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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 26

Verses 1-24

SECTION 2 (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 ).

Whilst the first twenty five chapters of Jeremiah have mainly been a record of his general prophecies, mostly given during the reigns of Josiah and Jehoiakim, and have been in the first person, this second section of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5) is in the third person, includes a great deal of material about the problems that Jeremiah faced during his ministry and provides information about the opposition that he continually encountered. This use of the third person was a device regularly used by prophets so that it does not necessarily indicate that it was not directly the work of Jeremiah, although in his case we actually have good reason to think that much of it was recorded under his guidance by his amanuensis and friend, Baruch (Jeremiah 36:4).

It can be divided up as follows:

1. Commencing With A Speech In The Temple Jeremiah Warns Of What Is Coming And Repudiates The Promises Of The False Prophets (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 29:32).

2. Promises Are Given Of Eventual Restoration And Of A New Covenant Written In The Heart (Jeremiah 30:1 to Jeremiah 33:26).

3. YHWH’s Continuing Word of Judgment Is Given Through Jeremiah And Its Repercussions Leading Up To The Fall Of Jerusalem Are Revealed (Jeremiah 34:1 to Jeremiah 39:18).

4. Events Subsequent To The Fall Of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 45:5).

Verses 1-24

SECTION 2 (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 ).

Whilst the first twenty five chapters of Jeremiah have mainly been a record of his general prophecies, mostly given during the reigns of Josiah and Jehoiakim, and have been in the first person, this second section of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5) is in the third person, includes a great deal of material about the problems that Jeremiah faced during his ministry and provides information about the opposition that he continually encountered. This use of the third person was a device regularly used by prophets so that it does not necessarily indicate that it was not directly the work of Jeremiah, although in his case we actually have good reason to think that much of it was recorded under his guidance by his amanuensis and friend, Baruch (Jeremiah 36:4).

It can be divided up as follows:

1. Commencing With A Speech In The Temple Jeremiah Warns Of What Is Coming And Repudiates The Promises Of The False Prophets (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 29:32).

2. Promises Are Given Of Eventual Restoration And Of A New Covenant Written In The Heart (Jeremiah 30:1 to Jeremiah 33:26).

3. YHWH’s Continuing Word of Judgment Is Given Through Jeremiah And Its Repercussions Leading Up To The Fall Of Jerusalem Are Revealed (Jeremiah 34:1 to Jeremiah 39:18).

4. Events Subsequent To The Fall Of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 45:5).

Verses 1-24

SECTION 2 (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 ).

Whilst the first twenty five chapters of Jeremiah have mainly been a record of his general prophecies, mostly given during the reigns of Josiah and Jehoiakim, and have been in the first person, this second section of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5) is in the third person, includes a great deal of material about the problems that Jeremiah faced during his ministry and provides information about the opposition that he continually encountered. This use of the third person was a device regularly used by prophets so that it does not necessarily indicate that it was not directly the work of Jeremiah, although in his case we actually have good reason to think that much of it was recorded under his guidance by his amanuensis and friend, Baruch (Jeremiah 36:4).

It can be divided up as follows:

1. Commencing With A Speech In The Temple Jeremiah Warns Of What Is Coming And Repudiates The Promises Of The False Prophets (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 29:32).

2. Promises Are Given Of Eventual Restoration And Of A New Covenant Written In The Heart (Jeremiah 30:1 to Jeremiah 33:26).

3. YHWH’s Continuing Word of Judgment Is Given Through Jeremiah And Its Repercussions Leading Up To The Fall Of Jerusalem Are Revealed (Jeremiah 34:1 to Jeremiah 39:18).

4. Events Subsequent To The Fall Of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 45:5).

Verses 20-24

The Case Of Uriah, The Son Of Shemaiah, Another Faithful Prophet (Jeremiah 26:20-24 ).

It is quite clear that this was not a part of the defence put forward by the elders, for it presents the opposite picture to that of Micah, and seeks a different verdict. In the case of Uriah, the king and his courtiers did not hear and repent, they remorselessly hunted him down. It may thus be that this was the counter-argument put forward by Jeremiah’s opponents, countering the argument of the elders. However, as Jeremiah’s trial appears to have occurred at the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign it is probable that the incident with respect to Uriah had not yet happened. And so alternately we may see this simply as an example introduced by the writer paralleling Jeremiah’s own case and illustrating the danger that he was in, for that also happened during the reign of Jehoiakim. It may thus be seen as basically passing judgment on Jehoiakim who had behaved in a way which was so unlike Hezekiah. It illustrates therefore the very real danger that Jeremiah was in, but also the fact that Jeremiah was not ‘alone among the prophets’ in his ministry. There were other men of God who stood with him.

Jeremiah 26:20

“And there was also a man who prophesied in the name of YHWH, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim; and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah,”

Uriah had, in the Name of YHWH, prophesied in precisely the same way as Jeremiah. he too had prophesied ‘against the city and against the land’. ‘According to all the words of Jeremiah’ may simply indicate similarity of message, or it may be an indication that he obtained much of his message from Jeremiah and his prophecies. Uriah is otherwise unknown but came from Kiriath-jearim which was a priestly city on the Benjamin-Judah border and had previously been a chief city of the Gibeonites in the days of Joshua. It is one of the comparatively few sites that have been definitely identified without doubt.

Jeremiah 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 Uriah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went to Egypt,”

Uriah’s words had especially upset Judah’s fighting arm (if we take ‘mighty men’ as soldiers) or Judah’s rich aristocracy (if we take ‘mighty men’ as signifying men of great wealth). Both alternatives would have seen their positions as undermined by Uriah’s words. And the result was that they had sought to put him to death, at which Uriah had, in alarm, fled to Egypt (just as Jeremiah himself would at one stage go into hiding - Jeremiah 36:26).

Jeremiah 26:22

“And Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him, to Egypt, and they fetched forth Uriah out of Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.”

But he had not been safe there, because Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt, and sent his men there to obtain Uriah’s extradition. And they brought Uriah to the king who had him executed and then buried ‘among the common people’ that is in the graveyard where the poor were buried (2 Kings 23:6) in unmarked graves. He was determined that Uriah would not be remembered. (It is of interest to note that Jehoiakim himself would subsequently suffer worse ignominy on his death - Jeremiah 22:18-19).

Elnathan may have been Jehoiakim’s father-in-law (2 Kings 24:8). He was one of the princes who had listened to Jeremiah’s scroll being read and had responded from his heart, seeking to dissuade Jehoiakim from burning it (Jeremiah 36:12. ff).

Jeremiah 26:24

‘But 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.’

In contrast Jeremiah was protected from the king’s wrath and the wrath of the people as a result of the activity of Ahikam the son of Shaphan. He was clearly someone in high authority who took Jeremiah’s side and arranged for his protection. God often has His representatives in high places. He was one of the five who, as a young man, went with his father to Huldah the prophetess on behalf of Josiah when the law book was found in the Temple (2 Kings 22:12). He was also the father of Gedaliah who would later become governor of Judah after Jerusalem was destroyed.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/jeremiah-26.html. 2013.