Jer 27:1-22. The Futility of Resisting Nebuchadnezzar Illustrated to the Ambassadors of the Kings, Desiring to Have the King of Judah Confederate with Them, under the Type of Yokes. Jeremiah Exhorts Them and Zedekiah to Yield.
1. Jehoiakim -- The prophecy that follows was according to this reading given in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, fifteen years before it was published in the reign of Zedekiah to whom it refers; it was thus long deposited in the prophet's bosom, in order that by it he might be supported under trials in his prophetic career in the interim [Calvin]. But |Zedekiah| may be the true reading. So the Syriac and Arabic Versions. Jer 27:3, 12; Jer 28:1, confirm this; also, one of Kennicott's manuscripts. The English Version reading may have originated from Jer 26:1. |Son of Josiah| applies to Zedekiah as truly as to |Jehoiakim| or |Eliakim.| The fourth year may, in a general sense here, as in Jer 28:1, be called |the beginning of his reign,| as it lasted eleven years (2Ki 24:18). It was not long after the fourth year of his reign that he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 51:59; 52:3; 2Ki 24:20), in violation of an oath before God (2Ch 36:13).
2. bonds -- by which the yoke is made fast to the neck (Jer 5:5).
yokes -- literally, the carved piece of wood attached at both ends to the two yokes on the necks of a pair of oxen, so as to connect them. Here the yoke itself. The plural is used, as he was to wear one himself, and give the others to the ambassadors; (Jer 27:3; 28:10, 12) proves that the symbolical act was in this instance (though not in others, Jer 25:15) actually done (compare Isa 20:2, &c.; Eze 12:3, 11, 18).
3. And send them to the king of Edom, &c. -- Appropriate symbol, as these ambassadors had come to Jerusalem to consult as to shaking off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Pherecydes in Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 567], Idanthura, king of the Scythians, intimated to Darius, who had crossed the Danube, that he would lead an army against him, by sending him, instead of a letter, a mouse, a frog, a bird, an arrow, and a plough. The task assigned to Jeremiah required great faith, as it was sure to provoke alike his own countrymen and the foreign ambassadors and their kings, by a seeming insult, at the very time that all were full of confident hopes grounded on the confederacy.
5. God here, as elsewhere, connects with the symbol doctrine, which is as it were its soul, without which it would be not only cold and frivolous, but even dead [Calvin]. God's mention of His supreme power is in order to refute the pride of those who rely on their own power (Isa 45:12).
given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me -- (Ps 115:15, 16; Da 4:17, 25, 32). Not for his merits, but of My own sole good pleasure [Estius].
6. beasts of the field -- not merely the horses to carry his Chaldean soldiers, and oxen to draw his provisions [Grotius]; not merely the deserts, mountains, and woods, the haunts of wild beasts, implying his unlimited extent of empire [Estius]; but the beasts themselves by a mysterious instinct of nature. A reproof to men that they did not recognize God's will, which the very beasts acknowledged (compare Isa 1:3). As the beasts are to submit to Christ, the Restorer of the dominion over nature, lost by the first Adam (compare Ge 1:28; 2:19, 20; Ps 8:6-8), so they were appointed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the representative of the world power and prefigurer of Antichrist; this universal power was suffered to be held by him to show the unfitness of any to wield it |until He come whose right it is| (Eze 21:27).
7. son ... son's son -- (2Ch 36:20). Nebuchadnezzar had four successors -- Evil-merodach, his son; Neriglissar, husband of Nebuchadnezzar's daughter; his son, Labosodarchod; and Naboned (with whom his son, Belshazzar, was joint king), son of Evil-merodach. But Neriglissar and Labosodarchod were not in the direct male line; so that the prophecy held good to |his son and his son's son,| and the intermediate two are omitted.
time of his land -- that is, of its subjugation or its being |visited| in wrath (Jer 27:22; Jer 25:12; 29:10; 50:27; Da 5:26).
serve themselves of him -- make him their servant (Jer 25:14; Isa 13:22). So |his day| for the destined day of his calamity (Job 18:20).
8. until I have consumed them by his hand -- until by these consuming visitations I have brought them under his power.
9. ye -- the Jews especially, for whom the address to the rest was intended.
enchanters -- augurs [Calvin], from a root, the |eyes,| that is, lookers at the stars and other means of taking omens of futurity; or another root, a |fixed time,| observers of times: forbidden in the law (Le 19:26; De 18:10, 11, 14).
10. to remove you -- expressing the event which would result. The very thing they profess by their enchantments to avert, they are by them bringing on you. Better to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and remain in your land, than to rebel, and be removed from it.
11. serve ... till it -- The same Hebrew root expresses |serve| and |till,| or |cultivate.| Serve ye the king of Babylon, and the land will serve you [Calvin].
12. I spake also -- translate, |And I spake,| &c. Special application of the subject to Zedekiah.
13. Why ... die -- by running on your own ruin in resisting Nebuchadnezzar after this warning (Eze 18:31).
14. lie -- (Jer 14:14).
15. in my name -- The devil often makes God's name the plea for lies (Mt 4:6; 7:22, 23; Jer 27:15-20, the test whereby to know false prophets).
16. The |vessels| had been carried away to Babylon in the reign of Jeconiah (2Ki 24:13); also previously in that of Jehoiakim (2Ch 36:5-7).
18. at Jerusalem -- that is, in other houses containing such vessels, besides the house of God and the king's palace. Nebuzara-dan, captain of the guard under Nebuchadnezzar, carried all away (2Ki 25:13-17; 2Ch 36:18). The more costly vessels had been previously removed in the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.
19. (Jer 52:17, 20, 21).
22. until ... I visit them -- in wrath by Cyrus (Jer 32:5). In seventy years from the first carrying away of captives in Jehoiachin's reign (Jer 29:10; 2Ch 36:21).
restore them -- by the hand of Cyrus (Ezr 1:7). By Artaxerxes (Ezr 7:19).