Jeremiah’s Enemies Try to Have Him Killed
1A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. It was shortly after Jehoiakim became king of Judah. He was the son of Josiah. 2The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Stand in the courtyard of my house. Speak to the people of the towns in Judah. Speak to all those who come to worship in my house. Tell them everything I command you. Do not leave out a single word. 3Perhaps they will listen. Maybe they will turn from their evil ways. Then I will not do what I said I would. I will not bring trouble on them. I had planned to punish them because of the evil things they had done. 4Tell them, ‘The Lord says, “Listen to me. Obey my law that I gave you. 5And listen to the words my servants the prophets are speaking. I have sent them to you again and again. But you have not listened to them. 6So I will make this house like Shiloh. All the nations on earth will use the name of this city in a curse.” ’ ”
7Jeremiah spoke these words in the Lord’s house. The priests, the prophets and all the people heard him. 8Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say. But as soon as he did, the priests, the prophets and all the people grabbed him. They said, “You must die! 9Why do you prophesy these things in the Lord’s name? Why do you say that this house will become like Shiloh? Why do you say that this city will be empty and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the Lord’s house.
10The officials of Judah heard what had happened. So they went up from the royal palace to the Lord’s house. There they took their places at the entrance of the New Gate. 11Then the priests and prophets spoke to the officials and all the people. They said, “This man should be sentenced to death. He has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”
12Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and people. He said, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city. He told me to say everything you have heard. 13So change the way you live and act. Obey the Lord your God. Then he won’t do what he said he would. He won’t bring on you the trouble he said he would bring. 14As for me, I’m in your hands. Do to me what you think is good and right. 15But you can be sure of one thing. If you put me to death, you will be held responsible for spilling my blood. And I haven’t even done anything wrong. You will bring guilt on yourselves and this city and those who live in it. The Lord has sent me to you. He wanted me to say all these things so you could hear them. And that’s the truth.”
16Then the officials and all the people spoke to the priests and prophets. They said, “This man shouldn’t be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”
17Some of the elders of the land stepped forward. They spoke to the whole community gathered there. They said, 18“Micah from Moresheth prophesied. It was during the time Hezekiah was king over Judah. Micah spoke to all the people of Judah. He told them, ‘The Lord who rules over all says,
“ ‘ “Zion will be plowed up like a field.
Jerusalem will be turned into a pile of trash.
The temple hill will be covered with bushes and weeds.” ’ (Micah 3:12)
19Did King Hezekiah or anyone else in Judah put Micah to death? Hezekiah had respect for the Lord and tried to please him. And the Lord didn’t judge Jerusalem as he said he would. He didn’t bring on it the trouble he said he would bring. But we are about to bring horrible trouble on ourselves!”
20Uriah was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord. He was from Kiriath Jearim. He was the son of Shemaiah. Uriah prophesied against this city and this land. He said the same things Jeremiah did. 21King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard Uriah’s words. So the king decided to put him to death. But Uriah heard about it. He was afraid. And he ran away to Egypt. 22So King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan to Egypt. He also sent some other men along with him. Elnathan was the son of Akbor. 23Those men brought Uriah out of Egypt. They took him to King Jehoiakim. Then the king had Uriah struck down with a sword. He had Uriah’s body thrown into one of the graves of the ordinary people.
24In spite of that, Ahikam stood up for Jeremiah. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. Because of Ahikam, Jeremiah wasn’t handed over to the people to be put to death.