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7—15. Impeachment ofJeremiah by the priests and prophets before the princes and people. His defence.
So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou 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. When the princes of Judah heard these things, then 'they came up from the king's house unto the house of the Lord,
7—15. Impeachment Of Jeremiah By The Priests And Prophets Before The Princes And People. Hls Defence.
7. prophets] The Septuagint, in order to make the sense clearer, renders the Heb. here, as in verses 8, 11 and 16, "false prophets."
8. The reverence in which the people held one who, as they had reason to believe (in spite of their desire to think the contrary), was a prophet of God, is here incidentally shewn. No one ventured to lay hands on him till he had finished his address.
Thou shalt surely die] That prophet, who spoke without God's command, was according to the Mosaic Law (Deut. xviii. 20) to be put to death. The charge against Jeremiah then was of this nature, and the alleged proof, that it was impossible in the nature of things that such a calamity could be allowed to happen to the people of God.
9. all the people were gathered against] all the people were gathered unto. The people were not universally against Jeremiah, and therefore the words all the people in ver. 8 are not to be taken as implying more than that a large following accompanied the priests and prophets. In ver. 16 on the other hand we find "all the people" on Jeremiah's side.
10. the princes of Judah] The position and powers of these persons are not quite clear. They have been thought to be the heads of prominent houses in the tribes, which had a sort of hereditary jurisdiction first from local influence in their country abodes, and afterwards, when on account of the dangers and disturbances incidental to a country life in these troublesome times they had removed to Jerusalem. Their employment in high offices about the court and the constantly increasing weakness of the monarchy would help them to the further acquisition of such power as we find them here exercising. After the return from the captivity the Sanhedrin succeeded to their powers, and held them in a more precisely defined form.
came up] See xxii. 1 ("go down ").
and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord'.? house. 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. Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 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. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. 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—24. Result of the trial. Cases of Micah and Urijah. Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests
the entry of the new gate of the Lord's house] literally, the door of the new gate of the Lord. Such a place as this was the ordinary one for trials. This particular gate was in all probability that built by Jotham (2 Kings xv. 35).
11. This man is worthy to die] literally, A sentence of death is due to this man.
hath prophesied against this city] Compare for the scene and thought Acts vi. 12, 13.
as ye have heard with your ears] This is addressed to the people only, as they (verl 7) and not the princes had been actually present at Jeremiah's address.
12. Jeremiah's defence is that the message is from God and therefore true. Let his accusers beware, lest in putting him to death they be really fighting against God. Compare Gamaliel's language as to the Apostles (Acts v. 39).
13. your ways and your doings] See note on vii. 3.
IB. of a' truth] St Thomas Aquinas (Sitmm. Theol.) points to Jeremiah's words here as an illustration of the firmness of conviction which in the main sustained the prophets in their trying and dangerous calling.
16—24. Result Of The Trial. Cases Of Micah And Urijah.
18. The princes and people, not being prejudiced as were Jeremiah's accusers, gave a fair decision. "The nobles, reckless and worldly and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he lath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God. Then »7 rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all tne assembly of the people, saying, Micah the Morasthite 18 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 plowed like a field,
And Jerusalem shall become heaps,
And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.
Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at 19 all to death? did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord repented him of the evil which he had
as they were, with a deeper sense of justice than his fanatical assailants, solemnly acquitted him." Stanley, J, Ch. They perceived from his words and manner that he was, as he gave himself out to be, a prophet of God, counselling reformation, and warning of its necessity.
This man is not worthy to die] literally (compare ver. 11), No sentence of death is due to this man.
17. the elders of the land] "The elders of Israel" appear as early as Exod. iii. 16. Their action in civil procedure we gather from Ruth iv. 2, etc. The involuntary homicide had to make out his case to the satisfaction of the elders of the city of refuge, before being admitted. The institution of elders was continued among the Ten Tribes in their separation (1 Kings xx. 7). It has been conjectured that as the princes represented the king in judgment, so the elders represented the people, adding their assent to the previously expressed decision.
18. Micah (better, Mlcaiah)/A?Morasthite] oneof the Minor Prophets, who prophesied in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. The passage here quoted as uttered in the days of the last-named king agrees verbatim with Mic. iii. 12.
Morasthite] native of Moresheth, a place by Eusebius and St Jerome identified with Morasthi, a small village east of Eleutheropolis, where the prophet's tomb had once been shewn. This however had disappeared in St Jerome's time.
19. DidHezekiah...pid him at all to death?] The words of Micah had been to the full as harsh-sounding as any that had been uttered by Jeremiah. The precedent supplied by the case of the former prophet therefore, the elders argue, is in favour of him who is now attacked.
besought] The Heb. is literally stroked the face of; and so in Exod. xxxii. 11; 1 Sam. xiii. 12. We are not elsewhere told that Hezekiah's prayers were in direct connexion with the prophecy of Micah. There is however no difficulty in the way of our accepting the testimony of these elders, that it was so.
pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: a»d 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 Egypt; and Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. And they fet 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 people. Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with
Thus might we procure...] rather, And we are (thinking of) committing (what will prove) a great evil against our souls.
20. there was also a man] This narrative was probably introduced later by Jeremiah to shew the danger in which he stood at the time, and does not form a portion of that which was said on the occasion by any of the parties present. It would have been a dangerous attack to make upon Jehoiakim, the reigning king. It is hardly likely also that there would have been time between the accession of Jehoiakim and the somewhat vague date assigned to this attack on Jeremiah (ver. 1) for all these events to have occurred in the case of Urijah.
Kirjath-jearim] probably identical with the present Kuriel-el-Enab, a city on the borders of Judah and Benjamin (Josh. xv. 9, xviii. 14, 15), about ten miles N.W. of Jerusalem on the road to Joppa (Jaffa). It was the resting place of the ark for twenty years (see 1 Sam. vi. 20—vii. 2).
21. mighty men] As the princes were the civil, so these were the military chiefs.
22. Elnathan the son of Achbor] He is mentioned again xxxvi. 12, 25. He may have been the "Elnathan of Jerusalem," who is mentioned as Jehoiachin's maternal grandfather in 2 Kings xxiv. 8. Achbor was one of the deputation sent by Josiah to Huldah the prophetess (2 Kings xxii. 12) when the Law was found in the House of the Lord.
23. they fet forth Urijah out of Egypt] "As Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt (2 Kings xxiii. 34), he would easily obtain the surrender of a man accused of treason. Jeroboam, on the contrary, and others had found a safe refuge there in the days of Solomon, 1 Kings xi. 17, 40" (Sp. Comm.). For fet compare to fet in xxxvi. 21, and
"To see my tears and hear my deep^/ groans."
Shakespeare, II Henry VI. Act II. Sc. 4. into the graves of the common people] probably in the neighbourhood of the brook Kidron. See note on xvii. 19 and 2 Kings xxiii. 6.
24. Nevertheless] But.
Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.
Chaps. XXVIL—XXIX. The sway of Babylon over Judea and the neighbouring nations will be by no means brief.
Chap. XXVII. I—:ii. Warning to the neighbouring nations.
Ahikam the sonof Shaphan\ He was one of the five sent by Josiah (2 Kings xxii. 12) to consult Huldah. His son Gedaliah stood the prophet's friend subsequently, when the former was left by Nebuchadrezzar a governor of the land (xxxix. 14, xl. 5). It was in the chamber of another son of Shaphan, Gemariah, that Baruch read Jeremiah's roll in the ears of the people.
Chap. XXVII.—XXIX. The Sway Of Babylon Over Judea
AND THE NEIGHBOURING NATIONS WILL BE BY NO MEANS
These three chapters belong to the time of Zedekiah (see below). The power of Babylon had already been shewn forth upon Judah. Some of the people had been carried captive, and the present king existed as such only upon sufferance. Under these circumstances the neighbouring nations were willing to make common cause with the Jews against their foe, while in Palestine there were still many who would not believe thai the danger from Babylon was anything more than a passing one. In these three chapters therefore Jeremiah sets himself to correct the most pressing evil, namely this notion of the possibility of getting rid of the power which had become paramount in the Eastern world. He addresses on the subject (in this chap. verses 1—11) the neighbouring nations, (12—15) Zedekiah, (16—122) the priests and prophets, (in chap. xxviii.) the false prophets, (in chap. xxix.) the exiles in Babylon.
Chap. XXVII. 1—11. Warning .to The Neighbouring
1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakirn] It is clear from verses 3, 12 and 20 that for Jehoiakim we must read Zedekiah. This is not without support among Heb. MSS., while the Syriac Version also reads the name of the latter king. The Septuagint omits the verse. It is therefore either a later insertion in the text, or a confusion between the opening verses of chaps. xxvi. and xxvii. led to the introduction of the wrong name here. In xxviii. 1, where the same words are further defined as "in the fourth year and in the fifth month," it has been supposed that "in the beginning...Judah" is a note first placed by a copyist in the margin as a comment on the date mentioned, and then by a subsequent hand inserted in the text. The difficulty however which is avoided by this explanation, viz. that the fourth year of a reign consisting of but