Jeremiah 28

The False Prophet Hananiah

1 In the fifth month of that same year, the fourth year, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and all the people:
2 “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the LORD’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon.
4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiachin[a] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ declares the LORD, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’ ”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD.
6 He said, “Amen! May the LORD do so! May the LORD fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the LORD’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon.
7 Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people:
8 From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms.
9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.”
10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it,
11 and he said before all the people, “This is what the LORD says: ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon off the neck of all the nations within two years.’ ” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went on his way.
12 After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the LORD says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but in its place you will get a yoke of iron.
14 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will put an iron yoke on the necks of all these nations to make them serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will serve him. I will even give him control over the wild animals.’ ”
15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies.
16 Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the LORD.’ ”
17 In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.

Jeremiah 28 Commentary

Chapter 28

A false prophet opposes Jeremiah. (1-9) The false prophet warned of his approaching death. (10-17)

Verses 1-9 Hananiah spoke a false prophecy. Here is not a word of good counsel urging the Jews to repent and return to God. He promises temporal mercies, in God's name, but makes no mention of the spiritual mercies which God always promised with earthly blessings. This was not the first time Jeremiah had prayed for the people, though he prophesied against them. He appeals to the event, to prove Hananiah's falsehood. The prophet who spake only of peace and prosperity, without adding that they must not by wilful sin stop God's favours, will be proved a false prophet. Those who do not declare the alarming as well as the encouraging parts of God's word, and call men to repentance, and faith, and holiness, tread in the steps of the false prophets. The gospel of Christ encourages men to do works meet for repentance, but gives no encouragement to continue in sin.

Verses 10-17 Hananiah is sentenced to die, and Jeremiah, when he has received direction from God, boldly tells him so; but not before he received that commission. Those have much to answer for, who tell sinners that they shall have peace, though they harden their hearts in contempt of God's word. The servant of God must be gentle to all men. He must give up even his right, and leave the Lord to plead his cause. Every attempt of ungodly men to make vain the purposes of God, will add to their miseries.

Cross References 21

  • 1. S 2 Chronicles 36:11; Jeremiah 27:1,3
  • 2. S Joshua 9:3
  • 3. Jeremiah 27:12
  • 4. S 2 Kings 24:13
  • 5. S 2 Kings 25:30; Jeremiah 22:24-27
  • 6. Hosea 7:3
  • 7. Zechariah 6:10
  • 8. Leviticus 26:14-17; Isaiah 5:5-7; Nahum 1:14
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 18:22; Ezekiel 33:33
  • 10. S Leviticus 26:13; S 1 Kings 22:11; Jeremiah 27:2
  • 11. Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 27:10
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 28:48; S Jeremiah 15:12
  • 13. Jeremiah 25:11
  • 14. Jeremiah 39:1; Daniel 1:1; Daniel 5:18
  • 15. S Jeremiah 27:6
  • 16. Jeremiah 29:31
  • 17. S Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 20:6; Jeremiah 29:21; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 13:6
  • 18. S Genesis 7:4
  • 19. Deuteronomy 18:20; Zechariah 13:3
  • 20. Deuteronomy 13:5; Jeremiah 29:32
  • 21. S 2 Kings 1:17

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew "Jeconiah," a variant of "Jehoiachin"

Chapter Summary


Thus chapter relates a false prophecy of Hananiah, who broke off the yoke from Jeremiah; but in return the people are threatened with an iron yoke, and he with death; which came to pass. The time, place, and substance of his prophecy, are in Jer 28:1-4; Jeremiah's answer to it, Jer 28:5-9; Hananiah breaks Jeremiah's yoke, and explains the meaning of it to the people, Jer 28:10,11; Jeremiah prophesies that iron yokes should be given instead of wooden ones, Jer 28:12-14; and foretells the death of the false prophet, Jer 28:15-17.

Jeremiah 28 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.