Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 28:1-4

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 10, 2015

The False Prophet Hananiah
28 That same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year (early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah), the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and all of the people.

This chapter follows right after the previous one. Jeremiah was still wearing the yoke he put on in chapter 27. After preaching against false prophets, Jeremiah was confronted publicly by a Benjamite prophet named Hananiah. This Hananiah does not appear anywhere else in the Bible. His hometown, Gibeon, was about 6 miles northwest of Jerusalem (Josh 9:1-15; 2 Samuel 20:8-10, 20:12-17). There was a large rock there that was a well-known landmark.

He said, 2 “The LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 When two full years have passed I will bring back all the vessels of the LORD’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried off to Babylon.

Hananiah contradicted everything that Jeremiah had been saying. He flatly denied the seriousness of the yoke Jeremiah was still wearing around his neck, and he promised that God would throw off the Babylonian threat within two years. He also promised that the temple dishes would all be returned. This last item was in reply to what Jeremiah had said at the end of chapter 27.

4 I will also bring back Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah along with all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon, declares the LORD, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”

Hananiah was on a roll. In addition to his other promises, he boldly added that King Jeconiah would return and take his rightful place on the throne of Judah (Jeconiah was a nickname used by many people, including Jeremiah, for King Jehoiachin).

Many people thought of Jeconiah as the rightful king of Judah. He had been deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, and his uncle Zedekiah put on the throne as a Babylonian puppet king. There are even references in the Old Testament that show that some people were using Jeconiah’s exile as their calendar rather than Zedekiah’s reign (2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31; Ezekiel 1:2). Some sources outside the Bible also refer to the captive Jeconiah as “King of Judah” during his captivity, such as some receipts for oil delivery found in the gate of Babylon (Ancient Near Eastern Texts p. 308). There is also a seal stamp from a man named Eliakim, the steward of Yaukin (Jehoiachin).”

The hope that their beloved king would return made some people ignore the message of the Lord, their heavenly king. Whatever we hope for, we put God’s will above our own hopes, and we thank him for every blessing that he gives. There will be times when God knows that delaying a certain blessing, or even refusing to give a certain blessing, is for the good of his kingdom and for our own good, too.

Lord God, keep us from shortsightedness and from selfishness. Let us see that your plans outweigh any of our dreams, and let each of us serve with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.