Bible Study, Commentary

Jeremiah 26 – Solitary Man

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Jeremiah 26

February 2, 2024 2:03 PM
Solitary Man


(Please refer to the Preface and Introduction sections found in the Jeremiah Chapter 1 commentary for some general information about this chapter by chapter study of Jeremiah).

Jer 26:1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,

This is a summary of what was spoken of in chapter 7. Jehoiakim began to reign in 609 BC. This message is up to 4 years earlier than that found in Jer 25:1 and 11 years before Jer 24:1. This chapter will give us more detail of the persecutions against Jeremiah over his earlier prophecies that had caused him to lament so deeply.

Jer 26:2 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:

We are never to soften God’s word, as if he needs help to communicate more effectively. What we consider wisdom and prudence, God sees as pride, arrogance and cowardice. People soften the truth for several reasons. One is to avoid persecution. The second is that we think we know better than God as to how to get his message across. The pride in that thought process is frightening. The third is we may be deceived into thinking that we must tailor each message to the culture in front of us. While God may lead us to emphasize one truth over another, depending on where the hearers are in their understanding of divine things, he never tells us to modify the actual truth that he is commanding us to share. There is a world of difference in saying the right truth vs saying any truth in a compromised manner. Too many preachers use human reasoning and don’t speak of the horrors going on today, rationalizing that they’re called to preach what they think is the gospel and not politics. Yet what is the gospel but calling out and denouncing all sin, to bring true conviction and repentance. Maybe your delivery needs a little work, as we all have rough edges, but that is a different issue.

Jeremiah was sent to all the cities (citizens) of the land that bothered to come to God’s house. In other words, he was not sent to every single person in Judah, only those who showed some interest in the things of God by attending temple services. The visible church contains the people who at least acknowledge some level of acceptance of Jesus. As in Jeremiah’s time, 98% of those church attendees are about as far away from the true understanding of who Jesus is and what he is really like as the people in Judah’s day. Now I don’t know if anyone would be called to stand in the church parking lot and preach repentance and judgment, but that is what Jeremiah was called to do.

It is interesting that the 2 most famous prophets of judgment, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, were both priests. They were continually in the place where the presence of the Lord was in those days, in the temple. They were given the greatest insights into God’s holy mishpat, and therefore, his ways that he deals with wayward men. Since we are called kings and priests of the Lord, let us take advantage of the opportunities we all have to enter into that priestly service. Just because you are called a priest, does not mean you will function as one unless you choose to partake of that possibility in your life, which can only be achieved through total consecration to Jesus. There are several chapters in Torah dedicated to the ritual cleansing of the priests to make them ready for divine service. These are means to hammer home the non-trivial nature to proper preparation if we desire to engage in our true priestly calling of intercession and standing in the gap for our fellow man.

Jer 26:3 If so be they will hearken (shama), and turn (shoob) every man from his evil (rah) way, that I may repent (naw-kham – sigh, have pity, be sorry) me of the evil (rah), which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil (ro-ah) of their doings.

Sometimes I think that the old testament can be completely comprehended if we are just able to grasp the true meaning of a handful of words, as they appear over and over. Here again shama and shoob take center stage, as does rah. Shama, and shoob from rah, and God will naw-kham of the rah he had decided upon, because of all your ro-ah.

The purpose of speaking all of God’s truth is to elicit a change of heart and subsequent behavior, so that God has a reason to have a change of heart and subsequent behavior toward us.

Here is an overlooked key on how to save a nation. It is saying that every man needs to repent, just like Ninevah did in the time of Jonah. Especially if the leaders and those in authority refuse to turn, at this stage of a nation’s life, God will refuse to turn from his mishpat, or decision to judge. This is both troubling, but also insightful. We may have a localized awakening even at this late hour, but that does not guarantee that our nation will be spared. How can God spare the nation when the representatives of that nation have no desire to change, but rather, double down on wickedness every time they are seriously opposed. We need to be realistic about what we can genuinely expect to achieve with repentance in our own lives and in our own fellowship. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both contain passages that at this late juncture in history, often we can only deliver ourselves. Perhaps God will be gracious and deliver your family as well. Perhaps he may even protect a community of believers who truly get it. But to think we can save Canada or America as a whole, these books state that is not in the cards. That is why we must prepare realistically and not hold on to mirages and fairy tales.

I had mentioned yesterday, I believe, about how 2024 may be the year we actually get to witness the downfall of western civilization to some significant degree. I began watching a news clip yesterday of some brave alternative media reporter confront a team of transgender volleyball players. Every single person spoken to exhibited complete insanity. What was even more grievous was to watch this non-white student start screaming every insult and imaginary accusation against this man, culminating in an obscene vomiting our of a truly racist, hate filled string of curses against this white person. I could not watch the rest of the video, as it felt as if something had just slashed my spirit with a spiritual knife.

The devil does have real power. Just as we have been anointed with the power of God, so those who have given themselves totally over to satan also receive real spiritual power. There is no benefit in listening to such dark things – you learn nothing, and will only have your spirit disturbed and possibly scarred. This does not mean you put your head in the sand – far from it. It does mean though that you must walk in discernment as to what you hear. I generally follow the rule that I want to listen to the other side speak as little as possible, as I already know that everything that emanates from their mouth is pure lies. I get my news from the brave alternative media people who are called and anointed to listen and inform us of what is going on, without having to actually wade through the spiritual filth that those satanic creatures spew. Every day I find more and more reason to withdraw further and further from Babylon, and the general press of people that make up this new world order. Many have left their humanity behind. Transhumanism should actually be labelled posthumanism, as they have discarded their conscience, their moral compass, their empathy for their fellow man. They are a shell that now contains an alien entity that is not of this world. We will now be able to see exactly how these ancient dark spirits really think, as they have total access to so many people in authority. We will need to continually soak ourselves in the living water of the precious word of God if we hope to stand against this tsunami of uncleanness and depravity that is engulfing our world.

Jer 26:4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken (shama) to me, to walk in my law (torah), which I have set before you ( paw-neem – the face, which I have placed in front of your face),
Jer 26:5 To hearken (shama) 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 (shama);
Jer 26:6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations (goy) of the earth.

The ark was taken from Shiloh by the Philistines and never returned there. See Ps 78:60-61. In other words, if you refuse to hear and obey my written word, and also refuse to hear and obey my current word that I send to you by my prophets, then I will take my presence and abandon you, even as my presence left Shiloh and never returned. The people are risking a permanent sentence by continually rejecting the plain commands of God. When God says he places something in our face, it means he has made it crystal clear. We cannot use the excuse that we don’t really know what God wants. Who cares what your pastor is telling you. Everyone has a bible in the west. You are an adult. Act like one and take responsibility for your eternal destiny, because no one else will. North America is becoming an absolute joke to the heathen nations. Read any Russian news service to see what they think of the morals of the west. Who would of thought we’d see the day where Russia’s leaders actually publicly acknowledge God and the western leaders reject him?

Jer 26:7 So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard (shama) Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
Jer 26:8 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 (mooth, mooth – die, die).

This is reminiscent on how almost all of the church denounced David Wilkerson when he was one of the very, very few people who saw 911 as the judgment of God on his sinful people. I remember reading in Charisma magazine how every article rejected David’s understanding. The charismatic world, which was supposed to walk in the spirit and hear the voice of God better than anyone because we were so open to him, were just as blinded as any other Christian group. Perhaps even more so, as our spiritual pride blinded us to the truth, just as much as any old school catholic or fundamentalist cessationist old school baptist. Looking back on the things we believed and the things we rejected, we can only hang our heads in shame. Who amongst us did not believe at one time or another that God is love, that he poured out all his wrath intended for his people on the cross, that we aren’t destined for wrath anymore, therefore it is impossible that we should ever experience it? Besides, if things got too bad, we had the escape hatch of the pre-trib rapture that would save us.

Notice how it was the priests (cohen), the prophets (naw-bee) and all the people shama’d Jeremiah. Here again is a lesson in context. While shama almost always means hear and obey, obviously in this case they did not obey, only hear. A half a shama is no shama. Everyone in the church decided that this man should really die. Not just die, but die, die! Their emotions were stirred, and not in a good way. When our religious sacred cows are challenged, murder rises up unbidden in our hearts. Look at how murderous religious people felt over those who wouldn’t get the jab. They called us grandma killers and superspreaders. A heart full of religion is ultimately a heart full of murder.

Instead of going to the word and seeing if these things spoken were so, or pausing and seeking God for themselves, they made a snap judgment based on how they felt. They were offended, and it didn’t feel good. So obviously, this couldn’t be from God, because God always wants to make us feel good, right?

Jer 26:9 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.

These were not the heathen that were enraged by these prophecies, these were the churchgoers of their time. Is it any different today? Even today the few believers I have fellowship with either do not really care to speak of the doctrine of judgment, or outright reject such notions. I have exactly one couple (besides my spouse) whom I can speak of such things. The Christian reporters on alternative media are still lacking this one, indispensable fact. Unless and until we first acknowledge our sin, genuinely shama the words of mishpat, and patiently wait on the Lord to manifest his mercy in the midst of his wrath (Hab 3:2), any declaration of hope, of turning things around, or of victory, is simply whistling past the graveyard. Do we want to continue to speak nonsense and fairy tales to the church, giving them false hope based on lies and ignorance, or do we want to actually base our hope on the truth?

There is no true hope if you are basing it on an incorrect reading of scripture. We do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God (Mat 22:29, Mk 12:24). You cannot claim a promise out of season. We are not in a time of building, but in a time of tearing down (Eccl 3:3). We are not in the time of a formation of a kingdom, but in the destruction of one. The west is not being birthed, but is being collapsed. Find the appropriate key in the book that is applicable to the season that we are in. I believe Jeremiah is that key for our generation. You may not like it, you may wish it were not so, but that does not change reality. Let the ignorant bleat all they want about restoration, revival, and reformation. I am convinced that God is now demanding that we come to the uttermost end of ourselves, and quickly, quickly learn how to rely on him, and him alone, if we want any realistic hope to be restored to the church of survival and salvation.

Jer 26:10 When the princes of Judah heard (shama) 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 (khaw-dawsh – fresh, new thing) gate (opening) of the LORD’S house.
Jer 26:11 Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy (mishpat) to die (maw-veth – Hades, the place or rightful destination of the dead); for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard (shama) with your ears.

Sounds like the inquisition of old. The clerics held all the power. They could stir up the mob (as they did as Jesus trial), and the civil authorities had to take what they said very seriously. The church once had that influence in our own lands, but like everything else, we frittered away whatever authority God had given us.

Some interesting Hebrew to unpack. Again shama is used in this context as simply to hear, not to hear and obey. There must of been quite a commotion going on at the temple, for the elite to notice and to make the effort to see what was going on.

Perhaps there is a hint of something in the word ‘new’ (khaw-dawsh). These leaders decided to hear what this word of God was all about at the new gate. A fresh, new thing. How many in the church get tired of the same, boring old truths of the cross, the blood, repentance and judgment. We decide to go and listen to someone with something new, something fresh, something never heard before. We can’t seem to help ourselves when someone claims to have a new revelation straight from heaven itself, or from a vision of angels. We are forever restless. Perhaps our prayer life has become boring. Perhaps the word hasn’t jumped off the page into our hearts for a long time. So we start to scroll though youtube, and click on someone who has claimed to see Jesus in the flesh, or some such other thing. Because it’s new, it’s different, it captures our interest. We’ve lost the reality of our first love, and need the novel to stimulate us.

See how the majority of the spiritual leaders in the church all miss it. They are all opposing God’s true word. They then don’t appeal to the civil rulers from the scripture to make their case, they slander Jeremiah by stating that he really is a traitor, as he is predicting our beloved city will be destroyed. Why, he must be controlled opposition! How many times have we heard that thrown at someone who the speaker does not agree with. If you find yourself with the majority, it’s almost certain you are on the wrong side of whatever issue you are looking at.

Jer 26:12 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.

Jeremiah now makes his defense. He does not try to refute the false accusation that somehow he is not a patriot. He simply speaks the fact that God sent him. Why else would he say such things that he knew would cause him such personal grief? This is a good lesson to keep in mind, if you find yourself condemning a fellow brother for speaking up boldly in public and bringing upon himself physical and financial ruin. Why would he speak if the Lord had not moved him to do so? If he is speaking truth, bless him and pray for him and admire him, even if you feel no calling to do the same thing yourself.

Jer 26:13 Therefore now amend (yaw-tab – make well) your ways (deh-rek – the road you are on, the course of your life) and your doings, and obey (shama) the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent (naw-kham) him of the evil (rah) that he hath pronounced (daw-bar – appointed, promised) against you.

This prophecy was given in 609 BC. Four years before the beginning of judgment in 605 BC, when the first of 3 deportations began, that occurred over a period of 19 years. Even here in 609 God was still willing to turn from his decree of total destruction. Here we may want to draw another parallel to America. In 2016 God gave America Trump. America had a four year window to truly repent, but America refused. Four years later in 2020, it was all over. Just as for Judah in 605, so in 2020 the mishpat or righteous decree, was now written down with an iron stylus and could not be erased. Just as Jeremiah’s prophecies began with the possibility of preservation and then turned into certain destruction, so it is today with America and the west.

Now we see the typical meaning of shama restored. Just hearing God’s word does not lead to making well your course of life, or road travelled, but actually obeying the commandments. Jeremiah is making his defense before the leaders of the land. They would decide his fate.

Jer 26:14 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.

Jeremiah was really saying that he was in God’s hands. Whatever they decided, he was not going to cry and plead for his life. God had commanded him to speak. He spoke, and this was his deh-rek – his path or course of life and it would play out how God wanted it to play.

Jer 26:15 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.

Although he did not plead for his life, he was not averse into giving his enemies more truth. He knew he could not take vengeance on his own, but he reminded them that anyone who shed innocent blood and opposed God’s messenger was risking the wrath of God on themselves. He reminded them that it was God, and not man, that sent him. If you harmed me, you would not just harm yourselves, but everyone in this city, which may have given pause to the mob who was ready to cry out mooth, mooth – death, death to Jeremiah, as only a proper self-respecting genuine mob was supposed to do!

Jer 26:16 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.

Interesting that the non-religious people had more of a fear of God than the ones supposedly closest to Him. So much of the church has no clue of how clearly God is speaking to us today. Today God has risen up watchmen outside the church to warn the people of the evil while the church continues to sleep. The civil authorities may of been quick to take Jeremiah’s side, as they perceived how the mob was swayed, in order to score political points against their religious rivals. It sort of reminds me of Paul’s tactic to pit one group against another when he was put on trial unjustly (Ac 23:6-11). Regardless the reason for their siding with Jeremiah, God can use the good and bad motivations of men to further his plans and purposes. Thus, we need to learn not to be shaken by every twist and turn that will occur in our lands in the days ahead.

Jer 26:17 Then rose up certain of the elders (aged, ancient) of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying,

God had witnesses prepared for this incident. If Jeremiah was condemned at this time, his entire ministry would of been short circuited. Jesus faced a similar crisis when he was a child, the devil stirring up Herod to slay all the male children 2 years and under. You may be old and you may not of done many significant things for the Lord in your life, but don’t despair. God may be preparing you for a critical witness before you die, that may just be the difference between life and death for someone in need.

Jer 26:18 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.

Micah 3:12 is being quoted. Micah prophesied during the days of Hezekiah (715-686 BC). Never underestimate the importance of scripture memory. You may never know when God will call upon you to give the living water that can literally save a man’s life.

Jer 26:19 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.

They appealed to history. We need to remember the righteous heroes and their example that not only should serve as inspiration, but as a source of wisdom and guidance as to what to do when faced with our own evil situations. Only those with no fear of God dare to harm those who speak judgment in the name of the Lord. Something for all the ‘love and grace only’ pastors to think about.

Jer 26:20 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:

If this is still some of the elders speaking, then obviously age is no guarantee of wisdom. A different voice is being heard, one that presents the case against Jeremiah. This one most likely is very recent, as this same king Jehoiakim, whom Jeremiah tells us in verse one that this particular prophecy occurred in the beginning of his reign. Yet already we have a case of this king persecuting an unknown man of God, who is mentioned nowhere else in scripture. This probably means that someone far younger, perhaps a court sycophant of Jehoiakim, was countering the elder’s wise advice by stating how things were done differently now. This is reminiscent of how Rehoboam lost the kingdom by doing the same, rejecting the elders advice and embracing the foolish words of his peers (1 Ki 12:6-11).

Kirjathjearim was a city of Judah (Josh 18:14). Nothing else is known of this city or this prophet. Still, it does show that there was at least one other in the land who had received this harsh revelation and had the boldness to act on it. It can be very encouraging to know that there is at least one other who is hearing the same thing that you are.

Jer 26:21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men (gibbor – giant, champions), and all the princes (sar – head person, governor, master), heard (shama) his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah (flame of Jah) heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt;
Jer 26:22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt.
Jer 26:23 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.

The detailed account of the prophet and the king’s response is given. Note that not only the king, but all the powerful men acted in one accord, something like what is going on in the world today.

Elnathan was the king’s father in law (2 Ki 24:8). His father Achbor was prominent in helping with the reforms of Josiah (2 Ki 22:12). Elnathan may not of been thrilled to carry out this command, as he is listed among those in Jer 36:12 as seemingly favourable to Jeremiah’s cause. Perhaps this incident with Urijah had opened his eyes to the corruption of his king. May God open the eyes of many others today who are hiding under the excuse of simply obeying orders.

The shama in verse 21 has yet another nuance. They definitely heard and understood enough to realize what the words meant and what they had to do, yet they turned around and did the opposite of what shama really required of them. They heard and obeyed, but obeyed the adversaries voice, rather than God’s.

Urijah was naturally afraid. Whether or not be obeyed the Lord in fleeing to Egypt we do not know. Yet he will forever be remembered not for the words he spoke, but for his life that was given as a martyr. Perhaps that is the fate some of us will have to face.

Not content to hunt him down, assassinate him in Egypt, or put him in prison, he wanted Urijah to know that it was the king who was going to kill him. Then as an act of spite, he did not allow him to be buried in the sepulchres of his fathers, but cast into the pit of the common people (2 Ki 23:6). In retaliation, God’s righteous mishpat decreed a similar burial for this loathsome king (Jer 22:18-19).

Jer 26:24 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.

This man came from a long line of patriots. Shaphan, the father, was prominent in the reformations of Josiah. Because this issue is summed up so well, I will quote verbatim from Ellicott’s commentary:

“He superintended the restoration of the Temple (2 Chr 34:8). To him Hilkiah the priest gave the book of the Law which had been found in the house of the Lord, and Shaphan took it to the king. He took his son Ahikam with him when he was sent to consult the prophetess Huldah (2 Ki 22:12, 2 Chr 34:20). Here the son meets us, true to the early lessons of his life, as the protector of the prophet, whose work rested so largely on the impression made by the Book of the Law thus discovered. A brother of Ahikam, Gemariah, appears in a like character in Jer 36:12 and 36:25. After the conquest of the land by Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah finds refuge with Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam (Jer 40:6), who had been made, apparently through the prophet’s influence, satrap, or governor, of the lands under the Chaldæan king; and he, after a fruitless warning, falls a victim to the conspiracy of the princes of the royal house (Jer 41:1-2). Here stress is laid on the fact of Ahikam’s protection, as showing how it was that Jeremiah escaped the fate which fell on Urijah.”

I want to end with a crucial revelation from this final passage in this chapter. The truth revealed here is that one cannot claim universal protection in all cases. Of the 3 prophets and their fates – one was listened to, one was killed, the third was not killed but also not listened to. 3 prophets with the same task, 3 different outcomes. God has a perfect will for each of us. It will always involve a certain price that must be paid in order to obey him. We must come to terms with that truth.

Are you ready to pay each and every one of the above prices in order to obey him?

Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos


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