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LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD's Id [house,) at which gate the court sal, as usual. 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 peo

ple, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house

and against this city all the words that ye have heard ; I have 13 said nothing but what God commanded me. 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 ; repeating his message very 14 courageously, and adding, As for me, behold, I (am) in your • hand : do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you ; if

God see fit to permit you to put me to death, I am satisfied I can15 not die in a better cause. 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; the firinces and 17 people hearing his apology were for sparing him. Then rose up

certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly 18 of the people, saying, 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 ploughed (like) a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house, the hill on which the temfile stands,

as the high places of a forest, overgrown with thorns and briars. 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 20 souls by destroying Jeremiah. And there was also a man that

prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shema

iah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against 21 this land according to all the words of Jeremiah : 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 22 Egypt. And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, [name

ly,) Elnathan the son of Achbor, and (certain) men with him 23 into Egypt. 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

This story is no where else recorded. Many prophets were injured and destroyeri, that we read oothing of in the scripture history. This story was alleged by Jeremiah's ene. mnies, as a precedent for putting such a person to death : thongb sone think it was rewarded by himself, or the historian, to show the goodness of God in preserving him.

VOL. V.

Y y

people ; being probably descended from some good family, ke

would not suffer him to be buried with his ancestors, but interred 24 him with common people, or malefactors. Nevertheless the hand

of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, a person of great influence, and a minister in Josiah's court, (2 Kings xxii. 12.) was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death ; he interposed, and rescued him.

REFLECTIONS,

1. L OW fit is it for the Lord's ministers to be faithful and

11 courageous in delivering their messages ! Jeremiah was commanded not to diminish a word ; not to put his message into less offensive expressions, than those in which he received it ; and God defended him, while Urijah's cowardice cost him his life. Thus must christian ministers act; faithfully and boldly reprove the vices which are found among those whom they address, and declare the whole counsel of God; never diminishing a word, either through fear, favour, or flattery. If they keep close to their instructions, the God whom they serve will bear them out, however men may be offended at them. And their being offended is indeed not much to be regarded, since none will be so, but those who know in their own consciences that they are guilty of the vices reproved.

2. See the influence which God has over the spirits of men, and how easily he can turn them. The people were at first for having Jeremiah put to death ; then, when they heard his defence they were for having him spared. Upon the precedent being quoted for putting him to death (even the case of Urijah) it seems that they altered their sentiments again, but Ahikam saved him. How little dependence is to be had upon popular cries, whether for or against a man! God raised up a friend for Jeremiah. This should engage us to be firm and resolute in the cause of God and religion, since he knows how to deliver the godly out of their tribulations. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him ; but the Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Psalm xxxvii. 32, 33.

CHAP. XXVII.

Under the type of bonds and yokes, Jeremiah prophesieth the subduing

of the neighbouring kings by Nebuchadnezzar. ITN the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim* the son of Josiah

1 king of Judah, came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, 2 saying, Thus saith the LORD to me ; Make thee bonds and

• Some careless transcriber has put, by mistake, Jehoiakim for Zedekiah, as appears from several verses in this chapter, and the beginning of the next. Mistakes of names and dates must often happen in transcribing ancient books, but they no way affect their general ci crise bility, and but seldom their sense.

3 yokes, and put them upon thy neck,* And send them to the

king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, that is, ambassadors, who came to come

gratulate Zedekiah on his accession ; or rather, to concert measures 4 to throw off the yoke of the king of Babylon ; And command them

to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the Ś God of Israel ; Thus shall ye say unto your masters ; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that (are] upon the

ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have 6 given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me, And now have I

given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant ; and the beasts of the field, their carile, in which much of their substance consisted, have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, that is, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, until the very time of his land come, the time of his visiting and reckoning with them : and then many nations and great kings

shall serve themselves of him, that is, shall exact service of him.t 8 And it shall come to pass, (that) the nation and kingdom which

will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the

sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have Iconsumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to

your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor

to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, 10 saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon : For they prophe

esy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land, and that

I should drive you out, and ye should perish ; if therefore you 11 suffer yourselves to be deceived by them, ye shall be removed. But

the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD ; and they shall till it, and dwell therein ; they shall become his tributaries, and probably live better than

they did before. 12 I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these

words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of 13 Babylon, and serve him, and his people, and live.l! Why will

ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and ty

The prophets used to prophesy by signs and actions, as well as by words. The yoke consisted of two boards, with holes cut in the middle to fit the neck, and were tied toxither with bands ; so that it was somewhat like our pillories, only these lay on their shouldeis; and they put thein on malerietors, as we do fetters.

+ This is a remarkable prophesy, as the empire of Babylon was now in its greatest power and glory: but it never made any figure after the Persians conquered it.

I This threatening was executed by some parts of his army harassing their country, during the thirteen years that he besieged 'Tyre.

Zedekiah was made king by the king of Babylon, und had sworn fidelity to lim, and is. reproved, and aftei ward punished for his perjury.

the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that 14 will not serve the king of Babylon? Therefore hearken not unto

the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall

not serve the king of Babylon : for they prophesy a lie unto 15 you. For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they propb

esy a lie in my name ; that I may drive you out, and that ye

might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. 16 Also I spake to the priests and to all this people ; though they

were my inveterate enemies, who had endeavoured to take away my life, yet I faithfully warned them, and thus endeavoured to preserve theirs, saying, Thus saith the LORD ; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the • vessels of the Lord's house, which have been taken away in the

two former reigns, shall now shortly be brought again from '17 Babylon : for, they prophesy a lie unto you. Hearken not

unto them ; serve the king of Babylon, and live : wherefore 18 should this city be laid waste? But if they [be] prophets, and if

the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and [in] the house of the king of Judah,

and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. '19 For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and

concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning 20 the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, Which Neb

uchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jeru

salem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; 21 Yea, thus saith the LORD 'of hosts, the God of Israel, cor

cerning the vessels that remain [in] the house of the LORD,

and [in] the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem ; 22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until

the day that I visit them, saith the LORD, that is, till I visit the vessels; as if he had said, I will come and survey the calalogue of them, and call it over to see that none are wanting ; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place ; though they are 80 large, weighty and valuable, they shall all be sent by Cyrus, and at his own expense ; all which was remarkably fulfilled.

REFLECTIONS.

1. DROM hence we learn to reverence the supreme power and

T universal dominion of God, v. 5. Being the Creator, he is the supreme proprietor and disposer of all countries and persons ; he gives the earth to the children of men, and to each his share ; changes times and seasons ; sets up kings, and removeth them. Though Nebuchadnezzar was a wicked and tyrannical prince, yet God for wise reasons gave him these countries. Large estates, dominions, and possessions, are not the best things ; for God sometimes gives them to the worst of men. Let the thought of his univer

sal government compose our minds in the most troublesome times; and engage us to be content with that lọt which his Providence hath assigned us.

2. We may infer the reasonableness of submitting to the yoke of Christ. God hath exalted him to be a prince, given him the earth for his possession, and requires us to be subject to him. God's appointment is a sufficient reason for our subjection ; especially when we consider the character of Christ ; that his yoke is easy, that if we serve him, we shall live, and that if we do not submit, God will punish us. False notions of liberty are mischievous ; the restraints of religion are reasonable and useful. Kiss the son, therefore, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that trust in him.

3. God's prophets should be praying men, and use all their interest in heaven for the safety and good of the church, v. 18. Which intimates, that true prophets should be men of eminent devotion, and that God would pay a great regard to their intercession, May all God's ministers be devout and holy men ! enter tenderly into the concerns of the church, and be fervent in their intercessions before God for its prosperity ! and may they be successful in such friendly endeavours to serve it!

CHAP. XXVIII.

Hananiah, by a prophetic action, contradicts Jeremiah's prophecy :

who gives a terrible answer, which was soon fulfilled. AND it came to pass the same year, in the beginning

1 of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, (and) in the fifth month,* (that) Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which (was) of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house

of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, 2 saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel

saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon, that isa

his tyrannical power, of which Jeremiah's yoke was an emblem. 3 Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the

vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Ba

bylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon : 4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoia

kim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD : for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.f

• As Zedekiah reigned but eleven years, the fourth could hardjy be said to be the begins ning of his reign ; and therefore some critics would render the words, then it had been so. that is, when Jeremiah had been prophesying with this yoko froin the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah to the fourth year, (in which year he went to Babylon, see chap. li. 59.) having put it on when he delivered his prophetic messages.

+ This was pleasing enough to the people, because they considered Jeconiah as their lawful king, and Zedekiah, bis uncle, as only the lieutenant or viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar : but this prophecy appears at the first view very suspicious, as nothing is said about their repentance and reformation.

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