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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Jeremiah 26

Verse 11

‘IN PERILS BY MY COUNTRYMEN’

‘This man is worthy to die.… This man is not worthy to die.’

Jeremiah 26:11; Jeremiah 26:16

I. Jeremiah was never so near martyrdom as at the time described in this chapter.—The old hatred of the priest and the false prophet arose against him, and communicated itself to the people. In miniature it was a similar incident to the closing scene of our Saviour’s life. The accusation against our Lord, as against Jeremiah, was that He had anticipated the destruction of the Temple. If any man dare to speak his mind to-day, if it conflicts with the prevailing sentiment, how certainly will he have to pay the price of hatred! Is it for this reason that the Christian Church refrains at the present juncture from insisting on our Lord’s command to love our enemies, and do good to those who are in arms against us?

II. The princes interfered, and their appeal to the people seems to have turned the fickle populace to be as antagonistic to the false priests as they had previously been to the prophet.—Notice specially Jeremiah 26:16. How fickle is the voice of the people. ‘Hosanna,’ to-day; to-morrow, ‘Crucify.’ Let us dare to do right in the sight of God, following out the impulse of His Spirit, and ceasing from man whose breath is in his nostrils.

Illustration

‘The Jews saw no discord between the true God and idols, but worshipped both together. And so people see no discord or contrariety between the Christian belief and a worldly practice, simply because they are accustomed to both. A worldly life justifies itself in their eyes because it is common; they take it and the Gospel together and interpret the Gospel accordingly. The old prophets were witnesses against this slavery of men to what is common and customary; they recalled them to the purity of truth, they reminded them of the holiness of God’s law, and they put before them Almighty God as a jealous God, who disdained to be half-obeyed, and abhorred to be served in common with idols.’

Verse 14

‘READY TO BE OFFERED’

‘As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good.’

Jeremiah 26:14

After Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded, he suddenly found himself in a whirlpool of popular excitement, and there is little doubt that he would have met his death had it not been for the prompt interposition of the princes.

I. Such is always the reception which the natural man will give to the words of God.—We may, indeed, gravely question how far we are His ambassadors, if people accept them quietly and as a matter of course. The Word of God to those that hug their sin can only be as a fire, a hammer, and a sharp, two-edged sword. That which men approve and applaud may lack the King’s seal, and be the substitution on the part of the man of tidings which he deems more palatable, and therefore more likely to secure for himself a larger welcome.

II. God, however, vindicated his faithful servant.—The weapons that were formed against him did not prosper, and the tongues that rose against him in judgment were condemned. The princes reversed the passionate judgments passed by the priests and the populace. ‘This man,’ said they, ‘is not worthy of death, for he had spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’ And their decision was confirmed by elders who had come from all the cities of Judah. Thus the hearts of men are in the hands of God, and He can turn them as the rivers of water. When a man’s ways please Him, He makes his enemies be at peace with him. The main thing in life is to go straight onward, following the inner voice, and doing God’s work with a single eye to His ‘Well done,’ and He will care for you.

Illustration

‘Here is this timid man standing alone for God against this surging multitude, in which priest and people are merged. Though his life is in the balance, and it might seem necessary to purchase it by absolute silence, he refuses to hold his peace; he insists that God has sent him, and calls on the maddened crowd to amend their ways and return unto Jehovah. Had John the Baptist spoken thus, or John Knox, we had not been surprised. But for this sensitive, retiring man to speak thus is due to the transforming power of the grace of God. There is hope here for those who are naturally reticent and backward, reserved and timid. Take your nature to God, and ask Him to encrust it with iron and brass. Above all, seek a vivid realisation that God is with you. Then open your mouth and speak. Greater is He that is in and with you than he that is the world.’

Verse 16

‘IN PERILS BY MY COUNTRYMEN’

‘This man is worthy to die.… This man is not worthy to die.’

Jeremiah 26:11; Jeremiah 26:16

I. Jeremiah was never so near martyrdom as at the time described in this chapter.—The old hatred of the priest and the false prophet arose against him, and communicated itself to the people. In miniature it was a similar incident to the closing scene of our Saviour’s life. The accusation against our Lord, as against Jeremiah, was that He had anticipated the destruction of the Temple. If any man dare to speak his mind to-day, if it conflicts with the prevailing sentiment, how certainly will he have to pay the price of hatred! Is it for this reason that the Christian Church refrains at the present juncture from insisting on our Lord’s command to love our enemies, and do good to those who are in arms against us?

II. The princes interfered, and their appeal to the people seems to have turned the fickle populace to be as antagonistic to the false priests as they had previously been to the prophet.—Notice specially Jeremiah 26:16. How fickle is the voice of the people. ‘Hosanna,’ to-day; to-morrow, ‘Crucify.’ Let us dare to do right in the sight of God, following out the impulse of His Spirit, and ceasing from man whose breath is in his nostrils.

Illustration

‘The Jews saw no discord between the true God and idols, but worshipped both together. And so people see no discord or contrariety between the Christian belief and a worldly practice, simply because they are accustomed to both. A worldly life justifies itself in their eyes because it is common; they take it and the Gospel together and interpret the Gospel accordingly. The old prophets were witnesses against this slavery of men to what is common and customary; they recalled them to the purity of truth, they reminded them of the holiness of God’s law, and they put before them Almighty God as a jealous God, who disdained to be half-obeyed, and abhorred to be served in common with idols.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/jeremiah-26.html. 1876.