Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Appended to this history of the struggle with the false prophets at home is a letter addressed to the exiles at Babylon Jer. 29. There was at Babylon as at Jerusalem the same determination of the Jews never to submit quietly to a foreign rule. This Jeremiah sought to quell. His words found credence, but not without resistance on the part of the false prophets.
The residue of the ciders - i. e., such of the elders as were still alive.
The queen - The queen-mother.
Elasah - Probably brother of Ahikam Jer 26:24, and therefore an acceptable person at the Chaldaean court. As Zedekiah had to go in person to Babylon in his fourth year Jer 51:59, this embassy was probably sent two or three years earlier. Its date, however, was subsequent to the vision in Jer 24:1-10. It is appended therefore to Jer. 28, not as later in point of time, but because of the similarity of subject.
As the exile was God's doing for their good, they were to make the best of their position, and acquire wealth and influence; whereas if they were always restlessly looking out for the opportunity of returning home, they would rapidly fall into poverty and dwindle away.
Seek the peace of the city ... - Not only because their welfare for seventy years was bound up with that of Babylon, but because it would have degraded their whole moral nature to have lived as conspirators, banded together against the country that was for the time their home.
Your prophets and your diviners - The evils from which the people had suffered so cruelly at home followed them in their exile.
Dreams which ye cause to be dreamed - As long as there was a market for dreams, so long there would be plenty of impostors to supply them.
After seventy years - literally, according to the measure of the fulfillment of 70 years for Babylon. The 70 years (Jer 25:11 note) are primarily the length of the Babylonian empire, and only in a secondary sense that of the Jewish exile.
An expected end - Rather, a future and a hope. The nation shall not come to an end; the exile shall be followed by a restoration.
Turn away your captivity - Or, "restore your prosperity."
These verses are not in the Septuagint. But the text of the Septuagint is here throughout so brief and confused as to be explicable only on the supposition, that it represents what was left behind in Egypt when Jeremiah died, copied probably with extreme haste, and with no opportunity of careful collation afterward. On the other hand the Hebrew text represents no hurried transcript, but the original manuscript, and is especially trustworthy in the case of these letters sent to Babylon (see also Jer. 51), because the originals of them would be available for collation with the text preserved by Jeremiah himself. The verses were probably intended to allay excitement in Babylon consequent upon the knowledge that the representatives of various kings were assembled at that very time at Jerusalem to form a coalition against Babylon Jer 27:3.
Vile - The word does not occur elsewhere, but comes from a root signifying to shudder, and thus has an intense meaning.
A curse - There is a play here of words. which probably was the cause why the death of these men passed into a proverb. One of them was named ben-Kolaiah; and they are to be made a curse (קללה qelâlâh), because Nebuchadnezzar had roasted (קלה qâlâh) them. Compare the marginal reference note.
Villany - Elsewhere folly, in the sense of lewdness Jdg 20:6, unchastity.
A narrative showing the effects of Jeremiah's letter. Shemaiah the leader of the false prophets wrote to Zephaniah, urging him to restrain the prophet's zeal with the prison and the stocks.
To Shemaiah - Rather, concerning.
The Nehelamite - Not as in the margin; but one belonging to the village of Nehlam (unknown).
Officers - Deputy high priests who had the oversight of the temple.
Mad - See Kg2 9:11 note. Many of the symbolic actions of the prophets, such as that of Jeremiah going about with a yoke on his neck, would be mocked at by the irreverent as passing the line between prophecy and madness.
Prisons - Rather, the stocks Jer 20:2.
The stocks - Rather, collar.
This captivity is long - Rather, It is long. God's anger, their punishment, the exile, the time necessary for their repentance - all is long to men who will never live to see their country again.