Jeremiah Chapter 36
Verses 1-3: “The fourth year of Jehoiakim” 605 B.C. was a critical time in Judah’s history (25:1; 45:1; 46:1). The Babylonians had defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish to the north and would take control of all of the ancient Near East.
Jeremiah 36:1 “And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, [that] this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,”
“Fourth year of Jehoiakim”: This chapter (like chapter 35), goes back several years earlier than (chapters 32-34), before or shortly after the first of 3 deportations from Jerusalem to Babylon in 605 B.C.
We must remember that the 4th year of Jehoiakim is the same as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 36:2 “Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.””
“Write therein”: The command was to record in one volume all the messages since the outset of Jeremiah’s ministry (in 627 B.C.; 1:2), up to 605/604 B.C. to be read to the people in the temple (verse 6).
“The Rechabites” were descended from the Kenites (compare Judges 1:16; 1 Chron. 2:55). Their way of life was nomadic and austere, and their prohibition of “wine” recalled the Nazarite vows (see the notes on Judges 13:5 and 2 Kings 10:15).
Jeremiah had been speaking the Word God had put into his mouth to speak in prophecy. Now, we see the written Word is powerful as well. This written Word would be the second witness against them. The two great powers in the world are God’s spoken Word and His written Word. Now, we see them both being brought to these rebellious people to try to get them to listen and change. When a person prophesies from God, the Words are actually God’s Words in the mouth of the prophet. They are inspired. Josiah did right in the sight of God. It was his successors Jehoahaz (Shallum), Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin (also known as Jeconiah and Coniah), and Zedekiah that were evil rulers.
Jeremiah 36:3 “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
Not that there was any uncertainty in God as to the knowledge of future events, any more than a change in his purposes. He had purposed to bring evil upon them, which purpose would not be disannulled. And he knew that the Jews would not hearken to the prediction of it, or be concerned about it, and repent of their sins, and reform. But this method he was pleased to take, as being, humanly speaking, a probable one to awaken their attention, and which would leave them inexcusable.
“That they may return every man from his evil way”: Repent of it, and reform.
“That I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. By not inflicting on them the punishment and ruin threatened. Where repentance is, remission of sin is likewise, and both are the gifts of divine grace, when spiritual and evangelical.
The house of Judah which consisted of Judah and Benjamin were not destroyed until many years after the 10 tribes had been destroyed. They had had some good rulers and Israel did not. God has more hope for Judah. God wanted them to turn from their evil and ask forgiveness. God wanted to forgive them. He is also just and could not let their worship of false gods go unpunished.
Jeremiah 36:4 “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.”
“Baruch wrote”: Jeremiah’s recording secretary (compare 32:12), wrote the prophets messages (compare 45:1), and penned them a second time after the first scroll was burned (compare 36:22). He also read the messages in the temple (verse 10), and in the palace (verse 15). Later, Jehudi read a small part of the first scroll before King Jehoiakim (verses 21-23).
He was Jeremiah’s scribe. This verse indicates that he had a large part in recording Jeremiah’s prophecies (compare 45:1). Baruch remained faithful to the Lord and Jeremiah, and was rewarded by being spared during the fall of Jerusalem (45:5). He subsequently accompanied Jeremiah into Egypt where he disappears from the canonical record. Doubtless because of his long association with Jeremiah, several ancient books, whose true authors are unknown, bear his name.
He also played a key role in composition of the Book of Jeremiah and accompanied the prophet when he was taken to Egypt (43:1-7).
Baruch was the son of Neriah (45:1) and brother of Seraiah, King Zedekiah’s quartermaster (51:59). He was the devoted friend (32:12), the amanuensis (secretary – verses 4, 32), and faithful attendant (verse 10), of the prophet Jeremiah. He seems to have been of noble family (51:59). He was apparently aware that he might have risen to a high position, but under Jeremiah’s influence (45:5), he repressed his ambition, contented to follow the great prophet. Jeremiah dictated his prophecies to Baruch, who read them to the people (chapter 36). The king (Jehoiakim), was greatly angered at hearing these, and had Baruch arrested and the scroll burned. Baruch was taken with Jeremiah to Egypt (43:6). Thereafter our knowledge of him becomes merely legendary (Jer. 32:12, and chapters 32, 36, and 43).
Baruch was Jeremiah’s assistant. He acted in this particular instance, like a secretary. Jeremiah spoke and Baruch wrote it down. He was a man of some distinction himself. His grandfather was governor of the city. (In 2 Chronicles 34:8), we see Maaseiah (Baruch’s grandfather), as acting governor. It was not unusual for a prophet to have an assistant. Jeremiah had Baruch to write all the prophecies God made through him in a book or roll.
Jeremiah 36:5 “And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I [am] shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:”
In prison, according to Jarchi; but this is not likely, for then there would have been no occasion for an order to take him (Jer. 36:26). Grotius thinks he was obliged by the king’s order to stay at home. Possibly he might be restrained by the Spirit of God, or had not freedom in his own mind to go abroad. There might be a restraint, an impulse upon his spirit, by the Spirit of God.
“Shut up”, restricted. The word means “confined, hindered, shut up”, and is the same term used for imprisonment (in 33:1 and 39:15). The fact that princes allowed Jeremiah to depart into hiding (verse 19), may indicate that he was curtailed in some ways without being in prison. There is no record of his being imprisoned in Jehoiakim’s rule.
“I cannot go into the house of the Lord”: Laboring either under some bodily infirmity, or ceremonial defilement, or was forbidden by the king. What the true cause is not certain; but so it was, that either he was discharged, disabled, or disqualified from going into the house of God.
For some unspoken reason Jeremiah could not go into the temple at this particular time.
Jeremiah 36:6 “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.”
“The fasting day” (compare verse 9). Here was a special fast day, appointed to avert the impending calamity, which would make the Jews more open to the message of the prophet (verse 7).
This was a task that would take a brave man. This message was not given to Baruch by God, but by Jeremiah. Baruch had to believe 100% in Jeremiah to be willing to do this. The hate some had felt for Jeremiah, would now be partly aimed at Baruch. The people did not want to hear of their sins. The best time however for this to be done would be at a time of fasting, when they were seeking the will of God. This was not a message for just one class of people but for all, from the king to the servant. There would be people from all over Judah here for fasting day and the most people would hear it there.
Jeremiah 36:7 “It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great [is] the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.”
The writing of the Scriptures was by Divine appointment. The Divine wisdom directed to this as a proper means; if it failed, the house of Judah would be the more without excuse. The Lord declares to sinners the evil he purposes to do against them, that they may hear, and fear, and return from their evil ways. And whenever anyone makes this use of God’s warnings, in dependence on his promised mercy, he will find the Lord ready to forgive his sins. All others will be left without excuse. And the consideration that great is the anger God has pronounced against us for sin, should quicken both our prayers and our endeavors.
We learned in an earlier lesson that “supplication” had to do with prayer of petition. If they would be open to repent at all, this would be the time. They must repent of their evil way of life. God’s great anger has come up and He has pronounced their doom.
Jeremiah 36:8 “And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.”
Here follows Baruch’s obedience to the prophet’s commands. Which he considered no doubt as the will of the Lord, who directed the prophet to give the orders he did. And which he punctually observed, in all respects, as to things, time, and place.
“Reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house”: The prophecies of Jeremiah, which came from the Lord, and which he had transcribed into a book from the mouth of the prophet. These he read before the people in the temple, a first, if not a second time, before the reading of it recorded in the following verses.
When a person is working as an assistant to someone, this is the proper thing to do. They must work as a team. The assistant cannot fight Jeremiah or they would be stopped then. Baruch will be blessed of God for his part of this operation. Generally, God speaks through His mouthpiece here on the earth. Seldom does anyone hear the voice of the LORD directly. There are occasions like at Mount Sinai but that is unusual. He occasionally speaks to prophets as He did to Jeremiah, but generally speaking, He speaks through a minister or prophet to the people.
Jeremiah 36:9 “And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, [that] they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.”
“Fifth year” (this year was 604 B.C.), the next year after that (of verse 1), which may suggest that it took some part of a year to repeat and record the long series of messages so far given (compare verse 18).
“Ninth month”: Nov./Dec. (compare verses 22-23).
This fast was called, probably because of the impending war.
Verses 10-18: It is instructive that Baruch read the scroll “in the ears of all the people”, but there is no response from the people to the prophet’s message (Psalm 36:1).
Jeremiah 36:10 “Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people.”
“Chamber”: On the north side, above the wall overlooking the temple court, where the people gathered, Baruch read from a window or balcony.
If all the people were there, this was the outer court. It appears that was where Baruch read the roll from so that all would be able to hear. God wanted all to hear so they would be without excuse if they did not repent. This solemn occasion of fasting would have been a perfect time to examine themselves and repent of their sin.
Jeremiah 36:11 “When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,”
Gemariah himself was, as we find in the next verse, not one of the listeners, but took his place with the other princes, in the “scribe’s chamber,” probably used as a council-room, in the king’s palace. It seems obvious from Michaiah’s relation to him that his purpose in reporting Baruch’s discourse was not unfriendly. Probably it was part of a pre-concerted plan, arranged between the prophet and his friends, that he should report it. And so, give an opening for bringing Baruch into the presence of the king and his counsellors, as they sat in what we may call their council-chamber.
Jeremiah 36:12 “Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, [even] Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.”
One of the officials who took Jeremiah’s words to heart was “Gemariah, the son of Shaphan”. Ahikam, from this same family, had protected Jeremiah from Jehoiakim’s attempt to have him arrested and put to death.
Perhaps he went down to tell them of this roll and its contents. He did not know what to think of this. The people in authority were gathered together in the king’s house. These were frightening times and they were perhaps trying to decide what to do.
Jeremiah 36:13 “Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.”
The sum and substance of them. For it cannot be thought that he should retain in his memory every word that he had heard. Though, as it is very probable he was much struck and affected with what he had heard, he might remember and declare a great deal of it.
“When Baruch read the book in the ears of the people”: And this he also declared, no doubt, that what he had heard, and then related, were read by Baruch out of a book. As is clear from the princes sending for Baruch, and ordering him to bring the roll along with him (as in Jer. 36:14).
They had not been in the court of the common people and heard the message Baruch had read. Michaiah gives them what Baruch had read to the others.
Jeremiah 36:14 “Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.”
Who, according to Junius, was the king’s civil servant. He is described by his descent.
“The son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi”: He the princes sent, being not one of their body, but a servant at court.
“To Baruch”: Who was very probably still in the temple, where Micaiah left him.
“Saying, take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come”: That is, to the king’s palace, to the secretary’s office, where they were, and bring the roll along with him he had been reading to the people. And of which Micaiah had given them some account; and which had such an effect upon them, as to make them desirous of hearing it themselves.
“So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them”: Which showed great boldness and intrepidity in him. To go at once, without any hesitation, to court, and appear before the princes with his roll, which contained things that were disagreeable to the king and his ministry. But as he had not been afraid to read it publicly before the people in the temple, so neither was he afraid to read it before the princes at court.
Jehudi was probably a eunuch in the service of the king. He was probably Ethiopian. Nevertheless, he was a message bearer to Baruch. Baruch was to bring the roll to these officials.
Jeremiah 36:15 “And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read [it] in their ears.”
The courage of Baruch is admirable as he was now before the council, in the king’s house. The substance of the prophecies were threatening both to the king and court, and to all the people. The king, as appears by all history, had a bad temper. We read in (Jer. 26:23), of his sending for Urijah the prophet out of Egypt. When he had fled there for fear of the king, and him slaying him. And we shall find that at that time the princes advised both Jeremiah and Baruch to hide themselves. Yet Baruch is not afraid, but reads the prophecy in their ears.
God had intended it to be read in their ears. They just made it easier for this to happen when they called Baruch to come and read it.
Jeremiah 36:16 “Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.”
The words indicate a conflict of feelings. They were alarmed for themselves and their country as they heard, with at least a partial faith, the woes that were threatened as impending. They were alarmed also for the safety of the prophet and the scribe who had the boldness to utter those woes. They have no hostile purpose in communicating what they had heard to the king, but the matter had come to their official knowledge, and they had no alternative but to report it (Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24).
These were frightening accusations about all of them and worse the frightening punishment, if they did not repent. The first thing they thought to do was go tell the king. This was a matter of great magnitude. They would have to tell the king and see what he would do.
Verses 17-18: They asked if Baruch had written these words from memory or actual dictation from the inspired prophet. The latter was true. They were concerned it might be God’s Word (compare verses 16, 25).
Jeremiah 36:17 “And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?”
The following question, which may seem at first sight an odd, needless, and trifling one, as some have called it.
“Saying, tell us now, how didst thou write all these words at his mouth?” This question does not regard the manner of writing them, whether with ink or not, for that they could see with their eyes. And yet Baruch’s answer seems to have respect to this, as if he so understood them. Nor barely the matter of them, as whether it was the substance of what was contained in the roll that Jeremiah dictated, and that only, leaving it to Baruch to use what words he would, or whether the express words were dictated by him. But rather it seems to have regard to the possibility of doing it. By the question it appears, that Baruch had told the princes that the prophet had dictated all these things to him, and he had taken them down in writing from his mouth. Now they wanted more satisfaction about the truth of this matter. It was a difficulty with them how it was possible for Jeremiah to recollect so many different discourses and prophecies, delivered at different times, and some many years ago. And so readily dictate them to Baruch, as fast as he could write them. Wherefore they desire he would tell them plainly and faithfully the truth of the matter, how it was, that so they might, if they could, affirm it with certainty to the king. Since, if this was really fact which he had related, these prophecies originally, and the fresh dictating of them, must be from the Spirit of God, and would certainly have their accomplishment.
From this statement, this seems to have been a lengthy roll. They are now questioning Baruch about how he wrote it? Perhaps they were questioning whether Baruch made this up himself and wrote it down.
Jeremiah 36:18 “Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote [them] with ink in the book.”
This could not but add to the princes’ fear and amazement. They must conceive that the thing was done from God, for without a special influence of God it had been a thing impossible that Jeremiah should have called to mind all that he had spoken at several times in so many years. And proceeding from the God of truth, they must fear that they would have their certain and just accomplishment in their season.
Baruch explains that he just wrote them down, as Jeremiah spoke them. He is saying, I am the man’s secretary.
Jeremiah 36:19 “Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.”
This speaks of these princes to have been men of a much gentler temper and better disposition than those who succeeded them in Zedekiah’s time. They were not willing that any harm should come to the prophet, nor to Baruch. As they knew the fierce temper of Jehoiakim, and therefore advised Baruch that both he and the prophet should hide themselves.
The princes were afraid for the life of Jeremiah and the life of Baruch. They feared what the king would do, so they told Baruch to hide and tell Jeremiah to hide as well.
Verses 20-23: Jehoiakim hated the true prophets of the Lord and had executed Urijah for preaching of the coming judgment (26:20-24). The king would have likely done the same thing to Baruch and Jeremiah if the officials had not sent them into hiding before taking the scroll to him. The act of cutting up the scroll reflected Jehoiakim’s disdain for the Word of God and perhaps an attempt to thwart its message. However, the authority of the king was nothing compared to the power of God’s Word.
Jeremiah 36:20 “And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.”
They were obliged by their office as counsellors to the king to acquaint him with what they heard, which might be prejudicial to him and his nation. And indeed, this was the very reason why God had commanded the enrolling of these prophecies. That both the king, and princes, and people might take notice of them. But they did not carry the book with them, but laid it up in the secretary’s chamber.
It appears they did not read the roll but just told the king what the roll said. They did keep the roll and gave it to the court scribe, Elishama, to keep.
Verses 21-23: Unlike the godly Josiah who repented at the hearing of the Lord’s message on a scroll (2 Kings 22:10-11), the godless Jehoiakim destroyed the “roll”. However, the message was rewritten with additional prophecies. The extent of the material in the earlier scroll is not known. Jehoiakim’s action and Jeremiah’s dictation of his message again may have had something to do with the final arrangement of Jeremiah’s prophecies.
Jeremiah 36:21 “So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.”
The same person the princes sent to Baruch to come to them, and bring the roll with him (Jer. 36:14). This the king did, out of curiosity, and to satisfy himself of the truth of what the princes said. And by this it appears they had told him of the roll, which contained what they had given him a summary of, and where it was.
“And he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. Or, “out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe”. Who knew where it was, being present at the reading of it in the secretary’s office, and saw where it was laid. Or, however, was directed by the secretary where it was, and might have the key of the chest or writing desk given him in which it was laid.
“And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes that stood by the king”: As he doubtless was ordered. And which he did so loudly, clearly, and distinctly, that the king and all the princes could hear. Which princes were those who had heard it before, and were come to the king to acquaint him with the substance of it. And who stood by the side of the king, or about him, in honor to him. Though there might be also others besides them, who were before with the king, and waiting on him. Abarbinel thinks that other princes distinct from those that went to the king are meant. When it is said that Jehudi read the roll in the hearing of the king and princes, it must be understood of a part of it only, and not the whole as (Jer. 36:23) shows.
It appears the king was not satisfied with just hearing about the roll. He had Jehudi to get the roll from Elishama and read it aloud to him and the princes.
Jeremiah 36:22 “Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and [there was a fire] on the hearth burning before him.”
The “winter house”: The palaces of kings seem to have been commonly provided with such a special apartment (compare Amos 3:15), and was probably the southern wing of the palace. It was in November or December, and, as glass windows were unknown, a charcoal fire, placed after the Eastern fashion in a brazier, or earthen pot, in the middle of the room, was a necessity. So we find a fire in the court of the High Priest’s palace in the raw early morning of a Passover in March or April (John 18:18).
It was cold and the king was sitting in front of the fireplace to warm. There was fire in the fireplace.
Jeremiah 36:23 “And it came to pass, [that] when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast [it] into the fire that [was] on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that [was] on the hearth.”
“Cut it”: As often as Jehudi read “three or four columns”, the king cut it up, doing so all the way through the whole scroll because he rejected the message (compare verse 29). Jehoiakim is the king who sent men to Egypt (chapter 26), to bring back God’s faithful prophet, Uriah, so that he could execute him.
He cut it with the penknife and threw it in the fire at the command of the king. It appears he kept cutting and burning until it was burned up. Even the burning of the roll was a message to the king. The city would burn as this roll had burned. The king and all in attendance did not like what they heard and thought by burning it, it would be destroyed. You cannot destroy the Word of God. It lives on forever.
Verses 24-26: Jehoiakim’s response to the prophetic scroll is in direct contrast to Josiah’s reaction to the discovery of the Book of the Law (2 Kings Chapter 22). Josiah had feared the Lord and had “torn” (the same Hebrew verb used here for Jehoiakim’s “cutting it with the penknife … the roll”), his garments. Josiah had burned Judah’s idols; Jehoiakim burned the roll in his fireplace. Josiah’s godly response had led to a national revival; Jehoiakim was plunging his people into destruction.
Jeremiah 36:24 “Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, [neither] the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.”
“Not afraid”: The king’s servants were more hardened that the princes (verse 16).
They showed no action of repenting at all. They did not believe these to be the Words of God.
Jeremiah 36:25 “Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.”
Three of the five princes mentioned in (Jer. 36:12).
“Had made intercession to the king, that he would not burn the roll”: Or suffer it to be burnt. This they did either at first, as soon as the roll was brought, that if the king should not like it, yet they besought him that he would not destroy it. Or rather when they saw what Jehudi was going to do with it, either by the express order, or at the collusion of the king. Then they humbly entreated that such an action might not be done, which gave them a secret horror, though they might endeavor to hide it as much as possible.
“But he would not hear them”: Or he would not receive it of them, as the Targum. That is, their supplication and intercession; but either cast the roll into the fire himself, or permitted Jehudi to do it. Nor would he suffer it to be taken out till it was all consumed.
It appears there were three who did recognize this roll as the Word of God, and did not want it burned. They pleaded to the king, but it did no good at all.
Jeremiah 36:26 “But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.”
“The Lord hid them”: God, who guides (compare 1:8, 19; 10:23), gave Jeremiah and Baruch safety (compare 36:19; Psalm 32:8; Prov. 3:5-6).
The king sent his men to go capture Jeremiah and Baruch, but God hid them where they could not be found. God protects His faithful servants. Just as He hid Moses in the rock and put His hand over him to keep Satan from finding his body, He helped Baruch and Jeremiah.
Verses 27-32: Jehoiakim’s destruction of the roll had no effect because the Lord simply commissioned Jeremiah to make another roll, and words were added to it during the rest of Jeremiah’s ministry. Throughout history, God’s Word has survived every evil attempt to destroy it or silence its message.
Jeremiah 36:27 “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,”
Preservation of Scripture: God, who inspired the Scripture, has throughout the years protected His Word from the attacks of evil men so as to preserve its content and existence. While the autographs (the original manuscripts), have long since disappeared, ancient copies and quotations from early Christian leaders demonstrate the preservation of Scripture. If there were no manuscripts, a complete copy of the Scriptures could be reproduced simply from the many quotations found in the writings of the church fathers. God’s preservation of Scriptures was demonstrated in the ministry of Jeremiah. When the king destroyed the first scroll of his prophecy, God had it reproduced to ensure its preservation. As we read the Scriptures, the fact that God has preserved them for us over the years should emphasize their importance. (Jer. 30:2; 36:27-32; compare 2 Chron. 33:19).
(Compare Isa. 40:18; 55:11; Matt. 5:18).
Jeremiah 36:28 “Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.”
Or a piece of parchment; or rather several pieces of parchment glued or rolled up together.
“And write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burnt”: Just as when the two tables of the law were broken, two others were made, and the same laws written on them. And so here the same Spirit of God, which brought to the mind of the prophet all his former discourses and prophecies, so that he could readily dictate them to Baruch, could and did renew them again. Wherefore Jehoiakim’s burning of the roll signified nothing: all attempts to destroy the word of God are in vain. They always have been, and will be; for the word of the Lord endures for ever.
We might think that to be an impossible task, but God put the Words in Jeremiah’s mouth, Jeremiah spoke them and Baruch wrote them. The burning of a roll cannot destroy the Word of God. His Word is everlasting. Jesus speaks the following about the eternity of the Word.
Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Jeremiah 36:29 “And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?”
Or, “concerning” him; since the prophet was hid, and he was in quest of him. Nor was it safe for him to appear in person before him. Though this may be understood as what should be put into the second roll, and in that he addressed to him.
“Thus saith the Lord, thou hast burnt this roll”: Or “that roll”; or had suffered or ordered it to be burnt, giving this as a reason for it.
“Saying, why hast thou therein written”: What the king would have to be a great falsehood, and which he thought never came from the Lord; but was a device of Jeremiah.
“Saying, the king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?” By killing some, and carrying off others, so that the destruction should be complete. He takes no notice of himself and his family, as if his concern was only for the nation. And that he took it badly that anything should be said which expressed the ruin of that, and might dishearten the inhabitants of it.
The roll is restored. Now Jeremiah must tell Jehoiakim of his fate, and the fate of his land. Jeremiah must tell him that the king of Babylon will come and destroy the land. The man and beast ceasing means they will be killed or captured and carried away.
Jeremiah 36:30 “Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.”
The personal judgment for Jehoiakim burning the roll is that he would not have an heir to “to sit upon the throne of David” and he would be put to death and not given a proper burial. Jehoiakim died before the Babylonians took the city of Jerusalem (in 597 B.C.), and his own countrymen may have put him to death in an attempt to appease the Babylonians.
Jehoiakim will die and have no one to bury him.
Jeremiah 36:31 “And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.”
“I will punish him”: Consequences followed Jehoiakim’s defiance. (In 598 B.C.), he met his own death (22:18-19; 2 Kings 23:36; 2 Chron. 36:5). He had none to occupy the throne (verse 30). Jehoiachin or Jeconiah (Coniah in 22:24), his son, did succeed him, but with virtually no rule at all, lasting only 3 months and 10 days (in 597 B.C.; 22:24-30; 2 Chron. 36:9-10). Babylon deported him for the rest of his life (compare 52:31-34), and none of his descendants ruled (compare 22:30, and see note there).
The punishment of Jehoiachin will be so great, it will extend to his family as well. He has greatly sinned by disregarding the Word of God. God gave them every chance to repent and they did not. Their punishment will be their own fault.
Jeremiah 36:32 “Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.”
Wicked men get nothing by opposing themselves to the revealed will of God, how ungrateful however it be to them. But the addition of guilt of their souls, and the increase of Divine wrath; God’s counsels shall stand, and what he speaks shall most certainly be accomplished. Here is another roll, written with additional threatenings’ confirming what God had said before.
God’s Words live on. You may burn the Bibles, but someone would just write them down again. Now, God adds the happenings, here with Jehoiachin, to the book. The Word of God is alive. Baruch wrote it down again just as God had instructed Jeremiah.
Jeremiah Chapter 36 Questions
- What must we remember about the 4th year of Jehoiachin?
- Instead of speaking the prophecy, what is Jeremiah to do?
- What would be the second witness against these people?
- Where do the Words of a true prophet come from?
- Who were the three evil rulers that followed Josiah?
- What did God want them to do?
- Who did Jeremiah call to do the actual writing of the roll?
- What was he to Jeremiah?
- Why did Jeremiah not go himself?
- Who was Baruch to read the roll to?
- What special day was the roll to be read?
- Where was Baruch to read the roll?
- What sort of man would it take for this task?
- What does the word “supplication” mean?
- How does God generally speak to His people?
- When did Baruch go to read the roll?
- Why had they called a fast, probably?
- In whose chamber did he first read it?
- If the people were there, this was the _________ court.
- What did Michaiah do, when he heard the Words of the roll?
- What nationality was Jehudi?
- What effect did the reading of these Words of the roll have on the princes?
- Who did they go and tell about the roll?
- What answer did Baruch give, when they asked him about his writing the roll?
- What did the princes tell Baruch to do, and to tell Jeremiah to do?
- Where did the princes put the roll?
- What did the king do, when he heard about the roll?
- After he heard the roll read, what did the king do with it?
- What amazing statement does verse 24 make about their attitude?
- Who were three that interceded to get them not to burn the roll?
- Why could the king not find Baruch and Jeremiah?
- What did God tell Jeremiah to have Baruch do again?
- What will happen to Jehoiachin?