Jeremiah Is Put on Trial as a False Prophet
1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah at the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. 2 The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word! 3 Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do. If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing. 4 Tell them that the Lord says, ‘You must obey me! You must live according to the way I have instructed you in my laws. 5 You must pay attention to the exhortations of my servants the prophets. I have sent them to you over and over again. But you have not paid any attention to them. 6 If you do not obey me, then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh. And I will make this city an example to be used in curses by people from all the nations on the earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say these things in the Lord’s temple. 8 Jeremiah had just barely finished saying all the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people. All at once some of the priests, the prophets, and the people grabbed him and shouted, “You deserve to die! 9 How dare you claim the Lord’s authority to prophesy such things! How dare you claim his authority to prophesy that this temple will become like Shiloh and that this city will become an uninhabited ruin!” Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah.
10 However, some of the officials of Judah heard about what was happening and they rushed up to the Lord’s temple from the royal palace. They set up court at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. 11 Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said, “This man should be condemned to die because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so with your own ears.”
12 Then Jeremiah made his defence before all the officials and all the people. “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. 13 But correct the way you have been living and do what is right. Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would. 14 As to my case, I am in your power. Do to me what you deem fair and proper. 15 But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!”
16 Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said, “This man should not be condemned to die. For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.” 17 Then some of the elders of Judah stepped forward and spoke to all the people gathered there. They said, 18 “Micah from Moresheth prophesied during the time Hezekiah was king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah,
‘The Lord who rules over all says,
“Zion will become a ploughed field.
Jerusalem will become a pile of rubble.
The temple mount will become a mere wooded ridge.”’
19 King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favour? Did not the Lord forgo destroying them as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.”
20 Now there was another man who prophesied as the Lord’s representative against this city and this land just as Jeremiah did. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim. 21 When the king and all his bodyguards and officials heard what he was prophesying, the king sought to have him executed. But Uriah found out about it and fled to Egypt out of fear. 22 However, King Jehoiakim sent some men to Egypt, including Elnathan son of Achbor, 23 and they brought Uriah back from there. They took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed and had his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.
24 However, Ahikam son of Shaphan used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people.