Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DEATH, BUT BY THE
ADDUCED IN THE
The prophecies which gave the offense were those given in detail in the
seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters (compare
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,
2. in the court--the largest court, from which he could be heard by
the whole people.
come to worship--Worship is vain without obedience
(1Sa 15:21, 22).
all the words--
diminish not a word--
(De 4:2; 12:32;
2Co 2:17; 4:2;
Not suppressing or softening aught for fear of giving offense; nor
setting forth coldly and indirectly what can only by forcible statement
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
5. prophets--the inspired interpreters of the law
who adapted it to the use of the people.
6. like Shiloh--(see on
Jer 7:12, 14;
8. priests--The captain (or prefect) of the temple had the power of
apprehending offenders in the temple with the sanction of the priests.
prophets--the false prophets. The charge against Jeremiah was that
of uttering falsehood in Jehovah's name, an act punishable with death
His prophecy against the temple and city
might speciously be represented as contradicting God's own words
Compare the similar charge against Stephen
(Ac 6:13, 14).
10. princes--members of the Council of State or Great Council, which
took cognizance of such offenses.
heard--the clamor of the popular tumult.
came up--from the king's house to the temple, which stood higher
than the palace.
sat--as judges, in the gate, the usual place of trying such cases.
new gate--originally built by Jotham ("the higher gate,"
and now recently restored.
12. Lord sent me--a valid justification against any laws alleged
against . . . against--rather, "concerning." Jeremiah
purposely avoids saying, "against," which would needlessly irritate.
They had used the same Hebrew word
which ought to be translated "concerning," though they meant it in the
unfavorable sense. Jeremiah takes up their word in a better sense,
implying that there is still room for repentance: that his prophecies
aim at the real good of the city; for or concerning this
house . . . city [GROTIUS].
(Jer 26:3, 19).
14. Jeremiah's humility is herein shown, and submission to the powers
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
16. princes . . . all the people--The fickle people,
as they were previously influenced by the priests to clamor for his
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
17. Compare Gamaliel's interposition
elders--some of the "princes" mentioned
those whose age, as well as dignity, would give weight to the
precedents of past times which they adduce.
Morasthite--called so from a village of the tribe Judah.
Hezekiah--The precedent in the reign of such a good king proved that
Jeremiah was not the only prophet, or the first, who threatened the city
and the temple without incurring death.
mountain of the house--Moriah, on which stood the temple (peculiarly
called "the house") shall be covered with woods instead of buildings.
Jeremiah, in quoting previous prophecies, never does so without
alteration; he adapts the language to his own style, showing thereby his
authority in his treatment of Scripture, as being himself inspired.
19. Hezekiah, so far from killing him, was led "to fear the Lord,"
and pray for remission of the sentence against Judah
Thus--if we kill Jeremiah.
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.
And . . . also--perhaps connected with
as the comment of the writer, not the continuation of the speech of the
elders: "And although also a man that prophesied . . .
Urijah . . . (proving how great was the danger in which
Jeremiah stood, and how wonderful the providence of God in preserving
him), nevertheless the hand of Ahikam," &c. [GLASSIUS]. The context, however, implies rather that the
words are the continuation of the previous speech of the elders. They
adduce another instance besides that of Micah, though of a different
kind, namely, that of Urijah: he suffered for his prophecies, but they
imply, though they do not venture to express it, that
thereby sin has been added to sin, and that it has done no good to
Jehoiakim, for that the notorious condition of the state at this time
shows that a heavier vengeance is impending if they persevere in such
acts of violence [CALVIN].
22. Jehoiakim sent . . . into Egypt--He had been put
on the throne by Pharaoh of Egypt
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"
The prophets seem to have had a separate cemetery
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
people to put him to death--Princes often, when they want to destroy
a good man, prefer it to be done by a popular tumult rather than by
their own order, so as to reap the fruit of the crime without odium to