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Jeremiah 36:4-6

4. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.

4. Et vocavit Jeremias Baruch fillium Neriae; et scripsit Baruch ex ore Jeremiae cunctos sermones Jehovae, quos loquutus est ad ipsum, in volumine libri.

5. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:

5. Et praecepit Jeremias ipsi Baruch, dicendo, Ego detineor (vel, sum conclusus) non potero venire in domum Jehovae (hoc est, in Templum:)

6. Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people, in the LORD’S house upon the fasting-day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.

6. Tu autem vade, et lege in volumine quod scripseris ex ore meo, sermones Jehovae in auribus populi, in domo Jehovae, in die jejunii, atque etiam in auribus totius Jehudab, qui venerint (hoc est, omnium Judaeorum qui venerint) ex urbibus suis, tu leges ipsis.


Here the Prophet declares that he dictated to Baruch, a servant of God, whatever he had previously taught. But there is no doubt but that God suggested to the Prophet at the time what might have been erazed from his memory; for all the things which we have some time ago said, do not always occur to us. Therefore the greater part of so many words must have escaped the Prophet, had not God dictated them again to him. Jeremiah then stood, as it were, between God and Baruch; for God, by his Spirit, presided over and guided the mind and tongue of the Prophet. Now the Prophet, the Spirit being his guide and teacher, recited what God had commanded; and Baruch wrote down, and then proclaimed the whole summary of what the Prophet had taught.

He therefore says, that he called to him Baruch the son of Neria, who wrote from his mouth, and he wrote all the words of Jehovah Jeremiah repeats again that nothing came from himself. We hence see that he did not dictate, according to his own will, what came to his mind, but that God suggested whatever he wished to be written by Baruch. It is added, that he commanded Baruch to recite in the Temple what he had written, because he himself was detained. Some think that he was shut up in prison; and he used the same word before, when he told us that he was cast into prison by Zedekiah. But as sacred history does not say that he suffered any such thing under Jehoiakim, I am inclined to think that he was prevented by God; I do not, however, ascribe it to a divine oracle; for it might have happened either through God’s command, or through some human impediments. 101101     Blaney’s suggestion is not improbable, that the Prophet, having been before tried before the princes, (Jeremiah 26) was put under some restraint, probably forbidden to enter the precincts of the Temple. — Ed. If we believe the Prophet to have been in prison, and that he might have gone out, he yet abstained; for the more liberty was given him, the more bound he felt himself to continue in prison, lest he should violate public authority. But the other supposition is more probable, that he was detained by God’s hand. However this may have been, he says that he could not go forth; and he mentioned this, lest it should appear that he was only careful as to himself, and that through fear of danger, he devolved this duty on Baruch. He then shews that he did not shun his office, because it exposed him to hatred, but that he was not at liberty to go forth.

Go thou, then, he says, and read in the volume The Prophet, in this case, was ready to incur any odium which might be, for he did not bid Baruch to relate by memory what he had heard from him, but ordered him to take the volume, and to read, as we shall hereafter see, what he had written. The Prophet then did not, in this instance, avoid danger, and put Baruch in his own place, but he expressly told him to read from the volume: What thou hast written, he says, from my mouth, and, what Jehovah has spoken, these things read thou to the people in the Temple, on a fasting day This day was chosen, first, because there was then a greater concourse of people, according to what immediately follows, for he was to read these things in the ears not only of the citizens, but also of the whole people; and on fast-days they were wont, as it is well known, to come in great numbers to the city for the purpose of sacrificing. It was then God’s purpose that these threatenings should be proclaimed, not only to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but also to all other Jews, that the report of them might spread to every part of the land. In the second place, such a day was much more suitable to the message conveyed; for why was a fast enjoined, except humbly to supplicate God’s mercy, and to deprecate his wrath? As then this was the design of a fast, the Jews ought to have been then, as it were, in a submissive state of mind, prepared calmly to receive these threatenings, and to profit by them.

We then see that there were two reasons why the Prophet, by God’s command, fixed on this day, — first, because there was a larger number of people, — and, secondly, because a fast ought to have rendered them teachable, so that they might more readily submit to God, acknowledge their sins, and, being terrified, might also flee to God’s mercy, and thus loathe themselves on account of their sins. The rest tomorrow.

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