Jeremiah 27 Commentary

Submit to Babylon (27:1-22)

Early in the reign of Zedekiah, representatives from various neighbouring countries came to Jerusalem, in the hope of forming an alliance with Zedekiah against Babylon. Jeremiah delivered God’s message to them, illustrating the message by putting an ox’s yoke on his neck. The meaning was that the people were to submit to the yoke, or rule, of Babylon. This was God’s will, and there was no use rebelling against it. Babylon would not be overthrown till God’s time for it had come (27:1-7).

This message applied to all nations. All had to acknowledge Babylon’s overlordship, regardless of the pronouncements of self-appointed prophets in Judah or fortune-tellers in other nations. Those who resisted Babylon were only inviting disaster and ruin (8-11). Jeremiah repeated the message for the benefit of the Judean king in particular, since he had mistakenly placed his hope in the assurances given by the false prophets (12-15).

The priests of Jerusalem were also building up false confidence in people. They announced that Babylon would soon be overthrown, and the temple vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon would be returned. Such prophecies were lies (16-17; cf. Dan 1:2; 2 Kings 24:13). The priests and prophets should rather have been urging the people to repent and so prevent any further plundering of the temple by the Babylonians (18).

But Jeremiah knew that the people would not repent. As a result the few remaining treasures in the temple would also be taken to Babylon. Only in the distant future, when Babylon’s power was gone, would these temple treasures return to Jerusalem (19-22).

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