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Jeremiah 28:12-17

Context

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, 1  ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have 2  only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one! 3  28:14 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 4  says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations 5  so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’” 6  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! 7  28:16 So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove 8  you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’” 9 

28:17 In the seventh month of that very same year 10  the prophet Hananiah died.

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

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

3 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.

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

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

6 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.

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

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.



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