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Jeremiah Threatened With Death May 12, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 26.

Summary: In this passage, God commands Jeremiah to stand in the courtyard of His temple in Jerusalem and preach the following message of judgment: if His people do not repent of their sins, then He will destroy Jerusalem – including His temple.

The false prophets and wicked priests respond by seizing Jeremiah. They level a charge of blasphemy against him before several royal functionaries. Jeremiah defends himself with the assertion that he is a genuine prophet of God.

The royal functionaries respond by ruling in favor of Jeremiah. The elders of Judah support their decision, citing the related case of Micah; Micah was regarded as a genuine prophet of God, even though He also preached a message of judgment on Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah. The people of Judah responded to Micah’s message by repenting of their sins – and God did not destroy Jerusalem. Thus, the elders of Judah exhort the people to repent of their sins.

It is noted that another prophet, Uriah son of Shemaiah, also preached a message of judgment on Jerusalem at that time. Jehoiakim responded to Uriah by ordering his execution.

Thoughts: Here, we see that God delivered Jeremiah from those who sought to kill him. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 16:

Jeremiah shows here that the sentence passed on him was soon changed. The priests and false prophets, in their blind rage, had condemned the holy prophet to death. He now says that he was acquitted by the rulers and the king’s counselors, and also by the people.

In particular, we see that those who defended Jeremiah made a cogent argument – forming a logical connection between their present circumstances and the plight of King Hezekiah. Thus, I wonder how the Babylonians eventually sacked Jerusalem during the reign of King Jehoiachin (and his successor, Zedekiah). Did those who defended Jeremiah die, leaving those who were unaware of what God had done through Micah? Did the false prophets and wicked priests subsequently deliver a string of eloquent arguments against Jeremiah, causing the people to change their opinion of him? Did the people of Judah lapse into sinfulness soon after they repented of their sins?

In verses 20-23, we see that the prophet Uriah was struck down by the order of Jehoiakim. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point:

Another example is cited, which was similar but different: The king was different, but the prophet was the same. Uriah, who faithfully carried out his office, is mentioned here. But Jehoiakim could not stand his preaching and so killed him.

I anticipate meeting Uriah in the next life – as I assume that God viewed him favorably. Now I wonder: why did God preserve Jeremiah from his enemies – while delivering Uriah into their hands? Did Uriah disobey God by fleeing to Egypt when he learned of Jehoiakim’s plans to execute him? Did God decide that Uriah had completed his assigned task in this life? Was Uriah aware of Jeremiah’s ministry, and if so, what was his opinion of Jeremiah? Did Jeremiah have any contemporaries besides Uriah?

In verse 24, we see that Ahikam son of Shaphan played a key role in defending Jeremiah. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point:

An example of courage and perseverance is set before us. It is not enough to defend a good cause from a position of safety if we are not prepared to be ill-treated and despised and to accept all kinds of danger. We are also taught here how much influence one man wields when he boldly defends a good cause, risking everything for God and his ministers.

I also anticipate meeting Ahikam in the next life and learning more about him. Was he a royal functionary? Why did he command respect in Judah at that time? How did Jehoiakim view him? Was he taking a significant risk by defending Jeremiah in this instance? Did he defend Jeremiah against his enemies on multiple occasions? How did he respond to the moral decay of Judah in subsequent years? Did his influence in Judah wane?

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