Jeremiah's Rebuke of Hananiah
In the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign, a dramatic clash occurred in the temple area. The priests who were present served as witness to the prophetic altercation. The false prophet present on that day was Hananiah (1).
Hananiah's Prophecy (1-4)
It would seem Jeremiah came into the temple area wearing an oxen yoke (10), ready to give one of his legendary object-lesson prophecies.
A prophet by the name of Hananiah stepped forward, intercepted Jeremiah, and began to prophesy that the yoke Jeremiah was wearing for an object lesson was serving notice to Judah that the yoke of Babylon was going to be broken off of Judah (2). He then launched into some specific fortune-telling:
a) The vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple would be returned within two years.
b) King Jehoiachin and the captives taken with him would be returned within two years.
c) Hananiah then repeated that the yoke of Babylon had been broken off Judah (3-4).
With every utterance, Hananiah prophetically uttered falsehood and refuted everything Jeremiah had prophesied and was going to prophesy.
Jeremiah's Rebuke of Hananiah (5-9)
Jeremiah, on the spot and in front of the same audience, shouted out a hearty, "Amen!" Jeremiah wanted and longed for Hananiah's words to be true (5-6).
Then Jeremiah told Hananiah and those listening to wise up and give ear to Yahweh and the true prophetic voice, which had been undeviating by other prophets for years. The true ancient prophets had clearly predicted hostilities, hunger, and health defects against many countries and kingdoms.
The lying prophets of Judah were throwing prophetic sewage into the long flowing river of prophetic purity by refuting those clear prophetic words (7-8). Jeremiah announced that every prophet was confirmed as true and sent from Yahweh when they prophesied peace and then peace came to pass for the nation they had prophesied by name (9).
Hananiah's Prophecy (10-11)
Hananiah then theatrically took the yoke-bars from Jeremiah's neck and broke them and then dramatically announced that, in the same way, the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar would be broken off of all the nations within two years. Jeremiah slipped away without a word (10-11).
Jeremiah's Second Word to Hananiah (12-17)
Sometime after the Hananiah fracas in the temple where Hananiah broke the yoke Jeremiah had been wearing around his neck, Yahweh sent Jeremiah with word for Hananiah (12).
Hananiah, when he defiantly broke the wood bars of the yoke Jeremiah had been wearing, had unwittingly upgraded the yoke on Judah from wood bars to iron bars. The yoke became one of iron, for those nations yoked in slavish tribute to Nebuchadnezzar would be so in an even more unbreakable way. Even the beasts frolicking through their fields would be subject to Nebuchadnezzar's yoke. Hananiah's prophecy only made the Babylonian kingdom yoke of slavery stronger (13-14).
Then Jeremiah bore down on Hananiah and leveled him with a searing rebuke. Hananiah had been found out—he had never been sent by Yahweh, and worse, he had led Judah to believe a lie (15).
Then Jeremiah announced the termination of life that would happen that very year. Hananiah was sentenced to death for his rebellion against Yahweh (16).
Less than seven months later and at the command of Jeremiah, Hananiah unseasonably died (17).