Jer. 26:1 ¶ In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of
Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,
Jer. 26:2 Thus 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
Sometimes I wish Jeremiah’s prophecies were recorded chronologically. The
prophecy of this chapter is dated after the death of Josiah in the beginning of the
reign of his son Jehoiakim—approximately 609 BC.
Jeremiah was instructed to go to the temple and proclaim God’s word to all the
cities of Judah as represented by those who came to the temple to worship.
Several sources observe that this probably occurred in conjunction with a feast
day, a day when many throughout Judah would have come to the temple to
worship. Point is made that the LORD intends for ALL of his words to be heard;
Jeremiah was not to leave out a single word.
I believe that is God’s intention for those who are pastors in the church today—to
proclaim the whole counsel of God. When only part of God’s word is taught, the
people suffer. It’s like choosing to testify at a trial only according to the facts that
promote a specific conclusion—not necessarily the truth. If the truth is what is
being sought, one need not fear presenting all the available testimony.
This principle is declared in other parts of scripture.
Deuteronomy 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye
diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God
which I command you.”
Proverbs 30:5–6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust
in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Revelation 22:19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this
prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and
from the things which are written in this book.”
Jer. 26:3 If 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.
This message is actually one resulting from God’s mercy and grace. He is
declaring through Jeremiah that if the people will repent of their evil doings, His
judgment against them will be deferred.
Scripture is full of examples that show the heart of God toward the sinner as
expressed by Ezekiel and Peter.
Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD:
wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should
come to repentance.”
Jer. 26:4 And 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,
Jer. 26:5 To 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;
Jer. 26:6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a
curse to all the nations of the earth.
Even as grace and mercy are extended, the LORD is clear regarding the
consequences of rejecting Him. He has been faithful to send His servants the
prophets to urge the people to listen to YHWH and follow Him in obedience.
They have stubbornly refused to pay attention to the prophets. If they choose to
continue in their wicked ways and refuse to repent, the LORD is going to make
the temple like Shiloh and the city of Jerusalem a curse, a place of contempt to all the
nations on earth.
Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle was located when the people took
possession of the Promised Land.
Joshua 18:1 “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at
Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued
It was in Shiloh that Samuel served as an apprentice to Eli. Scripture does not
detail the destruction of Shiloh, but research indicates that it was destroyed
around 1050 BC.
Jer. 26:7 ¶ So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah
speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
Jer. 26:8 Now 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
Jer. 26:9 Why 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
Jeremiah boldly declared God’s message to the people and emphasizes the fact
that the priests and prophets, the spiritual leaders of the people, heard it along
with all the people. At the end of his message, all the spiritual leaders and the
people were ready to kill Jeremiah. They didn’t like his message of possible
destruction of the temple and their city.
Jer. 26:10 When 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.
Jer. 26:11 Then 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.
When the princes, the governmental leaders, heard what was going on, they
came from the palace to the temple and took a position at the new gate entry to
the temple. This was evidently the place of trial and judgment. The spiritual
leaders then gave testimony to Jeremiah’s prophecy against Jerusalem. They also
recommended that Jeremiah be killed for such blasphemy.
“as ye have heard with your ears” – Would have to be referencing the people,
not the princes.
Jer. 26:12 Then 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.
Jer. 26:13 Therefore 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.
Now Jeremiah speaks out in his own defense. He testifies that he was only
declaring the message that was given to him by the LORD. He again boldly
encourages the people to repent of their evil ways and turn back to the LORD in
faith and obedience. If they do, the LORD will defer His judgment against them.
Jer. 26:14 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good
and meet unto you.
Jer. 26:15 But 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.
Jeremiah then goes on to submit himself to the governing authorities. He warns
them, however, that if they kill him, they will be guilty of shedding innocent
blood because he is only acting in obedience to the LORD.
The following verses seem to indicate that Jeremiah’s persistence in declaring
God’s word in spite of the threat of death made an impact on the people.
Jer. 26:16 ¶ Then 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.
Jeremiah’s testimony seemed to find resonance with the audience. It seems that
they finally realized that he was actually speaking in the name “of the LORD our
Jer. 26:17 Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the
assembly of the people, saying,
Jer. 26:18 Micah 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.
Jer. 26:19 Did 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.
At this point some of the elders of the land shared their insight. They reminded
the people of the ministry of Micah the Morasthite that prophesied when
Hezekiah was king—about 100 years earlier. He too prophesied that the temple
and Jerusalem would be destroyed, but Hezekiah did not put him to death.
Hezekiah listened to Micah’s message and responded in holy fear of the LORD
and prayed for God’s deliverance and the LORD deferred judgment at that time.
If they were to kill a true prophet of God, they stood in danger of reprisal from
Jer. 26:20 And 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:
Jer. 26:21 And 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;
Jer. 26:22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the
son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt.
Jer. 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.
The information in this section of verses seems to be information for the reader of
Jeremiah’s record, and doesn’t seem to have been part of the discussion
pertaining to judgment. Or--Maybe this story was used by the elders to serve as
a warning against repeating the same offense against another prophet of God.
We are told that another prophet named Urijah was declaring God’s word
during this same time period. He too prophesied of judgment against Jerusalem
and Judah. When King Jehoiakim heard of his prophecy, he determined to kill
the prophet. Urijah evidently got wind of the king’s anger and fled to Egypt. He
did not possess the courage of Jeremiah in light of the danger to his life. The
king sent a delegation to bring Urijah back from Egypt. He was then executed
upon his return and his body wasn’t given the honor due a prophet of God.
What are we to learn from this record? We are to serve according to God’s will.
We are to trust in Him to provide for us according to His purposes. We are not
to fear death in light of our eternal inheritance. Believers today are blessed to
have more promises to claim than did the prophet’s of old in that regard.
Scripture is clear in stating that the LORD will honor those who honor Him.
1 Samuel 2:30 “… but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I
Isaiah 49:23 “…and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed
that wait for me.”
Romans 10:11 “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be
Jer. 26:24 Nevertheless 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
Kings 22 identifies Shaphan as a scribe that served under King Hezekiah. This
father and his son (Ahikam) and grandson (Gedaliah, Jer. 39, appointed governor
of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar) all are presented as faithful servants before the
Lord. They are all identified as serving men who honored God. It would seem
that Ahikam still had quite a bit of influence in the government and was able to
prevent the execution of Jeremiah.