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The Scroll Read in the Temple
In the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. 3It may be that when the house of Judah hears of all the disasters that I intend to do to them, all of them may turn from their evil ways, so that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the Lord that he had spoken to him. 5And Jeremiah ordered Baruch, saying, “I am prevented from entering the house of the Lord; 6so you go yourself, and on a fast day in the hearing of the people in the Lord’s house you shall read the words of the Lord from the scroll that you have written at my dictation. You shall read them also in the hearing of all the people of Judah who come up from their towns. 7It may be that their plea will come before the Lord, and that all of them will turn from their evil ways, for great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 8And Baruch son of Neriah did all that the prophet Jeremiah ordered him about reading from the scroll the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
9 In the fifth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the towns of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the Lord. 10Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.
The Scroll Read in the Palace
11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah son of Shaphan heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber; and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14Then all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah son of Shelemiah son of Cushi to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15And they said to him, “Sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16When they heard all the words, they turned to one another in alarm, and said to Baruch, “We certainly must report all these words to the king.” 17Then they questioned Baruch, “Tell us now, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.”
Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll
20 Leaving the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the secretary, they went to the court of the king; and they reported all the words to the king. 21Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary; and Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22Now the king was sitting in his winter apartment (it was the ninth month), and there was a fire burning in the brazier before him. 23As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a penknife and throw them into the fire in the brazier, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. 24Yet neither the king, nor any of his servants who heard all these words, was alarmed, nor did they tear their garments. 25Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son and Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest the secretary Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. But the Lord hid them.
Jeremiah Dictates Another
27 Now, after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 28Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which King Jehoiakim of Judah has burned. 29And concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah you shall say: Thus says the Lord, You have dared to burn this scroll, saying, Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off from it human beings and animals? 30Therefore thus says the Lord concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah: He shall have no one to sit upon the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31And I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity; I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the people of Judah, all the disasters with which I have threatened them—but they would not listen.
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the secretary Baruch son of Neriah, who wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
Jer 36:1-32. Baruch Writes, and Reads Publicly Jeremiah's Prophecies Collected in a Volume. The Roll Is Burnt by Jehoiakim, and Written Again by Baruch at Jeremiah's Dictation.
1. fourth year—The command to write the roll was given in the fourth year, but it was not read publicly till the fifth year. As Isaiah subjoined to his predictions a history of events confirming his prophecies (Isa 36:1-22; 37:1-38; 38:1-22; 39:1-8), so Jeremiah also in the thirty-seventh through forty-third chapters; but he prefaces his history with the narrative of an incident that occurred some time ago, showing that he, not only by word, but in writing, and that twice, had testified all that he about to state as having subsequently come to pass [Grotius]. At the end of Jehoiakim's third year, Nebuchadnezzar enrolled an army against Jerusalem and took it in the end of the fifth or beginning of the sixth year, carrying away captive Jehoiakim, Daniel, &c. Jehoiakim returned the same year, and for three years was tributary: then he withheld tribute. Nebuchadnezzar returned and took Jerusalem, and carried off Jehoiakim, who died on the road. This harmonizes this chapter with 2Ki 24:1-20 and Da 1:1-21. See on Jer 22:19.
2. roll of a book—a book formed of prepared skins made into a roll. Compare "volume of the book," that is, the Pentateuch (Ps 40:7). It does not follow that his prophecies were not before committed to writing; what is implied is, they were now written together in one volume, so as to be read continuously to the Jews in the temple.
against … nations—(Jer 25:15, &c.).
3. hear—consider seriously.
return … from … evil way—(Jon 3:8).
5. I am shut up—not in prison, for there is no account of his imprisonment under Jehoiakim, and Jer 36:19, 26 are inconsistent with it: but, "I am prevented," namely, by some hindrance; or, through fear of the king, to whose anger Baruch was less exposed, as not being the author of the prophecy.
6. go—on the following year (Jer 36:9).
fasting day—(See Jer 36:9). An extraordinary fast, in the ninth month (whereas the fast on the great day of atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month, Le 16:29; 23:27-32), appointed to avert the impending calamity, when it was feared Nebuchadnezzar, having in the year before (that is, the fourth of Jehoiakim), smitten Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish, would attack Judea, as the ally of Egypt (2Ki 23:34, 35). The fast was likely to be an occasion on which Jeremiah would find the Jews more softened, as well as a larger number of them met together.
7. present … supplication—literally, "supplication shall fall"; alluding to the prostrate attitude of the supplicants (De 9:25; Mt 26:39), as petitioners fall at the feet of a king in the East. So Hebrew, Jer 38:26; Da 9:18, Margin.
9. they proclaimed … to all the people … to all, &c.—rather, "all the people … all the people proclaimed a fast" [Michaelis]. The chiefs appointed the fast by the wish of the people. In either version the ungodly king had no share in appointing the fast.
10. chamber—Baruch read from the window or balcony of the chamber looking into the court where the people were assembled. However, some of the chambers were large enough to contain a considerable number (Ne 13:5).
Gemariah—distinct from the Gemariah, son of Hilkiah, in Jer 29:3.
Shaphan—the same person as in 2Ki 22:3.
scribe—secretary of state, or he who presided over the public records.
higher court—that of the priests, the court of the people being lower (2Ch 4:9).
new gate—(Jer 26:10). The east gate.
12. scribe's chamber—an apartment in the palace occupied by the secretary of state.
princes—holding a counsel of state at the time.
Hananiah—the false prophet (Jer 28:10-17).
14. Jehudi—of a good family, as appears from his pedigree being given so fully, but in a subordinate position.
come—Instead of requiring Baruch to come to them, they ought to have gone to the temple, and there professed their penitence. But pride forbade it [Calvin].
16. afraid, both one and other—Hebrew, "fear-stricken," they turned to one another (compare Ge 42:28). This showed, on their part, hesitancy, and some degree of fear of God, but not enough to make them willing to sacrifice the favor of an earthly king.
We will surely tell the king—not the language of threatening but implying that the matter is of such moment that the king ought to be made acquainted with it, so as to seek some remedy against the divine anger.
17. What they wished to know was, whether what Baruch had read to them was written by him from memory after hearing Jeremiah repeating his prophecies continuously, or accurately from the prophet's own dictation.
18. his mouth—Baruch replies it was by the oral dictation of the prophet; Jer 36:2 accords with this view, rather than with the notion that Jeremiah repeated his prophecies from manuscripts.
ink—his specification of the "ink" implies: I added nothing save the hand, pen, and ink.
20. chamber—There were chambers in the king's palace round the court or great hall, as in the temple (Jer 36:10). The roll was "laid up" there for safekeeping, with other public records.
21. sent Jehudi—Note how unbelievers flee from God, and yet seek Him through some kind of involuntary impulse [Calvin]. Jehudi seems to have been the king's ready tool for evil.
22. winter house—(Am 3:15).
ninth month—namely, of the religious year, that is, November or December.
fire on … hearth—rather, the stove was burning before him. In the East neither chimneys nor ovens are used, but, in cold weather, a brazen vessel containing burning charcoal; when the wood has burned to embers, a cover is placed over the pot to make it retain the heat.
23. three or four leaves—not distinct leaves as in a book, but the consecutive spaces on the long roll in the shape of doors (whence the Hebrew name is derived), into which the writing is divided: as the books of Moses in the synagogue in the present day are written in a long parchment rolled round a stick, the writing divided into columns, like pages.
pen-knife—the writer's knife with which the reed, used as a pen, was mended. "He" refers to the king (Jer 36:22). As often as Jehudi read three or four columns, the king cut asunder the part of the roll read; and so he treated the whole, until all the parts read consecutively were cut and burnt; Jer 36:24, "all these words," implies that the whole volume was read through, not merely the first three or four columns (1Ki 22:8).
24. The king and his "servants" were more hardened than the "princes" and councillors (see on Jer 36:12; Jer 36:14; Jer 36:16). Contrast the humble fear exhibited by Josiah at the reading of the law (2Ki 22:11).
25. (See on Jer 36:16). The "nevertheless" aggravates the king's sin; though God would have drawn him back through their intercession, he persisted: judicial blindness and reprobation!
26. Hammelech—not as Margin, "of the king." Jehoiakim at this time (the fifth year of his reign) had no grown-up son: Jeconiah, his successor, was then a boy of eleven (compare 2Ki 23:36, with 2Ki 24:8).
27. roll, and … words—that is, the roll of words.
29. say to Jehoiakim—not in person, as Jeremiah was "hidden" (Jer 36:26), but by the written word of prophecy.
saying, Why—This is what the king had desired to be said to Jeremiah if he should be found; kings often dislike the truth to be told them.
30. He shall have none to sit upon the throne—fulfilled (2Ki 24:8, &c.; 2Ki 25:1-30). He had successors, but not directly of his posterity, except his son Jeconiah, whose three months' reign is counted as nothing. Zedekiah was not the son, but the uncle of Jeconiah, and was raised to the throne in contempt of him and his father Jehoiakim (Jer 22:30).
day … heat … night … frost—There are often these variations of temperature in the East between night and day (Ge 31:40).
32. added besides … many like words—Sinners gain nothing but additional punishment by setting aside the word of Jehovah. The law was similarly rewritten after the first tables had been broken owing to Israel's idolatry (Ex 32:19, 34:1).