Jeremiahs Courage In Danger

The command came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, "Stand in the door of the

temple and speak this message: 'Hear the word of Jehovah, all you people

of Judah who enter these gates to worship him. Jehovah, the God of

Israel, says: Change your ways and your deeds and I will let you live in

this place. Trust not in misleading words, thinking, this is the temple

of Jehovah. For if you really change your ways and your deeds, if you

faithfully see that justice is done between a man and his neighbor, if

you do no wrong to the foreigners who live among you, to the fatherless

nor to the widow, and do not shed the blood of the innocent in this

place nor follow other gods to your hurt, then I will let you stay in

this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.

"'But now you are trusting in misleading words that are useless. Will

you steal, murder, tell lies and offer sacrifice to Baal, and follow

other gods whom you have not known, and then come and stand before me in

this house which bears my name and say, We are free to do all these

shameful deeds? Is this my house, which bears my name, in your eyes a

den of robbers? I myself have seen these shameful deeds,' says Jehovah.

"'Then go to my temple which was at Shiloh, where people used to worship

me at first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my

people Israel. Now because you have done all these deeds, and have paid

no attention, although I spoke to you earnestly and often; and have not

answered, although I called you, I will destroy the temple which bears

my name, in which you trust, and the place which I gave to you and to

your fathers, as I did at Shiloh. I will also send you from my sight, as

I have sent away your relatives, even all the Northern Israelites.'"

When Jeremiah had finished speaking all that Jehovah had commanded him

to say, the priests and prophets seized him and said, "You must die. Why

have you said in the name of Jehovah that this temple shall be like

Shiloh and this city shall be deserted, with no one living in it?" And

all the people were gathered about Jeremiah in the temple of Jehovah.

But when the public officials of Judah heard of these things, they came

up from the palace to the temple of Jehovah and held court at the

entrance, at the new gate of the temple. Then the priests and the

prophets said to the officials and to the people, "This man should be

put to death, for he has prophesied against this city as you have heard

with your own ears." But Jeremiah answered the officials and all the

people, "It was Jehovah who sent me to prophesy against this temple and

city all that you have heard. Now therefore change your ways and your

deeds and listen to Jehovah your God; and he will not do the evil things

that he has threatened to do to you. But as for me, see, I am in your

power; do to me as you think right and proper. Only remember that, if

you put me to death, you will bring upon yourselves and upon this city

and upon its inhabitants guilt for shedding innocent blood, for Jehovah

has indeed sent me to you to tell you all these things."

Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and to the

prophets, "This man does not deserve to die, for he has spoken to us in

the name of Jehovah our God." Certain of the elders of the land rose and

said to the assembly of the people, "Micah prophesied in the days when

Hezekiah ruled over Judah, and said to the people of Judah, 'Jehovah of

hosts says:

"Zion shall be ploughed as a field,

Jerusalem shall become a ruin,

The temple-mount an overgrown hill."'

"Did Hezekiah and the people of Judah put him to death? Did they not

rather fear Jehovah and ask him to forgive them, so that he did not do

the evil things that he had threatened to do to them? But we are in

danger of doing great harm to ourselves?"