In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,Jeremiah 26 is a narrative of the danger to which Jeremiah was exposed by reason of the prophecy contained in Jeremiah 7 and should be read in connection with it. Jeremiah 26:4-6 contain a summary of the prediction contained in Jeremiah 7, and that again is but an outline of what was a long address.
Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD'S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD'S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:
If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.
And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you,
To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;
Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.
So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.
Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.The charge against Jeremiah was that of prophesying falsely, for which the penalty was death Deuteronomy 18:20. They assumed that it was absolutely impossible that Jerusalem ever could become like Shiloh.
Against Jeremiah - unto Jeremiah. They regularly constituted themselves a congregation to take part in his trial.
When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king's house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD'S house.The princes of Judah - The priests could scourge a man etc., but could not then try him for his life, as the Sanhedrim subsequently did until the Romans deprived them of the power.
The new gate - That built by Jotham 2 Kings 15:35, and probably a usual place for trials.
Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.This man is worthy to die - literally, A sentence of death is to this man, i. e., is his desert.
Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.The answer of Jeremiah is simple and straightforward. Yahweh, he affirmed, had truly sent him, but the sole object of his prophesying had been to avert the evil by leading them to repentance. If they would amend their ways God would deliver them from the threatened doom. As for himself he was in their hands, but if they put him to death they would bring the guilt of shedding innocent blood upon themselves and upon the city.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.
Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.This man ... - literally, There is not to this man a sentence of death, i. e., he is acquitted by the princes and the congregation.
Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying,The elders of the land - The heads and spokesmen of the congregation, who added their approval after the princes who represented the king had given their decision.
Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.
Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls.Thus might we procure ... - Rather, And we should commit a great evil against our own souls; i. e., by putting Jeremiah to death, we should commit a sin which would prove a great misfortune to ourselves.
And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah:This narrative of Urijah's fate was no part of the speech of the elders, who would not be likely to contrast the behavior of the reigning king so unfavorably with that of Hezekiah. Moreover, it would have been a precedent, not for acquitting Jeremiah, but for putting him to death. Jeremiah, when he reduced the narrative to writing, probably added this history to show the ferocity of Jehoiakim, and the danger to which he had been himself exposed.
And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt;His mighty men - The commanders of his army; the princes are the civil officers.
And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt.Elnathan - Possibly the king's father-in-law 2 Kings 24:8.
And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.Out of Egypt - As Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt, he would easily obtain the surrender of a man accused of treason.
Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.Ahikam - See the marginal reference. His son Gemariah lent Jeremiah his room for the public reading of Jehoiakim's scroll, and another son Gedaliah was made governor of the land by the Chaldaeans Jeremiah 39:14; the family probably shared the political views of Jeremiah.