And it came to pass the same year
That the prophet was bid to make yokes and bonds, and send them to the neighbouring kings, whose ambassadors were in Zedekiah's court; and when he spoke the things related in the preceding chapter to Zedekiah, the priests, and people: in the beginning the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah;
perhaps in the first year of his reign: in the fourth year, [and] in the fifth month;
not in the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign, though the Septuagint and A table versions so render it; since his reign was but eleven years in all, and therefore the fourth could not be called with so much propriety the beginning of his reign: though, according to Jarchi, it was the fourth of Zedekiah's reign, the same year in which he paid a visit to the king of Babylon, ( Jeremiah 51:59 ) ; and was not only confirmed in his kingdom by him, but, according to the same writer, had it enlarged, and was made king over five neighbouring kings; and so this, though the fourth of his reign over Judah, was the first of his enlarged dominions: but rather this was the fourth year of the sabbatical year, or the fourth after the seventh year's rest of the land, as Kimchi observes; which was the first of Zedekiah's reign, who reigned eleven years, and the temple was destroyed at the end of a sabbatical year; in which he is followed by many, though there is nothing in the text or context that directs to it. Some divide Zedekiah's reign into three parts, the beginning, and middle, and end; and so what was done within the first four years of his reign might be said to be in the beginning of it. Others think that here are two distinct dates; that the former respects the things in the preceding chapter, which were in the beginning of his reign; and the latter that affair of Hananiah, which was in the fourth year of it. But Noldius F13, after Glassius F14, gets clear of the difficulties of this text, by rendering the words, "and it was from that year, the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, unto the fourth year of his reign"; that is, the prophet went on for the space of four years, signifying the will of the Lord by words and types; when in the fifth month of the fourth year, which was the month of Ab, answering to part of our July and of August, Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet;
the false prophet, as the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions call him, which [was] of Gibeon;
a city of the priests; so might be a priest, though not the high priest, as some have thought: spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests,
and of all the people;
he came to the temple, where Jeremiah was, to confront him; and he addressed himself to him, the priests and all the people being present, who were come thither to minister and worship: saying;
F13 Concord. Ebr. Partic. p. 143. No. 677.
F14 Philolog. Sacr. l. 4. p. 625.