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Messages of impending judgment have never been popular – especially when directed towards a self-righteous, outwardly religious populace that prides itself on its invincibility and refuses to acknowledge its sin. It would be easy in such a context to try to soften the blow of God’s thunderous declarations. But Jeremiah courageously faced up to the burden of his calling and took his stand on the faithful proclamation of the Word of God. He was willing to the let the chips fall where they may – even if that meant his own execution. God has not called us to spineless Christianity. We are not some form of jellyfish that changes according to the pressure of the moment. We must courageously take a stand and fulfill our calling.



A. (:1-3) Charge to Jeremiah to Speak God’s Word

1. The Time Stamp for the Prophecy

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah,”

Kidner: Little more than three months had seen King Josiah killed in battle, his successor deported to Egypt, and this third king, a man of no scruples, imposed on the country. At such a moment, to give strong warnings of potentially worse things in store was to take one’s life in one’s hands, especially when these warnings touched the temple and the holy city, popularly thought to be inviolable.

2. The Authority Behind the Prophecy

“this word came from the LORD, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD,’”

God’s message is clear and demands faithful communication

3. The Place of the Prophecy

“Stand in the court of the LORD’s house,”

Quite a challenge presented here to Jeremiah by the Lord

4. The Intended Audience for the Prophecy

“and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the LORD’s house”

5. The Scope of the Prophecy

“all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them.

Do not omit a word!”

Avoid the temptation to soften the prophetic burden or to try to make it more palatable

6. The Goal of the Prophecy

“Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’”

Even at this point the possibility of repentance is presented as a way for the nation to escape the unleashing of God’s wrath

B. (:4-6) Curse Promised for Stubborn Refusal to Repent

“And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.’”

Feinberg: Here we have a kind of precis of the longer address in chapter 7.

Mackay: It should also be recognized that the two accounts of the sermon are presented for different purposes. The first account in chapter 7 is set in the context of Jeremiah’s preaching, warning the community that they must reform their behavior or the city will be destroyed. The second account in chapter 26 is placed at the beginning of the story of how the destruction of the city came about. It sets out the personal danger that had to be faced by Jeremiah, whose message set him at odds with the ecclesiastical leaders of Judah. Here we have a portrait of the spiritual confusion and imperceptivity that held sway at the religious center of the land.

Parunak: They must heed two channels of God’s revelation:

1) “my law, which I have set before you” – the Law of Moses, corresponding for us to the Scriptures. The fixed, written revelation of God.

2) “the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you” – the dynamic, current ministry of God’s Spirit to his people, corresponding for us to the exercise of the gifts in the local assembly.

Application: The Bible by itself is not enough. The RCC says, “Bible + tradition.” The reformed churches say, “Bible + creed.” We believe, “Bible + Spirit of God,” and that Spirit has always worked through the people of God. It is tempting to say, “All I need is the Bible; I don’t need to fellowship with other believers.” Nothing could be further from the truth! We need BOTH the foundation of God’s Word AND the continuing ministry of his Spirit to guide us in our daily lives.

Constable: Making the temple like Shiloh would involve three things: desecration of the sanctuary, removal of the holy furniture, and withdrawal of Yahweh”s name

Longman: The divine oracle has a tone of pessimism concerning the possibility of repentance since it mentions that the people have not listened in the past to my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again.

Mackay: Centuries before, Shiloh had not escaped destruction even though the ark had been located at a sanctuary there and Shiloh had been the centre for the worship of the Lord in the land. In the same way one of the principal points of confidence in the false religion of the people was the inviolability of the sanctuary and the holy city, but Jerusalem too was under threat of having here special privileges annulled and becoming a deserted ruin.


A. (:7-9) Execution Demanded by the Religious Leaders and the People

“The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, ‘You must die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD saying, This house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant?’ And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.”

Almost a mob type of mentality with the people in a frenzy; if the royal officials had not intervened at this point, the situation was ripe for a lynching

Longman: Perhaps they demanded the death penalty simply out of rage, but they may have thought that Jeremiah blasphemed God by suggesting that God’s house, the temple, would be destroyed. Thus it is possible that their hatred toward Jeremiah was generated by a misplaced religious devotion.

B. (:10-11) Execution Entertained by the Civil Authorities

“When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the LORD and sat in the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD’s house. Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the officials and to all the people, saying, ‘A death sentence for this man! For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing.’”

Mackay: There is no doubt that “they sat” indicates that a court had formally been convened. In general at this point in the middle of Jehoiakim’s reign the officials seem less hostile towards Jeremiah than the religious community.

C. (:12-15) Defense Made by Jeremiah

“Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying,”

Chiastic structure

1. I Am God’s Faithful Prophet

“The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard.”

2. You Need to Repent to Avoid Judgment

“Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you.”

3. Be Careful What You Do With Me

“But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants;”

4. I Am God’s Faithful Prophet

“for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.’”

Wiersbe: Jeremiah then presented three arguments in his defense:

1) First, what he had spoken was commanded by the Lord because the Lord had sent him (Jer. 26:12, 15). If they killed him, they were killing one of God’s prophets, and he would rather be faithful to God and die than unfaithful and live.

2) Second, they were the ones in danger; he was the one seeking to rescue them!

3) Third, if they killed him, they would shed innocent blood, and that would only make their impending judgment worse.


A. (:16) Jeremiah Defended

“Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets, ‘No death sentence for this man! For he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.’”

B. (:17-23) Two Historical Case Studies Reviewed

1. (:17-19) Case Study of Micah of Moresheth – Spared by Hezekiah

Precedent in Favor of Jeremiah Providing the Basis for His Release:

“Then some of the elders of the land rose up and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, ‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus the LORD of hosts has said,

Zion will be plowed as a field,

And Jerusalem will become ruins,

And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.

Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.’”

2. (:20-23) Case Study of Uriah the son of Shemaiah – Killed by Jehoiakim

Precedent Against Jeremiah—Showing His Grave Danger:

“Indeed, there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim; and he prophesied against this city and against this land words similar to all those of Jeremiah. When King Jehoiakim and all his mighty men and all the officials heard his words, then the king sought to put him to death; but Uriah heard it, and he was afraid and fled and went to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achbor and certain men with him went into Egypt. And they brought Uriah from Egypt and led him to King Jehoiakim, who slew him with a sword and cast his dead body into the burial place of the common people.”

Constable: The king put Uriah to death and gave his body an undistinguished burial, probably in the valley of Kidron (cf. 2 Kings 23:6). The prophet Zechariah is the only other prophet whose execution the Old Testament records (Matthew 23:35; cf. 2 Chronicles 24:20-22). However, there appear to have been other martyrs among the prophets (cf. Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34). Perhaps the writer included the information about Uriah’s death to help us appreciate the great danger in which Jeremiah stood. God does not protect all His faithful servants from death at the hands of their enemies.

Thompson: It seems clear that the narrator included this incident (vv. 20-23) to stress the very great danger in which Jeremiah stood when he continued to preach in the way he did.

C. (:24) Jeremiah Spared

“But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to put him to death.”

Longman: Ahikam is later mentioned as the son of Gedaliah (Jer. 40:5, 6, 7, 9, etc.), the Babylonian appointed governor of Judah during the early exilic period and a man with whom Jeremiah also had a close relationship.