27 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[a] early in the reign of Josiah’s son, King Zedekiah of Judah.[b]
Jeremiah 27:1sn The names of Jeremiah and of Nebuchadnezzar are spelled differently in the Hebrew of chapters 27-29. That and other literary features show that these three chapters are all closely related. The events of these three chapters all take place within the space of one year (cf. 28:1; 29:1-7).
Jeremiah 27:1tc The reading here is based on a few Hebrew mss and the Syriac and Arabic versions. The majority of Hebrew mss and most of the versions read, “At the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim king of Judah,” as in 26:1. The LXX does not have this whole verse. The textual difficulty of 27:1 has long been recognized. The date formula in the majority of Hebrew mss at 27:1 is contradictory both with the context of the passage, which deals with an event in the reign of Zedekiah (see vv. 3, 12, and 20, the last of which presupposes that Jeconiah, Jehoiakim’s son, has been taken captive [i.e., after the death of Jehoiakim]), and the date formula in 28:1, which refers to an event “in that same year” and then qualifies it with “early in the reign of Zedekiah.” Hence it is preferable to read “Zedekiah” here in place of “Jehoiakim,” and to explain the error in the Hebrew manuscripts as an erroneous copying of 26:1.sn If the text of 28:1 is correct, the date here would be sometime in the fourth year of Zedekiah, which would be 594/3 b.c. Zedekiah had been placed on the throne as a puppet king by Nebuchadnezzar after he deposed Zedekiah’s nephew, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and sent him, his family, some of the temple treasures, and some of the Judean leaders away to Babylon (2 Kgs 23:8-17). The author does not state directly why the envoys from the nations mentioned in v. 3 were in Jerusalem, but the implication is that they were there trying to interest Zedekiah in rebelling. Modern scholars have used the data here, in 28:1, and in the Babylonian Chronicles (it contains a record of major events of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign) to suggest a plausible background for such a meeting. Nebuchadnezzar had to put down an uprising in the east and quell a rebellion in Babylon itself in the two years prior to this meeting. Some “prophets” in the nation of Israel and in these other nations (see vv. 9-10) saw in these events hopes for not having to pay tribute to (i.e., submit to the yoke of) Nebuchadnezzar and were counseling rebellion. Jeremiah saw this as foolhardy and counseled otherwise. Again, there is a conflict between “prophets,” which is what this whole section (Jer 27-29) is all about.
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