Kill the Prophet! (Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 26)

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 26

Our chronological study of the Scriptures continues in the book of Jeremiah, and should Judah continue in sin, they would surely face God’s judgment. Our study sheds light on the character of God, and how He addresses the sins of a people or nation. We should take courage, for as the LORD was with Judah, so He is with our generation: He “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Be forewarned: Though the wicked pursue sin unimpeded, remember God is patient, and every man and nation will inevitably face His judgment.

Jeremiah 25 – Seventy Years of Captivity

The date of Jeremiah 25 is specific, for it was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign, who was the third to the last king of Judah. It was also set in the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon (25:1).

Three Indictments Brought Against Judah (25:2-7)

1) Judah had rejected Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings of God’s judgment (25:2-3).

2) Judah also refused to hear the other prophets (25:4).

3) Judah, refused to repent, thus setting in motion God’s wrath and judgment (25:7).

Note, had Judah repented, the LORD would have left them in the land. Should they reject their idols, the LORD promised He would not hurt them (25:5).

God Declared His Judgment (25:8-14)

In light of God’s sovereignty, the LORD declared to unrepentant Judah, thus: “I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land [Judah], and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations” (25:9).

God’s judgment was not only against Judah, whom He warned would be taken into captivity for seventy years (25:11), but against all her neighbors. Seventy years, God’s people would be in servitude to the kings of Babylon (25:11); however, at the end of seventy years, Babylon would fall, “and the land of the Chaldeans (the Babylonian people), and [would] make it perpetual desolations” (25:12). Because of Babylon’s wickedness, the scope of God’s judgment was so great, Babylon would never be rebuilt (25:13-14).

The Wrath of God’s Judgment (25:15-38)

Jeremiah 25:15-26 gives us the names of the nations that would be destroyed by the army of Babylon, including Jerusalem and Judah. Jeremiah was told to warn His people, that they would drink from the cup of God’s wrath, as would the other nations (25:27). Should they believe the false prophets who proposed Judah would be spared, the prophet was to admonish them, “Ye shall certainly drink” (from the symbolic cup of judgment), and “Ye shall not be unpunished” (25:28-29).

Pictures of God’s Wrath (25:30-38)

Remembering the LORD is jealous for His people, Jeremiah was commanded to prophesy against all the nations to whom he had been sent, to declare God’s judgment in images of which there could be no doubt of the Lord’s righteous indignation (25:15-38).

The first and second images portray the judgment of the LORD coming from heaven like a roaring voice (25:30a), crushing the nations underfoot as though in a wine press (25:30b). The images continue with God’s judgment against the nations being likened to a courtroom, with God serving both as a pleading and executing judge (25:31). Also, a great storm (25:32) and a refuse dump are given as portraits of the LORD’s judgment, with the latter serving as a place where the bodies of the slain would be left unburied, and with no one to mourn (25:33). Finally, a heart-rending portrait was that of the “shepherds” (leaders of the nations), weeping and wailing for their people being scattered like broken shards of pottery (25:34), crying hopelessly for their scattered flocks, and destroyed pastures (25:36-37).

Jeremiah 26

Jeremiah 26:1-10 – “Thus saith the LORD…Diminish not a Word”

We find the LORD sending Jeremiah to the Temple in Jeremiah 26, warning, “diminish not a word” (in other words, speak everything I have told you, 26:2).

When Jeremiah’s fearless declaration of God’s Word was ended (26:3-7), the priests and prophets stirred up the people who threatened the prophet, “Thou shalt surely die” (26:8). The uproar was so great the “princes of Judah” (civic leaders) intervened and established a public trial for Jeremiah “in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house” (26:9-10). (In ancient times, the “gates” served as a public stage for transacting business, and holding trials.)

Jeremiah 26:11-24 – God’s Prophet on Trial

Jeremiah’s Defense (26:11-15)

The wicked priests and false prophets accused Jeremiah of preaching a message of doom, and asserted he should be put to death (26:11). Jeremiah, however, rose to his own defense and declared, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard” (26:12).

Jeremiah challenged the people, “amend your ways [i.e. do good] and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD” (26:13), and He would withhold the judgment He had determined against them.

Two Legal Precedents for Freeing Jeremiah (26:16-24)

The leaders of the people considered two cases to justify Jeremiah’s acquittal (26:16-23).

The first, the case of the prophet Micah (26:18-19) who prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah. Micah’s life was spared because the king and the people repented of their sins (Micah 3:12). The second case was of the prophet Urijah (also known as Uriah), who prophesied during the reign of Jehoiakim (26:20-23). Urijah fled to Egypt; however, the king’s men returned him to Judah, and the king slew him and cast his body into a commoner’s grave (26:23).

It was noted, unlike Urijah who had fled Judah, Jeremiah, had not fled nor failed to execute his office as God’s prophet. One man, Ahikam, pled the judges “should not give [Jeremiah] into the hand of the people to put him to death” (26:24).

I close with a question for any who dare abuse the faithful servants and preachers of God’s Word:

“Who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26:9)

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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