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

28:1.  “And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month (Aug-Sept 593 BC) that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying,”


Other translations clarify the ambiguity of the KJ version.  The time was in the beginning (December) of the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign; and it was Hananiah, not his father Azur, who was the prophet - a false one.  Nothing is known of this Hananiah other than what is written here.


28:2.  “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.”


In spite of his calling Jehovah “the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,” he was nonetheless a false prophet, and like all his breed, would attempt to validate his lies by acknowledging God with his mouth, while uttering lies in His name.  His counterparts are the false teachers with which apostate Christendom abounds today, and who also deceive the people with their lies pronounced as the oracles of God.


28:3.  “Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:”


With all the confidence of one who had received a revelation from God, he uttered a complete falsehood; and it is with the same confidence that today’s false teachers assure the people that God is too loving to exclude anyone from heaven, or to visit the earth with the terrible Tribulation judgments recorded in Scripture.


28:4.  “And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”


This Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) is the king of Judah, who after only a three-month reign, surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, and remained a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years, after which he was freed and promoted to the chief position among the other captive kings, but never returned to Judah, see 2 Ki 24:8-16; 25:27-30.


Fulfillment is the true test of all prophecy, Dt 18:21-22.  By the end of the two years specified by Hananiah he himself was dead, and his false prophecy unfilled.  He died, in fact, within two months, cf., verses 1 and 17.


28:5.  “Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the Lord,”


28:6.  “Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so: the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the Lord’s house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place.”


This is not to be understood as Jeremiah’s endorsement of Hananiah’s lying words, but rather the expression of his heart’s desire that such might indeed be, even though he knew that it would not be fulfilled.


28:7.  “Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;”


28:8.  “The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.”


28:9.  “The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.”


Jeremiah reminded Hananiah that the true prophets who had preceded them had foretold, not peace, but war, famine, and plague; and he reminded him also that the ultimate proof of the accuracy of a prophecy was its fulfillment.


28:10.  “Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it,”


28:11.  “And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.  And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.”


The false prophet sought by means of theatrics to lend credence to his pronouncements, and a gullible audience certainly might be impressed, but nothing could alter the fact that fulfillment alone would be the ultimate validation, as it is of every prophecy.  (He may have been encouraged to make his false prediction because Nebuchadnezzar was then engaged in attempting to quell a rebellion at home).


The counterpart of Hananiah’s use of theatrics, is the ploy of today’s false teachers to try to impress their audiences with their academic qualifications, a stratagem that works remarkably well, particularly with those having little or no knowledge of Scripture.


Jeremiah accordingly simply walked away, satisfied to let the announced two years pass, leaving Hananiah’s words unfulfilled, and thereby shown to be lies.  The passage of time will also reveal the words of today’s false teachers for the lies they are; but that proof will come too late to save their duped audiences who will discover their error only when they’ve gone from time into the torment of hell, to await consignment to the eternal torment of the lake of fire.


28:12.  “Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the (false) prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,”


28:13.  “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.”


The wooden yokes were God’s symbolic method of telling the nations that it was His will for them to submit to the dominion of Babylon, but Hananiah’s breaking those wooden yokes signified his rejection of that truth which had been given through Jeremiah.  His lying prophecy would lead the nations to rebel against Babylon, and in doing so, to rebel against God, with the result that instead of the easy servitude in their own land, represented by the wooden yokes, there would be the harsh service represented by the iron yokes: seventy years of bitter bondage in the land of Babylon.


All of this is the foreshadowing of what is happening in apostate Christendom today, and of what will follow as a result in the coming Tribulation. 


Today’s false teachers are modern Hananiahs.  They teach the people to reject God’s Word as presented in the Scriptures, and encourage them instead to heed their (the false teachers’) lies, their lie being the presentation of a God too loving to consign anyone to hell; their denial of the coming Tribulation, and instead, the bringing in through human means, of a Utopia that will be the equivalent of the Scriptural Millennium.


28:14.  “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.”


God’s foreknowledge of the fact that the foolish people would heed the lies of the false prophets, and rebel against Him and against Babylon, could declare that their service would be that represented by the iron, rather than the wooden yoke.  The Temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed, the land ravaged, thousands slaughtered, and the survivors led captive to Babylon where they would remain for seventy years.


The reference to “the beasts of the field” is understood by some to mean the wild animals, but the majority of exegetes take it to mean the domestic animals, which in context, seems the more accurate interpretation.  Had the people submitted to Babylon’s dominion, they would have been allowed to remain in their own land, planting and harvesting crops, and enjoying the produce of their flocks and herds; but in Babylon they would till the fields of their Babylonian masters, and tend the flocks and herds of those same masters, their own domestic animals having become the property of the Babylonians.


28:15.  “Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the (false) prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.”


28:16.  “Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.”


28:17,  “So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”


The people might be deceived by Hananiah’s lying words, but not God’s true prophet.  And nothing has changed since that distant day: those who study God’s Word, and who walk in obedience before Him, are not deceived by the euphoriant lies of today’s false teachers.  They have the assurance of Scripture that the day is not far off when the Tribulation judgments will reveal the falsity of the pronouncements of these same lying teachers who will suffer a fate similar to that of Hananiah: they will die in the Tribulation they say will never come, those who survive being cast into hell when the Lord returns at the end of that awful era to judge the nations and to inaugurate His millennial kingdom.

[Jeremiah 29]


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