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Jeremiah 26 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Jeremiah Is Put on Trial as a False Prophet[a]

26 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[b] at the beginning of the reign[c] of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple.[d] Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word. Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do.[e] If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them[f] as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing.[g] Tell them that the Lord says,[h] ‘You must obey me; you must live according to the way I have instructed you in my laws.[i] You must pay attention to the exhortations of my servants the prophets. I have sent them to you over and over again.[j] But you have not paid any attention to them. If you do not obey me,[k] then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh.[l] And I will make this city an example to be used in curses by people from all the nations on the earth.’”

The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say these things in the Lord’s temple. Jeremiah had just barely finished saying all the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people when all at once some[m] of the priests, the prophets, and the people grabbed him and shouted, “You deserve to die![n] How dare you claim the Lord’s authority to prophesy such things! How dare you claim his authority to prophesy that this temple will become like Shiloh and that this city will become an uninhabited ruin!”[o] Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the Lord’s temple.

10 However, some of the officials[p] of Judah heard about what was happening[q] and they rushed up to the Lord’s temple from the royal palace. They set up court[r] at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple.[s] 11 Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said,[t] “This man should be condemned to die[u] because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so[v] with your own ears.”

12 Then Jeremiah made his defense before all the officials and all the people.[w] “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. 13 But correct the way you have been living and do what is right.[x] Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would.[y] 14 As to my case, I am in your power.[z] Do to me what you deem fair and proper. 15 But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!”[aa]

16 Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said,[ab] “This man should not be condemned to die.[ac] For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.”[ad] 17 Then some of the elders of Judah[ae] stepped forward and spoke to all the people gathered there. They said, 18 “Micah from Moresheth[af] prophesied during the time Hezekiah was king of Judah.[ag] He told all the people of Judah, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies[ah] says,

“‘Zion[ai] will become a plowed field.
Jerusalem will become a pile of rubble.
The temple mount will become a mere wooded ridge.”’[aj]

19 “King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor?[ak] Did not[al] the Lord forgo destroying them[am] as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.”[an]

20 Now there was another man[ao] who prophesied as the Lord’s representative[ap] against this city and this land just as Jeremiah did. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim.[aq] 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his bodyguards[ar] and officials heard what he was prophesying,[as] the king sought to have him executed. But Uriah found out about it and fled to Egypt out of fear.[at] 22 However, King Jehoiakim sent some men to Egypt, including Elnathan son of Achbor,[au] 23 and they brought Uriah back from there.[av] They took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed and had his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.[aw]

24 However, Ahikam son of Shaphan[ax] used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people.[ay]

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 26:1 sn Beginning with Jer 26 up to Jer 45, the book narrates in third person style incidents in the life of Jeremiah and prophecies (or sermons) he gave in obedience to the Lord’s commands. Baruch is the probable narrator, passing on information gleaned from Jeremiah himself. (See Jer 36:4, 18, 32; 45:1 and also 32:13-14, where it is clear that Baruch is Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary.) Chapters 26-29 contain narratives concerning reactions to Jeremiah’s prophecies and his conflict with the prophets who were prophesying that things would be all right (see, e.g., 14:14-15; 23:21).
  2. Jeremiah 26:1 tn The words “to Jeremiah” are not in the Hebrew text. They are added by the Old Latin (not the Vulgate) and the Syriac versions. They are implicit, however, to the narrative style, which speaks of Jeremiah in the third person (cf. vv. 7, 12). They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  3. Jeremiah 26:1 tn It is often thought that the term here is equivalent to a technical term in Akkadian (resh sharruti) that refers to the part of the year remaining from the death or deposing of the previous king until the beginning of the calendar year, when the new king officially ascended the throne. In this case it would refer to the part of the year between September, 609 b.c., when Jehoiakim was placed on the throne as a puppet king by Pharaoh Necho (2 Kgs 23:34-35), and April, 608 b.c., when he would have been officially celebrated as king. However, it will be suggested below, in conjunction with the textual problems in 27:1 and 28:1, that the term does not necessarily refer to this period.
  4. Jeremiah 26:2 sn It is generally agreed that the incident recorded in this chapter relates to the temple message that Jeremiah gave in 7:1-15. The message there is summarized here in vv. 3-6. The primary interest here is in the response to that message.
  5. Jeremiah 26:3 tn Heb “will turn from his wicked way.”
  6. Jeremiah 26:3 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here, see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle, laid down in Jer 18:7-8, that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.
  7. Jeremiah 26:3 tn Heb “because of the wickedness of their deeds.”
  8. Jeremiah 26:4 tn Heb “thus says the Lord, ‘…’.” The use of the indirect quotation in the translation eliminates one level of embedded quotation to avoid confusion.
  9. Jeremiah 26:4 tn Heb “by walking in my law that I set before you.”sn Examples of those laws are found in Jer 7:5-6, 9. The law was summarized or epitomized in the ten commandments, which are called the “words of the covenant” in Exod 34:28, but it contained much more. However, when Israel is taken to task by God, it often relates to their failure to live up to the standards of the ten commandments (Heb “the ten words”; see Hos 4:1-3; Jer 7:9).
  10. Jeremiah 26:5 tn See the translator’s note on 7:13 for the idiom here.
  11. Jeremiah 26:6 tn 26:4-6 are all one long sentence containing a long condition with subordinate clauses (vv. 4-5) and a compound consequence in v. 6: Heb “If you will not obey me by walking in my law…by paying attention to the words of the prophets, whom…and you did not pay heed, then I will make…and I will make…” The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style, but an attempt has been made to reflect all the subordinations in the English translation.
  12. Jeremiah 26:6 sn See the study note on Jer 7:13.
  13. Jeremiah 26:8 tn The translation again represents an attempt to break up a long, complex Hebrew sentence into equivalent English ones that conform more to contemporary English style: Heb “And as soon as Jeremiah finished saying all that…, the priests…grabbed him and said…” The word “some” has been supplied in the translation because obviously it was not all the priests and prophets, and all the people, but only some of them. There is, of course, rhetorical intent here to show that all were implicated, although all may not have actually participated. (This is a common figure called synecdoche, where all is put for a part—all for all kinds or representatives of all kinds. See E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 614-19, and compare usage in Acts 10:12; Matt 3:5.)
  14. Jeremiah 26:8 tn Or “You must certainly die!” The construction here is again emphatic with the infinitive preceding the finite verb (cf. Joüon 2:423 §123.h, and compare usage in Exod 21:28).
  15. Jeremiah 26:9 tn Heb “Why have you prophesied in the Lord’s name, saying, ‘This house will become like Shiloh, and this city will become a ruin without inhabitant?’” It is clear from the context here and in 7:1-15 that the emphasis is on “in the Lord’s name” and that the question is rhetorical. The question is not a quest for information but an accusation, a remonstrance. (For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 953-54, who calls a question like this a rhetorical question of remonstrance or expostulation. For good examples see Pss 11:1; 50:16.) For the significance of “prophesying in the Lord’s name,” see the study note on 14:14. The translation again utilizes the indirect quote to eliminate one level of embedded quotation.sn They are questioning his right to claim the Lord’s authority for what they see as a false prophecy. They believed that the presence of the Lord in the temple guaranteed their safety (7:4, 10, 14), and that the Lord could not possibly be threatening its destruction. Hence they were ready to put him to death as a false prophet, according to the law of Moses (Deut 18:20).
  16. Jeremiah 26:10 sn These officials of Judah were officials from the royal court. They may have included some of the officials mentioned in Jer 36:12-25. They would have been concerned about any possible “illegal” proceedings going on in the temple.
  17. Jeremiah 26:10 tn Heb “these things.”
  18. Jeremiah 26:10 tn Heb “they sat” or “they took their seats.” However, the context is one of judicial trial.sn The gateway or gate complex of an ancient Near Eastern city was often used for court assemblies (cf. Deut 21:19; 22:15; Ruth 4:1; Isa 29:21). Here the gate of the temple was used for the convening of a court to try Jeremiah for the charge of being a false prophet.
  19. Jeremiah 26:10 tn The translation follows many Hebrew mss and ancient versions in reading the word “house” (= temple) here. The majority of Hebrew mss do not have this word. It is, however, implicit in the construction “the New Gate of the Lord.”sn The location of the New Gate is uncertain. It is mentioned again in Jer 36:10, where it is connected with the upper (i.e., inner) court of the temple. Some equate it with the Upper Gate that Jotham rebuilt during his reign (2 Kgs 15:35; Jotham reigned from 750-735 b.c.). That gate, however, has already been referred to as the Upper Gate of Benjamin in Jer 20:2 (for more detail see the study note there) and would not likely have been called something different here.
  20. Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “the priests and prophets said to the leaders and the people….” The long sentence has been broken up to conform better with contemporary English style, and the situational context is reflected in “laid their charges.”
  21. Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “a sentence of death to this man.”
  22. Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “it.”
  23. Jeremiah 26:12 tn Heb “Jeremiah said to all the leaders and all the people….” See the note on the word “said” in the preceding verse.
  24. Jeremiah 26:13 tn Heb “Make good your ways and your actions.” For the same expression see 7:3, 5 and 18:11.
  25. Jeremiah 26:13 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here, see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle, laid down in Jer 18:7-8, that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.
  26. Jeremiah 26:14 tn Heb “And I, behold, I am in your hand.” Hand is quite commonly used for “power” or “control” in biblical contexts.
  27. Jeremiah 26:15 tn Heb “For in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak in your ears all these words/things.”
  28. Jeremiah 26:16 tn Heb “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets…”
  29. Jeremiah 26:16 sn Contrast v. 11.
  30. Jeremiah 26:16 tn Heb “For in the name of the Lord our God he has spoken to us.” The emphasis is on “in the name of…”sn The priests and false prophets claimed that they were speaking in the Lord’s name (i.e., as his representatives and with his authority [see 1 Sam 25:9 and 1 Kgs 21:8; cf. the study note on Jer 23:27]) and felt that Jeremiah’s claims to be doing so were false (see v. 9). Jeremiah (and the Lord) charged that the opposite was the case (cf. 14:14-15; 23:21). The officials and the people, at least at this time, accepted his claims that the Lord had sent him (vv. 12, 15).
  31. Jeremiah 26:17 tn Heb “elders of the land.”sn The elders were important land-owning citizens, separate from the “heads” or leaders of the tribes, and were the officers and the judges. They were very influential in the judicial, political, and religious proceedings of both the cities and the state. (See, e.g., Josh 24:1; 2 Sam 19:11; 2 Kgs 23:1 for elders of Israel/Judah, and Deut 21:1-9; Ruth 4:1-2 for elders of the cities.)
  32. Jeremiah 26:18 sn Micah from Moresheth was a contemporary of Isaiah (compare Mic 1:1 with Isa 1:1) from the country town of Moresheth in the hill country southwest of Jerusalem. The prophecy referred to is found in Mic 3:12. This is the only time in the OT where an OT prophet is quoted verbatim and identified.
  33. Jeremiah 26:18 sn Hezekiah was co-regent with his father Ahaz from 729-715 b.c. and sole ruler from 715-686 b.c. His father was a wicked king who was responsible for the incursions of the Assyrians (2 Kgs 16; 2 Chr 28). Hezekiah was a godly king, noted for his religious reforms and for his faith in the Lord in the face of the Assyrian threat (2 Kgs 18-19; 2 Chr 32:1-23). The deliverance of Jerusalem in response to his prayers of faith (2 Kgs 19:14-19, 29-36) was undoubtedly well-known to the people of Jerusalem and Judah and may have been one of the prime reasons for their misplaced trust in the inviolability of Zion/Jerusalem (see Ps 46; 76), though the people of Micah’s day already believed it too (Mic 3:11).
  34. Jeremiah 26:18 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.”sn For an explanation of this title for God, see the study note on 2:19.
  35. Jeremiah 26:18 sn Zion was first of all the citadel that David captured (2 Sam 5:6-10), then the City of David and the enclosed temple area, then the whole city of Jerusalem. It is often in poetic parallelism with Jerusalem as it is here (see, e.g., Ps 76:2; Amos 1:2).
  36. Jeremiah 26:18 sn There is irony involved in this statement. The text reads literally, “high places of a forest/thicket.” The “high places” were the illicit places of worship that Jerusalem was supposed to replace. Because of their sin, Jerusalem would be like one of the pagan places of worship, with no place left sacrosanct. It would even be overgrown with trees and bushes. So much for its inviolability!
  37. Jeremiah 26:19 tn This Hebrew idiom (חָלָה פָּנִים, khalah panim) is often explained in terms of “stroking” or “patting the face” of someone, seeking to gain his favor. It is never used in a literal sense and is found in contexts of prayer (Exod 32:11; Ps 119:158), worship (Zech 8:21-22), humble submission (2 Chr 3:12), or amendment of behavior (Dan 9:13). All were true to one extent or another of Hezekiah.
  38. Jeremiah 26:19 tn The interrogative he (הַ) with the negative governs all three of the verbs, the perfect and the two vav (ו) consecutive imperfects that follow it. The next clause has disjunctive word order and introduces a contrast. The question expects a positive answer.
  39. Jeremiah 26:19 tn For the translation of the terms involved here, see the translator’s note on 18:8.
  40. Jeremiah 26:19 tn Or “great harm to ourselves.” The word “disaster” (or “harm”) is the same one that has been translated “destroying” in the preceding line and in vv. 3 and 13.
  41. Jeremiah 26:20 sn This is a brief, parenthetical narrative about an otherwise unknown prophet who was executed for saying the same things Jeremiah did. Since it is disjunctive or parenthetical, it is unclear whether this incident happened before or after that being reported in the main narrative. It is put here to show the real danger that Jeremiah faced for saying what he did. There is nothing in the narrative about Jeremiah to show any involvement by Jehoiakim. This was a “lynch mob,” instigated by the priests and false prophets, that was stymied by the royal officials, supported by some of the elders of Judah.
  42. Jeremiah 26:20 tn Heb “in the name of the Lord,” i.e., as his representative and claiming his authority. See the study note on v. 16.
  43. Jeremiah 26:20 tn Heb “Now also a man was prophesying in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of…, and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.” The long Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. The major emphasis is brought out by putting his prophesying first, then identifying him.
  44. Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “all his mighty men/soldiers.” It is unlikely that this included all the army. It more likely was the palace guards or royal bodyguards (see 2 Sam 23, where the same word is used of David’s elite corps).
  45. Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “his words.”
  46. Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “But Uriah heard and feared and fled and entered Egypt.”
  47. Jeremiah 26:22 sn Elnathan son of Achbor was one of the officials who urged Jeremiah and Baruch to hide after they heard Jeremiah’s prophecies read before them (Jer 36:11-19). He was also one of the officials who urged Jehoiakim not to burn the scroll containing Jeremiah’s prophecies (Jer 36:25). He may have been Jehoiakim’s father-in-law (2 Kgs 24:6, 8).
  48. Jeremiah 26:23 tn Heb “from Egypt.”sn A standard part of international treaties at this time was a stipulation of mutual extradition of political prisoners. Jehoiakim was a vassal of Pharaoh Necho (see 2 Kgs 23:34-35) and undoubtedly had such a treaty with him.
  49. Jeremiah 26:23 sn The burial place of the common people was the public burial grounds, distinct from the family tombs, where poor people without any distinction were buried. It was in the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem (2 Kgs 23:6). The intent of reporting this is to show the ruthlessness of Jehoiakim.
  50. Jeremiah 26:24 sn Ahikam son of Shaphan was an official during the reign of Jehoiakim’s father, Josiah (2 Kgs 22:12, 14). He was also the father of Gedaliah, who became governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem (Jer 40:5). The particle at the beginning of the verse is meant to contrast the actions of this man with the actions of Jehoiakim. The impression created by this verse is that it took more than just the royal officials’ opinion and the elders’ warnings to keep the priests and prophets from swaying popular opinion to put Jeremiah to death.
  51. Jeremiah 26:24 tn Heb “Nevertheless, the hand of Ahikam son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he would not be given [even more literally, “so as not to give him”] into the hand of the people to kill him.” “Hand” is often used for “aid,” “support,” “influence,” “power,” or “control.”
New English Translation (NET)

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Jeremiah 26 New International Version (NIV)

Jeremiah Threatened With Death

26 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse[a] among all the nations of the earth.’”

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! Why do you prophesy in the Lord’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

10 When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the Lord and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s house. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”

12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. 15 Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”

17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“‘Zion will be plowed like a field,
    Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
    the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’[b]

19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”

20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)

24 Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 26:6 That is, its name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that it is cursed.
  2. Jeremiah 26:18 Micah 3:12
New International Version (NIV)

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