Making YokesBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
In the start of Yehoyakim’s reign, G-d spoke to Jeremiah and told him to make yokes of straps and bars and to place them on his neck. He was then to send the yokes to the kings of Edom, Moav, Amon, Tzor and Tzidon. The message accompanying the yokes would be that G-d has delivered these nations, man and beast, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. The nations will serve him, his son and his grandson, until Babylonia itself is judged. Whatever nation does not serve Nebuchadnezzar, metaphorically placing their neck in Babylonia’s yoke, will fall to war, famine and plague.
Jeremiah continued: Don’t listen to false prophets who tell you that this won’t happen! Their lies will cause you to be exiled. If you listen to the word of G-d, you will be able to remain in your lands, serving Nebuchadnezzar.
Even though this prophecy was spoken during the reign of Yehoyakim, it was fulfilled in the time of Tzidkiyahu, who is also referenced by Jeremiah when he spoke to the kings of the various nations. “Why should you and your subjects die when you can submit and live? Don’t listen to the false prophets who only predict peace; G-d did not send them. Their lies will cause you to be driven out. They’re lying when they say that the vessels of the Temple, which were already exiled with Yehoyachin, will be quickly returned. If they’re really prophets, let them pray to G-d that the remaining vessels of the Temple not be exiled at all! G-d has declared that the pillars, the “sea,” and the rest of the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar did not take when Yehoyachin was exiled, would be brought to Babylonia, where they would remain until G-d returns them to the land.