction. There what started out as a third person report was really a first person report. Here what starts out as a first person report is really a third person report. The text betrays both the hands of the narrator, probably Baruch, and the reportee, Jeremiah, who dictated a synopsis of his messages and his stories to Baruch to write down (Jer 36:4, 32).

5 tn Heb “And it happened in that year in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, Hananiah son of Azzur the prophet who was from Gibeon said to me in…” The sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the flavor given in modern equivalent terms.

6 sn See the study note on Jer 25:11 for the reckoning of the seventy years.

7 tn See the translator’s note on Jer 27:22 for this term.

8 tn Verse 10 is all one long sentence in the Hebrew original: “According to the fullness of Babylon seventy years I will take thought of you and I will establish my gracious word to you by bringing you back to this place.” The sentence has been broken up to conform better to contemporary English style.

9 tn Heb “this place.” The text has probably been influenced by the parallel passage in 27:22. The term appears fifteen times in Jeremiah and is invariably a reference to Jerusalem or Judah.

sn See Jer 27:22 for this promise.



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