26 The word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah not long after Jehoiakim (son of Josiah) began his reign as king of Judah.
Eternal One: 2 Stand in the court of My temple, and speak to the crowds who have come to worship from all the towns of Judah. Give them all of My words, Jeremiah; don’t leave out a single one. 3 Maybe they will listen this time, and each one of them will stop the evil actions and return to My path. Then I, too, will stop the impending disaster I have planned for them because of all the evil things they do. 4 Tell them what the Eternal says: “If you will not listen to Me or obey My law that I have already given you, 5 and if you will not listen to what My servants the prophets have to say even after I’ve sent them to you again and again, 6 then I will deal with this temple as I did Shiloh. But this time I will also make this very city a curse for all the nations of the earth.”
7 The priests and the so-called prophets and the crowds heard the message Jeremiah delivered in the temple of the Eternal. 8 As soon as Jeremiah finished saying all the Eternal directed him to say, the priests, the prophets, and those who stopped to listen grabbed him and began to shout.
Temple Audience: You deserve to die! 9 Why have you uttered such prophecies in the name of the Eternal declaring that this temple will be destroyed like Shiloh and Jerusalem will be empty and lifeless?
Jeremiah has a lot of nerve. To speak against Jerusalem and the temple—God’s holy place on earth—is tantamount to blasphemy, and blasphemers deserve death.
At this point, a large mob of people gathered around Jeremiah in the Eternal’s temple.
10 When some officials of Judah heard what was happening, they left the palace and hurried to take their seats at the entryway of the new gate leading to the Eternal’s temple. 11 The priests and so-called prophets brought charges against Jeremiah to these officials as the crowd looked on.
Priests and Prophets: This man should be sentenced to death! You heard with your own ears how he prophesied against our city.
Jeremiah (to the officials and the crowd): 12 The Eternal sent me to prophesy against the temple and this city—every word you heard came from Him. 13 If you stop your evil actions and obey the Eternal your God, then He will stop the impending disaster He has planned for you. 14 As for me, my fate is in your hands. Do with me what you think is right and fair. 15 But know this: if you execute me, innocent blood will be on your hands and on this city and on all who live here, because the Eternal truly did send me to speak each and every word you heard.
Officials and the Crowd (to the priests and prophets): 16 This man should not be sentenced to death because he has spoken to us in the name of the Eternal our God.
17 At this point, some of the elders, who were leaders of other communities, stood and supported the verdict, speaking to the entire crowd.
Elders: 18 Remember the prophet Micah of Moresheth in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah. It was he who said to the people of Judah, “This is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has to say:
Zion will be plowed under like a field,
Jerusalem will be left in ruins,
And the hill on which the temple stands
will be overgrown like a forest.”[a]
19 As difficult as those words were to hear, did King Hezekiah or anyone else in Judah demand Micah’s death? No, he humbly worshiped the Eternal and asked for mercy, and what happened then? The Eternal stopped the impending disaster he had planned for them and turned back the Assyrian army. Now it is our turn to listen to the prophet of God, but instead, we are about to bring this terrible disaster upon ourselves by ignoring Him again!
20 Uriah (son of Shemaiah) from Kiriath-jearim had prophesied in the name of the Eternal with essentially the same message as Jeremiah against this city and nation. 21 When King Jehoiakim, his soldiers, and his officials heard what Uriah had been saying, they decided to kill him. When Uriah became aware of these plans, he was afraid and escaped to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan (son of Achbor) to Egypt along with others to bring Uriah back. 23 Once they found him, they brought him back from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed by a sword and then buried in a commoner’s grave.
24 Ahikam (son of Shaphan) used his influence to help Jeremiah. As a result, the prophet was not handed over to the people to be put to death.