Jeremiah 26 – “Jeremiah is Nearly Killed for his Prophecy”

handcuffs arrest handsHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Jeremiah is seized after prophesying doom for the Temple. The people debate whether a prophet must be killed for this action. Jeremiah is ultimately protected by Ahikam.

II. Photo

Jeremiah is seized: “ And when Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, shouting, “You shall die!” (v. 9)

III. Select Verses

7-9: The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the House of the LORD. And when Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, shouting, “You shall die! How dare you prophesy in the name of the LORD that this House shall become like Shiloh and this city be made desolate, without inhabitants?” And all the people crowded about Jeremiah in the House of the LORD.

12-14: Jeremiah said to the officials and to all the people, “It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this House and this city all the words you heard. Therefore mend your ways and your acts, and heed the LORD your God, that the LORD may renounce the punishment He has decreed for you. As for me, I am in your hands: do to me what seems good and right to you.

16-19: Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and prophets, “This man does not deserve the death penalty, for he spoke to us in the name of the LORD our God.” And some of the elders of the land arose and said to the entire assemblage of the people, “Micah the Morashtite, who prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus said the LORD of Hosts:  Zion shall be plowed as a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins And the Temple Mount a shrine in the woods.’ “Did King Hezekiah of Judah, and all Judah, put him to death? Did he not rather fear the LORD and implore the LORD, so that the LORD renounced the punishment He had decreed against them? We are about to do great injury to ourselves!”

20-23: There was also a man prophesying in the name of the LORD, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and this land the same things as Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim and all his warriors and all the officials heard about his address, and the king wanted to put him to death. Uriah heard of this and fled in fear, and came to Egypt. But King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt, Elnathan son of Achbor and men with him to Egypt. They took Uriah out of Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who had him put to the sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.

IV. Outline

1-3. Introduction

    1. Date of prophecy

    2-3. Call to prophecy 

4-6. Jeremiah’s prophecy: disobedience will lead to destruction

7-9. Jeremiah is seized

10-11. The death penalty is proposed

12-15. Jeremiah’s response

    12-13. Jeremiah’s assertion of innocence; call to repent

    14. Acceptance of fate

    15. Condemnation

16-23. The people debate Jeremiah’s fate

    16. The people’s change of heart

    17-19. Micah was not killed and he was a catalyst for repentance

    20-23. Uriah was killed for his prophecies

24. Ahikam son of Shapham protects Jeremiah

 

V. Comment

Our chapter contains one of the rare biblical occurences when another biblical passage is quoted explicitly. In verses 17-19 the elders quote a prophecy of Micah:

And some of the elders of the land arose and said to the entire assemblage of the people, “Micah the Morashtite, who prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus said the LORD of Hosts:  Zion shall be plowed as a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins And the Temple Mount a shrine in the woods.’ “Did King Hezekiah of Judah, and all Judah, put him to death? Did he not rather fear the LORD and implore the LORD, so that the LORD renounced the punishment He had decreed against them? We are about to do great injury to ourselves!”  (vv. 17-19)

As it turns out, this prophecy does appear word for word in Micah 3:12:

“Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

Our chapter also refers to the prophecy of a certain Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-Jearim, but this figure is not known from any other source.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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