Cities of Judah Warned
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 [Jeremiah], and speak to all [the people of] 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! 3It may be that they will listen and everyone will turn from his wickedness, so that I may relent and reverse [My decision concerning] the disaster which I am planning to do to them because of their malevolent deeds.’ 4And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “If you will not listen to Me and obey My law which I have set before you, 5and listen and follow [carefully] the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you repeatedly—though you have not listened— 6then I will make this house [the temple] like Shiloh, and I will make this city [subject to] the curse of all nations of the earth [because it will be so vile in their sight].” ’ ”
A Plot to Murder Jeremiah
7The priests and the [false] prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. 8Now when Jeremiah finished proclaiming everything that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the [false] 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 [after the ark of the Lord had been taken by our enemies] and this city [Jerusalem] will be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people were gathered around Jeremiah in the [outer area of the] house of the Lord.
10When the princes (court 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 house of the Lord. 11Then the priests and the [false] prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “This man is deserving of death, for he has prophesied against this city as you have heard with your own ears.”
12Then Jeremiah spoke to 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 you have heard. 13Therefore, now change your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse His decision concerning the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. 14As for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as seems good and suitable to you. 15But 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 in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Jeremiah Is Spared
16Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and to the [false] prophets, “This man is not deserving of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” 17Then some of the elders of the land stood 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 says the Lord of hosts,
“Zion will be plowed like a field,
And Jerusalem will become [heaps of] ruins,
And the mountain of the house [of the Lord—Mount Moriah, on which stands the temple, shall become covered not with buildings, but] like a densely wooded height.” ’
19Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put Micah to death? Did he not [reverently] fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord? And did not the Lord relent and reverse His decision concerning the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But [here] we are [thinking of] committing a great evil against ourselves.”
20And there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land in words similar to all those of Jeremiah. 21And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put Uriah to death; but when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt. 22Then Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achbor and certain [other] men with him [went] to Egypt. 23And they brought Uriah [God’s spokesman] from Egypt and led him to King Jehoiakim, who executed him with a sword and threw his dead body among the graves of the common people.
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.