The Message

Jeremiah 26

Change the Way You’re Living

1At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this Message came from God to Jeremiah:

2-3 God’s Message: Stand in the court of God’s Temple and preach to the people who come from all over Judah to worship in God’s Temple. Say everything I tell you to say to them. Don’t hold anything back. Just maybe they’ll listen and turn back from their bad lives. Then I’ll reconsider the disaster that I’m planning to bring on them because of their evil behavior.

4-6 “Say to them, ‘This is God’s Message: If you refuse to listen to me and live by my teaching that I’ve revealed so plainly to you, and if you continue to refuse to listen to my servants the prophets that I tirelessly keep on sending to you—but you’ve never listened! Why would you start now?—then I’ll make this Temple a pile of ruins like Shiloh, and I’ll make this city nothing but a bad joke worldwide.’”

7-9 Everybody there—priests, prophets, and people—heard Jeremiah preaching this Message in the Temple of God. When Jeremiah had finished his sermon, saying everything God had commanded him to say, the priests and prophets and people all grabbed him, yelling, “Death! You’re going to die for this! How dare you preach—and using God’s name!—saying that this Temple will become a heap of rubble like Shiloh and this city be wiped out without a soul left in it!”

All the people mobbed Jeremiah right in the Temple itself.

10 Officials from the royal court of Judah were told of this. They left the palace immediately and came to God’s Temple to investigate. They held court on the spot, at the New Gate entrance to God’s Temple.

11 The prophets and priests spoke first, addressing the officials, but also the people: “Death to this man! He deserves nothing less than death! He has preached against this city—you’ve heard the evidence with your own ears.”

12-13 Jeremiah spoke next, publicly addressing the officials before the crowd: “God sent me to preach against both this Temple and city everything that’s been reported to you. So do something about it! Change the way you’re living, change your behavior. Listen obediently to the Message of your God. Maybe God will reconsider the disaster he has threatened.

14-15 “As for me, I’m at your mercy—do whatever you think is best. But take warning: If you kill me, you’re killing an innocent man, and you and the city and the people in it will be liable. I didn’t say any of this on my own. God sent me and told me what to say. You’ve been listening to God speak, not Jeremiah.”

16 The court officials, backed by the people, then handed down their ruling to the priests and prophets: “Acquittal. No death sentence for this man. He has spoken to us with the authority of our God.”

17-18 Then some of the respected leaders stood up and addressed the crowd: “In the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, Micah of Moresheth preached to the people of Judah this sermon: This is God-of-the-Angel-Armies’ Message for you:

“‘Because of people like you,
    Zion will be turned back into farmland,
Jerusalem end up as a pile of rubble,
    and instead of the Temple on the mountain,
    a few scraggly scrub pines.’

19 “Did King Hezekiah or anyone else in Judah kill Micah of Moresheth because of that sermon? Didn’t Hezekiah honor him and pray for mercy from God? And then didn’t God call off the disaster he had threatened? “Friends, we’re at the brink of bringing a terrible calamity upon ourselves.”

20-23 (At another time there had been a man, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim, who had preached similarly in the name of God. He preached against this same city and country just as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and his royal court heard his sermon, they determined to kill him. Uriah, afraid for his life, went into hiding in Egypt. King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor with a posse of men after him. They brought him back from Egypt and presented him to the king. And the king had him killed. They dumped his body unceremoniously outside the city.

24 But in Jeremiah’s case, Ahikam son of Shaphan stepped forward and took his side, preventing the mob from lynching him.)

King James Version

Jeremiah 26

1In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying,

Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:

If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you,

To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;

Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.

Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king's house unto the house of the Lord, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's house.

11 Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.

12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.

13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

14 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.

15 But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.

16 Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.

17 Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying,

18 Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.

19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls.

20 And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.

21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt;

22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt.

23 And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.

24 Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.