These events described in this chapter took place in 609-608 B.C., before the events described in chapter 25. Jehoiakim was a materialistic and self-centered king who persecuted and murdered innocent people.
Verse 1 – In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord, saying,
Verse 2 – “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word.
Jeremiah had to stand in God’s house and say exactly what He told him to say, even if it meant the people coming against him.
Have you ever left out the part of the gospel about the consequences for rejecting Christ when telling another about Jesus? Sometimes we don’t want to be that blunt to others about where they are going to end up if they die without Christ. However, God made it very clear to tell Jeremiah not to leave one word out.
Verse 3 – ‘Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.’
Verse 4 – “And you shall 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,
Verse 5 – “to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded),
Verse 6 – “then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” ‘ ”
Shiloh was where the temple had been set up after the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 18:1). This is a summary of the complete message in chapter 7 of Jeremiah. This message infuriated the religious leaders.
Verse 7 – So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.
Verse 8 – Now it happened, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priest and the prophets and all the people seized him saying, “You will surely die!
These people thought Jeremiah had spoken blasphemy, because, how could God destroy the city and temple, which they considered invincible, promised to David?
Verse 9 – “Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
Verse 10 – When the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and sat down in the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.
This New Gate was probably used for trials.
Verse 11 – And the priest and the prophets spoke to the princes and all the people, saying, “This man deserves to die! For he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your ears.”
Jeremiah was branded a traitor because he prophesied the destruction of the city and the temple.
Verse 12 – Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and all the people saying: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city with all the words that you have heard.
Verse 13 – “Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent concerning the doom that He pronounced against you.
Verse 14 – “As for me, here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.
Verse 15 – “But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will surely bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its inhabitants; for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Jeremiah had stayed on message 20 years and showed great courage in standing up to them. He let them know that his message had originated with God.
Verse 16 – So the princes and all the people said to the priest and the prophets, “This man does not deserve to die. For he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.
Isn’t it something that the princes and the congregation of people knew that Jeremiah was speaking for God and the priests and the prophets who were supposed to be closer to God, didn’t?
Verse 17 – Then certain of the Elders of the land rose up and spoke to all the assembly of the people saying:
Verse 18 – “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountains of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.” ‘
The elders remembered the words of Micah (Micah 3:12). (I had someone tell me one time, that the Bible was written in chronological order, uh, no it’s not. Micah is 8 books after Jeremiah, but yet these men in Jeremiah’s time remembered him speaking. Just one proof, not in order.) When Micah called the people to repent, they turned from their wickedness. This argument was effective and they released Jeremiah.
Verse 19 – “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah ever put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor? And the Lord relented concerning the doom which He had pronounced against them. But we are doing great evil against ourselves.”
Verse 20 – Now there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjah Jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.
This story of Urijah is not mentioned any other place in scripture. He faithfully proclaimed God’s word, and then they killed him.
Verse 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 Urijah heard it, he was afraid and fled, and went to Egypt.
Verse 22 – Then Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achor, and other men who went with him to Egypt.
Verse 23 – And they brought Urijah from Egypt and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who killed him with the sword and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.
Jehoiakim had charged Urijah with treason and when he caught him, he didn’t bury him with the other prophets, he threw him in with the common people, which was a great insult in God’s face.
Verse 24 – Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.
Shaphan was the scribe of King Josiah’s reform. We don’t know why God would save some prophets, and yet let some die. Neither do we know why some recover from devastating diseases and some don’t. I will say this though: If God has placed a calling on your life, you will not go anywhere until it has been accomplished. God finishes what He starts.