Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

26. Jeremiah Threatened With Death

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying, 2Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. 7So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.

8Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. 9Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

10When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the Lord, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord’S house. 11Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.

12Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 13Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. 14As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. 15But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.

16Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God. 17Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. 19Did 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. 20And 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: 21And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; 22And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. 23And 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. 24Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.

We now, then, see in what sense Jeremiah regarded his life as in the hand of his enemies, not that he thought himself cast away by God, but that he acknowledged that loosened reins were given to the wicked to rage against him. But we must at the same time bear in mind why he said this; after having conceded that his life was in their hand, he adds, yet knowing know ye, that if ye kill me, ye will bring innocent blood upon yourselves. 167167     “And upon this city,” etc., according to our version and all the early versions and that of Calvin; but the preposition is different, and might be rendered “against:” by killing him, they must have brought the guilt of innocent blood on themselves as perpetrators, and against the city and its inhabitants as having allowed and countenanced such a deed. — Ed But he had said before that they might do what seemed them good and right 168168     “Meet,” in our version, is not the correct word; the term signifies what is just and right. The Sept. renders the phrase very loosely, “as it is expedient and as it is best for you.” The Vulg. is nearly the original, “what is good and right in your eyes;” literally it is, “as good and as right in your eyes.” — Ed Good and right here is not to be taken for a judgment formed according to the rule of justice, but for a sentence formed iniquitously according to their own will. This is a common mode of speaking in Hebrew. Jeremiah then testifies that he was not solicitous about his life, for he was prepared to offer himself, as it were, as a sacrifice, if the rage of his enemies should go so far. But in warning them to beware of God’s vengeance, his object was not his own safety, but it was to stimulate them to repentance. He then plainly says that he did not fear death, for the Lord would presently shew himself to be his avenger, and that his blood also would be so precious in the sight of God, that the whole city, together with the people, would be punished, were they to deal unjustly with him.

But let us attend to what follows, even that God had sent him. He now takes this principle as granted, that it could not be that God would forsake his servants, to whom he has promised aid when oppressed by the ungodly. God, indeed, ever exhorts his ministers to patience, and he would have them to be prepared for death whenever there is need; yet he promises to bring them help in distress. Jeremiah then relied on this promise, and was thus persuaded that it could not be that God would forsake him; for he cannot disappoint his people, nor forfeit his faith pledged to them. As, then, he was fully persuaded of his own calling, and knew that God was the author of all his preaching, he boldly concluded that his blood could not be shed with impunity. All faithful teachers ought to encourage themselves, for the purpose of discharging strenuously the duties of their office, with this confidence, — that God who has committed to them their office can never forsake them, but will ever bring them help as far as it may be necessary. It now follows, —


VIEWNAME is study