Jer 26:1-24. Jeremiah
Declared Worthy of Death, but by the Interposition of Ahikam Saved; the
Similar Cases of Micah and Urijah Being Adduced in the Prophet's
The prophecies which gave the offense were those
given in detail in the seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters (compare
26:6 here with Jer 7:12, 14); and summarily referred to here
[Maurer], probably pronounced at one of
the great feasts (that of tabernacles, according to Ussher; for the inhabitants of "all the cities of
Judah" are represented as present, Jer 26:2). See on Jer
2. in the court—the largest court, from
which he could be heard by the whole people.
come to worship—Worship is vain
without obedience (1Sa 15:21, 22).
all the words—(Eze 3:10).
diminish not a word—(De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6; Ac 20:27; 2Co
2:17; 4:2; Re 22:19). Not
suppressing or softening aught for fear of giving offense; nor setting
forth coldly and indirectly what can only by forcible statement do
3. if so be—expressed according to human
conceptions; not as if God did not foreknow all contingencies, but to
mark the obstinacy of the people and the difficulty of healing them;
and to show His own goodness in making the offer which left them
without excuse [Calvin].
5. prophets—the inspired interpreters of
the law (Jer 26:4),
who adapted it to the use of the people.
6. like Shiloh—(see on Jer 7:12, 14; 1Sa 4:10-12; Ps 78:60).
curse—(Jer 24:9; Isa 65:15).
8. priests—The captain (or prefect) of
the temple had the power of apprehending offenders in the temple with
the sanction of the priests.
prophets—the false prophets. The
charge against Jeremiah was that of uttering falsehood in Jehovah's
name, an act punishable with death (De 18:20). His prophecy against the temple and
26:11) might speciously be
represented as contradicting God's own words (Ps 132:14). Compare the similar charge against
Stephen (Ac 6:13, 14).
10. princes—members of the Council of
State or Great Council, which took cognizance of such offenses.
heard—the clamor of the popular
came up—from the king's house to the
temple, which stood higher than the palace.
sat—as judges, in the gate, the usual
place of trying such cases.
new gate—originally built by Jotham
("the higher gate," 2Ki 15:35)
and now recently restored.
12. Lord sent me—a valid justification
against any laws alleged against him.
against … against—rather,
"concerning." Jeremiah purposely avoids saying, "against," which would
needlessly irritate. They had used the same Hebrew word (Jer 26:11), which ought to be translated
"concerning," though they meant it in the unfavorable sense. Jeremiah
takes up their word in a better sense, implying that there is still
room for repentance: that his prophecies aim at the real good of the
city; for or concerning this house … city [Grotius].
13. (Jer 26:3, 19).
14. Jeremiah's humility is herein shown, and
submission to the powers that be (Ro 13:1).
15. bring … upon yourselves—So far
will you be from escaping the predicted evils by shedding my blood,
that you will, by that very act, only incur heavier penalties (Mt 23:35).
16. princes … all the people—The
fickle people, as they were previously influenced by the priests to
clamor for his death (Jer 26:8), so
now under the princes' influence require that he shall not be put to
death. Compare as to Jesus, Jeremiah's antitype, the hosannas of the
multitude a few days before the same people, persuaded by the priests
as in this case, cried, Away with Him, crucify Him (Mt 21:1-11;
27:20-25). The priests,
through envy of his holy zeal, were more his enemies than the princes,
whose office was more secular than religious. A prophet could not
legally be put to death unless he prophesied in the name of other
gods (therefore, they say, "in the name of the Lord"), or after his
prophecy had failed in its accomplishment. Meanwhile, if he foretold
calamity, he might be imprisoned. Compare Micaiah's case (1Ki 22:1-28).
17. Compare Gamaliel's interposition (Ac 5:34, &c.).
elders—some of the "princes" mentioned
26:16) those whose age, as
well as dignity, would give weight to the precedents of past times
which they adduce.
18. (Mic 3:12).
Morasthite—called so from a village of
the tribe Judah.
Hezekiah—The precedent in the reign of
such a good king proved that Jeremiah was not the only prophet, or the
first, who threatened the city and the temple without incurring
mountain of the house—Moriah, on which
stood the temple (peculiarly called "the house") shall be
covered with woods instead of buildings. Jeremiah, in quoting previous
prophecies, never does so without alteration; he adapts the language to
his own style, showing thereby his authority in his treatment of
Scripture, as being himself inspired.
19. Hezekiah, so far from killing him, was led
"to fear the Lord," and pray for remission of the sentence against
Lord repented—(Ex 32:14; 2Sa
Thus—if we kill Jeremiah.
20. As the flight and capture of Urijah must
have occupied some time, "the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim"
26:1) must not mean the
very beginning, but the second or third year of his eleven
And … also—perhaps connected
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].
22. Jehoiakim sent … into Egypt—He
had been put on the throne by Pharaoh of Egypt (2Ki 23:34). This explains the readiness with which
he got the Egyptians to give up Urijah to him, when that prophet had
sought an asylum in Egypt. Urijah was faithful in delivering his
message, but faulty in leaving his work, so God permitted him to lose
his life, while Jeremiah was protected in danger. The path of duty is
often the path of safety.
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.
24. Ahikam—son of Shaphan the scribe, or
royal secretary. He was one of those whom King Josiah, when struck by
the words of the book of the law, sent to inquire of the Lord (2Ki 22:12,
14). Hence his interference
here in behalf of Jeremiah is what we should expect from his past
association with that good king. His son, Gedaliah, followed in his
father's steps, so that he was chosen by the Babylonians as the one to
whom they committed Jeremiah for safety after taking Jerusalem, and on
whose loyalty they could depend in setting him over the remnant of the
people in Judea (Jer 39:14; 2Ki 25:22).
people to put him to death—Princes
often, when they want to destroy a good man, prefer it to be done by a
popular tumult rather than by their own order, so as to reap the fruit
of the crime without odium to themselves (Mt 27:20).