The year was 593 B.C. and Nebuchadnezzar had already invaded Judah once and had taken many captive. Jeremiah wore a yoke (a wooden frame used to fasten a team of animals to a plow) as a symbol of bondage. This told the captives to put themselves under Babylon’s control or be destroyed.
Verse 1 – In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim (Zedekiah) the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,
Verse 2 – “Thus says the Lord to me: ‘Make for yourselves bonds and yokes, and put them around your neck,
Verse 3 – ‘and send them to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah.
Jeremiah made each of these kings a yoke and sent it to them with the Lords message.
Verse 4 – ‘And command them to say to their masters, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel – thus you shall say to your masters:
Verse 5 – ‘I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.
Verse 6 – ‘And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him.
The people of Judah were punished by a foreign ruler. He chose Nebuchadnezzar to be his servant-do His will. We might not think God is in control of everything but scripture proves over and over, He is. God may use unusual people at times to correct us.
Verse 7 – ‘So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them.
Nebuchadnezzar and his sons, and son’s sons dominance lasted 3 generations. God appoints power and determines its duration as well. Their exile would not be over quickly as some false prophets had said.
Verse 8 – ‘And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,’ says the Lord, with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
Verse 9 – ‘Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon.”
False prophets and diviners prophesied from the way arrows fell to the ground; dreamers, interpreted different signs, scorers (conjurers) were all banned from Israel and had said the people “would not serve the king of Babylon – falsehood, because God said they would.
In today’s society, we call this the occult. God forbids it and He hasn’t changed how He feels about it. When people think they are conjuring their dead loved ones, don’t you believe it! These are demons that live in darkness and they all lie!
Verse 10 – ‘For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out, and you will perish.
Verse 11 – ‘But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let them remain in their own land; says the Lord, ‘and they shall till it and dwell in it.’ ”
If you are a child of the Most High truly born-again, then your steps through life are being ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). So don’t think it strange when hard times come your way, because they will. First look at anything you might be doing or neglecting in being obedient to God. If you can’t determine where or why you are going through that situation, then buckle up and go through it because God is right by your side. Sometimes its a work He has to do in us before we can get to where He wants us to be. But our trust is always in believing He’s a good God and knows exactly what He’s doing. Praise Him for the end result!
Verse 12 – I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live!
Verse 13 – “Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord has spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
Verse 14 – “Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon, for they prophesy a lie to you;
Verse 15 – “for I have not sent them.” says the Lord, “yet they prophesy a lie in My name, that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.”
Jeremiah had told Zedekiah to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, but all the other leaders wanted him to fight. It would be disgraceful for him to surrender.
Verse 16 – Also I spoke to the priest and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you, saying, “Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon”; for they prophesy a lie to you.
No articles or anything that was taken would return until the reign of Cyrus of Persia in 536 B.C.
Verse 17 – ‘Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon, and live! Why should this city be laid waste?
Verse 18 – ‘But if they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, do not go to Babylon.’
A genuine prophet was to be interceding with the Lord, and they weren’t.
Verse 19 – “For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, concerning the Sea, concerning the carts, and concerning the remainder of the vessels that remain in this city,
Verse 20 – “which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem –
The pillars, made of bronze and placed in front of the temple, were called Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 15-22), theses would be broken up. The Sea, was a massive cast basin sitting on the backs of 12 cast oxen. It was used as a wash basin by the priests (1 Kings 7:23-26). The water carts were stands on wheels that support the lavers (1 Kings 7:27-37).
Verse 21 – “yes, thus says the Lord of hosts, the god of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem:
Verse 22 – ‘They shall be carried to Babylon and there they shall be until the day that I visit them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.’ ”
When Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, first in 605 and then in 597 B.C., he took away many important people living in Jerusalem, including Daniel and Ezekiel. Even though they were captives, they had a profound impact on the exiles and leaders in Babylon. The third invasion in 586 B.C. is when the precious objects were taken, just as Jeremiah had predicted.