The Children's Bible
Jeremiah's Courage In Danger
he 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?"