Cities of Judah Warned
1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord: 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 come to worship in the Lord's house all the words that I command you to speak to them; subtract not a word. 3 It may be that they will listen and turn every man from his evil way, that I may relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil which I purpose to do to them because of their evil doings. 4 And you will say to them, Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to and obey Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, 5 And to hear and obey the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you urgently and persistently -- "though you have not listened and obeyed -- " 6 Then will I make this house [the temple] like Shiloh [the home of the Tent of Meeting, abandoned and later destroyed after the ark was captured by the Philistines], and I will make this city subject to the curses of all nations of the earth [so vile in their sight will it be].
A Plot to Murder Jeremiah
7 And the priests and the [false] prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. 8 Now when Jeremiah had finished speaking all 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 shall surely die! 9 Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh [after the ark of the Lord had been taken by our enemies] and this city [Jerusalem] shall be desolate, without inhabitant? And all the people were gathered around Jeremiah in the [outer area of the] house of the Lord.
10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the Lord and sat down in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. 11 Then the priests and the 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.
12 Then Jeremiah said to all the princes and to all the people: The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse the decision concerning the evil which He has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as seems good and suitable to you. 15 But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and upon its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.
Jeremiah Is Spared
16 Then said the princes and all the people to the priests and to the prophets: This man is not deserving of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God. 17 Then certain of the elders of the land arose and said to all the assembly of the people, 18 Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and said to all the people of Judah, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall 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.
19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put [Micah] to death? Did he not [reverently] fear the Lord and entreat the Lord? And did not the Lord relent and reverse the decision concerning the evil which He had pronounced against them? But [here] we are thinking of committing what will be a great evil against ourselves.
20 And there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land in words similar to those of Jeremiah. 21 And 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. 22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan son of Achbor and certain other men [who went] with him into Egypt. 23 And they fetched Uriah from Egypt and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who slew him [God's spokesman] with the sword and cast his dead body among the graves of the common people.