18. Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
18. Et dixit Jeremias regi Zedechiae: Quid peccavi tibi et servis tuis? (hoc est, quid sceleris in to admisi et in servos tuos) et populum hunc, quod tradidistis me in domum carceris.
Though the Prophet had spoken what was displeasing to the king, he yet complains that wrong had been done to him, as he had been cast into prison; and thus he shews that he had been unjustly condemned for having threatened ruin to the city and destruction to the kingdom, because he was constrained to do this by the obligations of his office. Hence the Prophet shews that he had not sinned in this -- that he had proclaimed God's commands, however bitter they were to the king and to the people.
This passage deserves special notice: earthly princes are so proud, that as soon as they order anything, they wish every dispute about their authority to be suspended; for they will have their own ordinances to be counted laws, and their own decrees to be sacred and authoritative; and yet we know, that by following their own wills, they decree often what is wholly unjust and inconsistent with everything that is reasonable. This passage then, as I have said, deserves special notice; for Jeremiah boldly declares that he had not sinned, because he had threatened the king, displeased his counsellors, inveighed against the impiety of the people, and denounced utter ruin on the city and the Temple. He then denies that in all this he had done anything wrong. So also Daniel said,
|Against God and the king have I not sinned,| (Daniel 6:22)
and yet he had disregarded the king's decree, and firmly refused by an impious flattery to put the king in the place of God: he however denied that he had done anything wrong against the king, because his decree was unjust and wicked. Let us then bear in mind, that though princes may in bear their decrees to be disregarded by us, they are yet not absolved before God and his angels, and also that we can boldly, openly, and with a full mouth, as they say, assert our innocence, when religion constrains us, and when it is not lawful to obey the impious and unjust edicts of kings. He afterwards adds --