The neighbouring nations to be subdued. (1-11) Zedekiah is warned to yield. (12-18) The vessels of the temple to be carried to Babylon, but afterwards to be restored. (19-22)
Verses 1-11 Jeremiah is to prepare a sign that all the neighbouring countries would be made subject to the king of Babylon. God asserts his right to dispose of kingdoms as he pleases. Whatever any have of the good things of this world, it is what God sees fit to give; we should therefore be content. The things of this world are not the best things, for the Lord often gives the largest share to bad men. Dominion is not founded in grace. Those who will not serve the God who made them, shall justly be made to serve their enemies that seek to ruin them. Jeremiah urges them to prevent their destruction, by submission. A meek spirit, by quiet submission to the hardest turns of providence, makes the best of what is bad. Many persons may escape destroying providences, by submitting to humbling providences. It is better to take up a light cross in our way, than to pull a heavier on our own heads. The poor in spirit, the meek and humble, enjoy comfort, and avoid many miseries to which the high-spirited are exposed. It must, in all cases, be our interest to obey God's will.
Verses 12-18 Jeremiah persuades the king of Judah to surrender to the king of Babylon. Is it their wisdom to submit to the heavy iron yoke of a cruel tyrant, that they may secure their lives; and is it not much more our wisdom to submit to the pleasant and easy yoke of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, that we may secure our souls? It were well if sinners would be afraid of the destruction threatened against all who will not have Christ to reign over them. Why should they die the second death, infinitely worse than that by sword and famine, when they may submit and live? And those who encourage sinners to go on in sinful ways, will perish with them.
Verses 19-22 Jeremiah assures them that the brazen vessels should go after the golden ones. All shall be carried to Babylon. But he concludes with a gracious promise, that the time would come when they should be brought back. Though the return of the prosperity of the church does not come in our time, we must not despair, for it will come in God's time.
Jeremiah 27:1-22 . THE FUTILITY OF RESISTING NEBUCHADNEZZAR ILLUSTRATED TO THE AMBASSADORS OF THE KING, 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. Jeremiah 27:3 Jeremiah 27:12 , Jeremiah 28:1 , confirm this; also, one of KENNICOTT'S manuscripts. The English Version reading may have originated from Jeremiah 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 Jeremiah 28:1 , be called "the beginning of his reign," as it lasted eleven years ( 2 Kings 24:18 ). It was not long after the fourth year of his reign that he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar ( Jeremiah 51:59 , 52:3 , 2 Kings 24:20 ), in violation of an oath before God ( 2 Chronicles 36:13 ).
2. bonds--by which the yoke is made fast to the neck ( Jeremiah 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; ( Jeremiah 27:3 , Jeremiah 28:10 Jeremiah 28:12 ) proves that the symbolical act was in this instance (though not in others, Jeremiah 25:15 ) actually done (compare Isaiah 20:2 , &c. Ezekiel 12:3 Ezekiel 12:11 Ezekiel 12:18 ).
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 ( Isaiah 45:12 ).
given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me--( Psalms 115:15 Psalms 115:16 , Daniel 4:17 Daniel 4:25 Daniel 4:32 ). 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 Isaiah 1:3 ). As the beasts are to submit to Christ, the Restorer of the dominion over nature, lost by the first Adam (compare Genesis 1:28 , Genesis 2:19 Genesis 2:20 , Psalms 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" ( Ezekiel 21:27 ).
7. son . . . son's son--( 2 Chronicles 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 ( Jeremiah 27:22 , Jeremiah 25:12 , 29:10 , 50:27 , Daniel 5:26 ).
serve themselves of him--make him their servant ( Jeremiah 25:14 , Isaiah 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 ( Leviticus 19:26 , Deuteronomy 18:10 Deuteronomy 18:11 Deuteronomy 18:14 ).
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 ( Ezekiel 18:31 ).
14. lie--( Jeremiah 14:14 ).
15. in my name--The devil often makes God's name the plea for lies ( Matthew 4:6 , Matthew 7:22 Matthew 7:23 , Jeremiah 27:15-20 , the test whereby to know false prophets).
16. The "vessels" had been carried away to Babylon in the reign of Jeconiah ( 2 Kings 24:13 ); also previously in that of Jehoiakim ( 2 Chronicles 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 ( 2 Kings 25:13-17 , 2 Chronicles 36:18 ). The more costly vessels had been previously removed in the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.
19. ( Jeremiah 52:17 Jeremiah 52:20 Jeremiah 52:21 ).
22. until . . . I visit them--in wrath by Cyrus ( Jeremiah 32:5 ). In seventy years from the first carrying away of captives in Jehoiachin's reign ( Jeremiah 29:10 , 2 Chronicles 36:21 ).
restore them--by the hand of Cyrus ( Ezra 1:7 ). By Artaxerxes ( Ezra 7:19 ).