When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”
What has Jeremiah said or done to make the officials of Judah want to have him perish? Well, let’s look back at Jeremiah 26:4-6:
You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.’”
So what happened to Shiloh?
From what limited knowledge that I can piece together, Shiloh was once like the capital of the Israelites. It was where the Ark of the Covenant resided after the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. Where the ark resided is where all of the Hebrews came to worship and sacrifice before the Lord. This is where all the priests and judges lived. Shiloh was the seat of government for the Israelites.
The seat of government and power became corrupt, of course. The final piece of corruption that brought about the downfall and subsequent disappearance of Shiloh was the devious sons of the judge Eli. Their names were, Hophni and Phinehas.
Eli was an old man when Samuel was brought to him as a baby. Eli was to raise Samuel to be the next judge, and as it turns out Samuel was the last judge of Israel. Both of Eli’s sons were in their thirties or forties when Samuel was brought to Eli. Hophni and Phinehas were using their power and influence as the sons of the judge, for their own profit.
Read 1 Samuel 2:11-36 to learn about their evil ways:
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.1The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.
Sounds like the IRS. If you don’t believe me ask anyone who has owed them, this agency of the people’s government, just how they behave if you refuse to ante up.
The last straw for Shiloh as well as Hophni and Phinehas, was when they decided to use the Ark of the Covenant as a weapon against the Philistines. Using the ark was against God’s will. It was the arrogance of two men who thought they could use God for their own gain.
The ark was lost, Hophni and Phinehas died on the same day, and the corrupt seat of government disappeared from the Bible, only to be referenced as a consequence of sin.
Now, Jeremiah is informing the latest corrupt government about the unavoidable consequences of their sins. Jeremiah tells the officials that although they are delusional and think that because of their power they can escape the consequences of sin, they will indeed suffer and bring their nation to ruin. They will be following in the footsteps of Hophni and Phinehas.
Jeremiah is telling the government, clean up your act, or you and your people will suffer grave consequences. The balance of the universe will catch up to you.
What does he get for speaking the truth? What does Jeremiah receive from his government for having the audacity to speak the truth to the leaders? They wish to shut him up and put him to death. How dare this man challenge these great leaders with the truth! How dare he tell them of their corruption and sin! Why their families and network of friends have been running this government and getting rich off the backs of the people for generations. Who is this outsider to come in here and tell us the truth!
They say: “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.” The leaders will silence their critics. Their arrogance will not allow them to engage in conversation, debate or even allow them to listen and consider the words of a prophet.
Like Shiloh, Judah was eventually overrun and it was hauled off to Babylon.
It’s like I have said again and again, it’s how it was, how it is, and how it will always be.
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