Jeremiah 26:19
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Did Hezekiah . . . put him at all to death?—Literally, make him die the death, the same phrase as in Jeremiah 26:8. There is no special record of the repentance thus referred to, but it is quite in accord with Hezekiah’s general character, as seen in 2Chronicles 29:6-10 (which may be the occasion referred to) and 2Chronicles 32:26. The whole tone of the advice of “old experience,” approximating to something like “prophetic strain,” in this case, reminds us of the counsels of Gamaliel in Acts 5:35-39. The closing words, “Thus might we procure great evil to our souls,” present an exact parallel to “lest haply we be found even to fight against God.” The result of the counsel thus given is left to be inferred. It obviously left the prophet free to continue his work as a preacher, though probably under a kind of police surveillance, like that implied in Jeremiah 36:1-5. The favourable result is attributed in Jeremiah 26:24 to the influence of Ahikam.

26:16-24 When secure sinners are threatened with taking away the Spirit of God, and the kingdom of God, it is what is warranted from the word of God. Hezekiah who protected Micah, prospered. Did Jehoiakim, who slew Urijah, prosper? The examples of bad men, and the bad consequences of their sins, should deter from what is evil. Urijah was faithful in delivering his message, but faulty in leaving his work. And the Lord was pleased to permit him to lose his life, while Jeremiah was protected in danger. Those are safest who most simply trust in the Lord, whatever their outward circumstances may be; and that He has all men's hearts in his hands, encourages us to trust him in the way of duty. He will honour and recompense those who show kindness to such as are persecuted for his sake.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. 19. Hezekiah, so far from killing him, was led "to fear the Lord," and pray for remission of the sentence against Judah (2Ch 32:26).

Lord repented—(Ex 32:14; 2Sa 24:16).

Thus—if we kill Jeremiah.

The interrogation here hath the force of a negation; that is, Hezekiah, and the sanhedrim in his time, did not go about to call him in question for his life, nor put him to death; his prophecy had a quite contrary effect on him; it begat in him an awe and dread of that God in whose name the prophet spake, and quickened him to apply himself to God by earnest prayer: and the course he took had a very good issue; the Lord did not do what he threatened to do. Now if we should take a quite contrary course, and put this man to death, we should do contrary to what that good prince did, (and that with good success,) do ourselves no good, but

procure great evil against our souls; that is, against ourselves, both bodies and souls strictly taken.

Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death?.... No, they did not: neither the king, by his own authority; nor the sanhedrim, the great court of judicature, for the nation; they never sought to take away his life, nor sat in council about it; they never arraigned him, and much less condemned him:

did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord; that is, Hezekiah; he did, as knowing that Micah was a prophet of the Lord, and sent by him; wherefore he received his prophecy with great awe and reverence, as coming from the Lord, and made his supplications to him that he would avert the judgments threatened:

and the Lord repented of the evil which he had pronounced against them? the king and his people, the city and the temple; and so the threatened evil came not upon them in their days:

thus might we procure great evil against our souls; should we put Jeremiah to death: it is therefore much more advisable to do as Hezekiah did, pray unto the Lord to avert the threatened evil, or otherwise it will be worse with us. This precedent is urged to strengthen the decree of the council in favour of Jeremiah.

Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? did he not fear the LORD, and beseech the LORD, and the LORD repented of the {k} evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls.

(k) So that the city was not destroyed, but by a miracle was delivered out of the hands of Sennacherib.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Did Hezekiah … put him at all to death? [The words of Micah had been to the full as harsh-sounding as any that had been uttered by Jeremiah. Jeremiah was attacked for predicting the fall of the Temple and city; but Micah had said the same thing and no action was taken against him. The precedent supplied by the case of the former prophet therefore, the elders argue, is in favour of him who is now attacked. The passage is important as shewing that the reforms of Hezekiah were far from being attributable to the influence of Isaiah alone.

intreat the favour] lit. smooth the face, i.e. remove the frown (of an offended deity), appease; an anthropomorphism. Cp. Zechariah 7:2; Zechariah 8:21 f.; Malachi 1:9.

the Lord repented] The LXX here, as in Jeremiah 26:3; Jeremiah 26:13, render ceased, from dislike to any expression savouring to their minds of anthropomorphism. But the word serves at any rate to remind us that “all prophecy is conditional. The prophets declare the great principles of God’s moral government, and apply them to individual cases. But, if the moral conditions of the cases to which these principles are applied be altered, the threatening or the promise is postponed, modified, or recalled.” C.B. (Cheyne) on Micah, l.c. In the present case the destruction here described was never altogether fulfilled. Co. points out the special interest that attaches to the above episode, as indicating what a deep impression the utterances of a prophet made upon the people, even after the lapse of a century.

Verse 19. - Thus might we procure, etc.; rather, and we are about to commit a great evil against our souls (not merely "against ourselves"). The blood of the slain would cry for vengeance against his murderers, who would come to an untimely end, their "souls" being sent down to lead a miserable parody of a life (βίος ἄβιος) in Sheol or Hades. Jeremiah 26:19To justify and confirm this sentence, certain of the elders of the land rise and point to the like sentence passed on the prophet Micah of Moresheth-Gath, who had foretold the destruction of the city and temple under King Hezekiah, but had not been put to death by the king; Hezekiah, on the contrary, turning to prayer to the Lord, and thus succeeding in averting the catastrophe. The "men of the elders of the land" are different from "all the princes," and are not to be taken, as by Graf, for representatives of the people in the capacity of assessors at judicial decisions, who had to give their voice as to guilt or innocence; nor are they necessarily to be regarded as local authorities of the land. They come before us here solely in their character as elders of the people, who possessed a high authority in the eyes of the people. The saying of the Morasthite Micah which they cite in Jeremiah 26:18 is found in Micah 3:12, verbally agreeing with Jeremiah 26:18; see the exposition of that passage. The stress of what they say lies in the conclusion drawn by them from Micah's prophesy, taken in connection with Hezekiah's attitude towards the Lord, Jeremiah 26:19 : "Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear Jahveh and entreat Jahveh, and did not Jahveh repent Him of the evil which He had spoken concerning them? and we would commit a great evil against our souls?" Neither in the book of Micah, nor in the accounts of the books of Kings, nor in the chronicle of Hezekiah's reign are we told that, in consequence of that prophecy of Micah, Hezekiah entreated the Lord and so averted judgment from Jerusalem. There we find only that during the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, Hezekiah besought the help of the Lord and protection from that mighty enemy. The elders have combined this fact with Micah's prophecy, and thence drawn the conclusion that the godly king succeeded by his prayer in averting the mischief. Cf. the remarks on this passage at Micah 4:10. 'חלּה , lit., stroke the face of Jahveh, i.e., entreat Him, cf. Exodus 32:11. "And we would commit," are thinking of doing, are on the point of doing a great evil against our souls; inasmuch as by putting the prophet to death they would bring blood-guiltiness upon themselves and hasten the judgment of God. - The acquittal of Jeremiah is not directly related; but it may be gathered from the decision of the princes: This man is not worthy of death.
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