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B. The Three Historical Appendices
The Prophet Of The Lord And The False Prophets
It has been already shown in the introduction to the ninth discourse that these chapters stand here together, because their common topic is the conflict of the true prophet with the false prophets. Their position just here, however, is occasioned by the close historical connection of chh. 27, 28, with Jeremiah 25:0. There is thus a double connection, (1) that of chh. 27, 28, with Jeremiah 25:0 (Cup of wrath and yoke); (2) that of chh. 26–29 with each other (false prophets). Before Jeremiah 27:0, however, stands Jeremiah 26:0, and thus separates the connected passages, Jeremiah 25:0, and chh. 27, 28, because it is the oldest in time. It comes before the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Perhaps also the four chapters were found in this order, and transposed here as a whole. Chh. 27, 28 belong to the fourth year of Zedekiah (Comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 27:1). Ch. 29 is somewhat earlier in date (Comp. the Introd. to this chapter). The arrangement of these four chapters is thus not consistently chronological. Perhaps first, the struggle of the prophet with the false prophets in their home (Jeremiah 26-28), then his struggle with those also who had emigrated to Babylon is represented. [“Jeremiah goes back here from the mention of the fourth year of Jehoiakim to the beginning of that king’s reign, in order to suggest to his readers an evidence, a fortiori, of God’s mercy and forbearance to Jerusalem. God gave solemn denunciations to Jehoiakim and Jerusalem in Jehoiakim’s fourth year. But He did more than this: He had sent a prophetic message of warning to him even at the beginning of his reign. Such considerations as these will suggest the reasons for which Jeremiah’s prophecies are not placed in chronological order.” Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]
1. THE CONFLICT OF JEREMIAH WITH, THE FALSE PROPHETS BEFORE THE FOURTH YEAR OF JEHOIAKIM
1In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, 2came this word from the Lord [Jehovah] saying, Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah]: Stand in the court of the Lord’s [Jehovah’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 3thee to speak unto them; diminish [omit] not a word. If so be [perhaps] they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, 4which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them: Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah]: If ye will not hearken to 5me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both1 rising up early, and sending 6them, but ye have not hearkened: then will I make this house like Shiloh, and 7will make this2 city a curse to all the nations of the earth. So the priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the 8Lord [Jehovah]. 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. 9Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord [Jehovah] 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 [Jehovah]. 10When the princes of Judah heard those things, then they came up from the king’s house into the house of the Lord [Jehovah] and sat down in the entry of the 11new gate3 of the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] house. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, this man is worthy to die; for 12he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord [Jehovah] sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye 13have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord [Jehovah] your God, and the Lord will repent him of the evil that 14he hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with 15me as seemeth good and meet unto you. 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.
16Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and unto the prophets: This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord 17[Jehovah] our God Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to 18all the assembly of the people, saying, Micah 4:0 the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying,
Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth:
Zion shall be plowed as a field,
Jerusalem shall become a heap of stones,
And the mountain of the house woody heights.
19Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the Lord [Jehovah] and besought [propitiated]5 the Lord [Jehovah] and the Lord [Jehovah] repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them. Thus might we procure great evil [We however are about to commit great wickedness] 20against our [own] souls. And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord [Jehovah], Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath-jearim, who prophesied against the city and against the land, according to all the words of 21Jeremiah. And [when] Jehoiakim, the king, with all his mighty men [warriors] and all the princes, heard his words [and] the king sought to put him to death: but [when] Urijah heard of it [and] he was afraid and fled, and went into Egypt. 22And Jehoiakim, the king, sent men into Egypt, Elnathan, the son of Achhor, and 23certain men with him into Egypt. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and 24cast his dead body into the graves of the common [sons of the] people. Nevertheless [But] the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should [did] not give him into the hands of the people to put him to death.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
It has been shown above that this chapter is not immediately connected with chap. 25, but mediately through chh. 27, 28. The assertion of Graf that “the narrative of this occurrence has no connection either with the preceding or with the following context” is incomprehensible. For if we do not agree with Ewald that each of the three supplements concludes with a glance at those prophets, who either prophesied what was directly false or did not defend the truth with becoming steadfastness (Proph. d. A. B., II., S. 137), it is yet indisputable that all these four chapters treat of the conflict of the prophet with false prophets, that they follow each other in chronological order, and that chh. 26–29 presuppose Jeremiah 25:0 as their basis. This explains the position of Jeremiah 26:0 here. I cannot accept the statement of Graf that as a record of personal experiences it ought to have stood before Jeremiah 34:0 : for here the narrative would stand quite isolated topically, and chh. 34–44, are not the only place for the prophet’s personal experiences, for they are inserted elsewhere, according to the connection of facts. Comp. chh. 20 and 30. And this is the case with chh. 26–29. We might rather expect that, on account of the relation of the facts, it would come after Jeremiah 23:0. But on the one hand it would disturb the plan of that group (against kings and prophets) by partial details, and on the other the principal matter of chh. 27 and 28 has too close an historical connection with Jeremiah 25:0 to be separated from it, or even only to be placed before it. The reason why this chapter does not stand after chh. 7 sqq., where it properly belongs in historical connection, is that the series of great discourses was not to be interrupted by a long historical section. As far as Jeremiah 18:0 are discourses only. From this point onwards the historical element is successively brought forward. Although thus separated in position, this Jeremiah 26:0 refers back to the great discourse in chh. 7–10, and describes the almost fatal consequences, which it had with respect to the person of the prophet (Jeremiah 26:1-19). At the same time, however, the opportunity is afforded for the narrative concerning another prophet, Urijah, the son of Shemaiah, who had no such courageous patron as Ahikam, and really fell a sacrifice to his fidelity to his calling at the command of the ungodly king Jehoiakim.
Jeremiah 26:1-6. In the beginning … all the nations of the earth. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, at any rate before the battle of Carchemish, since there is no mention made of the Chaldeans, Jeremiah receives the command to stand in the fore-court of the temple (comp. Jeremiah 19:4, and Exeg. on Jeremiah 7:2), and proclaim a revelation he has received to all the Jews who have come up to the feast. What feast this was we know not (comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 7:2). The introductory formula in Jeremiah 7:1 is: Go into the gate and proclaim as follows. Here it is said: Stand in the fore-court and proclaim all that I have commanded thee, without omitting anything. There the command to go into the gate precedes the revelation. Here the order is reversed. For here the words which I command thee, and omit not a word, point back to the revelation as one previously received. The latter especially would have no sense, if what is to be delivered by the prophet had not been already communicated. Still, however, in Jeremiah 26:4 sqq., the chief contents of the discourse follow in a brief and pregnant recapitulation. There is no contradiction in this. It may have been that the prophet received the revelation of the great discourse in chh. 7–10, at the same time with the command to deliver it in the temple, and that afterwards, when the moment of performance came, the command was repeated with a reference on the one hand to the revelation received (Jeremiah 26:2), and on the other with a brief recapitulation of its main import (Jeremiah 26:4-6).—Omit not a word reminds us of Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 13:1 coll. Revelation 22:19.—If so be they will hearken, Jeremiah 26:3. It is apparent that the assembly to the feast must have appeared a specially favorable opportunity for a decisive attempt.—Repent me of the evil. Comp. Jeremiah 18:8; אל as in Jeremiah 26:13; Jeremiah 26:19; Jeremiah 42:10; Judges 21:6; 2 Samuel 24:16.—rising early. Comp. Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:3-4.—But ye have not hearkened, retained as a reminiscence of the passage Jeremiah 7:13, is to be regarded as a parenthesis; since the apodosis begins with Jeremiah 26:6.—Like Shiloh. In these words the prophet reproduces most distinctly the main threatening of the great discourse in chap. 7 (comp. Jeremiah 26:12; Jeremiah 26:14, and the rems. thereon).—A curse. Comp. Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 25:18.
Jeremiah 26:7-11. So the priests … have heard with your ears. The priests and prophets here appear as the real opponents of Jeremiah. Very probably most of the false prophets were themselves priests. Comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 20:6.—The people allow themselves to be carried away, though on the speech of the princes they are disposed to espouse the cause of Jeremiah against the priests and prophets (Jeremiah 26:16), and in other circumstances would be ready to execute the sentence of death on him (Jeremiah 26:24). The princes are not yet filled with that blood-thirsty hatred towards Jeremiah, which they afterwards manifest (Jeremiah 37:0 sqq.).—In the words like Shiloh they allude to Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 7:14, as in the following without an inheritance to Jeremiah 9:10.—On gate of the Lord’s house, comp. rems. on Jeremiah 20:2.—Worthy to die. This expression (משׁפט מות) occurs also in Deuteronomy 19:6; Deuteronomy 21:22. As the first word in itself signifies judgment or condemnation, the phrase may from the connection denote judgment or condemnation to death. The expression in Jeremiah 26:11 and Deuteronomy 19:6, may be taken in the first, in Jeremiah 26:16 and Deuteronomy 21:22 in the second sense.
Jeremiah 26:12-19. Then spake Jeremiah … our souls. In the words amend your ways the prophet repeats the chief requisition of his discourse in Jeremiah 7:3; Jeremiah 7:5. It is thus to be seen that he is neither terrified nor evilly disposed towards his people. On this condition, but on this condition only, does he promise salvation. If they do not like this they may do with him as they will. They are, however, at the same time to know that in killing him they would bring upon themselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood. This answer of Jeremiah’s, short and simple but firm and decided, appears to have made a deep impression on the judges and the people. For Jeremiah is acquitted. Some of the elders of the people (זקני הארץ, elders of the land, Jeremiah 26:17, are distinguished from the שָׂרִים, princes, Jeremiah 26:10, who are in the king’s house, at court and members of the government, while the former represent the local magistrates throughout the country, comp. Jeremiah 37:15; Jeremiah 38:5; Jeremiah 38:25 sqq.) support this sentence by reference to a former occurrence. The prophet Micah, [of Moresheth near Eleutheropolis, in Philistia. Euseb., Jerome], had not been punished by Hezekiah on account of a similar utterance.—On the point, that the passage Jeremiah 3:12 forms the climax of the minatory prophecies of Micah, and that Jeremiah quotes the book of Micah especially in the discourse in chh. Jeremiah 7:9. comp. Caspari, passim. From the last mentioned circumstance it follows that Jeremiah himself reminds his hearers of Micah, and institutes a comparison between himself and this prophet. Caspari however errs in attributing the discourse in chh. Jeremiah 7:9. to the reign of Josiah. [On the fulfilment of the prophecy of Micah and Jeremiah, comp. Thomson, The Land and the Book, II., 475.—S. R. A.]
Jeremiah 26:20-24. And there was also a man … to put him to death. That this narrative about Urijah does not continue the words of Jeremiah’s friends, is clear from the circumstance that in this case a precedent would be referred to unfavorable to Jeremiah. It is evident that they are not the words of his opponents from the absence of any introductory formula. Others affirm that this story must have related to a later period than the commencement of Jehoiakim’s reign. This however depends on how far we extend the commencement. Apart then from the question, whether this occurred earlier or later, which it will be difficult to decide. I think, with Grotius, Schnurrer, Rosenmueller and others, that Jeremiah himself adds this story in order to show in how great danger he then was of his life. At all events the events narrated had happened when Jeremiah wrote his book, which he did the first time in the 4th and 5th years of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:1 sqq.; 9 sqq.), and the second time immediately after the destruction of the first book in the 9th month of the 5th year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:28 sqq.) The events might have occurred up to this time; and even if they belong to a later period, the possibility is not excluded that they were inserted here by Jeremiah himself. Yet it is easier to explain the phrases this city and this land, in Jeremiah 26:20, if we suppose that the prophet had these expressions, which strictly taken presuppose an oral address, still la remembrance from the preceding conversation. Nothing further is known either of Urijah, or his father Shemaiah.—Elnathan the son of Achhor is also mentioned in Jeremiah 36:12; Jeremiah 36:25 among the princes favorable to Jeremiah. Jehoiakim appears to have been his son-in-law, for Nehushta, the mother of Jehoiachin was, according to 2 Kings 24:8, a daughter of Elnathan. Achhor is mentioned in 2 Kings 22:12 as one of the princes, who were in personal attendance on Josiah.—The graves of the common people (Jeremiah 26:23) appear elsewhere as an unhallowed place (2 Kings 23:6). On the expression “sons of the people” comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 17:19.
Jeremiah 26:24. But the hand of Ahikam. The particle אך, only, but, presupposes a thought, which easily flows from the previous context, so would it have been with Jeremiah. From the mention of Ahikam alone it is plain that it was he who caused the decision to be favorable to Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 26:16 sqq.) He is also mentioned in 2 Kings 22:12-14, together with Achhor, and according to Jeremiah 39:14; Jeremiah 40:5, and other passages, he was the father of the governor Gedaliah.
Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 26:5.—The ו before השׁכם=and, moreover, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 111, 1.
Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 26:6.—הזאתה. This form is found here only in the Chethibh. It is not a scriptural error, the ה being the so-called paragogic. Comp. Olsh. § 101, c, and § 133, S. 254.
Jeremiah 26:10; Jeremiah 26:10.—[Targum: The east gate.]
Jeremiah 26:18; Jeremiah 26:18.—The Masoretes alter מִיבָיָה into מִיכָה, not because they regard the former as correct, but to bring out clearly the identity of this Micah with him whose book is included in the canon (comp. Caspari, Micha der Moraschtite, S.12).—The passage quoted is found verbatim in Micah 3:12, except that there we read עִיִּין instead of עִיִּים. (Comp. Olsh., S. 207, 288.)
Jeremiah 26:19; Jeremiah 26:19.—[Literally: Soothed by prayer the face of the Lord.—S. R. A.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28