(1) In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim.—The mention of the name of Zedekiah as king of Judah in Jeremiah 27:3 shows that the Hebrew text has here perpetuated an error, due probably to the transcriber or first editor of the collected prophecies. We have to think, accordingly, of the state of things which followed on the death of Jehoiakim, and the deposition and exile of Jehoiachin. The tone of the prophecy seems to indicate a time about the middle of Zedekiah’s reign. His position was that of a tributary sovereign, subject to Nebuchadnezzar. He and the neighbouring kings, who were in a like position, had not quite renounced the hope of throwing off the yoke, and asserting their independence.
“Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures,Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus, et quæIpse sibi tradit spectator.”
Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus, et quæ
Ipse sibi tradit spectator.”
“Things that we hear less stir the inmost soul,
Than what the eye sees dramatised in act.”
So Agabus bound himself with Paul’s girdle (Acts 21:11). So Ezekiel dug through the wall of his house and carried out his stuff (Ezekiel 12:5-7). We find from Jeremiah 28:10 that the prophet obeyed the command quite literally.
Shall serve themselves of him.—Better, shall make him to serve. It lies in the nature of the case that the pronoun refers to the King of Babylon for the time being. The confederacy of nations which shall overthrow the Babylonian monarchy, Medes and others, is described more fully in Jeremiah 51:11; Jeremiah 51:27-28. The words were clearly meant to point both ways. They warn the nations not to resist the Chaldæan king then. They warn the king not to think that he is founding a dynasty of long duration. The whole verse is wanting in the LXX., perhaps because they imagined that the “son’s son” of Jeremiah 27:7 was inconsistent with the facts of history, as they read them.
Until the day that I visit them.—The date is not given definitely, but seventy years had been already named as the period between the plunder and the restoration (Jeremiah 25:12). Here the undefined vagueness of “the day that I will visit them” is contrasted with the equally indefinite but more exciting “shortly” of the false prophets (Jeremiah 27:16).