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26
Jeremiah's Message in the Temple
(Jeremiah 7.1-15)
1 # 2 K 23.36—24.6; 2 Ch 36.5-7. Soon after Jehoiakim#26.1 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3. became king of Judah, the Lord said:
2Jeremiah, I have a message for everyone who comes from the towns of Judah to worship in my temple. Go to the temple courtyard and speak every word that I tell you. 3Maybe the people will listen this time. And if they stop doing wrong, I will change my mind and not punish them for their sins. 4Tell them that I have said:
You have refused to listen to me and to obey my laws and teachings. 5Again and again I have sent my servants the prophets to preach to you, but you ignored them as well. Now I am warning you that if you don't start obeying me at once, 6#Js 18.1; Ps 78.60; Jr 7.12-14. I will destroy this temple, just as I destroyed the town of Shiloh.#26.6 Shiloh: The sacred tent had once stood at Shiloh. Then everyone on earth will use the name “Jerusalem” as a curse word.
Jeremiah on Trial
7The priests, the prophets, and everyone else in the temple heard what I said, 8-9and as soon as I finished, they all crowded around me and started shouting, “Why did you preach that the Lord will destroy this temple, just as he destroyed Shiloh? Why did you say that Jerusalem will be empty and lie in ruins? You ought to be put to death for saying such things in the Lord's name!” Then they had me arrested.
10The royal officers heard what had happened, and they came from the palace to the new gate of the temple to be the judges at my trial.#26.10 new gate … trial: Public trials were often held in an open area at a gate of a city, palace, or temple. 11While they listened, the priests and the prophets said to the crowd, “All of you have heard Jeremiah prophesy that Jerusalem will be destroyed. He deserves the death penalty.”
12-13Then I told the judges and everyone else:
The Lord himself sent me to tell you about the terrible things he will do to you, to Jerusalem, and to the temple. But if you change your ways and start obeying the Lord, he will change his mind.
14You must decide what to do with me. Just do whatever you think is right. 15But if you put me to death, you and everyone else in Jerusalem will be guilty of murdering an innocent man, because everything I preached came from the Lord.
16The judges and the other people told the priests and prophets, “Since Jeremiah only told us what the Lord our God had said, we don't think he deserves to die.”
17Then some of the leaders from other towns stepped forward. They told the crowd that 18#Mic 3.12. years ago when Hezekiah#26.18 Hezekiah: Ruled 716–687 b.c. was king of Judah, a prophet named Micah from the town of Moresheth had said:
“I, the Lord All-Powerful, say
Jerusalem will be plowed under
and left in ruins.
Thorns will cover the mountain
where the temple
now stands.”#26.18 Jerusalem … stands: See Micah 3.12.
19Then the leaders continued:
No one put Micah to death for saying that. Instead, King Hezekiah prayed to the Lord with fear and trembling and asked him to have mercy. Then the Lord decided not to destroy Jerusalem, even though he had already said he would.
People of Judah, if Jeremiah is killed, we will bring a terrible disaster on ourselves.
20-24After these leaders finished speaking, an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan spoke up for me as well. And so, I wasn't handed over to the crowd to be killed.
Uriah the Prophet
While Jehoiakim#26.20-24 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3. was still king of Judah, a man named Uriah son of Shemaiah left his hometown of Kiriath-Jearim and came to Jerusalem. Uriah was one of the Lord's prophets, and he was saying the same things about Judah and Jerusalem that I had been saying. And when Jehoiakim and his officials and military officers heard what Uriah said, they tried to arrest him, but he escaped to Egypt. So Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor and some other men after Uriah, and they brought him back. Then Jehoiakim had Uriah killed and his body dumped in a common burial pit.
26
1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, this word came from the Lord, saying:
2 "Thus says the Lord: Stand in the atrium of the house of the Lord, and speak to all the cities of Judah, from which they come to adore in the house of the Lord, all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not choose to subtract any word.
3 So may they hear and be converted, each one from his evil way. And then I may repent of the evil that I plan to do to them because of the wickedness of their pursuits.
4 And you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, so that you walk in my law, which I have given to you,
5 so that you listen to the words of my servants, the prophets, whom I have sent to you, who arise while it is still night, and though they give guidance, you do not listen,
6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city into a curse for all the nations of the earth."
7 And the priests, and the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.
8 And when Jeremiah had completed speaking all that the Lord had instructed him to speak to all the people, then the priests, and the prophets, and all the people apprehended him, saying: "You shall be put to death."
9 "Why has he prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying: 'Like Shiloh, so shall this house be,' and, 'This city shall be made desolate, even without an inhabitant?' " And all the people were gathered together against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
10 And the leaders of Judah heard these words. And they ascended from the house of the king to the house of the Lord, and they sat at the entrance by the new gate of the house of the Lord.
11 And the priests and the prophets spoke to the leaders and to all the people, saying: "A judgment of death is for this man. For he has prophesied against this city, just as you have heard with your own ears."
12 And Jeremiah spoke to all the leaders and to the entire people, saying: "The Lord has sent me to prophesy, about this house and about this city, all the words that you have heard.
13 Now, therefore, make your ways and your intentions good, and heed the voice of the Lord your God. And then the Lord will repent of the evil that he has spoken against you.
14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do to me what is good and right in your eyes.
15 Yet truly, know and understand this: if you kill me, you will be bringing innocent blood against yourselves, and against this city and its inhabitants. For in truth, the Lord sent me to you, so as to speak all these words in your hearing."
16 And then the leaders and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets: "There is no judgment of death against this man. For he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God."
17 Then some of the elders of the land rose up. And they spoke to the entire assembly of the people, saying:
18 "Micah from Moresheth was a prophet in the days of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying: 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: Zion will be ploughed like a field. And Jerusalem will be a pile of stones. And the mountain of the house will be like the forests of high places.'
19 Did the king of Judah, Hezekiah, with all of Judah, condemn him to death? Did they not fear the Lord, and petition the face of the Lord? And so the Lord repented of the evil that he had spoken against them. Therefore, we are committing a great evil against our own souls.
20 Likewise, there was a man prophesying in the name of the Lord: Uriah, the son of Shemaiah, of Kiriath-jearim. And he prophesied against this city and against this land, in accord with all the words of Jeremiah.
21 And king Jehoiakim, with all his warriors and leaders, heard these words. And so the king sought to put him to death. And Uriah heard, and was afraid, and fled, and he entered into Egypt.
22 And king Jehoiakim sent men into Egypt: Elnathan, the son of Achbor, and the men who went with him into Egypt.
23 And they led Uriah out of Egypt. And they brought him to king Jehoiakim, and he struck him down with the sword. And he cast his dead body among the graves of the common people."
24 But the hand of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, was with Jeremiah, so that he would not be delivered into the hands of the people, and so that they would not put him to death.