Jeremiah 26 Commentary


The dangerous life of a prophet (26:1-24)

Again Jeremiah went to the temple, where he could preach to people who came from all over Judah to worship. He stood in the open court and urged the worshippers to give up their sinful ways and return to God (26:1-3). If they refused, the temple would be demolished, as the tabernacle had been at Shiloh several centuries earlier (4-6; see notes on 7:1-15; cf. also 19:14-20:6).

Religious officials and ordinary citizens alike were so angered at Jeremiah’s words that a riot threatened to develop and Jeremiah was in serious physical danger (7-9). When the city officials rushed to the temple to intervene in the crisis, the leaders among the crowd demanded that Jeremiah be executed (10-11).

Jeremiah defended himself by pointing out that he had only been speaking the message God gave him. His real desire was that the people repent, for only by such action would they save themselves and their temple from destruction (12-15). The city officials accepted his defence (16). Other respected leaders supported them, adding that instead of trying to kill the prophet, people should take notice of his warnings. If they changed their ways, they would save themselves from disaster. In this they would be following the good example of a former Judean king, Hezekiah, who heeded the prophet of his day (17- 19; cf. Micah 3:12).

Although Jeremiah on this occasion escaped death, another prophet who spoke a similar message did not. This man, Uriah, had heard of a threat to his life and fled to Egypt, but the wicked Jehoiakim had him brought back to Jerusalem and executed (20-23). Jeremiah received some protection at this dangerous time through the loyalty of an influential friend, Ahikam (24). (Ahikam seems to have been an important palace official. He had been a key man in the launching of Josiah’s reforms; see 2 Kings 22:11-14.)

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