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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,
Ver. 1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. ] What a sudden change was here, soon after the death of good Josiah! And was there not the like in England after the death of that English Josiah, Edward VI? Within a very few days of Queen Mary’s reign were various learned and godly men in various parts committed to prison for religion, and Mr Rogers, the proto-martyr, put to death, as was that holy prophet of God, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, not many weeks before Jeremiah was apprehended and questioned for his life, as is here related, his adversaries being pricked on by pride and malice.
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 word:
Ver. 2. Diminish not a word. ] Or, Detract not aught, viz., for fear or favour, lest I confound thee before them. Jeremiah 1:17 ; see there Haec, instar speculi omnium temporum, pastoribus inspicienda sunt. Here is a mirror for ministers.
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.
Ver. 3. That I may repent me of the evil; because of the evil. ] Flagitium et flagellum sicut acus et filum; evil of sin produceth evil of pain. See Jeremiah 4:4 ; Jeremiah 4:6 .
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,
Ver. 4. If ye will not hearken unto me. ] A conditional menace, the contrary promise whereunto see Jeremiah 26:13 . And this was the sum of all Jeremiah’s sermons.
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;
Ver. 5. Both rising early, and sending them. ] See Jeremiah 7:13 ; Jeremiah 11:7 ; Jeremiah 25:3 .
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.
Ver. 6. Then will I make this house like Shiloh. ] This same threat Jeremiah had uttered in good Josiah’s days, Jer 7:12-14 and no harm ensued. Now, tempora mutantur, truth breedeth hatred; and the prophet is in danger, for discharging his conscience, to be murdered; as were Rogers, Bradford, Taylor, and other famous preachers in those dog days of Queen Mary.
Jer 26:7 So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
Ver. 7. So the priests and the prophets. ] Like unto these prophets were the scribes and the lawyers in Christ’s time. a
a Verbum Domini parit crucem. The word of God brought forth the cross. - Oecol.
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 die.
Ver. 8. That the priests and the prophets, &c. ] So they dealt by Stephen, Act 7:57-58 by Arnulph, an excellent preacher of the truth according to godliness at Rome, A.D. 1125, in the time of Pope Honorius II. Hic clericorum insidiis necatur. a This good man was put to death by the instigation of the clergy, against whose avarice, pride, and luxury he bitterly inveighed, and was therefore much favoured by the Roman nobility; as was likewise Wycliffe by the English, and Huss by the Bohemian; but the envious priests wrought their ruin.
a Func. Chronol. ex Platina.
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 the LORD.
Ver. 9. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord? ] Who doubtless hath not sent thee on this errand; but thou speakest it of thine own head, and shalt dearly answer it.
And all the people were gathered. ] That many headed multitude, that neutrum modo, mas modo vulgus. See Jeremiah 26:16 .
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].
Ver. 10. When the princes of Judah heard those things. ] Pii viri sunt quibus doluit populi impietas; good men they were, saith Oecolampadius. They might be so, some of them at least; and it was well done of them here to pass an impartial sentence for the innocent prophet against the priests and people. But Pilate did so for a while for our Saviour; and these princes soon after turned Jeremiah’s cruel enemies Jer 37:15 for his plain dealing. Jer 34:1-7
And sat down in the entry of the new gate. ] The east gate, saith the Chaldee paraphrast; called the new gate because repaired by Jotham, 2Ki 15:35 saith Lyra.
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.
Ver. 11. Then spake the priests and the prophets. ] Against a priest and a prophet; but he had earnestly inveighed against them, Jeremiah 23:1-2 ; Jeremiah 23:14-15 ; Jer 23:33-34 and hence the hatred. As Erasmus told the Duke of Saxony that Luther had been too busy with the Pope’s triple crown and with the priests’ fat paunches, and was therefore so generally set against.
Saying, This man is worthy to die. ] Sic Papicolae nostri saeculi. These are the very words of Popish persecutors.
For he hath prophesied against this city. ] This holy, and therefore, it must be believed, inviolable city. Novum crimen, C. Caesar, &c. These sinners against their own souls, traitors also to the state, will neither see their evil condition, nor hear of it from others, as having gall in their ears, as they say of some kinds of creatures.
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.
Ver. 12. The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house. ] In this apology of the prophet thus answering for himself with a heroic spirit, five noble virtues, fit for a martyr, are by an expositor well observed: (1.) His prudence in alleging his divine mission; (2.) His charity in exhorting his enemies to repent; (3.) His humility in saying, "Behold, I am in your hand," &c.; (4.) His magnanimity and freedom of speech, in telling them that God would revenge his death; (5.) His spiritual security and fearlessness of death in so good a cause, and with so good a conscience.
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.
Ver. 13. Amend your ways. ] Fall out with your faults, and not with your friends. See Jeremiah 7:3 .
And the Lord will repent him of the evil. ] This he often inculcateth. Ideo minatur Deus ut non puniat. Therefore God will threaten so as not to punish. See Jeremiah 18:8 .
Jer 26:14 As for me, behold, I [am] in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
Ver. 14. As for me, behold, I am in your hand. ] See here how God gave his holy prophet a mouth and wisdom, such as his adversaries were not able to resist. The like he did to other of his martyrs and confessors, as were easy to instance. If the queen will give me life, I will thank her; if she will banish me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her, said Bradford to Cresswell, offering to intercede for him. a
To do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. ] But this I can safely say, Non omnis moriar. All that ye can do is, to "kill the body." Kill me you may, but hurt me you cannot. Life in God’s displeasure is worse than death. I am not of their mind who say,
“ κακως ζην κρειον η θανειν καλως .”
- Euripid. in Aulide.
Better live basely than die bravely. Faxit Deus ut quilibet nostrum epilogum habeat galeatum. God grant that, whether our death be a burnt-offering of martyrdom, or a peace offering of a natural death, it may be a free will offering, a sweet sacrifice to the Lord.
a Acts and Mon., 1462.
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.
Ver. 15. Ye shall surely bring innocent blood, &c. ] So Mr Rogers, our proto-martyr in Queen Mary’s days: If God, said he, look not mercifully upon England, the seeds of utter destruction are sown in it already by these hypocritical tyrants, and Antichristian prelates, double traitors to their native country. a
a Acts and Mon.
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.
Ver. 16. Then said the princes and all the people. ] The mobile vulgus. changeable mob, on Jeremiah 26:9 . The good prophet is acquitted, as Athanasius afterwards was often; for if to be accused were enough to make a man guilty, none should be innocent.
Jer 26:17 Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying,
Ver. 17. Then rose up certain of the elders. ] Viri illi admodum venerabiles erant, saith Oecolampadius. These were very worthy men, whether princes or pleaders, well read in the annals of the times, as great men ought to be.
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.
Ver. 18. Micah the Morashite. ] See on Micah 1:1 .
Zion shall be ploughed like a field. ] See Micah 3:3 .
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.
Ver. 19. Did Hezekiah king of Judah. ] Laudable examples are to be remembered; and, as occasion requireth, imitated. That was a very good one of Constantine the Great, when the Arians brought accusations against the orthodox bishops, as here the false prophets did against Jeremiah, he burned them, and said, These accusations will have proper hearing at the last day of judgment. a
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:
Ver. 20. And there was also a man. ] This seemeth to be the plea of the adverse party, producing an example opposite to the former, and showing what the way was now, whatever it had been heretofore. New lords, new laws.
According to all the words of Jeremiah. ] Whose contemporary he was, and his memory was yet fresh bleeding.
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;
Ver. 21. And when Jehoiakim. ] This tiger laid hold with his teeth on all the excellent spirits of the times. See Jeremiah 36:26 .
He was afraid, and fled. ] Not out of timorousness, but prudence. Tertullian was too rigid in condemning all kinds of flight in times of persecution. God hath not made his people as standing buttmarks to be shot at, &c. See Matthew 10:23 .
Jer 26:22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, [namely], Elnathan the son of Achbor, and [certain] men with him into Egypt.
Ver. 22. And Jehoiakim sent men into Egypt. ] Where he might have anything, for he was Pharaoh’s feudatory and vassal.
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.
Ver. 23. And they set forth Uriah out of Egypt. ] As they did here Sir John Cheek out of the Low Countries, and frightened him into a recantation. Not so this Uriah.
And they set forth Uriah out of Egypt. ] En collusio principum mundi in parricidio.
Who slew him with the sword. ] Without all law, right, or reason. So John Baptist was murdered, as if God had been nothing aware of him, said that martyr. But Jehoiakim got as little by this as he did afterwards by burning Jeremiah’s book; or as Vespasian afterwards did by banishing all the philosophers of his time, because they spake boldly against his vices and tyranny.
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 to death.
Ver. 24. Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam. ] Who had been one of Josiah’s counsellors. 2Ki 22:12 By this man’s authority and help Jeremiah was delivered, and God rewarded him in his son Gedaliah, made governor of the land. 2Ki 25:22
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17