26 This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the first year of the reign of Jehoiakim (son of Josiah), king of Judah:
2 Stand out in front of the Temple of the Lord and make an announcement to all the people who have come there to worship from many parts of Judah. Give them the entire message; don’t leave out one word of all I have for them to hear. 3 For perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways, and then I can withhold all the punishment I am ready to pour out upon them because of their evil deeds. 4 Tell them the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey the laws I have given you, 5 and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them— 6 then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed the Tabernacle at Shiloh, and I will make Jerusalem a curse word in every nation of the earth.
7-8 When Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to, the priests and false prophets and all the people in the Temple mobbed him, shouting, “Kill him! Kill him! 9 What right do you have to say the Lord will destroy this Temple like the one at Shiloh?” they yelled. “What do you mean—Jerusalem destroyed and not one survivor?”
10 When the high officials of Judah heard what was going on, they rushed over from the palace and sat down at the door of the Temple to hold court. 11 Then the priests and the false prophets presented their accusations to the officials and the people. “This man should die!” they said. “You have heard with your own ears what a traitor he is, for he has prophesied against this city.”
12 Then Jeremiah spoke in his defense. “The Lord sent me,” he said, “to prophesy against this Temple and this city. He gave me every word of all that I have spoken. 13 But if you stop your sinning and begin obeying the Lord your God, he will cancel all the punishment he has announced against you. 14 As for me, I am helpless and in your power—do with me as you think best. 15 But there is one thing sure, if you kill me, you will be killing an innocent man, and the responsibility will lie upon you and upon this city and upon every person living in it; for it is absolutely true that the Lord sent me to speak every word that you have heard from me.”
16 Then the officials and people said to the priests and false prophets, “This man does not deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”
17 Then some of the wise old men stood and spoke to all the people standing around and said:
18 “The decision is right; for back in the days when Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, he told the people that God said: ‘This hill shall be plowed like an open field and this city of Jerusalem razed into heaps of stone, and a forest shall grow at the top where the great Temple now stands!’ 19 But did King Hezekiah and the people kill him for saying this? No, they turned from their wickedness and worshiped the Lord and begged the Lord to have mercy upon them; and the Lord held back the terrible punishment he had pronounced against them. If we kill Jeremiah for giving us the messages of God, who knows what God will do to us!”
20 Another true prophet of the Lord, Uriah (son of Shemaiah) from Kiriath-jearim, was also denouncing the city and the nation at the same time as Jeremiah was. 21 But when King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent to kill him. Uriah heard about it and fled to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan (son of Achbor) to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. 23 They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim, who butchered him with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.
24 But Ahikam (son of Shaphan), the royal secretary,[a] stood with Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him over to the mob to kill him.
- Jeremiah 26:24 the royal secretary, implied; see 2 Kings 22:12.
The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.