Jeremiah’s Lesson at the Temple
26 This message came from the Lord during the first year that Jehoiakim[a] son of Josiah was king of Judah. 2 The Lord said, “Jeremiah, stand in the Temple yard of the Lord. Give this message to all the people of Judah who are coming to worship at the Temple of the Lord. Tell them everything that I tell you to speak. Don’t leave out any part of my message. 3 Maybe they will listen and obey my message. Maybe they will stop living such evil lives. If they change, I will change my mind about my plans to punish them. I am planning this punishment because of the many evil things they have done. 4 You will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I gave my teachings to you. You must obey me and follow my teachings. 5 You must listen to what my servants say to you. The prophets are my servants. I have sent my prophets to you again and again, but you did not listen to them. 6 If you don’t obey me, I will make my Temple in Jerusalem just like my Holy Tent at Shiloh.[b] People all over the world will think of Jerusalem when they ask for bad things to happen to other cities.’”
7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say all these words at the Lord’s Temple. 8 Jeremiah finished speaking everything the Lord had commanded him to say to the people. Then the priests, the prophets, and all the people grabbed Jeremiah. They said, “You will die for saying such terrible things! 9 How dare you say such a thing in the name of the Lord! How dare you say that this Temple will be destroyed like the one at Shiloh! How dare you say that Jerusalem will become a desert with no one living in it!” All the people gathered around Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord.
10 Now the rulers of Judah heard about everything that was happening. So they came out of the king’s palace. They went up to the Lord’s Temple. They took their places at the entrance of the New Gate. The New Gate is a gate leading to the Lord’s Temple. 11 Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the rulers and all the other people. They said, “Jeremiah should be killed. He said bad things about Jerusalem. You heard him say those things.”
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the rulers of Judah and all the other people. He said, “The Lord sent me to say these things about this Temple and this city. Everything that you have heard is from the Lord. 13 You people, change your lives! You must start doing good! You must obey the Lord your God. If you do that, he will change his mind. He will not do the bad things he told you about. 14 As for me, I am in your power. Do to me what you think is good and right. 15 But if you kill me, be sure of one thing. You will be guilty of killing an innocent person. You will make this city and everyone living in it guilty too. The Lord really did send me to you. The message you heard really is from the Lord.”
16 Then the rulers and all the people spoke. They said to the priests and the prophets, “Jeremiah must not be killed. What he told us comes from the Lord our God.”
17 Then some of the elders stood up and spoke to all the people. 18 They said, “Micah the prophet was from the city of Moresheth. He was a prophet during the time that Hezekiah was king of Judah. Micah said this to all the people of Judah: ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
19 “King Hezekiah of Judah and the people of Judah did not kill Micah. You know that Hezekiah respected the Lord and wanted to please him. So the Lord changed his mind and didn’t do the bad things to Judah that he said he would do. If we hurt Jeremiah, we will bring many troubles on ourselves. And those troubles will be our own fault.”
20 In the past there was another man who spoke the Lord’s message. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from the city of Kiriath Jearim. Uriah said the same things against this city and this land that Jeremiah did. 21 King Jehoiakim, his army officers, and the leaders of Judah heard Uriah and became angry. King Jehoiakim wanted to kill Uriah, but Uriah heard about it. Uriah was afraid, so he escaped to the land of Egypt. 22 But King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor and some other men to Egypt. 23 They brought Uriah from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim ordered Uriah to be killed with a sword. Uriah’s body was thrown into the burial place where the poor are buried.
24 There was an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan who supported Jeremiah. He kept Jeremiah from being killed by the priests and prophets.
- Jeremiah 26:1 the first year … Jehoiakim This was 609 B.C.
- Jeremiah 26:6 my Holy Tent at Shiloh The Holy Place at Shiloh was probably destroyed during the time of Samuel. See Jer. 7 and 1 Sam. 4.
- Jeremiah 26:18 empty hill Or “high place,” a term usually used for local shrines (places for worship) where people often worshiped idols.