“In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur from Gibeon said to me in the temple of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people, “This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will restore to this place all the articles of the Lord’s temple that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from here and transported to Babylon. And I will restore to this place Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’”
The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the temple of the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so. May the Lord make the words you have prophesied come true and may He restore the articles of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place! Only listen to this message I am speaking in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, disaster, and plague against many lands and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace—only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one the Lord has truly sent.”
The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke bar from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke it. In the presence of all the people Hananiah proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: ‘In this way, within two years I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations.’” Jeremiah the prophet then went on his way.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke bar from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet: “Go say to Hananiah: This is what the Lord says, ‘You broke a wooden yoke bar, but in its place you will make an iron yoke bar.’ For this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says, ‘I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations that they might serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they will serve him. I have also put the wild animals under him.’”
The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you, but you have led these people to trust in a lie. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to send you off the face of the earth. You will die this year because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.’” And the prophet Hananiah died that year in the seventh month.” — Jeremiah 28:1–17 HCSB
There is a lot being said here. It is worth studying Zedekiah’s life.1 However, there is a definite point here; the prophets at the time where trying to gain the people’s favor by telling them something good would happen. Sounds very contemporary doesn’t it? Why would prophets do that? In addition to that, how often do we try to subvert God’s plan for us when it might include pain and suffering?
The more I read this chapter the more contemplative I become.
The last king of Judah. He was the third son of Josiah, and his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, and hence he was the brother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31; 24:17, 18). His original name was Mattaniah; but when Nebuchadnezzar placed him on the throne as the successor to Jehoiachin he changed his name to Zedekiah. The prophet Jeremiah was his counsellor, yet “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 24:19, 20; Jer. 52:2, 3). He ascended the throne at the age of twenty-one years. The kingdom was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar; but, despite the strong remonstrances of Jeremiah and others, as well as the example of Jehoiachin, he threw off the yoke of Babylon, and entered into an alliance with Hophra, king of Egypt. This brought up Nebuchadnezzar, “with all his host” (2 Kings 25:1), against Jerusalem. During this siege, which lasted about eighteen months, “every worst woe befell the devoted city, which drank the cup of God’s fury to the dregs” (2 Kings 25:3; Lam. 4:4, 5, 10). The city was plundered and laid in ruins. Zedekiah and his followers, attempting to escape, were made captive and taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his own children put to death, his own eyes were put out, and, being loaded with chains, he was carried captive (B.C. 588) to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; 2 Chr. 36:12; Jer. 32:4, 5; 34:2, 3; 39:1-7; 52:4-11; Ezek. 12:12), where he remained a prisoner, how long is unknown, to the day of his death. After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaraddan was sent to carry out its complete destruction. The city was razed to the ground. Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were permitted to remain in the land (Jer. 52:16). Gedaliah, with a Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah, ruled over Judah (2 Kings 25:22, 24; jer. 40:1, 2, 5, 6).
— “Zedekiah,” Easton’s Bible Dictionary, paragraph 7517. ↩