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One of those pretended prophets spoken of on the preceding chapter, having contrasted and opposed Jeremiah, receives an awful declaration that, as a proof to the people of his having spoken without commission, he should die in the then current year; which accordingly came to pass its the seventh month, vv. 1-17.
And it came to pass the same year - the fifth month - Which commenced with the first new moon of August, according to our calendar. This verse gives the precise date of the prophecy in the preceding chapter; and proves that Zedekiah, not Jehoiakim, is the name that should be read in the first verse of that chapter.
Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet - One who called himself a prophet; who pretended to be in commerce with the Lord, and to receive revelations from him. He was probably a priest; for he was of Gibeon, a sacerdotal city in the tribe of Benjamin.
Thus speaketh the Lord - What awful impudence! when he knew in his conscience that God had given him no such commission.
Within two full years - Time sufficient for the Chaldeans to destroy the city, and carry away the rest of the sacred vessels; but he did not live to see the end of this short period.
Amen; the Lord do so - O that it might be according to thy word! May the people find this to be true!
The prophets that have been before me - Namely, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and others; all of whom denounced similar evils against a corrupt people.
When the word of the prophet shall come to pass - Here is the criterion. He is a true prophet who specifies things that he says shall happen, and also fixes the time of the event; and the things do happen, and in that time.
You say that Nebuchadnezzar shall not overthrow this city; and that in two years from this time, not only the sacred vessels already taken away shall be restored, but also that Jeconiah and all the Jewish captives shall be restored, and the Babylonish yoke broken, see Jeremiah 28:2, Jeremiah 28:3, Jeremiah 28:4. Now I say that Nebuchadnezzar will come this year, and destroy this city, and lead away the rest of the people into captivity, and the rest of the sacred vessels; and that there will be no restoration of any kind till seventy years from this time.
Then Hananiah - took the yoke - and brake it - He endeavored by this symbolical act to persuade them of the truth of his prediction.
Yokes of iron - Instead of Nebuchadnezzar‘s yoke being broken, this captivity shall be more severe than the preceding. All these nations shall have a yoke of iron on their neck. He shall subdue them and take all their property, even the beasts of the field.
Hear now, Hananiah; the Lord hath not sent thee - This was a bold speech in the presence of those priests and people who were prejudiced in favor of this false prophet, who prophesied to them smooth things. In such cases men wish to be deceived.
This year thou shalt die - By this shall the people know who is the true prophet. Thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord, and God will cut thee off; and this shall take place, not within seventy years, or two years, but in this very year, and within two months from this time.
So Hananiah - died the same year in the seventh month - The prophecy was delivered in the fifth month, (Jeremiah 28:1), and Hananiah died in the seventh month. And thus God, in mercy, gave him about two months, in which he might prepare to meet his Judge. Here, then the true prophet was demonstrated, and the false prophet detected. The death of Hananiah thus predicted, was God‘s seal to the words of his prophet; and must have gained his other predictions great credit among the people.