Jeremiah 27

Jeremiah 27 opens thus: "In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, 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; and command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel" (verses 1 to 4).

This instruction came to Jeremiah in the days of Zedekiah, as verse 3 states. Jehoiakim, in the first verse, has no doubt been mistakenly inserted by copyists for Zedekiah. This suggestion is no impeachment of scripture, but God does not work miracles to keep scribes right or printers right. They may easily misread the original, particularly in the matter of a name or a date.

In this instance, the scripture itself makes plain the mistake, because, undoubtedly Jehoiakim and Zedekiah did not reign together. Zedekiah was after Jehoiakim. Then verse 3 says, "By the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah"; so that Zedekiah was reigning at the time of the prophecy of the bonds and the yokes. It follows' that Jeremiah 26 was in the days of Jehoiakim, but Jeremiah 27 in the days of Zedekiah.

A fresh message is sent on this occasion to the nations commanding them to take the yoke of submission to the king of Babylon. The foreign messengers or ambassadors are to carry the word to their respective lords, "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say unto your masters; 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 seemeth meet unto Me. 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" (verses 4-6).

It is plain that Jehovah is speaking in a peremptory way. In the days of Zedekiah, there is no word of repentance nor of Jehovah's repenting. His word to Judah and the nations becomes absolute, speaking as Creator and Governor. Jeremiah warns that divine judgment would fall, not only upon Zedekiah king of Judah but upon the Ammonites and Moabites and the surrounding nations. All are to be given into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar to be under the yoke of bondage to him. God had granted them time to repent, but they had not used the opportunity. It was now too late, and they must all wear the Babylonian yokes and bonds.