Jeremiah 26:23
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.
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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. Jeremiah 26:23The 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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