For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

27:1.  “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,”


Since this verse is exactly the same as 26:1 please see comments on that verse.


27:2.  “Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee bonds (ropes) and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,”


The NEB translates this verse, “... Take the cords and bars of a yoke and put them on your neck.”


27:3.  “And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;”


The “messengers” were the envoys or ambassadors whom these countries had assigned to Judah.


Some believe that the command was given to Jeremiah in the reign of Jehoiakim, see verse 1, but was not to be delivered until Zedekiah became king.  Many, however, believe that the name Jehoiakim has been inserted here through a scribal error, and that Zedekiah is the correct rendering.


The yokes were the symbols of the fact that God had given these kings and their countries into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, and they were to obey him.


27:4.  “And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters;”


27:5.  “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.”


The message was to begin with the announcement of the omnipotence of the Sender, the Lord of armies, to remind the recipients that He Who gave the command was the Creator Who, at His pleasure, assigned each nation, not only its territorial boundaries, but also the duration of its existence.


27:6.  “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.”


The kings mentioned in verse three were informed that that same omnipotent God had given them, their kingdoms, and all that they possessed, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.  That haughty monarch, however, like most other powerful men, ignored the fact that it was God Who had given him his dominion, his proud boasting being recorded in Dan 4:30, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?”  He learned very quickly and dramatically, however, the folly of his arrogant boasting, for the God he had ignored inflicted him with insanity for seven years, during which time he lived like an animal, and upon being healed, confessed that God was the eternal, the most High, see Dan 4:31-37.


Down through the ages multitudes of so-called self-made men have entertained the same foolish idea of their own importance and power, most of them going into eternity to learn, too late, in the torment of hell, the full extent of their own nothingness and the omnipotence of the God they ignored while on earth; only a very few, like Nebuchadnezzar, learning that truth in time here on earth.


That same proud, arrogant, self-sufficiency has never been more rampant than it is today in apostate Christendom, which will learn the full extent of its folly in the impending Tribulation when an angry God will reduce their world to ruins.


27:7.  “And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.”


“... the very time of his land come,” means simply that the supremacy of Babylon would continue only for the time appointed by God, following which it would be given by that same God into the hand of another, that other being Medo-Persia, which would make Babylon its servant as Babylon had made other nations its servants.  But the duration of Persia’s supremacy also had a limit appointed by God: it fell to Greece, and Greece in turn to Rome, which also came to an end in 476 AD, but which “in the latter days” is to be revived as a ten-kingdom coalition.  The European Union gives every evidence of being that revived Roman kingdom, its very existence being the warning that we are living in the closing days of this age.  The Rapture of the Church could occur today, to be followed by the seven-year Tribulation which will leave the world in ruins, and that will be followed by Christ’s return in power and glory to inaugurate His millennial kingdom.


As are the lives of men, so also are the lives of nations: each exists only for the length of time appointed by God, He Alone existing eternally, all things existing by His power and to serve His purposes for His glory, as it is written, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created,” Re 4:11.


27:8.  “And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.”


Those who refused to submit to the rule of Babylon God would destroy by means of war, famine, and disease, the latter two being the invariable concomitants of the first.


This command to the nations to accept the dominion of Babylon ought to remind us of the command given us to be obedient to government, see Ro 13.


27:9.  “Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:”


The people were not to listen to the lies of the false prophets or to anyone else who assured them that they would never become subject to Babylon.


Diviners claimed to obtain their information by such means as necromancy (communication with the dead), astrology, hydromancy (reading signs in water), dreams, drawing lots, examination of animal entrails, etc., while dreamers claimed to have received their revelations in dreams.


“... enchanters” is a general term used of a variety of methods of deceit, such as spell-binding, bewitching, mesmerizing, etc.


“... sorcery” is associated with communications given by evil spirits, the sorcerer being the human medium.


27:10.  “For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish:”


By heeding the assurances of the charlatans mentioned in the preceding verse, that there was no impending Divine judgment, the  people would continue sinning until the judgment fell, and they found themselves being slaughtered or led captive to Babylon.


This is more than the record of the past, however: it is the OT symbolic portrait of today’s world.  Apostate Christendom, also deluded by their false teachers - the equivalent of the evil men who led Israel and Judah astray - also continue wallowing in sin and defiance of God, blind to the signs all around them which point to the imminence of the storm of judgment about to break upon their guilty heads in the Tribulation.


27:11.  “But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.”


This translates into the truth that obedience brings blessing.


27:12.  “I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live.”


The same warning which Jeremiah had given Jehoiakim, he also delivered to Zedekiah, but to no avail.  Zedekiah would not obey, and as a result he lost his life.


This same warning given these two kings, reminds us that the warning given to past generations is the same as is given to men today - and with the same results.  With the exception of a few rare individuals in each generation, the message has been rejected, and by none more adamantly than today’s apostate Christendom, which will suffer also the judgment of the God they have so blatantly defied, while maintaining the charade of obedience under the cloak of a hypocritical religion.


27:13.  “Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?”


No matter how evil the men constituting them, the governments of the nations are the instruments appointed by God, hence His command that they are to be obeyed, see Ro 8.  He will ultimately deal with those governmental officials according to the good or evil of their rule, as He will also deal with the people according to the measure in which they have obeyed or disobeyed His command to submit to those rulers.


God’s requital of the world’s disobedience relative to this command, will be that in the fast approaching Tribulation it will have to suffer the tyranny of anarchy; and in eternity, the wrath of the God it has disobeyed in rebelling against the governments He Himself has ordained.


27:14.  “Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.”


27:15.  “For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.”


This same warning applies to the equivalent of the OT false prophets: today’s false teachers.  They are not to be obeyed, for they are no more God’s spokesmen than were their OT counterparts, whose lies impelled the disobedience of the people, and resulted in the destruction of prophets and people alike.


27:16.  “Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.”


The vessels mentioned here were those which the Babylonians had taken from the Temple in their earlier raids in 605 and 597 BC, and which the false prophets said would soon be returned, when, in fact, the Babylonians were about to return and destroy both Temple and city, carrying the survivors of the slaughter captive to Babylon.


The activity of those false prophets is being duplicated today by apostate Christendom’s false teachers who present a God too loving to refuse anyone admittance to heaven, and who encourage their duped audiences to believe that the day of universal peace and prosperity is just around the corner, when the very opposite is true.  Only those, who during this age of grace, accept God’s indictment that all are sinners, and who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, will escape the terrible Tribulation judgments about to engulf this doomed world.


27:17.  “Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?”


This verse has to be understood in the context of its being a warning given for the benefit of the very few individuals who would repent and turn to God, even though He foreknew that the nation was already doomed because of their refusal to repent and obey Him.


27:18.  “But if they be prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.”


This did not offer hope of deliverance from the impending Babylonian captivity, for God knew that the false prophets, convinced that He would not permit it, had convinced themselves and their duped followers that such a catastrophe wouldn’t occur, and they would therefore see no need to pray such a prayer as is indicated in this verse.  Their very failure to supplicate God in such a manner was itself the proof that they were false prophets who knew nothing of His mind and will.


That same criterion applies to apostate Christendom’s false teachers.  Has anyone yet heard one of them pray for deliverance from the coming judgment?  Of course not!  They don’t believe that it is coming, any more than did their OT counterparts, the false prophets, believe that the Babylonian invasion was near.  Their unbelief, however, didn’t change reality.  The Babylonians did come, the Temple and city were destroyed, and the survivors of the slaughter were led captive to Babylon, as God had foretold through His true prophets, whom the unbelieving people had mocked and killed. 


The long foretold Tribulation judgments are coming just as surely as did the foretold Babylon invasion of Judah.


27:19.  “For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city.”


27:20.  “Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not when he carried away captive Jechoniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;”


The pillars were those in the Temple; the sea was the large laver, and the bases were the ten smaller lavers, all of these being made of bronze, and having been left in the Temple during the two earlier incursions by the Babylonians.


27:21.  “Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;”


27:22.  “They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.”


In spite of the lying assurances to the contrary given by the false prophets, the articles mentioned above would be carried to Babylon, the Temple and city being left in ruins, and the survivors of the slaughter being carried captive to Babylon.  Nor would the looted treasures be returned until the foretold seventy years of the captivity had run their course.  Only then would God bring them back, together with a remnant of those who would have survived the seventy years in Babylon.


As noted already the Babylonian captivity was a foreshadowing of the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the nation in AD 70, both of these catastrophes being but prototypes of the still future, but now impending Tribulation judgments.  But God, Who brought a remnant back from Babylon, and Who since 1948 has been bringing back a remnant from the Diaspora, will also, at the end of the Tribulation, bring back from across the earth a remnant to enjoy millennial blessing, and that will never again be scattered.

[Jeremiah 28]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough