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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 36

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3

JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 36

REACTING RASHLY TO GOD’S WORD

This chapter tells how and why Jeremiah’s earlier prophecies came to be written down - and the reaction of those to whom the scroll was first read. Most biblical scholars believe that this writing included the first 25 chapters of the Book of Jeremiah as we know it today.

Vs. 1-3: A COMMAND TO WRITE OF JUDGMENT

1. This incident is dated by the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign (655 B.C.) which was also the 23rd year of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry, (vs. 1; comp. Jeremiah 25:1-3; Jeremiah 45:1; Jeremiah 46:2; 2 Kings 24:1).

2. Jeremiah is commanded to acquire a scroll, and to write on it all that the Lord has spoken to him about Israel, Judah and the nations -from the days of Josiah until the present, (vs. 2; 1:9-10; comp. Jeremiah 3:3-10; Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 32:30-32; Jeremiah 25:9-29; etc.).

3. Perhaps the people of Judah would, thereby, be so impressed by the imminence of impending calamity that they would repent and find forgiveness, (vs. 3; Jeremiah 26:3; comp. Isaiah 1:16-19).

Verses 4-7

Vs. 4-7: JEREMIAH DICTATES TO BARUCH

1. Baruch, the son of Neriah, was Jeremiah’s scribe, or secretary, (Jeremiah 32:12); he was a brother of Seraiah, quartermaster to the king, (Jeremiah 51:59).

2. At Jeremiah’s call, and as he spoke, Baruch wrote on a scroll all that the Lord had spoken to him, (vs. 4).

3. Thus, because the prophet was, in some way, restricted (Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 33:1), so that he could not personally appear in the temple, Baruch was commanded to take the scroll and read it in the hearing of all the people as they came up from their cities on an appointed day of fasting, (vs. 5­6).

4. Again, the purpose is clearly stated: perhaps they will be induced thereby to turn from their wicked ways (vs. 3; 26:3) - for the Lord’s anger and indignation is about to be poured out upon them unless they repent, (vs. 7; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 21:5; La 4:11-13).

Verses 8-10

Vs. 8-10: THE MESSAGES READ BEFORE THE PEOPLE

1. In the fifth year of Jehoiakim’s reign (the year that Babylon overthrew Ashkelon, in the plains of Philistia), in the month of Chisleu (corresponding to our December), a fast was appointed - evidently in connection with a national crisis, (comp. 2 Chronicles 20:3; Ezra 4:16; Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15).

2. As the people came together in the temple, Baruch read from the scroll as he stood in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan (who had been Secretary of State under King Josiah), in the upper court, at the entry of the new gate of the house of the Lord. 3. Thus, Baruch read the words of the Lord, in the Lord’s house, before those who presumed themselves to be the Lord’s people. 4. No word is given to indicate the reaction of the people on this occasion.

Verses 11-19

Vs. 11-19: THE MESSAGES READ BEFORE THE PRINCES OF JUDAH

1. Having heard Baruch read the words of Jeremiah in the temple, Micaiah, the son of Gemariah, hastened to the king’s palace (where the princes were assembled in the Secretary’s chamber) and reported all that he had heard, (vs.11-13).

2. Jehudi, the son of Nethaniah (a descendant of Cushi, and possibly an Ethiopian), was dispatched to bring Baruch, and the scroll from which he had read, to them, (vs. 14).

3. Upon his arrival Baruch was invited to sit down and read the scroll in their hearing, (vs. 15).

4. These officials were greatly frightened by the judgments threatened in the scroll, and assured Baruch that they would certainly report the warning to the king, (vs. 16; contrast vs. 24).

5. Questioning Baruch as to how he came into possession of the scroll, they learned that the words had been dictated to him by Jeremiah, the prophet, (vs. 17-18).

6. The princes then warned Baruch to hide both himself and Jeremiah - not letting anyone know where they might be found, (vs. 19; comp. Jeremiah 26:20-24; 1 Kings 17:1-6; 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 18:7-14); they probably feared that the king might be so enraged that he would, irrationally, order their execution!

Verses 20-26

Vs. 20-26: THE SCROLL READ BEFORE KING JEHOIAKIM

1. Having deposited the scroll (for safe keeping) with Elishama, the Secretary, the princes went to report what they had heard to Jehoiakim the king, (vs. 20).

2. Sending Jehudi to bring the scroll, Jehoiakim then had him to read it as all the princes stood round about him, (vs. 21).

3. It is noted that this transpired in the "winter quarters" of the king -where there was a fire on the hearth, (vs. 22).

4. Showing his contempt for the word of the Lord, Jehoiakirn would, as soon as three or four columns were read, cut off that part of the scroll and cast it into the fire! (vs. 23-24).

a. This procedure was followed until the entire scroll was consumed by the fire, (comp. 1 Kings 22:8; 1 Kings 22:27; Isaiah 28:14; Isaiah 28:22).

b. The king was not afraid; nor did he, or any of his princes, manifest the slightest degree of repentance! (vs. 24; contrast vs. 16; comp. Psalms 36:1; Psalms 64:2-5; Isaiah 26:11).

c. His attitude was quite different from that of his father, Josiah, (2 Kings 22:11-13; 2 Chronicles 34:18).

5. When they saw his intention to destroy the scroll, Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded against the rashness of the king; but he refused to listen, (vs. 25; comp. Genesis 37:22; Acts 5:34-39).

6. Jehoiakirn then commanded three of his men to arrest both Baruch and Jeremiah (comp. 1 Kings 19:1-3; 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14), but the Lord hid them until the king’s wrath had subsided, (vs. 26; comp. Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 15:20-21).

Verses 27-32

Vs. 27-32: A SECOND DRAFT OF THE SCROLL

1. The Lord commanded Jeremiah to take a second scroll and write all that was on the first, (vs. 27-28; comp. Jeremiah 28:13-14; Jeremiah 44:28; Zechariah 1:5-6).

2. And, since Jehoiakim had been so incensed at his affirmation that the king of Babylon would cut off man and beast from the land, Jeremiah was commanded, in the second scroll, to strike a bit closer home! (vs. 29-31; comp. Deuteronomy 29:19; Isaiah 45:9).

a. The time will soon come when Jehoiakim will have no one to sit on the throne of David, (comp. Jeremiah 22:30; 2 Kings 24:12-17).

b. His corpse will be cast out to endure the ravages of heat and cold, (vs. 30; Jeremiah 22:18-19).

c. He, his offspring, and all Judah will be punished for their unrepented wickedness, (vs. 31; Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 23:34; Jeremiah 35:17; comp. Proverbs 29:1).

3. Thus, succeeding generations have been blessed by a fuller account of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry through writings of this second scroll which he dictated to Baruch, his secretary, (vs.32).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 36". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-36.html. 1985.
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