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5 Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah

in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people 6 that stood in the house of the LORD, 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; though I have prophesied evil, I heartily wish

the good of my country, and that God would revoke the sentence of 7 ruin which I have pronounced. Nevertheless hear thou now this

word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people ; 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 ; yea, many of the Jewish prophets foretold the destruction of their city and country, and it came to pass ; therefore I may be a true prophet, though ? 9 foretell evil. 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 ; The event will prove whether I speak iruth or thou.

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the pro11 phet Jeremiali's neck, and brake it. 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 bis way, having no di.

rections from the Lord what reply to make. 12 Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah (the pro

phet,] after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke 13 from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 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 more they resist Nebuchadnezzar, the more power he

shall have over them; they shall bring more confusion into their af.

fairs, and suffer more from him. He then renees the former pro14 phecy in stronger terms. 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. 15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet,

Hear now Hananiah ; the LORD hath not sent thee ; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie ; thou hast laught the people

10 disbelieve his word, and rebel against his commandments. 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 17 taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet

died the same year in the seventh month, just two months after. his prophecy. He had limited the return of Jeconiah and the vese sels 10 two years, that the people might more readily believe him ; Jeremiah confined the evidence of his falsehood 10 one year ; and two months confirmed it.

REFLECTIONS.

1. AITHFUL ministers heartily wish the welfare of singers,

though they denounce evil against them, v. 7. Jeremiah sincerely desired the prosperity of his country, and that God would revoke the dreadful message sent by him, though they had hated and persecuted him. Thus christian ministers who are faithful to their trust, desire the happiness of the worst of men, though they threaten them with the wrath to come ; yea, bear them more good will than those who only prophesy smooth things, and are therefore more agreeable to them. They say no more than Christ and his apostles, and the ministers before them, have said, concerning the evil of sin, and the wrath of God against it : they do not love to terrify and alarm ; it gives them pain to do it. But they are compelled by fidelity to God and love to souls : and their hearers should always consider their admonitions in this light.

2. Let us observe and adore the judgment of God upon this infamous liar. What a presumptuous wretch was Hananiah, to declare that God had sent him, when he had not ; and to teach the people rebellion against God in his name ! All liars are abominable to the God of truth ; especially those who falsify his word, and father their lies upon him. Those who encourage sinners in an evil way, who tell them that they shall have peace, bid them not mind what God's ministers say, and thus make them trust in a lie, are the worst and vilest of sinners. May we avoid and abhor all lying and deceit ; especially where the souls of men are concerned ; for all liars, and particularly such as these, shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire.

3. How great is the stupidity and hardness of those sinners, who will not be alarmed by the word or the judgments of God. These extraordinary predictions were delivered in the presence of the priests and all the people ; and when they saw Hananiah so awfully convicted of being a false prophet by his death, one would have expected that such a providence would have awakened them to attend to Jeremiah's message, and comply with his admonitions. It is strange also that the predictions should have had no effect on Hananiah himself, who knew in his conscience that he was speaking lies in God's name ; yet both he and the people continued obstinate, and Jeremiah's words all came true in their destruction. So dreadfully doth sin stupify and besot the human mind. This should teach us to pay a serious regard to God's word ; and excite our carnest prayers that he would deliver us from harsiness of hari.

CHAP. XXIX.

Contains Jeremiah's letter to the captives in Babylon ; and the fearful

end of Ahab and Zedekiah, two lying prophets.

'N

OW these [are] the words of the letter that Jeremiah

the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and

to the false prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnez2 zar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon ; (AF

ter that Jeconiah the king, and the queen mother, and the

eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpen3 ters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem ;) By the

hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to renew his promise of fideli4 ly, and to pay his tribute,) saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts,

the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Baby

lon; a message that implied encouragement, as it was an evidence 5 that God had not cast them off ; Build ye houses, and dwell [in 6 them ;] and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them ; Take ye

wives, and beget sons and daughters ; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters ; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished ; think not of a speedy return, but accommodate yourselves to your condition, and make no attempts to shake off the yoke :

consider Babylon as your country, and endeavour to be happy there.* 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be

carried away captives, by your loyalty and submission, and pray unto the Lord for it : for in the peace thereof shall ye have

peace. 8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel ; Let.

not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, for if you expect soon to return you will not take pains ic make your settlements comfortable, neither hearken

to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed, encouraging them 9 10 foretell these things, because ye love to hear them. For they

prophesy falsely unto you in my name : I have not sent them,

saith the LORD. 10 For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accom

plished at Babylon, at the very instant of, or immediately upon, the completion of seventy years, I will visit you, and perform my

good word toward you, in causing you or your posterity to re. 11 turn to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward

you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, though

• It is to be remembered that these Israelites were not abanlute slaves, but were settled as a colony to cultivate some particular part of the country; as the ten tribes and other con. quered nations were, when they brought to their land: this was wise policy, lo keep them ia subjection

I seem to have cast you of; to give you an expected end, such as 12 you look for and desire. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye 13 shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And

ye shall seek me, and find [me,] when ye shall search for me with all your heart; I will s'ir up a spirii of prayer among you ;

ye shall call upon me, and I will answer you, according to the firemo 14 ises of the law, Deut. iv. 29. And I will be found of you, saith

the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither bave driven you, saith the LORD ; and I will bring you again into the

place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. 15 Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets

in Babylon, ruko have foretold different things from what Jeremi16 ah foretold ;* [Know) that thus saith the Lord of the king that

sitteth upon the throne of David, that is, Zedekiah, and of all the

people that dwelleth in this city, (and) of your brethren that are 17 not gone forth with you into captivity ; Thus saith the Lord of

hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot

be eaten, they are so evil ; they shall come to you, and not you 10 18 them, and shall perish among you. And I will persecute them

with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a

reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them : 19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD,

which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending [them ;] but ye would not hear, saith the

LORD, but rather gave ear 10 false prophets. 20 Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord, all ye of the cap

tivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon : Whereas

ye have said, the Lord hath raised us up prophets in Babylon ; 21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the

son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name, predicting your speedy return; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand Nebuchadrez

zar king of Babylon ; and he shall slay them before your eyes ; 22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of

Judah which (are) in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Abab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire ;t probably being incensed against them for persuad

ing the people not to settle according to his orders, or sowing 23 sedition ; Because they have committed villany in Israel, and

have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and

• This verse seems to be transposed, it should have come in after v. 20,

in all probability they were treated in the same manner as was intended for Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Din iii 20, 21. One would think that it would impress them inuch to receive such a proph:cy, and to see it so remarkably accomplished.

| The Jewish rabbins, as Grotias observes, have a tradition that these were the two ellers who attempted the chastity of Susannah, the story of which iley think to be true in part, though not altogether anch'as is represented in the Apocrypha. l'or, V.

Zz

24

have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and (am) a witness, saith the Lord, though men cannot prove it against them.

[Thus) shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, 25. saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel;

saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that Care) at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, in answer to the letter

of Shemaiah, which was brought to Jerusalem by those who carried 26 Jeremiah's letter to Babylon, saying, The LORD hath made thee

priest in the stead of Jehoiada, the priest, the high priest who was carried captive, that ye should be officers in the house of the LORD, for every man, or, in the case of any one, (that is) mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldst put

him in prison, and in the stocks; telling him that he had authori. 27 ty to punish every one pretending to be a prophet. Now there

fore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which

maketh himself a prophet to you? why hast thou not executed 28 thy authority upon him ? For therefore, or rather, because he

sent unto us [in] Babylon, saying, This (captivity is) long :

build ye houses, and dwell (in them ;] and plant gardens, and 29 eat the fruit of them. And Zephaniah the priest read this let

ter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet, though, being a friend to

him, he would not show it publicly. 30 Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, 31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD

concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite ; Because that Shemaiah

hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you 32 to trust in a lie: Therefore thus saith the LORD ; Behold, I.

will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people ; neither shall be behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD ; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD ; none of his posterity shall live to see the end of the captivity, nor the favour God will show his people both in and after their return,

REFLECTIONS.

I.
W

E may infer from hence the usefulness of letters; and our friends, by writing to them, as well as conversing with them. The art of writing is an inestimable blessing to the world ; friendly correspondence is very comfortable, and may be very useful, if our letters are seasoned with grace. This we should be careful of; since, if idle words are to be accounted for, much more will idle letters, as so much more time is spent about them, and the improssion inade by them, whether it be good or bad, may be more lasting:

2. It is our duty to bring our inind to our condition, whatever it is. The Israelites in Babylon are commanded to act as if they were

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