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Jeremiah 26:1--29:32

Context
Jeremiah Is Put on Trial as a False Prophet 1 

26:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 2  at the beginning of the reign 3  of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. 26:2 The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 4  Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word! 26:3 Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do. 5  If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them 6  as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing. 7  26:4 Tell them that the Lord says, 8  ‘You must obey me! You must live according to the way I have instructed you in my laws. 9  26:5 You must pay attention to the exhortations of my servants the prophets. I have sent them to you over and over again. 10  But you have not paid any attention to them. 26:6 If you do not obey me, 11  then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh. 12  And I will make this city an example to be used in curses by people from all the nations on the earth.’”

26:7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say these things in the Lord’s temple. 26:8 Jeremiah had just barely finished saying all the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people. All at once some 13  of the priests, the prophets, and the people grabbed him and shouted, “You deserve to die! 14  26:9 How dare you claim the Lord’s authority to prophesy such things! How dare you claim his authority to prophesy that this temple will become like Shiloh and that this city will become an uninhabited ruin!” 15  Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah.

26:10 However, some of the officials 16  of Judah heard about what was happening 17  and they rushed up to the Lord’s temple from the royal palace. They set up court 18  at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. 19  26:11 Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said, 20  “This man should be condemned to die 21  because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so 22  with your own ears.”

26:12 Then Jeremiah made his defense before all the officials and all the people. 23  “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. 26:13 But correct the way you have been living and do what is right. 24  Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would. 25  26:14 As to my case, I am in your power. 26  Do to me what you deem fair and proper. 26:15 But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!” 27 

26:16 Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said, 28  “This man should not be condemned to die. 29  For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.” 30  26:17 Then some of the elders of Judah 31  stepped forward and spoke to all the people gathered there. They said, 26:18 “Micah from Moresheth 32  prophesied during the time Hezekiah was king of Judah. 33  He told all the people of Judah,

‘The Lord who rules over all 34  says,

“Zion 35  will become a plowed field.

Jerusalem 36  will become a pile of rubble.

The temple mount will become a mere wooded ridge.”’ 37 

26:19 King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor? 38  Did not 39  the Lord forgo destroying them 40  as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.” 41 

26:20 Now there was another man 42  who prophesied as the Lord’s representative 43  against this city and this land just as Jeremiah did. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim. 44  26:21 When the king and all his bodyguards 45  and officials heard what he was prophesying, 46  the king sought to have him executed. But Uriah found out about it and fled to Egypt out of fear. 47  26:22 However, King Jehoiakim sent some men to Egypt, including Elnathan son of Achbor, 48  26:23 and they brought Uriah back from there. 49  They took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed and had his body thrown into the burial place of the common people. 50 

26:24 However, Ahikam son of Shaphan 51  used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people. 52 

Jeremiah Counsels Submission to Babylon

27:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 53  early in the reign of Josiah’s son, King Zedekiah of Judah. 54  27:2 The Lord told me, 55  “Make a yoke 56  out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and put it on your neck. 27:3 Use it to send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, 57  and Sidon. 58  Send them through 59  the envoys who have come to Jerusalem 60  to King Zedekiah of Judah. 27:4 Charge them to give their masters a message from me. Tell them, ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 61  says to give your masters this message. 62  27:5 “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength, 63  and I give it to whomever I see fit. 64  27:6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power 65  of my servant, 66  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him. 67  27:7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson 68  until the time comes for his own nation to fall. 69  Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon. 70  27:8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to 71  him. I, the Lord, affirm that 72  I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it 73  with war, 74  starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it. 75  27:9 So do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim to predict the future by divination, 76  by dreams, by consulting the dead, 77  or by practicing magic. They keep telling you, ‘You do not need to be 78  subject to the king of Babylon.’ 27:10 Do not listen to them, 79  because their prophecies are lies. 80  Listening to them will only cause you 81  to be taken far away from your native land. I will drive you out of your country and you will die in exile. 82  27:11 Things will go better for the nation that submits to the yoke of servitude to 83  the king of Babylon and is subject to him. I will leave that nation 84  in its native land. Its people can continue to farm it and live in it. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’” 85 

27:12 I told King Zedekiah of Judah the same thing. I said, 86  “Submit 87  to the yoke of servitude to 88  the king of Babylon. Be subject to him and his people. Then you will continue to live. 27:13 There is no reason why you and your people should die in war 89  or from starvation or disease! 90  That’s what the Lord says will happen to any nation 91  that will not be subject to the king of Babylon. 27:14 Do not listen to the prophets who are telling you that you do not need to serve 92  the king of Babylon. For they are prophesying lies to you. 27:15 For I, the Lord, affirm 93  that I did not send them. They are prophesying lies to you. If you 94  listen to them, I will drive you and the prophets who are prophesying lies out of the land and you will all die in exile.” 95 

27:16 I also told the priests and all the people, “The Lord says, ‘Do not listen to what your prophets are saying. They are prophesying to you that 96  the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple will be brought back from Babylon very soon. 97  But they are prophesying a lie to you. 27:17 Do not listen to them. Be subject to the king of Babylon. Then you 98  will continue to live. Why should this city be made a pile of rubble?’” 99  27:18 I also told them, 100  “If they are really prophets and the Lord is speaking to them, 101  let them pray earnestly to the Lord who rules over all. 102  Let them plead with him not to let the valuable articles that are still left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace, and in Jerusalem be taken away 103  to Babylon. 27:19 For the Lord who rules over all 104  has already spoken about the two bronze pillars, 105  the large bronze basin called ‘The Sea,’ 106  and the movable bronze stands. 107  He has already spoken about the rest of the valuable articles that are left in this city. 27:20 He has already spoken about these things that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take away when he carried Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem away as captives. 108  27:21 Indeed, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 109  has already spoken 110  about the valuable articles that are left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 27:22 He has said, ‘They will be carried off to Babylon. They will remain there until it is time for me to show consideration for them again. 111  Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.’ I, the Lord, affirm this!” 112 

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. 113  The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah 114  in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people. 115  28:2 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 116  says, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude 117  to the king of Babylon. 28:3 Before two years are over, I will bring back to this place everything that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from it and carried away to Babylon. 28:4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and all the exiles who were taken to Babylon.’ Indeed, the Lord affirms, 118  ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon.’”

28:5 Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. 28:6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do all this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true! May he bring back to this place from Babylon all the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple and the people who were carried into exile. 28:7 But listen to what I say to you and to all these people. 119  28:8 From earliest times, the prophets who preceded you and me invariably 120  prophesied war, disaster, 121  and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. 28:9 So if a prophet prophesied 122  peace and prosperity, it was only known that the Lord truly sent him when what he prophesied came true.”

28:10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 28:11 Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon 123  before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way. 124 

28:12 But shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 28:13 “Go and tell Hananiah that the Lord says, 125  ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have 126  only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one! 127  28:14 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 128  says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations 129  so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’” 130  28:15 Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie! 131  28:16 So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove 132  you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’” 133 

28:17 In the seventh month of that very same year 134  the prophet Hananiah died.

Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

29:1 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem 135  to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon. 136  29:2 He sent it after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the palace officials, 137  the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had been exiled from Jerusalem. 138  29:3 He sent it with Elasah son of Shaphan 139  and Gemariah son of Hilkiah. 140  King Zedekiah of Judah had sent these men to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 141  The letter said:

29:4 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 142  says to all those he sent 143  into exile to Babylon from Jerusalem, 144  29:5 ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. 29:6 Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and allow your daughters get married so that they too can have sons and daughters. Grow in number; do not dwindle away. 29:7 Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’

29:8 “For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 145  says, ‘Do not let the prophets or those among you who claim to be able to predict the future by divination 146  deceive you. And do not pay any attention to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream. 29:9 They are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. 147  But I did not send them. I, the Lord, affirm it!’ 148 

29:10 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule 149  are over will I again take up consideration for you. 150  Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore 151  you to your homeland. 152  29:11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. 153  ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you 154  a future filled with hope. 155  29:12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, 156  I will hear your prayers. 157  29:13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 158  29:14 I will make myself available to you,’ 159  says the Lord. 160  ‘Then I will reverse your plight 161  and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. 162  ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’

29:15 “You say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets of good news 163  for us here in Babylon.’ 29:16 But just listen to what the Lord has to say about 164  the king who occupies David’s throne and all your fellow countrymen who are still living in this city of Jerusalem 165  and were not carried off into exile with you. 29:17 The Lord who rules over all 166  says, ‘I will bring war, 167  starvation, and disease on them. I will treat them like figs that are so rotten 168  they cannot be eaten. 29:18 I will chase after them with war, 169  starvation, and disease. I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to them. I will make them examples of those who are cursed, objects of horror, hissing scorn, and ridicule among all the nations where I exile them. 29:19 For they have not paid attention to what I said to them through my servants the prophets whom I sent to them over and over again,’ 170  says the Lord. 171  ‘And you exiles 172  have not paid any attention to them either,’ says the Lord. 173  29:20 ‘So pay attention to what I, the Lord, have said, 174  all you exiles whom I have sent to Babylon from Jerusalem.’

29:21 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 175  also has something to say about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. 176  ‘I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and he will execute them before your very eyes. 29:22 And all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will use them as examples when they put a curse on anyone. They will say, “May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab whom the king of Babylon roasted to death in the fire!” 177  29:23 This will happen to them because they have done what is shameful 178  in Israel. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lies while claiming my authority. 179  They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak. I know what they have done. I have been a witness to it,’ says the Lord.” 180 

A Response to the Letter and a Subsequent Letter

29:24 The Lord told Jeremiah, “Tell 181  Shemaiah the Nehelamite 182  29:25 that the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 183  has a message for him. 184  Tell him, 185  ‘On your own initiative 186  you sent a letter 187  to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah 188  and to all the other priests and to all the people in Jerusalem. 189  In your letter you said to Zephaniah, 190  29:26 “The Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada. 191  He has put you in charge in the Lord’s temple of controlling 192  any lunatic 193  who pretends to be a prophet. 194  And it is your duty to put any such person in the stocks 195  with an iron collar around his neck. 196  29:27 You should have reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth who is pretending to be a prophet among you! 197  29:28 For he has even sent a message to us here in Babylon. He wrote and told us, 198  “You will be there a long time. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce.”’” 199 

29:29 Zephaniah the priest read that letter to the prophet Jeremiah. 200  29:30 Then the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 29:31 “Send a message to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘The Lord has spoken about Shemaiah the Nehelamite. “Shemaiah has spoken to you as a prophet even though I did not send him. He is making you trust in a lie. 201  29:32 Because he has done this,” 202  the Lord says, “I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his whole family. There will not be any of them left to experience the good things that I will do for my people. I, the Lord, affirm it! For he counseled rebellion against the Lord.”’” 203 

1 sn Beginning with Jer 26 up to Jer 45 the book narrates in third person style incidents in the life of Jeremiah and prophecies (or sermons) he gave in obedience to the Lord’s commands. Baruch is the probable narrator, passing on information gleaned from Jeremiah himself. (See Jer 36:4, 18, 32; 45:1 and also 32:13-14 where it is clear that Baruch is Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary.) Chapters 26-29 contain narratives concerning reactions to Jeremiah’s prophecies and his conflict with the prophets who were prophesying that things would be all right (see, e.g., 14:14-15; 23:21).

2 tn The words “to Jeremiah” are not in the Hebrew text. They are added by the Old Latin (not the Vulgate) and the Syriac versions. They are implicit, however, to the narrative style which speaks of Jeremiah in the third person (cf. vv. 7, 12). They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 tn It is often thought that the term here is equivalent to a technical term in Akkadian (reshsharruti) which refers to the part of the year remaining from the death or deposing of the previous king until the beginning of the calendar year when the new king officially ascended the throne. In this case it would refer to the part of the year between September, 609 b.c. when Jehoiakim was placed on the throne as a puppet king by Pharaoh Necho (2 Kgs 23:34-35) and April, 608 b.c. when he would have been officially celebrated as king. However, it will be suggested below in conjunction with the textual problems in 27:1 and 28:1 that the term does not necessarily refer to this period.

4 sn It is generally agreed that the incident recorded in this chapter relates to the temple message that Jeremiah gave in 7:1-15. The message there is summarized here in vv. 3-6. The primary interest here is in the response to that message.

5 tn Heb “will turn from his wicked way.”

6 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.

sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle laid down in Jer 18:7-8 that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.

7 tn Heb “because of the wickedness of their deeds.”

8 tn Heb “thus says the Lord, ‘…’.” The use of the indirect quotation in the translation eliminates one level of embedded quotation to avoid confusion.

9 tn Heb “by walking in my law which I set before you.”

sn Examples of those laws are found in Jer 7:5-6, 9. The law was summarized or epitomized in the ten commandments which are called the “words of the covenant” in Exod 34:28, but it contained much more. However, when Israel is taken to task by God, it often relates to their failure to live up to the standards of the ten commandments (Heb “the ten words”; see Hos 4:1-3; Jer 7:9).

10 tn See the translator’s note on 7:13 for the idiom here.

11 tn 26:4-6 are all one long sentence containing a long condition with subordinate clauses (vv. 4-5) and a compound consequence in v. 6: Heb “If you will not obey me by walking in my law…by paying attention to the words of the prophets which…and you did not pay heed, then I will make…and I will make…” The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style but an attempt has been made to reflect all the subordinations in the English translation.

12 sn See the study note on Jer 7:13.

13 tn The translation again represents an attempt to break up a long complex Hebrew sentence into equivalent English ones that conform more to contemporary English style: Heb “And as soon as Jeremiah finished saying all that…the priests…grabbed him and said…” The word “some” has been supplied in the translation, because obviously it was not all the priests, the prophets, and all the people, but only some of them. There is, of course, rhetorical intent here to show that all were implicated, although all may not have actually participated. (This is a common figure called synecdoche where all is put for a part – all for all kinds or representatives of all kinds. See E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 614-19, and compare usage in Acts 10:12; Matt 3:5.)

14 tn Or “You must certainly die!” The construction here is again emphatic with the infinitive preceding the finite verb (cf. Joüon 2:423 §123.h, and compare usage in Exod 21:28).

15 tn Heb “Why have you prophesied in the Lord’s name, saying, ‘This house will become like Shiloh and this city will become a ruin without inhabitant?’” It is clear from the context here and in 7:1-15 that the emphasis is on “in the Lord’s name” and that the question is rhetorical. The question is not a quest for information but an accusation, a remonstrance. (For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 953-54, who calls a question like this a rhetorical question of remonstrance or expostulation. For good examples see Pss 11:1; 50:16.) For the significance of “prophesying in the Lord’s name” see the study note on 14:14. The translation again utilizes the indirect quote to eliminate one level of embedded quotation.

sn They are questioning his right to claim the Lord’s authority for what they see as a false prophecy. They believed that the presence of the Lord in the temple guaranteed their safety (7:4, 10, 14) and that the Lord could not possibly be threatening its destruction. Hence they were ready to put him to death as a false prophet according to the law of Moses (Deut 18:20).

16 sn These officials of Judah were officials from the royal court. They may have included some of the officials mentioned in Jer 36:12-25. They would have been concerned about any possible “illegal” proceedings going on in the temple.

17 tn Heb “these things.”

18 tn Heb “they sat” or “they took their seats.” However, the context is one of judicial trial.

sn The gateway or gate complex of an ancient Near Eastern city was often used for court assemblies (cf. Deut 21:19; 22:15; Ruth 4:1; Isa 29:21). Here the gate of the temple was used for the convening of a court to try Jeremiah for the charge of being a false prophet.

19 tn The translation follows many Hebrew mss and ancient versions in reading the word “house” (= temple) here. The majority of Hebrew mss do not have this word. It is, however, implicit in the construction “the New Gate of the Lord.”

sn The location of the New Gate is uncertain. It is mentioned again in Jer 36:10 where it is connected with the upper (i.e., inner) court of the temple. Some equate it with the Upper Gate that Jotham rebuilt during his reign (2 Kgs 15:35; Jotham reigned from 750-735 b.c.). That gate, however, has already been referred to as the Upper Gate of Benjamin in Jer 20:2 (for more detail see the study note there) and would not likely have been called something different here.

20 tn Heb “the priests and prophets said to the leaders and the people….” The long sentence has been broken up to conform better with contemporary English style and the situational context is reflected in “laid their charges.”

21 tn Heb “a sentence of death to this man.”

22 tn Heb “it.”

23 tn Heb “Jeremiah said to all the leaders and all the people….” See the note on the word “said” in the preceding verse.

24 tn Heb “Make good your ways and your actions.” For the same expression see 7:3, 5; 18:11.

25 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.

sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle laid down in Jer 18:7-8 that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.

26 tn Heb “And I, behold I am in your hand.” Hand is quite commonly used for “power” or “control” in biblical contexts.

27 tn Heb “For in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak in your ears all these words/things.”

28 tn Heb “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets…”

29 sn Contrast v. 11.

30 tn Heb “For in the name of the Lord our God he has spoken to us.” The emphasis is on “in the name of…”

sn The priests and false prophets claimed that they were speaking in the Lord’s name (i.e., as his representatives and with his authority [see 1 Sam 25:9; 1 Kgs 21:8 and cf. the study note on Jer 23:27]) and felt that Jeremiah’s claims to be doing so were false (see v. 9). Jeremiah (and the Lord) charged that the opposite was the case (cf. 14:14-15; 23:21). The officials and the people, at least at this time, accepted his claims that the Lord had sent him (vv. 12, 15).

31 tn Heb “elders of the land.”

sn The elders were important land-owning citizens, separate from the “heads” or leaders of the tribes, the officers and the judges. They were very influential in both the judicial, political, and religious proceedings of the cities and the state. (See, e.g., Josh 24:1; 2 Sam 19:11; 2 Kgs 23:1 for elders of Israel/Judah, and Deut 21:1-9; Ruth 4:1-2 for elders of the cities.)

32 sn Micah from Moresheth was a contemporary of Isaiah (compare Mic 1:1 with Isa 1:1) from the country town of Moresheth in the hill country southwest of Jerusalem. The prophecy referred to is found in Mic 3:12. This is the only time in the OT where an OT prophet is quoted verbatim and identified.

33 sn Hezekiah was co-regent with his father Ahaz from 729-715 b.c. and sole ruler from 715-686 b.c. His father was a wicked king who was responsible for the incursions of the Assyrians (2 Kgs 16; 2 Chr 28). Hezekiah was a godly king, noted for his religious reforms and for his faith in the Lord in the face of the Assyrian threat (2 Kgs 18–19; 2 Chr 32:1-23). The deliverance of Jerusalem in response to his prayers of faith (2 Kgs 19:14-19, 29-36) was undoubtedly well-known to the people of Jerusalem and Judah and may have been one of the prime reasons for their misplaced trust in the inviolability of Zion/Jerusalem (see Ps 46, 76) though the people of Micah’s day already believed it too (Mic 3:11).

34 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For an explanation of this title for God see the study note on 2:19.

35 sn Zion was first of all the citadel that David captured (2 Sam 5:6-10), then the city of David and the enclosed temple area, then the whole city of Jerusalem. It is often in poetic parallelism with Jerusalem as it is here (see, e.g., Ps 76:2; Amos 1:2).

36 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

37 sn There is irony involved in this statement. The text reads literally “high places of a forest/thicket.” The “high places” were the illicit places of worship that Jerusalem was supposed to replace. Because of their sin, Jerusalem would be like one of the pagan places of worship with no place left sacrosanct. It would even be overgrown with trees and bushes. So much for its inviolability!

38 tn This Hebrew idiom (חָלָה פָּנִים, khalah panim) is often explained in terms of “stroking” or “patting the face” of someone, seeking to gain his favor. It is never used in a literal sense and is found in contexts of prayer (Exod 32:11; Ps 119:158), worship (Zech 8:21-22), humble submission (2 Chr 3:12), or amendment of behavior (Dan 9:13). All were true to one extent or another of Hezekiah.

39 tn The he interrogative (הַ)with the negative governs all three of the verbs, the perfect and the two vav (ו) consecutive imperfects that follow it. The next clause has disjunctive word order and introduces a contrast. The question expects a positive answer.

40 tn For the translation of the terms involved here see the translator’s note on 18:8.

41 tn Or “great harm to ourselves.” The word “disaster” (or “harm”) is the same one that has been translated “destroying” in the preceding line and in vv. 3 and 13.

42 sn This is a brief parenthetical narrative about an otherwise unknown prophet who was executed for saying the same things Jeremiah did. It is put here to show the real danger that Jeremiah faced for saying what he did. There is nothing in the narrative here to show any involvement by Jehoiakim. This was a “lynch mob” instigated by the priests and false prophets which was stymied by the royal officials supported by some of the elders of Judah. Since it is disjunctive or parenthetical it is unclear whether this incident happened before or after that in the main narrative being reported.

43 tn Heb “in the name of the Lord,” i.e., as his representative and claiming his authority. See the study note on v. 16.

44 tn Heb “Now also a man was prophesying in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of…, and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.” The long Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the major emphasis brought out by putting his prophesying first, then identifying him.

45 tn Heb “all his mighty men/soldiers.” It is unlikely that this included all the army. It more likely was the palace guards or royal bodyguards (see 2 Sam 23 where the same word is used of David’s elite corps).

46 tn Heb “his words.”

47 tn Heb “But Uriah heard and feared and fled and entered Egypt.”

48 sn Elnathan son of Achbor was one of the officials who urged Jeremiah and Baruch to hide after they heard Jeremiah’s prophecies read before them (Jer 36:11-19). He was also one of the officials who urged Jehoiakim not to burn the scroll containing Jeremiah’s prophecies (Jer 36:25). He may have been Jehoiakim’s father-in-law (2 Kgs 24:6, 8).

49 tn Heb “from Egypt.”

sn A standard part of international treaties at this time was a stipulation of mutual extradition of political prisoners. Jehoiakim was a vassal of Pharaoh Necho (see 2 Kgs 23:34-35) and undoubtedly had such a treaty with him.

50 sn The burial place of the common people was the public burial grounds, distinct from the family tombs, where poor people without any distinction were buried. It was in the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem (2 Kgs 23:6). The intent of reporting this is to show the ruthlessness of Jehoiakim.

51 sn Ahikam son of Shaphan was an official during the reign of Jehoiakim’s father, Josiah (2 Kgs 22:12, 14). He was also the father of Gedaliah who became governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem (Jer 40:5). The particle at the beginning of the verse is meant to contrast the actions of this man with the actions of Jehoiakim. The impression created by this verse is that it took more than just the royal officials’ opinion and the elders’ warnings to keep the priests and prophets from swaying popular opinion to put Jeremiah to death.

52 tn Heb “Nevertheless, the hand of Ahikam son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he would not be given (even more literally, ‘so as not to give him’) into the hand of the people to kill him.” “Hand” is often used for “aid,” “support,” “influence,” “power,” “control.”

53 sn The names of Jeremiah and of Nebuchadnezzar are spelled differently in the Hebrew of chapter 27-29. That and other literary features show that these three chapters are all closely related. The events of these three chapters all take place within the space of one year (cf. 28:1; 29:17).

54 tc The reading here is based on a few Hebrew mss and the Syriac and Arabic versions. The majority of Hebrew mss and most of the versions read “At the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim king of Judah” as in 26:1. The LXX does not have this whole verse. It has long been recognized that the text of 27:1 is textually corrupt. The date formula in the majority of Hebrew mss at 27:1 is contradictory both with the context of the passage which deals with an event in the reign of Zedekiah (see vv. 3, 13 and v. 20 which presupposes that Jeconiah, Jehoiakim’s son, has been taken captive [i.e., after the death of Jehoiakim!]) and the date formula in 28:1 which refers to an event “in that same year” and then qualifies it with “Early in the reign of Zedekiah.” Hence it is preferable to read “Zedekiah” here in place of “Jehoiakim” and explain the error in the Hebrew manuscripts as an erroneous copying of 26:1.

sn If the text of 28:1 is correct, the date here would be sometime in the fourth year of Zedekiah which would be 594/3 b.c. Zedekiah had been placed on the throne as a puppet king by Nebuchadnezzar after he deposed Zedekiah’s nephew, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and sent him, his family, some of the temple treasures, and some of the Judean leaders away to Babylon (2 Kgs 23:8-17). The author does not state directly why the envoys from the nations mentioned in v. 3 were in Jerusalem, but the implication is that they were there trying to interest Zedekiah in rebelling. Modern scholars have used the data here and in 28:1 and in the Babylonian Chronicles (it contains a record of major events of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign) to suggest a plausible background for such a meeting. Nebuchadnezzar had to put down an uprising in the east and quell a rebellion in Babylon itself in the two years prior to this meeting. Some “prophets” in the nation of Israel and in these other nations (see vv. 9-10) saw in these events hopes for not having to pay tribute to (i.e., submit to the yoke of) Nebuchadnezzar and were counseling rebellion. Jeremiah saw this as foolhardy and counseled otherwise. Again, there is a conflict between “prophets” which is what this whole section (Jer 27–29) is all about.

55 tn There is some disjunction in the narrative of this chapter. The introduction in v. 1 presents this as a third person narrative. But the rest of the passage reports the narrative in first person. Thus the text reads here “Thus the Lord said to me…” In vv. 12, 16 the narrative picks up in first person report and never indicates that Jeremiah carried out the command in vv. 2-4 that introduces the message which he repeats in summary form himself to Zedekiah. The report is thus an “unedited” first person report. This may create some confusion for some readers, but it is best to leave it in first person here because of the continuation in vv. 12, 16.

56 sn The yoke is a common biblical symbol of political servitude (see, e.g., Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4, 9, 10). From the context of 1 Kgs 12 it is clear that it applied to taxation and the provision of conscript labor. In international political contexts it involved the payment of heavy tribute which was often conscripted from the citizens (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 15:19-20; 23:34-35) and the furnishing of military contingents for the sovereign’s armies (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 24:2). Jeremiah’s message here combines both a symbolic action (the wearing of a yoke) and words of explanation as in Jer 19:1-13. (See Isa 20:1-6 for an example outside of Jeremiah.) The casting off of the yoke has been used earlier in Jer 2:20, 5:5 to refer to Israel’s failure to remain spiritually “subject” or faithful to God.

57 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

58 sn The nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon were east of Judah. They were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies. The nations of Tyre and Sidon were on the sea coast north and west of Judah. They are best known for their maritime trade during the reign of Solomon. They were more commonly allies of Israel and Judah than enemies.

map For the location of Sidon see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

59 tn Heb “send by means of them” [i.e., the straps and crossbars made into a yoke] to…through.” The text is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. Many English versions ignore the suffix on the end of “send” and find some support for this on the basis of its absence in the Lucianic Greek text. However, it is probably functioning metonymically here for the message which they see symbolized before them and is now explained clearly to them.

60 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

61 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the significance of this title.

62 tn Heb “Give them a charge to their masters saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel, “Thus you shall say unto your masters…”’” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.

63 tn Heb “by my great power and my outstretched arm.” Again “arm” is symbolical for “strength.” Compare the similar expression in 21:5.

64 sn See Dan 4:17 for a similar statement.

65 tn Heb “have given…into the hand of.”

66 sn See the study note on 25:9 for the significance of the application of this term to Nebuchadnezzar.

67 tn Heb “I have given…to him to serve him.” The verb “give” in this syntactical situation is functioning like the Hiphil stem, i.e., as a causative. See Dan 1:9 for parallel usage. For the usage of “serve” meaning “be subject to” compare 2 Sam 22:44 and BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3.

sn This statement is rhetorical, emphasizing the totality of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion. Neither here nor in Dan 2:38 is it to be understood literally.

68 sn This is a figure that emphasizes that they will serve for a long time but not for an unlimited duration. The kingdom of Babylon lasted a relatively short time by ancient standards. It lasted from 605 b.c. when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at Carchemish until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. There were only four rulers. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evil Merodach (cf. 52:31), and two other rulers who were not descended from him.

69 tn Heb “until the time of his land, even his, comes.” The independent pronoun is placed here for emphasis on the possessive pronoun. The word “time” is used by substitution for the things that are done in it (compare in the NT John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20 “his hour had not yet come”).

sn See Jer 25:12-14, 16.

70 tn Heb “him.” This is a good example of the figure of substitution where the person is put for his descendants or the nation or subject he rules. (See Gen 28:13-14 for another good example and Acts 22:7 in the NT.)

71 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

72 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

73 tn Heb “The nation and/or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babylon, by sword, starvation, and disease I will punish [or more literally, “visit upon”] that nation, oracle of the Lord.” The long complex Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the figures interpreted for the sake of clarity. The particle אֵת, the sign of the accusative, before “which will not put…” is a little unusual here. For its use to introduce a new topic (here a second relative clause) see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α.

74 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”

75 tc The verb translated “destroy” (תָּמַם, tamam) is usually intransitive in the stem of the verb used here. It is found in a transitive sense elsewhere only in Ps 64:7. BDB 1070 s.v. תָּמַם 7 emends both texts. In this case they recommend תִּתִּי (titi): “until I give them into his hand.” That reading is suggested by the texts of the Syriac and Targumic translations (see BHS fn c). The Greek translation supports reading the verb “destroy” but treats it as though it were intransitive “until they are destroyed by his hand” (reading תֻּמָּם [tummam]). The MT here is accepted as the more difficult reading and support is seen in the transitive use of the verb in Ps 64:7.

tn Heb “I will punish that nation until I have destroyed them [i.e., its people] by his hand.” “Hand” here refers to agency. Hence, “I will use him.”

76 sn Various means of divination are alluded to in the OT. For example, Ezek 21:26-27 alludes to throwing down arrows to see which way they fall and consulting the shape of the liver of slaughtered animals. Gen 44:5 alludes to reading the future through pouring liquid in a cup. The means alluded to in this verse were all classified as pagan and prohibited as illegitimate in Deut 18:10-14. The Lord had promised that he would speak to them through prophets like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18). But even prophets could lie. Hence, the Lord told them that the test of a true prophet was whether what he said came true or not (Deut 18:20-22). An example of false prophesying and the vindication of the true as opposed to the false will be given in the chapter that follows this.

77 sn An example of this is seen in 1 Sam 28.

78 tn The verb in this context is best taken as a negative obligatory imperfect. See IBHS 508-9 §31.4g for discussion and examples. See Exod 4:15 as an example of positive obligation.

79 tn The words “Don’t listen to them” have been repeated from v. 9a to pick up the causal connection between v. 9a and v. 10 that is formally introduced by a causal particle in v. 10 in the original text.

80 tn Heb “they are prophesying a lie.”

81 tn Heb “lies will result in your being taken far…” (לְמַעַן [lÿmaan] + infinitive). This is a rather clear case of the particle לְמַעַן introducing result (contra BDB 775 s.v. מַעַן note 1. There is no irony in this statement; it is a bold prediction).

82 tn The words “out of your country” are not in the text but are implicit in the meaning of the verb. The words “in exile” are also not in the text but are implicit in the context. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

83 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

84 tn The words “Things will go better for” are not in the text. They are supplied contextually as a means of breaking up the awkward syntax of the original which reads “The nation which brings its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and subjects itself to him, I will leave it…”

85 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

86 tn Heb “I spoke to Zedekiah…according to all these words, saying.”

87 sn The verbs in this verse are all plural. They are addressed to Zedekiah and his royal advisers (compare 22:2).

88 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

89 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”

90 tn Heb “Why should you and your people die…?” The rhetorical question expects the answer made explicit in the translation, “There is no reason!”

91 tn Heb “…disease according to what the Lord spoke concerning the nation that…”

92 tn The verb in this context is best taken as a negative obligatory imperfect. See IBHS 508 §31.4g for discussion and examples. See Exod 4:15 as an example of positive obligation.

93 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

94 sn The verbs are again plural referring to the king and his royal advisers.

95 tn Heb “…drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying lies.”

sn For the fulfillment of this prophecy see Jer 39:5-7; 52:7-11; 2 Kgs 25:4-7.

96 tn Heb “don’t listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you….” The sentence has been broken up for the sake of English style and one level of embedded quotes has been eliminated to ease complexity.

97 sn This refers to the valuable articles of the temple treasury which were carried off by Nebuchadnezzar four years earlier when he carried off Jeconiah, his family, some of his nobles, and some of the cream of Judean society (2 Kgs 24:10-16, especially v. 13 and see also vv. 19-20 in the verses following).

98 tn The imperative with vav (ו) here and in v. 12 after another imperative are a good example of the use of the imperative to introduce a consequence. (See GKC 324-25 §110.f and see Gen 42:18. This is a common verb in this idiom.)

99 tn According to E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 954) both this question and the one in v. 13 are examples of rhetorical questions of prohibition / “don’t let this city be made a pile of rubble.”

100 tn The words “I also told them” are not in the text, but it is obvious from the fact that the Lord is spoken about in the third person in vv. 18, 19, 21 that he is not the speaker. This is part of Jeremiah’s own speech to the priests and the people (v. 16). These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

101 tn Heb “the word of the Lord is with them.”

102 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of this title see the study note on 2:19.

103 tn Heb “…speaking to them, let them entreat the Lord…so that the valuable articles…will not go to Babylon.” The long original sentence has been broken up for the sake of English style.

104 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” For the significance of this title see the note at 2:19.

105 tn The words “two bronze” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent.

sn The two bronze pillars are the two free-standing pillars at the entrance of the temple (Jakin and Boaz) described in 1 Kgs 7:15-22.

106 tn The words “the large bronze basin called” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent.

sn “The Sea” refers to the large basin that was mounted on twelve bronze bulls. It stood in front of the temple and contained water for the priests to bathe themselves (2 Chr 4:6; cf. Exod 30:17-21). It is described in 1 Kgs 7:23-26.

107 tn The words “movable bronze” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent. See the study note for further reference.

sn The bronze stands are the movable bronze stands described in 1 Kgs 7:27-37. They were the stands for the bronze basins described in 1 Kgs 7:38-39. According to 2 Chr 4:6 the latter were used to wash the burnt offerings. The priests would have been very concerned especially about the big bronze basin and the movable stands and their basins because they involved their ritual purification apart from which they would have had no sanctity. These articles (or furnishings in this case) were broken up and the bronze carried away to Babylon along with all the other bronze, silver, and gold furnishings when the temple and the city were destroyed in 587 b.c. (see 2 Kgs 25:13-15; Jer 52:17-19).

108 tn 27:19-20 are all one long sentence in Hebrew. It has been broken up for the sake of English style. Some of the sentences still violate contemporary English style (e.g., v. 20) but breaking them down any further would lose the focus. For further discussion see the study note on v. 21.

109 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” For the significance of this title see the note at 2:19.

110 sn Some of the flavor of the repetitive nature of Hebrew narrative is apparent in vv. 19-21. In the Hebrew original vv. 19-20 are all one long sentence with complex coordination and subordinations. I.e., all the objects in v. 19 are all objects of the one verb “has spoken about” and the description in v. 20 is one long relative or descriptive clause. The introductory “For the Lord…has already spoken” is repeated in v. 21 from v. 19 and reference is made to the same articles once again, only in the terms that were used in v. 18b. By this means, attention is focused for these people (here the priests and the people) on articles which were of personal concern for them and the climax or the punch line is delayed to the end. The point being made is that the false prophets are mistaken; not only will the articles taken to Babylon not be returned “very soon” but the Lord had said that the ones that remained would be taken there as well. They ought rather pray that the Lord will change his mind and not carry them off as well.

111 tn This verb is a little difficult to render here. The word is used in the sense of taking note of something and acting according to what is noticed. It is the word that has been translated several times throughout Jeremiah as “punish [someone].” It is also used in the opposite of sense of taking note and “show consideration for” (or “care for;” see, e.g., Ruth 1:6). Here the nuance is positive and is further clarified by the actions that follow, bringing them back and restoring them.

112 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

113 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.

114 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).

115 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.

116 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.

117 sn See the study note on 27:2 for this figure. Hananiah is given the same title “the prophet” as Jeremiah throughout the chapter and claims to speak with the same authority (compare v. 2a with 27:21a). He even speaks like the true prophet; the verb form “I will break” is in the “prophetic perfect” emphasizing certitude. His message here is a contradiction of Jeremiah’s message recorded in the preceding chapter (compare especially v. 3 with 27:16, 19-22 and v. 4 with 22:24-28). The people and the priests are thus confronted with a choice of whom to believe. Who is the “true” prophet and who is the “false” one? Only fulfillment of their prophecies will prove which is which (see Deut 18:21-22).

118 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

sn Notice again that the “false” prophet uses the same formula and claims the same source for his message as the true prophet has (cf. 27:22).

119 tn Heb “Listen to this word/message which I am about to speak in your ears and the ears of all these people.”

120 tn The word “invariably” is not in the text but is implicit in the context and in the tense of the Hebrew verb. It is supplied in the translation for clarity and to help bring out the contrast in the next verse.

121 tc Many Hebrew mss read “starvation/famine” which is the second member of a common triad “sword, famine, and plague” in Jeremiah. This triad occurs thirteen times in the book and undoubtedly influenced a later scribe to read “starvation [= famine]” here. For this triad see the note on 14:14. The words “disaster and plagues” are missing in the LXX.

122 tn The verbs in this verse are to be interpreted as iterative imperfects in past time rather than as futures because of the explicit contrast that is drawn in the two verses by the emphatic syntactical construction of the two verses. Both verses begin with a casus pendens construction to throw the two verses into contrast: HebThe prophets who were before me and you from ancient times, they prophesied…The prophet who prophesied peace, when the word of that prophet came true, that prophet was known that the Lord truly sent him.”

123 tn Heb “I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from upon the necks of all the nations.”

124 tn Heb “Then the prophet Jeremiah went his way.”

125 tn Heb “Hananiah, ‘Thus says the Lord….” The translation uses an indirect quotation here used to eliminate one level of embedded quotation.

126 tn The Greek version reads “I have made/put” rather than “you have made/put.” This is the easier reading and is therefore rejected.

127 tn Heb “the yoke bars of wood you have broken, but you have made in its stead yoke bars of iron.”

sn This whole incident (and the preceding one in Jer 28) is symbolic. Jeremiah’s wearing of the yoke was symbolic of the Lord’s message to submit to Babylonian authority. Hananiah’s breaking of the yoke was a prediction that that authority would not last beyond two years. By breaking the yoke he was encouraging rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar’s (and hence the Lord’s) authority (cf. 27:9, 14). However, rebelling would only result in further, harsher, more irresistible measures by Nebuchadnezzar to control such rebellion.

128 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for this title.

129 tn Heb “An iron yoke I have put on the necks of all these nations.”

130 sn The emphasis is on the absoluteness of Nebuchadnezzar’s control. The statement is once again rhetorical and not to be taken literally. See the study note on 27:6.

131 tn Or “You are giving these people false assurances.”

132 sn There is a play on words here in Hebrew between “did not send you” and “will…remove you.” The two verbs are from the same root word in Hebrew. The first is the simple active and the second is the intensive.

133 sn In giving people false assurances of restoration when the Lord had already told them to submit to Babylon, Hananiah was really counseling rebellion against the Lord. What Hananiah had done was contrary to the law of Deut 13:6 and was punishable by death.

134 sn Comparison with Jer 28:1 shows that this whole incident took place in the space of two months. Hananiah had prophesied that the captivity would be over before two years had past. However, before two months were past, Hananiah himself died in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of his death. His death was a validation of Jeremiah as a true prophet. The subsequent events of 588 b.c. would validate Jeremiah’s prophesies and invalidate those of Hananiah.

135 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

136 tn Jer 29:1-3 are all one long sentence in Hebrew containing a parenthetical insertion. The text reads “These are the words of the letter which the prophet Jeremiah sent to the elders…people whom Nebuchadnezzar had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon after King Jeconiah…had gone from Jerusalem by the hand of Elasah…whom Zedekiah sent…saying, ‘Thus says the Lord…’” The sentence has been broken up for the sake of contemporary English style and clarity.

137 tn This term is often mistakenly understood to refer to a “eunuch.” It is clear, however, in Gen 39:1 that “eunuchs” could be married. On the other hand it is clear from Isa 59:3-5 that some who bore this title could not have children. In this period, it is possible that the persons who bore this title were high officials like the rab saris who was a high official in the Babylonian court (cf. Jer 39:3, 13; 52:25). For further references see HALOT 727 s.v. סָרִיס 1.c.

138 sn See 2 Kgs 24:14-16 and compare the study note on Jer 24:1.

139 sn Elasah son of Shaphan may have been the brother of Ahikam, who supported Jeremiah when the priests and the prophets in Jerusalem sought to kill Jeremiah for preaching that the temple and the city would be destroyed (cf. 26:24).

140 sn This individual is not the same as the Gemariah mentioned in 36:10, 11, 12, 25 who was one of the officials who sought to have the first scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies preserved. He may, however, have been a son or grandson of the High Priest who discovered the book of the law during the reign of Josiah (cf., e.g., 2 Kgs 22:8, 10) which was so instrumental in Josiah’s reforms.

141 sn It is unclear whether this incident preceded or followed those in the preceding chapter. It is known from 52:59 that Zedekiah himself had made a trip to Babylon in the same year mentioned in 28:1 and that Jeremiah had used that occasion to address a prophecy of disaster to Babylon. It is not impossible that Jeremiah sent two such disparate messages at the same time (see Jer 25:8-11, 12-14, 17-18, 26).

142 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.

143 tn Heb “I sent.” This sentence exhibits a rapid switch in person, here from the third person to the first. Such switches are common to Hebrew poetry and prophecy (cf. GKC 462 §144.p). Contemporary English, however, does not exhibit such rapid switches and it creates confusion for the careful reader. Such switches have regularly been avoided in the translation.

sn Elsewhere Nebuchadnezzar is seen as the one who carried them into exile (cf. 27:20; 29:1). Here and in v. 14 the Lord is seen as the one who sends them into exile. The Lord is the ultimate cause and Nebuchadnezzar is his agent or servant (cf. 25:9; 27:6 and notes).

144 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

145 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.

146 sn See the study notes on 27:9 for this term.

147 tn Heb “prophesying lies to you in my name.”

sn For the significance of “in my name” see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.

148 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

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

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

151 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.

152 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.

153 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

154 tn Heb “I know the plans that I am planning for you, oracle of the Lord, plans of well-being and not for harm to give to you….”

155 tn Or “the future you hope for”; Heb “a future and a hope.” This is a good example of hendiadys where two formally coordinated nouns (adjectives, verbs) convey a single idea where one of the terms functions as a qualifier of the other. For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 658-72. This example is discussed on p. 661.

156 tn Heb “come and pray to me.” This is an example of verbal hendiadys where two verb formally joined by “and” convey a main concept with the second verb functioning as an adverbial qualifier.

157 tn Or “You will call out to me and come to me in prayer and I will hear your prayers.” The verbs are vav consecutive perfects and can be taken either as unconditional futures or as contingent futures. See GKC 337 §112.kk and 494 §159.g and compare the usage in Gen 44:22 for the use of the vav consecutive perfects in contingent futures. The conditional clause in the middle of 29:13 and the deuteronomic theology reflected in both Deut 30:1-5 and 1 Kgs 8:46-48 suggest that the verbs are continent futures here. For the same demand for wholehearted seeking in these contexts which presuppose exile see especially Deut 30:2, 1 Kgs 8:48.

158 tn Or “If you wholeheartedly seek me”; Heb “You will seek me and find [me] because you will seek me with all your heart.” The translation attempts to reflect the theological nuances of “seeking” and “finding” and the psychological significance of “heart” which refers more to intellectual and volitional concerns in the OT than to emotional ones.

159 tn Heb “I will let myself be found by you.” For this nuance of the verb see BDB 594 s.v. מָצָא Niph.1.f and compare the usage in Isa 65:1; 2 Chr 15:2. The Greek version already noted that nuance when it translated the phrase “I will manifest myself to you.”

160 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

161 tn Heb “restore your fortune.” Alternately, “I will bring you back from exile.” This idiom occurs twenty-six times in the OT and in several cases it is clearly not referring to return from exile but restoration of fortunes (e.g., Job 42:10; Hos 6:11–7:1; Jer 33:11). It is often followed as here by “regather” or “bring back” (e.g., Jer 30:3; Ezek 29:14) so it is often misunderstood as “bringing back the exiles.” The versions (LXX, Vulg., Tg., Pesh.) often translate the idiom as “to go away into captivity,” deriving the noun from שְׁבִי (shÿvi, “captivity”). However, the use of this expression in Old Aramaic documents of Sefire parallels the biblical idiom: “the gods restored the fortunes of the house of my father again” (J. A. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 100-101, 119-20). The idiom means “to turn someone's fortune, bring about change” or “to reestablish as it was” (HALOT 1386 s.v. 3.c). In Ezek 16:53 it is paralleled by the expression “to restore the situation which prevailed earlier.” This amounts to restitutio in integrum, which is applicable to the circumstances surrounding the return of the exiles.

162 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

163 tn The words “of good news” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

164 tn Heb “But thus says the Lord about.” The words “just listen to what” are supplied in the translation to help show the connection with the preceding.

sn Jeremiah answers their claims that the Lord has raised up prophets to encourage them that their stay will be short by referring to the Lord’s promise that the Lord’s plans are not for restoration but for further destruction.

165 tn The words “of Jerusalem” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to identify the referent and avoid the possible confusion that “this city” refers to Babylon.

166 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.

167 tn Heb “the sword.”

168 tn The meaning of this word is somewhat uncertain. It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. BDB 1045 s.v. שֹׁעָר relates it to the noun “horrible thing” (translated “something shocking”) in Jer 5:30; 23:14 and defines it as “horrid, disgusting.” HALOT 1495 s.v. שֹׁעָר relates it to the same noun and define it as “rotten; corrupt.” That nuance is accepted here.

sn Compare Jer 24:8-10 in its context for the figure here.

169 tn Heb “with the sword.”

170 tn See the translator’s note on 7:13 for an explanation of this idiom.

171 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

172 tn The word “exiles” is not in the text. It is supplied in the translation to clarify the referent of “you.”

173 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

174 tn Heb “pay attention to the word of the Lord.” However, the Lord is speaking in the words just previous to this and in the words which follow (“whom I have sent”). This is another example of the shift from third person referent to first person which is common in Hebrew poetry and prophecy but is not common in English style. The person has been adjusted in the translation to avoid confusion.

175 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.

176 tn Heb “prophesying lies in my name.” For an explanation of this idiom see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.

177 sn Being roasted to death in the fire appears to have been a common method of execution in Babylon. See Dan 3:6, 19-21. The famous law code of the Babylonian king Hammurabi also mandated this method of execution for various crimes a thousand years earlier. There is a satirical play on words involving their fate, “roasted them to death” (קָלָם, qalam), and the fact that that fate would become a common topic of curse (קְלָלָה, qÿlalah) pronounced on others in Babylon.

178 tn It is commonly assumed that this word is explained by the two verbal actions that follow. The word (נְבָלָה, nÿvalah) is rather commonly used of sins of unchastity (cf., e.g., Gen 34:7; Judg 19:23; 2 Sam 13:12) which would fit the reference to adultery. However, the word is singular and not likely to cover both actions that follow. The word is also used of the greedy act of Achan (Josh 7:15) which threatened Israel with destruction and the churlish behavior of Nabal (1 Sam 25:25) which threatened him and his household with destruction. The word is also used of foolish talk in Isa 9:17 (9:16 HT) and Isa 32:6. It is possible that this refers to a separate act, one that would have brought the death penalty from Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., the preaching of rebellion in conformity with the message of the false prophets in Jerusalem and other nations (cf. 27:9, 13). Hence it is possible that the translation should read: “This will happen because of their vile conduct. They have propagated rebellion. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives. They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak. They have spoken lies while claiming my authority.”

179 tn Heb “prophesying lies in my name.” For an explanation of this idiom see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.

180 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

181 tn The words “The Lord told Jeremiah” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation here to indicate the shift in topic and the shift in addressee (the imperative “tell” is second singular). The introduction supplied in the translation here matches that in v. 30 where the words are in the text.

182 tn It is unclear whether this is a family name or a place name. The word occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.

183 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.

184 tn Heb “Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, ‘Thus says Yahweh of armies the God of Israel….” The indirect quotation is used in the translation to avoid the complexity of embedding a quotation within a quotation.

185 sn Jer 29:24-32 are concerned with Jeremiah’s interaction with a false prophet named Shemaiah. The narrative in this section is not in strict chronological order and is somewhat elliptical. It begins with a report of a message that Jeremiah appears to have delivered directly to Shemaiah and refers to a letter that Shemaiah sent to the priest Zephaniah encouraging him to reprimand Jeremiah for what Shemaiah considered treasonous words in his letter to the exiles (vv. 24-28; compare v. 28 with v. 5). However, Jeremiah is in Jerusalem and Shemaiah is in Babylon. The address must then be part of a second letter Jeremiah sent to Babylon. Following this the narrative refers to Zephaniah reading Shemaiah’s letter to Jeremiah and Jeremiah sending a further letter to the captives in Babylon (vv. 29-32). This is probably not a third letter but part of the same letter in which Jeremiah reprimands Shemaiah for sending his letter to Zephaniah (vv. 25-28; the same letter referred to in v. 29). The order of events thus is: Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives counseling them to settle down in Babylon (vv. 1-23). Shemaiah sent a letter to Zephaniah asking him to reprimand Jeremiah (vv. 26-28). After Zephaniah read that letter to Jeremiah (v. 29), Jeremiah wrote a further letter to Babylon reprimanding him (vv. 25-28, 31) and pronouncing judgment on him (v. 32). The elliptical nature of the narrative is reflected in the fact that vv. 25-27 are part of a long causal sentence which sets forth an accusation but has no corresponding main clause or announcement of judgment. This kind of construction involves a rhetorical figure (called aposiopesis) where what is begun is not finished for various rhetorical reasons. Here the sentence that is broken off is part of an announcement of judgment which is not picked up until v. 32 after a further (though related) accusation (v. 31b).

186 tn Heb “In your [own] name.” See the study note on 23:27 for the significance of this idiom.

187 tn Heb “letters.” Though GKC 397 §124.b, n. 1 denies it, this is probably a case of the plural of extension. For a similar usage see Isa 37:14 where the plural “letters” is referred to later as an “it.” Even if there were other “letters,” the focus is on the letter to Zephaniah.

188 sn According to Jer 52:24 and 2 Kgs 25:18 Zephaniah son of Maaseiah was second in command to the high priest. He was the high ranking priest who was sent along with a civic official to inquire of the Lord’s will from Jeremiah by Zedekiah on two separate occasions (Jer 21:1; 37:3).

189 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

190 tn The words “In your letter you said to Zephaniah” are not in the text: Heb “you sent a letter to…, saying.” The sentence has been broken up to conform better to contemporary English style and these words have been supplied in the translation to make the transition to the address to Zephaniah in vv. 26-28.

191 tn Heb “in place of Jehoiada the priest.” The word “the priest” is unnecessary to the English sentence.

192 tc Heb “The Lord has appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada to be overseer in the house of the Lord for/over.” The translation is based on a reading presupposed by several of the versions. The Hebrew text reads “The Lord has…to be overseers [in] the house of the Lord for/over.” The reading here follows that of the Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions in reading פָּקִיד בְּבֵית (paqid bÿvet) in place of פְּקִדִים בֵּית (pÿqidim bet). There has been a confusion of the ם (mem) and בּ (bet) and a transposition of the י (yod) and ד (dalet).

193 sn The Hebrew term translated lunatic applies to anyone who exhibits irrational behavior. It was used for example of David who drooled and scratched on the city gate to convince Achish not to arrest him as a politically dangerous threat (1 Sam 21:14). It was often used contemptuously of the prophets by those who wanted to play down the significance of their words (2 Kgs 9:11; Hos 9:7 and here).

194 tn The verb here is a good example of what IBHS 431 §26.2f calls the estimative-declarative reflexive where a person presents himself in a certain light. For examples of this usage see 2 Sam 13:5; Prov 13:7.

195 tn See the translator’s note on 20:2 for this word which only occurs here and in 20:2-3.

196 tn This word only occurs here in the Hebrew Bible. All the lexicons are agreed as seeing it referring to a collar placed around the neck. The basis for this definition are the cognate languages (see, e.g., HALOT 958-59 s.v. צִינֹק for the most complete discussion).

197 tn Heb “So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah…?” The rhetorical question functions as an emphatic assertion made explicit in the translation.

198 tn Heb “For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying….” The quote, however, is part of the earlier letter.

199 sn See v. 5.

200 tn Heb “in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.”

201 tn Or “is giving you false assurances.”

202 tn Heb “Therefore.”

203 sn Compare the same charge against Hananiah in Jer 28:16 and see the note there. In this case, the false prophesy of Shemaiah is not given but it likely had the same tenor since he wants Jeremiah reprimanded for saying that the exile will be long and the people are to settle down in Babylon.



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