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1. In the beginning, etc. This phrase clearly indicates a time before the memorable fourth year of this king, in which, took place the first deportation to Babylon.
DESTRUCTION THREATENED, Jeremiah 26:1-7.
This chapter adds some historical details to the prophecies which are given more at length in chapters 7-9. It more definitely marks the time, gives the language, and narrates the circumstances. It is distinguished by a special heading which separates it from the prophecies preceding and following. But in subject-matter it is closely joined to what follows, and has the same note of time as the next chapter. Chapters 27-29 are closely related to chapter 25, being a fuller treatment of the subject of the captivity, and especially a counter assertion to Hananiah’s false prophecy, which promised a speedy release and return to their own land. Between these comes chapter 26 as an interesting historical interlude, bringing out the position of Jeremiah and his relations to the people, and also their temper at this time, immediately preceding their downfall.
2. Court of the Lord’s house Probably the people’s court. How bold and how solemnly impressive must the prophecy of destruction have sounded in this place!
3. If so be they will hearken Thus, even at the very last, comes the intimation that repentance would avert their ruin. And so their destruction, like that of all sinners, was self-procured. The worst evils cannot be thrust upon us from without. The irretrievable ruin is that which comes from within, and results from persistent and obdurate wickedness.
6. Shiloh Where God once dwelt. Compare Jeremiah 7:14. Once the sanctuary of the people, even as Jerusalem, but now a desolation.
7. The priests and the prophets Indicating, in no doubtful manner, how effectually Jeremiah had succeeded in arresting public attention.
INDIGNATION OF THE PEOPLE, Jeremiah 26:8-19.
8. Had made an end of speaking, etc. To this point Jeremiah had commanded the respectful attention of the people. Great as was their indignation they did not interrupt his discourse. Of course, the phrase all the people must not be pressed to the extreme. It implies, not absolute unanimity, but general agreement.
9. Why hast thou prophesied The charge was false prophesying, for which the penalty would be death. Deuteronomy 18:20.
Against Jeremiah Rather, unto Jeremiah. They came about him for trial.
10. Princes of Judah Probably the judicial officers who were about the palace the germ of the sanhedrin of later times. They evidently had the power of life and death.
The new gate Cannot be identified. The Targum says, “east gate.” It was built by Jotham, (2 Kings 15:35,) and, according to Jeremiah 36:10, was by the inner court.
12. The Lord sent me How simple and how perfect this justification! The prophets, men of his own class, join with the priests in calling for Jeremiah’s condemnation; a circumstance which must have had great weight with the people. Yet his answer is sufficient. It exculpates him, and virtually condemns them; for they, so far from giving free course to the word of God, actually hindered it.
13-15. Amend your ways Even now he has for them a message of love and hope. He speaks as a man eager for one thing the good of the commonwealth.
I am in your hands His individual life was but a trifle, and they could do with him according to their pleasure. His only protest is against being esteemed a false prophet, for to reject him would be to reject his message.
16. The princes and all the people The action of these magistrates was worthy of better times. Jeremiah’s simple and heroic words are rightly seen to indicate the true prophet; and so they refuse the popular clamour for his blood. This decision commands the approval of the people, showing that not all had a positive temper against him; but, on the contrary, many were open to feel the force and truthfulness of his words. This trial, in many particulars, answers to that other trial in which the great archetypal Prophet stood before the world’s tribunal, as represented by Pilate, and, by the resistless force of his own divine purity, compelled the verdict, “I find no fault in the man.”
17. Elders These represented the assembled congregation, giving voice to the sentiment of the people. The scene was an impressive one. The bold, solitary, suffering prophet, standing almost in the visible shadow of death; the sanctimonious, spiteful, scoffing priests and prophets; the vast congregation of people whose earthly and spiritual hopes were involved in the questions at issue; the grave and reverend judges, visible embodiment of the dread majesty of the law; the place of meeting, being none other than the sanctuary itself, endeared by the holy memories of four centuries; and the clouds of war gathering in the distant horizon all conspire to the deep and solemn interest of the occasion, and make it one of the notable passages of history.
18. Micah the Morasthite See Micah 3:12. The name stands in the original in its full form, Micajah who is like God? He is called the “Morasthite” from the place of his residence, Morasheth. The pertinence of the reference consists in this, that predictions of evil against the holy place are not without distinguished precedent, and even good Hezekiah was not above taking warning from them.
19. Did Hezekiah, etc. What is here stated we learn from no other source. We are elsewhere told of Micah’s prophecy, and of Hezekiah’s prayer to God for protection from the mighty enemy, but not of the result here stated. Here, then, as in many other places, do we recognise a coming in of material from a source outside of the canonical Scriptures.
Besought the Lord Literally, stroke the face of Jehovah.
THE FATE OF URIJAH THE PROPHET, Jeremiah 26:20-24.
20. The case of the prophet Urijah is here cited, but whether by the elders, in continuation of their speech, or by Jeremiah himself, as the historian, has been disputed. Its close connexion with the preceding and its general agreement as to subject-matter, favours the former view; but the essential incongruity of the two histories as to their apparent bearing on the case of Jeremiah, and the difficulty, if not impossibility, of finding time for this history of Urijah in the reign of Jehoiakim before this time, which, as stated in Jeremiah 26:1, was “in the beginning” of his reign, seem well-nigh conclusive in favour of the latter, it would seem, then, that Jeremiah added this incident in order to perfect the contrast between Hezekiah and Jehoiakim, and thus still more perfectly illustrate the difficulties and dangers by which he was environed. The phrase according to all the words of Jeremiah falls in and confirms this view.
As to the history itself, this passage is alone. We have no other information about this man Urijah than is given here. But the passage shows that Jeremiah did not stand absolutely alone in his work, but that other men sympathized with, supported, and, as in this instance, actually assisted. So true is it that that extreme sense of loneliness sometimes exhibited by such men as Jeremiah and Elijah is not warranted.
22. Sent men into Egypt Jehoiakim was in close alliance with the king of Egypt, having been placed on his throne by him; hence the facility with which he seemed to recover a man who sought asylum there.
Elnathan Whether this was the king’s father-in-law, who also had the same name, (2 Kings 24:8,) cannot be decided. But he is mentioned in Jeremiah 36:12; Jeremiah 36:25, as among the princes favourable to Jeremiah, which bears against such identification.
23. Common people See 2 Kings 23:6. The place of this “ common” burial ground was in the Kidron valley.
24. Hand of Ahikam The implication of this verse would seem to be, that had not Jeremiah been especially protected by a man of influence and power he would have shared a similar fate with Urijah.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11