76 Sermons on the Old Testament

45 Jeremiah Brought to Trial at the Temple.



Jeremiah Brought to Trial at the Temple

I am here, Jesus:

Now Pharaoh Necho, I repeat, was defeated in battle at Carchemish, by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian monarch, in 605 B.C. and Jehoiakim thus became a vassal to Babylon. A puppet, therefore, of the ruling forces, both of the west and the east, Jehoiakim began to permit the old pagan practices to be reestablished in the Temple; he also began to play politics with the hope of a successful revolt against Babylon, and Jeremiah now saw that the time had come for a renewal of his role as God's prophet. Therefore he suddenly appeared at the gate of the Temple and began to preach against the offerings to the Baalim and the social injustices that prevailed in the land. Jeremiah was now a man in his middle forties, older and more mature than when he had begun his prophetic mission, and his speech possessed a striking force of expression:

"Hear the word of the Lord, all. ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
Trust ye not in lying words, saying; The Temple of the Lord; the Temple of the Lord; the Temple of the Lord, are these.
Nay, but if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; If ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt;
Then will I cause to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave your fathers, for ever and ever.
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say; We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Is this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it; saith the Lord.
Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My Name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim."
(Jeremiah, Chapt. 7, verses 2 to 15).

Now the effect of these words upon the people was galvanic. Instead of taking to heart his words, for their salvation, both material and spiritual, a throng of people led by priests and prophets, seized him. A riot started in the temple area that subsided only when Jehoiakim and his courtiers hurried to the new gateway of the temple and took seats therein -- for this was the usual court of justice at this period. A trial began, and the spokesman for the priests demanded Jeremiah's death on the ground that he had inveighed against God's Holy Temple. As a defense, Jeremiah, with the courage which had been given him by complete faith in the Lord, arose to speak before the judging princes and the people who were gathered in the gateway, and he exclaimed, with power and assurance:

"The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city, all the words you have heard.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God.
And the Lord will repent him the evil that He hath pronounced against you.
But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right In your eyes
Only know ye for certain that, If ye put me to death, ye will 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."
(Jeremiah, Chapt. 26, verses 12 to 15)

Some of the princes and the people were in accord with Jeremiah's appeal, among those of the palace being Ahikam ben Shahan, that is, the son of the revered and learned scribe Shaphan ben Azaliah, who was one of the writers of the Book of Deuteronomy and a staunch supporter, therefore, of Jeremiah's great sermons, and he who in fact, read the Book of Deuteronomy to King Josiah, and who with Ahikam, went to the prophetess Huldah for her interpretation; and it was he who recalled to the people, the priests and the false prophets at the trial that Micah, the prophet had, as I have shown previously, prophecied the destruction of the Temple and no harm had been done him, and Ahikam ben Shaphan, and Achbor ben Micaiah, and some other elders of the palace associated with the Reform of Josiah, won the day for Jeremiah, and he was freed.

Yet King Jehoiakim took revenge on another prophet, Uriah ben Shemaiah, of Kiriath Jearim who, like Jeremiah, predicted disaster would overtake the city unless the people repented. The priests and false prophets determined to make an example of him, since Jeremiah had been freed at a public trial, and, inasmuch as, being made aware of the temper of the King and the priesthood, he fled to Egypt, to escape their wrath. The King therefore had him tracked down in Egypt, and he was taken alive back to Jehoiakim, where he was killed with the sword in the King's presence. (Jeremiah, Chapt. 27, verse 20).

A precedent however, had been established by Jeremiah, whereby prophecies because of iniquities wrought therein was not punishable by death in public trial.

Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens.



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