Jeremiah Threatened with Death. 1In the beginning of the reign* of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD: 2Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the house of the LORD and speak to the inhabitants of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD; whatever I command you, tell them, and hold nothing back.a 3Perhaps they will listen and turn, all of them from their evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I plan to inflict upon them for their evil deeds.b 4Say to them: Thus says the LORD: If you do not obey me, by walking according to the law I set before you 5and listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I kept sending you, even though you do not listen to them,c 6I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.d
7Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests, the prophets, and all the people laid hold of him, crying, “You must die! 9Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD: ‘This house shall become like Shiloh,’ and ‘This city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
10When the princes of Judah heard about these things, they came up from the house of the king to the house of the LORD and convened at the New Gate of the house of the LORD. 11The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “Sentence this man to death! He has prophesied against this city! You heard it with your own ears.”e 12Jeremiah said to the princes and all the people: “It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city everything you have heard. 13Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will have a change of heart regarding the evil he has spoken against you.f 14As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what is good and right in your eyes. 15But you should certainly know that by putting me to death, you bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and its inhabitants. For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you, to speak all these words for you to hear.”
16Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve a death sentence; it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us.” 17At this, some of the elders of the land arose and said to the whole assembly of the people, 18“Micah of Moresheth* used to prophesy in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and he said to all the people of Judah: Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Zion shall be plowed as a field,
Jerusalem, a heap of ruins,
and the temple mount,
a forest ridge.g
19Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah condemn him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, so that the LORD had a change of heart regarding the evil he had spoken against them? We, however, are about to do great evil against ourselves.”h
The Fate of Uriah. 20There was another man who used to prophesy in the name of the LORD, Uriah, son of Shemaiah, from Kiriath-jearim; he prophesied against this city and this land the same message as Jeremiah. 21When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and princes heard his words, the king sought to have him killed. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan, son of Achbor, and others with him into Egypt, 23and they brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to Jehoiakim the king, who struck him down with the sword and threw his corpse into the common burial ground. 24But the hand of Ahikam, son of Shaphan,* protected Jeremiah, so they did not hand him over to the people to be put to death.
* [26:1] The beginning of the reign: a technical expression for the time between a king’s accession to the throne and the beginning of his first official (calendar) year as king. Jehoiakim’s first regnal year was 608 B.C.
* [26:24] Ahikam, son of Shaphan: one of Josiah’s officials (2 Kgs 22:12) and Jeremiah’s friend. He was the father of Gedaliah, who was governor of Judah after Zedekiah’s deportation (cf. Jer 39:14; 40:5–7).