Jeremiah 26:23
And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.
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(23) And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt.—The martyr-death of the prophet had its parallels in the earlier history of Judah. So Jezebel had slain the prophets of Jehovah with the edge of the sword (1Kings 18:4; 1Kings 19:10; 1Kings 19:14), and Zechariah the son of Jehoiada had been stoned to death at the command of Joash (2Chronicles 24:21), and Isaiah, as the Jewish tradition runs, had been sawn asunder (Hebrews 11:37). The fact now recorded was to Jewish feeling an act of brutal outrage. The body of the prophet was not allowed to rest in the sepulchre of his fathers, with the due honour of embalmment, but flung into the loathsome pits of “the sons of the people,” in the Kidron valley (2Kings 23:6). It is not without interest to those who believe in a special as well as righteous retribution, to note the fact that the king who thus added brutality to cruelty was himself afterwards “buried with the burial of an ass,” without honours or lamentations (Jeremiah 22:18-19). For the phrase, “children of the people,” see Note on Jeremiah 17:19. The circumstances are apparently narrated in detail either by the prophet himself or by the compiler of his prophecies, to show how narrow his escape had been.

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.Out of Egypt - As Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt, he would easily obtain the surrender of a man accused of treason. 23. graves of the common people—literally, "sons of the people" (compare 2Ki 23:6). The prophets seem to have had a separate cemetery (Mt 23:29). Urijah's corpse was denied this honor, in order that he should not be regarded as a true prophet. These persons sent by Jehoiakim brought back the prophet by force; he was tried and cast, judged worthy to die, and put to death, and ignominiously buried, not in the sepulchres of the prophets, or any men of repute and fashion, but amongst the vulgar people; which, as also his diligence to send for Urijah, (fled into a foreign country to save his life,) showed the great malice of this prince against the Lord’s true prophets; though it had but very ill effects. The sum is, (if we take these words as the speech of Jeremiah’s enemies,) What do you tell us of what Hezekiah did, you have a later instance of it in our present king’s time, the cases of Urijah and of Jeremiah are fully parallelled. So as the case is a judged case. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt,.... Having found him, they seized him, and brought him away, with the leave of the king of Egypt: which, no doubt, was easily obtained:

and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who slew him with the sword; very probably with his own hand; or however it was done by his order, and in his presence, most likely:

and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people; either where they were buried in heaps promiscuously, as some think; or in the common burying ground; and not where persons of distinction were laid, as prophets, and others (g); this he did to reflect dishonour upon the prophet.

(g) Vid. Nicolai de Sepulchris Heb. c. 3. p. 126.

And they brought forth Urijah from Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and {m} cast his dead body into the burial place of the common people.

(m) As in the first Hezekiah's example is to be followed, so in this other Jehoiakim's act it to be abhorred: for God's plague descended on him and his household.

23. they fetched forth Uriah out of Egypt] As Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt (2 Kings 23:34), the extradition of a man accused of treason was easily effected.

common people] For mg. sons of the people cp. Jeremiah 17:19.Verse 23. - Into the graves of the common people; literally, of the sons of the people (comp. Jeremiah 17:19; 2 Kings 23:6). "The graves" is equivalent to "the graveyard," as Job 17:1. To 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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