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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 36

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-32

This time shall we turn to Jeremiah chapter 36 as we continue our journey through the Word of God towards heaven.

Now as we have pointed out, the prophecies of Jeremiah are not in chronological order but they sort of skip around, and so it is important at the beginning of each chapter where Jeremiah locates for you the time and usually the place of the prophecy so that you'll be able to fit it more into the historic events. Because you just can't read Jeremiah in a chronological order, it isn't written that way. So in chapter 36, we have the prophecy of Jeremiah that came to him.

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim [who was] the son of Josiah the king of Judah, that this is the word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah, saying, Now take thee a scroll of a book, and write therein all of 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 until this day ( Jeremiah 36:1-2 ).

Now, you remember he was called to prophesy in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah. He prophesied on through the death of Josiah, about fifteen years later, and now four years later in the son of Jehoiakim or the son of Josiah, Jehoiakim's reign, God commands him to write all of the prophecies on this scroll that I've given you up till now. So it was no doubt quite a task to go back and to rehearse all of the Word of the Lord that had come to Jeremiah during this approximately twenty-year period.

The Lord declares,

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 ( Jeremiah 36:3 ).

Now the purpose of giving to them the Word of the Lord was to turn them from sin. God is constantly giving to man the opportunity of repenting, of turning from his sin. God said through Ezekiel the prophet, "Turn ye, turn ye for why will you die, saith the Lord? Behold, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked" ( Ezekiel 33:11 ). Now here God again is saying, "Write it all down. It may be that they will turn from their sins in order that I might forgive them their iniquities and their sins." God glories in forgiveness. God delights to forgive you all of your sins. All He wants is just an excuse, and you provide Him that excuse by asking Him. God is really more desirous to forgive us of our sins than usually we are to be forgiven. Quite often we with David, as he describes his experience in Psalms 32:1-11 , seek to cover our sins. We seek to hide our sins from the Lord. We just seek not to mention it, you know. Just sort of keep silent about it. But as David said, "When I sought to cover my sins, man, there was a constant roaring within. And I began to just dry up. I became just dried spiritually. Then I said, 'I will confess my sin unto the Lord," and he said, "and Thou forgavest me all my iniquities" ( Psalms 32:3-5 ).

Now in the Hebrew as that reads, the moment David in his heart said, "I'm going to confess," before he could ever get the words out of his lips, just that change of the attitude in his heart, "and Thou forgavest me." That's all God's looking for, just the change in the attitude of your heart. "Oh God, I'm sorry. I'm going to confess to You my sins. I'm going to get right with God." Before you can get out of your mouth, you're already right with God. God is just looking for that change towards Him. The moment in your heart you have that turn towards God, "I'm going to just turn it over to God, I'm just going to turn," just in that moment God begins His work of cleansing, forgiving, pardoning. God delights to forgive us our sins.

And so the purpose of the Word of God to these people, "Write it all down, give it to them. That they might hear all of the evil indictments that I have against them and the evil that I am purposing to do to them. Maybe if they know the judgment that is coming they will turn."

Then Jeremiah called Baruch [who was] 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 this scroll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, Now I am shut up ( Jeremiah 36:4-5 );

That is, he was in prison.

I cannot go into the house of the LORD: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which you have 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 ( Jeremiah 36:5-6 ).

Now they had proclaimed a fast. They invited the people to come for this time of fasting. And usually a time of fasting is associated with a time of seeking the Lord. A very appropriate time for the Word of God to come to the people. And so Jeremiah commanded Baruch, who is the scribe, to write all of the words in the book and then go and read them in the house of the Lord when that day of fasting came and people were gathering from all over Judah to worship the Lord.

It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and they will return every man from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people. So Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, and he read the book of the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah the 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. Then Baruch read 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. Now when Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD, Then he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and all of the princes were sitting there ( Jeremiah 36:7-12 ),

And it gives the names of these various princes.

And Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah ( Jeremiah 36:13-14 ),

And all of these names are worthless to us.

unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll [or the scroll] wherein you have read in the ears of the people, and come ( Jeremiah 36:14 ).

So Baruch was down there reading it and this young fellow heard him reading, ran and told the princes who were there in the house of the scribes what this guy was reading to the people. And they said, "Well, you better get him down here." So he ran back and got Baruch and he said, "Come with me and read the scroll to these fellows down here."

And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, that they were both afraid one and another, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How did you write all these words at his mouth? And Baruch answered them, [he said,] He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book ( Jeremiah 36:15-18 ).

How do you think?

Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, you and Jeremiah; and don't let any body know where you are ( Jeremiah 36:19 ).

Now we're going to take this to the king and you guys better go hide.

So 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. So the king sent Jehudi to Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in his winter quarters in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four of the leaves, that he cut it with his penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until the whole scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all of these words ( Jeremiah 36:20-24 ).

Rather than fearing the Lord, rather than repenting, rather than as was the custom when they really were repenting before God often they would rip their clothes as a sign of great repentance and sorrow, none of that.

Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll: but he would not listen to them. 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. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the scroll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, and the LORD said to him, Take thee again another scroll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; You have burned this scroll, 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? Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim the king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 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. Then took Jeremiah another scroll, 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 to those many like words ( Jeremiah 36:25-32 ).

And so more or less as a record of God's truth, these scrolls were written of that Word of God in the warning of the people of the evil and the judgment that would come upon them if they would not forsake their sins and follow after the Lord. But Jehoiakim the king, showing his disdain for the Word of God, took his penknife, cut it up and threw it in the fire. But prophets of God are not silenced that easy, so Jeremiah got another scroll, wrote the whole thing down again adding other words to it. And, of course, these are the prophecies basically that we have been reading in the book of Jeremiah. These are the copies of these various scrolls, the pages that were written, the various words that God gave to Jeremiah concerning His judgment that was coming upon Judah using the Babylonian army as God's instrument of judgment.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 36". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-36.html. 2014.
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