« PreviousContinue »
LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's 14 [house,] at which gate the couri sat, as usual. Then spake the
priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man (is) worthy to die ; for he hath prophesied
against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. 12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the peo
ple, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house
and against this city all the words that ye have heard ; I have 13 said nothing but what God commanded me. Therefore now
amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God ; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that
he hath pronounced against you ; repeating his message very 14 courageously, and adding, As for me, behold, I [am] in your
hand : do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you ; if
God see fit to permit you to put me to death, I am satisfied I can15 not die in a better cause. But know ye for certain, that if ye
put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all
these words in your ears. 16
Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets ; This man [is] not worthy to die : for he hath
spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God; the firinces and 17 people hearing his apology were for sparing him. Then rose up
certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly 18 of the people, saying, Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the
days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts ; Zion shall be ploughed (like) a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house, the hill on which the rempile stands,
as the high places of a forest, overgrown with chorns and briars. 19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to
death ? did he not fear the Lord, and besought the LORD, and the Lord repented him of the evil which he had pronounced
against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our 20 souls by destroying Jeremiah. And there was also a man that
prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shema
iah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against 21 this land according to all the words of Jeremiah : 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 into 22 Egypt. And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, [name
ly,] Elnathan the son of Achbor, and [certain) men with him 23 into Egypt. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and
brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword,* and cast his dead body into the graves of the common ' This story is no where else recorded. Many prophets were injured and destroyeri, that we read pothing ot' in the scripture history. This stery was alleged by Jeremiah's eneo anies, as a precedent for putting such a person to death : thongh some think it was recorded by himself, or the birorian, to show the goodness of God is preserving him. VOL. V.
people ; being probably descended from some good family, ke
would not suffer him to be buried with his ancestors, but interred 24 him with common people, or malefactors. Nevertheless the hand
of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, a person of great influence, and a minister in Josiah's court, (2 Kings xxii. 12.) was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death ; he interposed, and rescued him.
REFLECTIONS, 1. OW fit is it for the Lord's ministers to be faithful and
courageous in delivering their messages ! Jeremiah was commanded not to diminish a word ; not to put his message into less offensive expressions, than those in which he received it ; and God defended him, while Urijah's cowardice cost him his life. Thus must christian ministers act; faithfully and boldly reprove the vices which are found among those whom they address, and declare the whole counsel of God ; never diminishing a word, either through fear, favour, or flattery. If they keep close to their instructions, the God whom they serve will bear them out, however men may be offended at them. And their being offended is indeed not much to be regarded, since none will be so, but those who know in their own consciences that they are guilty of the vices reproved.
2. See the influence which God has over the spirits of men, and how easily he can turn them. The people were at first for having Jeremiah put to death ; then, when they heard his defenee, they were for having him spared. Upon the precedent being quoted for putting him to death (even the case of Urijah) it seems that they altered their sentiments again, but Ahikam saved him. How little dependence is to be had upon popular cries, whether for or against a man! God raised up a friend for Jeremiah. This should engage us to be firm and resolute in the cause of God and religion, since he knows how to deliver the godly out of their tribulations. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him ; but the Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he :3 judged. Psalm xxxvii. 32, 33.
Under the type of bonds and yokes, Jeremiah prophesieth the subduing
of the neighbouring kings by Nebuchadnezzar. 1
king of Judah, came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, 2 saying, Thus saith the LORD to me ; Make thee bonds and
Some careless transcriber has put, by mistake, Jehoiakim for Zedekiah, as appears from several verses in this chapter, and the beginning of the next. Mistakes of names and dates must often happen in transcribing ancient books, but they no way affice their general Claudia bility, and but seldom their sense.
3 yokes, and put them upon thy neck,* And send them to the
king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, that is, ambassadors, who came to con
gratulate Zedekiah on his accession ; or rather, to concert measures 4. 10 throw off the yoke of the king of Babylon ; And command them
to say unto theiç masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the 3 God of Israel ; Thus shall ye say unto your masters ; I have
made the earth, the man and the beast that (are] upon the
ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have 6 given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me, And now have I
given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant ; and the beasts of the field, their catile,
in which much of their substance consisted, have I given him also 7 to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and
his son's son, that is, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, until the very time of his land come, the time of his visiting and reckoning with them : and then many nations and great kings
shall serve themselves of him, that is, shall exact service of him.t 8 And it shall come to pass, (that) the nation and kingdom which
will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor
to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, 10 saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon : For they proph
esy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land, and that
I should drive you out, and ye should perish ; if therefore you Il suffer yourselves to be deceived by them, ye shall be removed. But
the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD ; and they shall till it, and dwell therein ; they shall become his tributaries, and probably live better than
they did before. 12 I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these
words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of 15 Babylon, and serve him, and his people, and live.ll Why will
ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and ty
The prophets used to prophesy by signs and actions, as well as by words
The yoke consisted of two boards, with holes cut in the middle to fit the peck, and were tied together with bands ; so that it was somewhat like our pillories, only these lay on their shouldeis; and they put them on malefictors, as we do fetters.
+ This is a remarkable prophesy, as the empire of Babylon was now in its greatest power and glory: but it never made any figure after the Persians conquered it.
This threatening was executed by some parts of his army harassing their country, during the thirteen years that be besieged Tyre.
# Zedekiah was made king by the king of Babylon, and had sworn fidelity to him, 20.3 is. reproved, and after ward punished for his perjury.
the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that 14 will not serve the king of Babylon? Therefore hearken not unto
the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall
not serve the king of Babylon : for they prophesy a lie unto “15 you. For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they proph
esy a lie in my name ; that I may drive you out, and that ye
might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. 16 Also I spake to the priests and to all this people ; though they
were my inveterale enemies, who had endeavoured to take away my life, yet I faithfully warned them, and thus endeavoured to preserve theirs, saying, Thus saith the LORD ; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the Lord's house, which have been taken away in the
two former reigns, shall now shortly be brought again from '17 Babylon : for, they prophesy a lie unto you. Hearken not
unto them ; serve the king of ylon, and live ; wherefore 18 should this city be laid waste? But if they [be] prophets, and if
the word of the Lord be with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and [in] the house of the king of Judali,
and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. '19 For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and
concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning 20 the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, Which Neb
uchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jeru
salem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem ; 21 Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, con
cerning the vessels that remain (in) the house of the LORD,
and (in) the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem ; 22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until
the day that I visit them, saith the LORD, that is, till I visit the vessels ; as if he had said, I will come and survey the catalogue of them, and call it over to see that none are wanting ; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place ; though they are 30 large, weighty and valuable, they shall all be sent by Cyrus, and at his own expense ; all which was remarkably fulfilled.
1. YROM hence we learn to reverence the supreme power and
universal dominion of God, v. 5. Being the Creator, he is the supreme proprietor and disposer of all countries and persons ; he gives the earth to the children of men, and to each his share ; changes times and seasons ; sets up kings, and removeth them. Though Nebuchadnezzar was a wicked and tyrannical prince, yet God for wise reasons gave him these countries. Large estates, dominions, and possessions, are not the best things ; for God sometimes gives them to the worst of men. Let the thought of his univer: sal government compose our minds in the most troublesome times ; and engage us to be content with that lot which his Providence hath assigned us.
2. We may infer the reasonableness of submitting to the yoke of Christ. God hath exalted him to be a prince, given him the earth for his possession, and requires us to be subject to him. God's appointment is a sufficient reason for our subjection ; especially when we consider the character of Christ ; that his yoke is easy, that if we serve him, we shall live, and that if we do not submit, God will punish us. False notions of liberty are mischievous ; the restraints of religion are reasonable and useful. Kiss the son, therefore, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that trust in him.
3. God's prophets should be praying men, and use all their interest in heaven for the safety and good of the church, v. 18. Which intimates, that true prophets should be men of eminent devotion, and that God would pay a great regard to their intercession, May all God's ministers be devout and holy men ! enter tenderly into the concerns of the church, and be fervent in their intercessions before God for its prosperity! and may they be successful in such friendly endeavours to serve it!
Hananiah, by a prophetic action, contradicts Jeremiah's prophecy :
who gives a terrible answer, which was soon fulfilled. 1
ND it came to pass the same year, in the beginning
of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, (and) in the fifth month,* [that] Hananiah the son of Azut the prophet, which (was] of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house
of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, 2 saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,
saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon, that is
his tyrannical power, of which Jeremiah's yoke was an emblem. 3 Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the
vessels of the LORD's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Ba
bylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon : 4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoia
kim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord : for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.f
As Zedekiah reigned but eleven years, the fourth could hardly be said to be the begins ning of his reign; and therefore some critics would render the words, when it had been so. that is, when Jeremiah had been prophesying with this yoke from the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah to the fourth year, (in which year he went to Babylon, see chap. li. 59.) having put it on when he delivered his prophetic messages.
† This was pleasing enough to the people, because they considered Jeconiah as their lawful king, and Zedekiah, bis uncle, as only the lieutenant or viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar : but this prophecy appears at the first view very suspicious, as nothing is said about their repentance and reformation.