Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Ambassadors being come from several neighboring nations to solicit the king of Judah to join in a confederacy against the king of Babylon, Jeremiah is commanded to put bands and yokes upon his neck, (the emblems of subjection and slavery), and to send them afterwards by those ambassadors to their respective princes; intimating by this significant type that God had decreed their subjection to the Babylonian empire, and that it was their wisdom to submit. It is farther declared that all the conquered nations shall remain in subjection to the Chaldeans during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and those of his son and grandson, even till the arrival of that period in which the Babylonians shall have filled up the measure of their iniquities; and that then the mighty Chaldean monarchy itself, for a certain period the paramount power of the habitable globe, shall be voted with a dreadful storm of Divine wrath, through the violence of which it shall be dashed to pieces like a potter's vessel, the fragments falling into the hands of many nations and great kings, Jer 27:1-11. Zedekiah, particularly, is admonished not to join to the revolt against Nebuchadnezzar, and warned against trusting to the suggestions of false prophets, Jer 27:11-18. The chapter concludes with foretelling that what still remained of the sacred vessels of the temple should be carried to Babylon, and not restored till after the destruction of the Chaldean empire, Jer 27:19-22.
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim - It is most evident that his prophecy was delivered about the fourth year of Zedekiah, and not Jehoiakim, as in the text. See Jer 28:1. Three of Kennicott's MSS. (one in the text, a second in the margin, and the third upon a rasure) have Zedekiah; so likewise have the Syriac and the Arabic. Houbigant, Lowth, Blayney, Dahler, and others declare for this reading against that in the present text. And it is clear from the third and twelfth verses, where Zedekiah is expressly mentioned, that this is the true reading.
Make thee bonds and yokes - Probably yokes with straps, by which they were attached to the neck. This was a symbolical action, to show that the several kings mentioned below should be brought under the dominion of the Chaldeans.
I have made the earth - I am the Creator and Governor of all things, and I dispose of the several kingdoms of the world as seemeth best to me.
And now have I given - These kingdoms are at my sovereign disposal; and at present, for the punishment of their rulers and people, I shall give them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
And all nations shall serve him (Nebuchadnezzar), and his son, (Evil-merodach Jer 52:31), and his son's son, (Belshazzar, Dan 5:11.) All which was literally fulfilled.
Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets - Who pretend to have a revelation from heaven.
Nor to your diviners - קסמיכם kosemeychem, from קסם kasam, to presage or prognosticate. Persons who guessed at futurity by certain signs in the animate or inanimate creation.
Nor to your dreamers - חלמתיכם chalomotheychem, from חלם chalam, to break in pieces; hence חלום chalom, a dream, because it consists of broken fragments. Dream-interpreters, who, from these broken shreds patch up a meaning by their own interpolations.
Nor to your enchanters - ענניכם oneneychem, from ענן anan, a cloud - cloud-mongers. Diviners by the flight, color, density, rarity, and shape of clouds.
Nor to your sorcerers - כשפיכם cashshapheychem, from כשף kashaph, to discover; the discoverers, the finders out of hidden things, stolen goods, etc. Persons also who use incantations, and either by spells or drugs pretend to find out mysteries, or produce supernatural effects. Every nation in the world had persons who pretended to find out hidden things, or foretell future events; and such were gladly encouraged by the ignorant multitude; and many of them were mere apes of the prophets of God. Man knows that he is short-sighted, feels pain at the uncertainty of futurity, and wishes to have his doubts resolved by such persons as the above, to put an end to his uncertainty.
Why will ye die - If ye resist the king of Babylon, to whom I have given a commission against you, ye shall be destroyed by the sword and by famine; but if ye submit, ye shall escape all these evils.
The vessels of the Lord's house - Which had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar under the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, Ch2 36:7-10.
Shall now shortly be brought again - This is a lie. They shall not be restored till I bring them up, Jer 27:22, which was after the captivity, when they were sent back by Cyrus, the Lord inclining his heart to do it, Ezr 1:7, and Ezr 7:19.
Concerning the pillars - Two brazen columns placed by Solomon in the pronaos or portico of the temple, eighteen cubits high, and twelve in circumference, Kg1 7:16-22; Jer 52:11.
The sea - The brazen sea, ten cubits in diameter, and thirty in circumference. It contained water for different washings in the Divine worship, and was supported on twelve brazen oxen. Perhaps these are what are called the bases here. See the parallel places at Kg2 25:13 (note), etc.; Jer 52:17 (note), Jer 52:20-21 (note), and the notes on them.
They shall be carried to Babylon - Far from those already taken being brought back, those which now remain shall be carried thither, unless ye submit to the Chaldeans. They did not submit, and the prophecy was literally fulfilled; see Jer 52:17-23; Kg2 25:13, Ch2 36:18.