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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Jeremiah 26

Jeremiah 26:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
Cities of Judah WarnedJeremiah Saved From DeathThe Temple SermonJeremiah Is Brought To TrialArrest and Trial of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 26:1-6Jeremiah 26:1-6Jeremiah 26:1-6Jeremiah 26:1-3Jeremiah 26:1-6
A Plot To Murder JeremiahJeremiah 26:4-6
Jeremiah 26:7-9Jeremiah 26:7-9Jeremiah 26:7-9Jeremiah 26:7-9Jeremiah 26:7-10
Jeremiah 26:10-11Jeremiah 26:10-11Jeremiah 26:10-11Jeremiah 26:10-11
Jeremiah 26:11-15
Jeremiah 26:12-15Jeremiah 26:12-15Jeremiah 26:12-15Jeremiah 26:12-15
Jeremiah Is Spared
Jeremiah 26:16-19Jeremiah 26:16-19Jeremiah 26:16-19Jeremiah 26:16Jeremiah 26:16-18
(vv. Jeremiah 26:18c)(vv. Jeremiah 26:18c)(vv. Jeremiah 26:18c)Jeremiah 26:17-19(vv. Jeremiah 26:18c)(vv. Jeremiah 26:18c)
Jeremiah 26:19
Jeremiah 26:20-23Jeremiah 26:20-24Jeremiah 26:20-23Jeremiah 26:20-23 Jeremiah 26:20-24
Jeremiah 26:24Jeremiah 26:24Jeremiah 26:24

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

BRIEF OVERVIEW

A. Jer. 1-25 is written in the FIRST PERSON, while Jer. 26-45 is in the THIRD PERSON. This change is possibly due to Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe (cf. Jeremiah 36:4, Jeremiah 36:18; Jeremiah 43:3)

B. Jeremiah 25:0 is written in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, while Jeremiah 26:1 is at the beginning of his reign. Jeremiah is not in chronological order, though many of the early chapters may be.

C. Jeremiah 26:0 is parallel to Jeremiah 7:0. It possibly records the people at the temple's reaction to Jeremiah's Temple sermon recorded in Jeremiah 7:2-15.

D. Jer. 27-28 deals with the prophecy concerning the fall of Jerusalem.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:1-6 1In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD, saying, 2”Thus says the LORD, 'Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the LORD's house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 3Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.' 4And you will say to them, 'Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; 6then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”'“

Jeremiah 26:1 “In the beginning of the reign” This CONSTRUCT (BDB 912 and 575) is a technical phrase for the ascension year of a new king. The reigns of kings were figured differently from country to country. Judah counted the first partial year as one year of a king's reign, while Israel did not.

“Jehoiakim” He was a son of Josiah and reigned from 609-597 B.C. He was put on the throne by Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt. His original name was Eliakim. See Special Topic: Kings of the Divided Monarchy.

Jeremiah 26:2 “Stand in the court of the LORD'S house” Jeremiah has been directed to share his revelations there several times (cf. Jeremiah 7:2; Jeremiah 17:19; Jeremiah 19:1-6). From this locale he could address “all the cities of Judah.”

“Do not omit a word” This is literally “diminish” (BDB 175, KB 203, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense). It implies a very specific divine message (cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6). See the Special Topics at Jeremiah 23:21-22. This reminds me of

1. Samuel and Eli in 1 Samuel 3:0

2. two verses in Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:17 and Jeremiah 42:4

3. Paul's words in Acts 20:20

4. Revelation 22:18-19

In Jeremiah 26:12-13 Jeremiah claims that his words are YHWH's words.

Jeremiah 26:3 This verse reflects the message of Jeremiah 25:4-5 (repeated with the same VERBS in Jeremiah 26:5). The problem is that Judah will not listen and respond (i.e., repent, lit. “turn,” BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal IMPERFECT, cf. Jeremiah 26:13). YHWH will repent (lit. “be sorry,” BDB 636, KB 688, Niphal PERFECT) of His decrees of judgment (cf. Jeremiah 26:4-6) and exile if Judah will turn back to Him. This is the desire of the covenant God! But Judah would not, could not, did not respond!

It is difficult for modern western people to comprehend God “repenting” or “changing His mind” or “being sorry,” however, this is an anthropomorphic way of showing His merciful character and His attention to His people's prayers and covenant obedience. See Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 108-109.

Jeremiah 26:4-5 Notice the covenant criteria YHWH lists as a prerequisite to changing His mind.

1. if you listen to Me

2. if you walk in My law

3. if you listen to the words of My servants, the prophets (cf. Deuteronomy 18:19)

Jeremiah 26:6 “like Shiloh” This was the site of an ancient Jewish sanctuary which was destroyed by the Philistines in 1050 B.C., cf. Jeremiah 7:12, Jeremiah 7:14.

“I will make this house. . .a curse to all the nations of the earth” This hyperbolic language continues from Jeremiah 24:9 and Jeremiah 25:18. God's people were meant to be a blessing to the world (i.e., Genesis 12:3), but because of their sin, the world (i.e., the nations) saw only the judgment of YHWH, not His grace and mercy (cf. Ezekiel 36:22-38).

Verses 7-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:7-9 7The priests and 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 had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You must die! 9Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD saying, 'This house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant'?” And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.

Jeremiah 26:7 The different groups of Judah's leadership are condemned (cf. Jeremiah 1:18; Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 23:2, Jeremiah 23:13-15, Jeremiah 23:16, Jeremiah 23:25-26, Jeremiah 23:33-34, Jeremiah 23:35, etc.).

Jeremiah 26:8 “You must die” This is an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and an IMPERFECT VERB from the same root (BDB 559, KB 562), used for emphasis. The religious leaders considered Jeremiah's message blasphemy (cf. Jeremiah 26:9; Deuteronomy 18:20) against the Davidic promises of 2 Samuel 7:0 and Isaiah's theology concerning Jerusalem (i.e., Isaiah 33:20 and chapters 36-39). They failed to take seriously the conditional nature of the covenant promises (cf. Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-28; Deuteronomy 30:15-20). This was not the first or last attempt on Jeremiah's life (cf. Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 18:23).

The NASB Study Bible mentions that the phrase is similar to Exodus 21:15-17; Leviticus 24:16-17, Leviticus 24:21; Deuteronomy 18:20; 1 Kings 21:13, all of which describe the ultimate penalty for gross violations of the Mosaic covenant (p. 1098).

Verses 10-11

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:10-11 10When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the LORD and sat in the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD's house. 11Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the officials and to all the people, saying, “A death sentence for this man! For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing.”

Jeremiah 26:10 “sat in the entrance of the New Gate” The location of the New Gate is unknown (cf. Jeremiah 36:10). Rashi says it was the rebuilt Eastern Gate.

Verses 12-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:12-15 12Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. 14But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. 15Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

Jeremiah 26:13 This repeats the message of Jeremiah 26:3-6.

Jeremiah 26:15 “know for certain” This is an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and an IMPERFECT VERB from the same root (BDB 393, KB 390), which denotes intensity.

“innocent blood” See Jeremiah 7:6; Deuteronomy 19:10; Proverbs 6:16-17.

Verses 16-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:16-19 16Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets, “No death sentence for this man! For he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.” 17Then some of the elders of the land rose up and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18”Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, 'Thus the LORD of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.”' 19Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.”

Jeremiah 26:16-19 The civil officials and the people are more sensitive to Jeremiah's words than the spiritual leadership (i.e., priests and prophets). They even mention an earlier example of a prophetic message of judgment against Jerusalem (cf. Micah 3:12). In a sense this is a call to repentance as in Hezekiah's day (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:3-11).

Jeremiah 26:17 “elders of the land” This refers to wealthy land owners and influential families. See Special Topic: ELDER.

Jeremiah 26:18 “Zion” Jerusalem was built on several hills. One of the tallest was Zion, where the Jebusite fortress was built and captured by David (cf. 2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Chronicles 11:5). It became a way of referring to the whole city of Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 8:1). The phrase “the virgin daughter of Zion” (i.e., 2 Kings 19:21) was a way of referring to God's covenant people whose capital and temple were in Jerusalem. See Special Topic: Moriah, Salem, Jebus, Zion, Jerusalem,

“And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest” Another translation has, “ The temple mount will become a mere wooded ridge.” This imagery reflects the worship of “trees” (i.e., Astarte) located on Ba'al platforms. It would equal the groves “of fertility worship.”

Jeremiah 26:19

NASB, NRSV“entreat the favor of” NKJV“seek the favor of” TEV“tried to win his favor” NJB“plead with him” JPSOA“implore” REB“seek to placate”

The VERB (BDB 318 II, KB 316, Piel IMPERFECT) was used in the sense of “make the face sweet” (i.e., Aramaic, Arabic). The “face” represents the person. In judgment, the judge could not “lift the face” (i.e., show preferential treatment). Here possibly touch the face (NET Bible, p. 1367 and Expositors Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 541).

Verses 20-23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:20-23 20Indeed, there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim; and he prophesied against this city and against this land words similar to all those of Jeremiah 2:0; Jeremiah 2:01When King Jehoiakim and all his mighty men and all the officials heard his words, then the king sought to put him to death; but Uriah heard it, and he was afraid and fled and went to Egypt. 22Then King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achbor and certain men with him went into Egypt. 23And they brought Uriah from Egypt and led him to King Jehoiakim, who slew him with a sword and cast his dead body into the burial place of the common people.

Jeremiah 26:20 “Uriah” Verses Jeremiah 26:20-22 function as a parenthesis (cf. TEV, NET). The time frame is uncertain. Apparently Micah is used as an example of a prophet who spoke judgment against the temple and was spared. The priests brought up the example of another prophet who preached judgment against Jerusalem and was executed by the civil leadership.

It is also possible that the reaction of Hezekiah to YHWH's prophet is shown to be different from Jehoiakim's reaction to YHWH's message (cf. NASB Study Bible footnote, p. 1099).

Uriah is otherwise unknown. He was either (1) a disciple of Jeremiah or (2) another prophetic voice about YHWH judging Judah. However, Jehoiakim had him killed! Judah was about to kill another prophet!

Jeremiah 26:22 “Elnathan the son of Achbor” He is part of a group of godly leaders who (Jeremiah 36:11-19)

1. gave Baruch and Jeremiah warning to hide (Jeremiah 36:19)

2. encouraged King Jehoiakim not to burn Jeremiah's prophecies (Jeremiah 36:25)

Verse 24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 26:24 24But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to put him to death.

Jeremiah 26:24 “Ahikam” This was the father of Gedaliah, who later became the appointed Babylonian governor of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar II. Also he was part of the deputation to Huldah from Josiah in 2 Kings 22:12ff. Jeremiah was not without supporters and advocates.

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 26". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/jeremiah-26.html. 2021.