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Jer 26:1-24. JEREMIAH DECLARED WORTHY OF DEATH, BUT BY THE INTERPOSITION OF AHIKAM SAVED; THE SIMILAR CASES OF MICAH AND URIJAH BEING ADDUCED IN THE PROPHET'S FAVOR.
The prophecies which gave the offense were those given in detail in the seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters (compare Jer 26:6 here with Jer 7:12, 14); and summarily referred to here [MAURER], probably pronounced at one of the great feasts (that of tabernacles, according to USSHER; for the inhabitants of "all the cities of Judah" are represented as present, Jer 26:2). See on Jer 7:1.
2. in the court--the largest court, from which he could be heard by
the whole people.
3. if so be--expressed according to human conceptions; not as if God did not foreknow all contingencies, but to mark the obstinacy of the people and the difficulty of healing them; and to show His own goodness in making the offer which left them without excuse [CALVIN].
8. priests--The captain (or prefect) of the temple had the power of
apprehending offenders in the temple with the sanction of the priests.
10. princes--members of the Council of State or Great Council, which
took cognizance of such offenses.
12. Lord sent me--a valid justification against any laws alleged
13. (Jer 26:3, 19).
14. Jeremiah's humility is herein shown, and submission to the powers that be (Ro 13:1).
15. bring . . . upon yourselves--So far will you be from escaping the predicted evils by shedding my blood, that you will, by that very act, only incur heavier penalties (Mt 23:35).
16. princes . . . all the people--The fickle people, as they were previously influenced by the priests to clamor for his death (Jer 26:8), so now under the princes' influence require that he shall not be put to death. Compare as to Jesus, Jeremiah's antitype, the hosannas of the multitude a few days before the same people, persuaded by the priests as in this case, cried, Away with Him, crucify Him (Mt 21:1-11; 27:20-25). The priests, through envy of his holy zeal, were more his enemies than the princes, whose office was more secular than religious. A prophet could not legally be put to death unless he prophesied in the name of other gods (therefore, they say, "in the name of the Lord"), or after his prophecy had failed in its accomplishment. Meanwhile, if he foretold calamity, he might be imprisoned. Compare Micaiah's case (1Ki 22:1-28).
17. Compare Gamaliel's interposition
19. Hezekiah, so far from killing him, was led "to fear the Lord,"
and pray for remission of the sentence against Judah
20. As the flight and capture of Urijah must have occupied some
time, "the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim"
must not mean the very beginning, but the second or third year
of his eleven years' reign.
22. Jehoiakim sent . . . into Egypt--He had been put on the throne by Pharaoh of Egypt (2Ki 23:34). This explains the readiness with which he got the Egyptians to give up Urijah to him, when that prophet had sought an asylum in Egypt. Urijah was faithful in delivering his message, but faulty in leaving his work, so God permitted him to lose his life, while Jeremiah was protected in danger. The path of duty is often the path of safety.
23. graves of the common people--literally, "sons of the people" (compare 2Ki 23:6). The prophets seem to have had a separate cemetery (Mt 23:29). Urijah's corpse was denied this honor, in order that he should not be regarded as a true prophet.
24. Ahikam--son of Shaphan the scribe, or royal secretary. He was
one of those whom King Josiah, when struck by the words of the book of
the law, sent to inquire of the Lord
(2Ki 22:12, 14).
Hence his interference here in behalf of Jeremiah is what we should
expect from his past association with that good king. His son,
Gedaliah, followed in his father's steps, so that he was chosen by the
Babylonians as the one to whom they committed Jeremiah for safety after
taking Jerusalem, and on whose loyalty they could depend in setting him
over the remnant of the people in Judea