Jeremiah 26:20
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:
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(20) And there was also a man that prophesied . . .—The verses that follow, seeing that they state a fact which tends in the opposite direction, cannot be regarded as part of the argument of the “elders” of Jeremiah 26:17. Nor is there any sufficient reason for supposing, in the absence of any statement to that effect, that the case of Urijah was alleged in a counter-argument by the priests and prophets. Jeremiah 26:24 shows rather that Jeremiah, or the compiler of the book, wished to record the fact that he did not stand absolutely alone, and that at least one prophet had been, as an Abdiel,—“faithful found among the faithless,”—who had courage to follow his example. He took up the strain of Jeremiah, and reproduced it. Of this Urijah we know nothing beyond what is here recorded. It is, perhaps, worth noting that the history of his native place may in some measure have influenced his thoughts, as presenting, like Shiloh, the history of a sacred place that had lost its sanctity (1Samuel 7:1; 2Samuel 6:2), and that its position on the border of the tribe of Benjamin may have brought him into contact with the prophet of Anathoth. The distance between the two towns was but a short day’s journey.

Jeremiah 26:20-23. And there was also a man — There are three different opinions respecting the following passage. The first ascribes it to an opposite party, who, by a contrary precedent to the foregoing, urged the condemnation of Jeremiah, a precedent in which the speaking such words as he had spoken was adjudged treason. But against this view of the passage it is objected that such a transition of the speakers would have had some mark of distinction prefixed. Others suppose that this instance was alleged by the same persons that adduced the former, and with an intent to mark the different consequences that had ensued, and to caution the people and government against taking another step of a similar kind, and thereby adding sin to sin. As if he had said, Hezekiah, who had protected Micah, prospered; but did Jehoiakim, who slew Urijah, prosper? No: they all saw the contrary: one prophet had been slain already, let them not fill up the measure of national iniquity by slaying another. But Blaney thinks the least exceptionable opinion is, “that the elders concluded their speeches Jeremiah 26:19, and that the writer of the narrative goes on here to observe, in his own person, that notwithstanding the precedent of Micah, there had been a later precedent in the present reign, which might have operated very unfavourably to the cause of Jeremiah, but for the influence and authority of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, which was exerted to save him.”

Who prophesied against this city, &c., according to all the words of Jeremiah — The prophets of the Lord agreed in their testimony, and one would have supposed that this circumstance should have caused their word to be regarded. And the king sought to put him to death — Being, with his courtiers, greatly exasperated against him on account of the faithful testimony which he bore, and the true predictions of approaching judgments which God commissioned him to utter. But when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled — In this, it seems, he was faulty, and that through the weakness of his faith: he was too much under the power of that fear of man which brings a snare, and did not sufficiently confide in the power of God to protect him in the faithful execution of his office. And Jehoiakim sent men into Egypt, &c. — One would have thought Jehoiakim’s malice might have been satisfied with driving him out of the country; but they are blood-thirsty that hate the upright, Proverbs 29:10. It was the life, the precious life, that Jehoiakim hunted after, and nothing less would satisfy him. So implacable is his revenge, that he sends a party of soldiers into Egypt, (there being a strict alliance between him and Pharaoh-nechoh,) some hundreds of miles, and they bring him back by force of arms unto Jehoiakim, who slew him with the sword — Some think, even with his own hands, but this appears improbable. Neither did even this satisfy the king’s insatiable malice, but he loads the body of the good man with infamy, would not allow it the decent respects usually and justly paid to the remains of persons of distinction, but cast it into the graves of the common people — As if he had not been a prophet of the Lord. Thus Jehoiakim hoped both to ruin Urijah’s reputation with the people, that no heed might be given to his predictions, and to deter others from prophesying in like manner: but in vain. Jeremiah bears the same testimony. There is no contending with the word of God. Herod thought he had gained his point when he had cut off John the Baptist’s head, but found himself deceived when, soon after, he heard of Jesus Christ, and said in a fright, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead.

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.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. 20. As the flight and capture of Urijah must have occupied some time, "the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim" (Jer 26:1) must not mean the very beginning, but the second or third year of his eleven years' reign.

And … also—perhaps connected with Jer 26:24, as the comment of the writer, not the continuation of the speech of the elders: "And although also a man that prophesied … Urijah … (proving how great was the danger in which Jeremiah stood, and how wonderful the providence of God in preserving him), nevertheless the hand of Ahikam," &c. [Glassius]. The context, however, implies rather that the words are the continuation of the previous speech of the elders. They adduce another instance besides that of Micah, though of a different kind, namely, that of Urijah: he suffered for his prophecies, but they imply, though they do not venture to express it, that thereby sin has been added to sin, and that it has done no good to Jehoiakim, for that the notorious condition of the state at this time shows that a heavier vengeance is impending if they persevere in such acts of violence [Calvin].

This is a piece of story which we have recorded in no other part of Scripture. Some judge these words were the words of the same that spake before; but this is not likely, for then they had brought one instance for acquitting him, another for the condemning of him. They are therefore rather to be interpreted as the words of some others, either of the court, who were enemies to Jeremiah, or of his accusers, or their counsel, urging a later precedent, in the time of Jehoiakim, the king that at this time reigned, who also pretended to speak in the name of the Lord, and whose prophecy was the same in substance with this of Jeremiah.

And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord,.... These are not the words of the same persons continued; because the following instance is against them; but of some other persons in the sanhedrim, who were on the side of the priests and prophets; who in effect said, why tell you us of an instance in Hezekiah's time, when there is so recent an one in the present reign, of a man that prophesied just as Jeremiah has done, and was put to death, and so ought he? after this manner Kimchi interprets it; and so Jarchi, who adds, that it is so explained in an ancient book of theirs, called Siphri; though some think they are the words of the same persons that espoused the prophet's cause; and observe the following instance with this view; that whereas there had been one prophet of the Lord lately put to death for the same thing, should they take away the life of another, it would be adding sin to sin, and bring great evil upon their souls; and it might be observed, that Hezekiah prevented much evil by the steps he took; whereas, should they proceed as they had begun in the present reign, they might expect nothing but ruin, which they might easily see with their own eyes was coming upon them: others are of opinion that this instance is added by the penman of this book, either the prophet himself or Baruch, to show the wonderful preservation of him; that though there had been very lately a person put to death for the very same thing, yet he was preserved through the good offices of a person mentioned at the close of the chapter; and which seems to make this account probable. The name of the prophet was

Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim; which was a city of Judah, Joshua 18:14; but who he was is not known, there being no account of him elsewhere:

who prophesied against this city, and against this land, according to all the words of Jeremiah; just as he had done, in much the same words, if not altogether; so that their case was similar.

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.
20. Kiriath-jearim] perhaps Karyet-el-Enab seven miles N.W. of Jerusalem on the road to Joppa (Jaffa).

20–24. See introd. summary to ch. The story is introduced by the compiler (probably Baruch) to illustrate the risk to which Jeremiah was exposed; perhaps also to contrast Jeremiah’s courage and Uriah’s cowardice. Du. suggests that the occurrence took place at the same Feast, but at a moment when the king was himself present, and that Uriah’s words may have specially pointed at him as the protégé of Egypt. Co. holds that, as the incident can hardly have occurred before Jeremiah’s prophecy—otherwise the latter would not have produced such an excitement—it must be considered to have been subsequent to it. He places Jeremiah 26:24, as being the natural ending of the narrative concerning Jeremiah himself, before Jeremiah 26:20-23; but against such transposition we may hold that the point of Jeremiah 26:24 is the contrast between the case of the friendless Uriah and that of Jeremiah. In 21–23 the LXX omit various names and otherwise abbreviate.

Verses 20-23. - The murder of the prophet Urijah. At first sight, these four verses appear to belong to the speech of the elders, but the appearance is delusive,

(1) because the issue of the affair of Urijah cannot possibly have taken place "in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim" (ver. 1); and

(2) because the passage stands in no connection with what precedes, whereas it is related, and that very closely, to ver. 24 (see below). The case is similar to that of certain passages in St. John's Gospel, where the reflections of the evangelist are put side by side with the sayings of our Lord. Jeremiah, writing down his experiences at a later time, introduces the story of Urijah to show the magnitude of the danger to which he had been exposed. The notice of Urijah has an additional importance, as it shows incidentally how isolated a spiritual prophet like Jeremiah was, and how completely the order of prophets had fallen below its high ideal. We have no further knowledge of the prophet Urijah. Verse 20. - Kirjath-jearim; a city in the territory of Judah, on the west frontier of Benjamin. Jeremiah 26:20The prophet Urijah put to death. - While the history we have just been considering gives testimony to the hostility of the priests and false prophets towards the true prophets of the Lord, the story of the prophet Urijah shows the hostility of King Jehoiakim against the proclaimers of divine truth. For this purpose, and not merely to show in how great peril Jeremiah then stood (Gr., Nהg.), this history is introduced into our book. It is not stated that the occurrence took place at the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, nor can we infer so much from its being placed directly after the events of that time. The time is not specified, because it was irrelevant for the case in hand. Jeremiah 26:20. A man, Urijah the son of Shemaiah - both unknown - from Kirjath-Jearim, now called Kuriyet el 'Enab, about three hours to the north-west of Jerusalem, on the frontiers of the tribe of Benjamin (see on Joshua 9:17), prophesied in the name of Jahveh against Jerusalem and Judah very much in the same terms as Jeremiah had done. When King Jehoiakim and his great men heard this, discourse, he sought after the prophet to kill him. Urijah, when he heard of it, fled to Egypt; but the king sent men after him, Elnathan the son of Achbor with some followers, and had him brought back thence, caused him to be put to death, and his body to be thrown into the graves of the common people. Hitz. takes objection to "all his mighty men," Jeremiah 26:21, because it is not found in the lxx, and is nowhere else used by Jeremiah. But these facts do not prove that the words are not genuine; the latter of the two, indeed, tells rather in favour of their genuineness, since a glossator would not readily have interpolated an expression foreign to the rest of the book. The "mighty men" are the distinguished soldiers who were about the king, the military commanders, as the "princes" are the supreme civil authorities. Elnathan the son of Achbor, according to Jeremiah 36:12, Jeremiah 36:25, one of Jehoiakim's princes, was a son of Achbor who is mentioned in 2 Kings 22:12-14 as amongst the princes of Josiah. Whether this Elnathan was the same as the Elnathan whose daughter Nehushta was Jehoiachin's mother (2 Kings 24:8), and who was therefore the king's father-in-law, must remain an undecided point, since the name Elnathan is of not unfrequent occurrence; of Levites, Ezra 8:16. בּני העם (see on Jeremiah 17:19) means the common people here, as in 2 Kings 22:6. The place of burial for the common people was in the valley of the Kidron; see on 2 Kings 22:6.
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