Chapter twenty-seven records another demonstration God told Jeremiah to perform in order to illustrate his message. This time he was to construct a yoke, that would tie animals together, and wear it to represent how God was binding the nations to Nebuchadnezzar. This took place at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, between the second and third captivities. Jeremiah 27:5 is a striking reminder of God’s sovereign control of earthly affairs: “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength, and I give it to whomever I see fit.” At this point in time, he had handed many nations, including Judah, to Babylon (Jeremiah 27:6). Jeremiah 27:7 reveals that this world power that Babylon would exercise was to be limited to only a handful of kings, before they, too, became subject to someone else. Jeremiah 27:8-11 contains the repeated promise that submitting to Nebuchadnezzar would be better than trying to oppose him, because opposing Babylon’s power, in this case, was opposing God’s plan. Those who opposed would certainly be destroyed.
In Jeremiah 27:12-15 Jeremiah relayed God’s message to Zedekiah, including the warning to not listen to those false prophets who were promising victory if the king rebelled against Babylon. To the priests and the people, Jeremiah added a significant detail (Jeremiah 27:16-22). The false prophets had promised that the Temple furniture and articles that Nebuchadnezzar had already taken (see Daniel 1:2) would be returned and the people would remain in Judah. In contrast, Jeremiah said that God had already promised that, even though they would eventually come back, Nebuchadnezzar would take even more at this time.