Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Jeremiah, by the commend of God, goes into the court of the Lord's house; and foretells the destruction of the temple and city, if not prevented by the speedy repentance of the people, Jer 26:1-7. By this unwelcome prophecy his life was in great danger; although saved by the influence of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, who makes a masterly defense for the prophet, Jer 26:8-18. Urijah is condemned, but escapes to Egypt; whence he is brought hack by Jehoiakim, and slain, Jer 26:20-23. Ahikam befriends Jeremiah, Jer 26:24.
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim - As this prophecy must have been delivered in the first or second year of the reign of Jehoiakim, it is totally out of its place here. Dr. Blayney puts it before chap. 36.; and Dr. Dahler immediately after chap. ix., and before chap. 46.
If ye will not hearken - This and several of the following verses are nearly the same with those in Jer 7:13, etc., where see the notes.
And all the people - That were in company with the priests and the prophets.
The princes of Judah - The king's court; his cabinet counsellors.
The Lord sent me to prophesy - My commission is from him, and my words are his own. I sought not this painful office. I did not run before I was sent.
Therefore now amend your ways - If ye wish to escape the judgment which I have predicted, turn to God, and iniquity shall not be your ruin.
As for me, behold, I am in your hand - I am the messenger of God; you may do with me what you please; but if you slay me, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves.
This man is not worthy to die - The whole court acquitted him.
Certain of the elders - This is really a fine defense, and the argument was perfectly conclusive. Some think that it was Ahikam who undertook the prophet's defense.
Micah the Morasthite - The same as stands among the prophets. Now all these prophesied as hard things against the land as Jeremiah has done; yet they were not put to death, for the people saw that they were sent of God.
Urijah - who prophesied - The process against Jeremiah is finished at the nineteenth verse; and the case of Urijah is next brought on, for he was also to be tried for his life; but hearing of it he fled to Egypt. He was however condemned in his absence; and the king sent to Egypt, and brought him thence and slew him, and caused him to have an ignominious burial, Jer 26:21-23.
The hand of Ahikam - was with Jeremiah - And it was probably by his influence that Jeremiah did not share the same fate with Urijah. The Ahikam mentioned here was probably the father of Gedaliah, who, after the capture of Jerusalem, was appointed governor of the country by Nebuchadnezzar, Jer 40:5. Of the Prophet Urijah, whether he was true or false, we know nothing but what we learn from this place.
That they should not give him into the hand of the people - Though acquitted in the supreme court, he was not out of danger; there was a popular prejudice against him, and it is likely that Ahikam was obliged to conceal him, that they might not put him to death. The genuine ministers of God have no favor to expect from those who are His enemies.