Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, April 20th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
Attention!
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 36

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-3

Jer 36:1-3

Jeremiah 36:1-3

GOD COMMANDS THE BOOK TO BE WRITTEN

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 Jehovah, saying, 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. 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.

The date of the chapter is firmly fixed in the fourth year of Jehoiachim. "This was the year 604 B.C., following the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians at Carchemish." "It is scarcely a coincidence that it was in this very month of December that the Babylonians assaulted, captured, and sacked Ashkelon on the Philistine plain; and not long afterward, Jehoiachim was forced to become a vassal of Babylon." Halley further described the historical situation.

"Jeremiah at that time had been prophesying 23 years, from the 13th year of Josiah to the fourth year of Jehoiachim. The purpose was to have Baruch read a copy of all Jeremiah’s prophecies to the people at a time when Jeremiah had apparently been banned from the temple area. It took a year or so to write the prophecies. Its reading made a profound impression on some of the princes, but the king reacted angrily, burning the roll in the fire."

I. The commandment received (Jeremiah 36:1-3)

Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to “take a roll of a book” (Jeremiah 36:2). The writing substance here is no doubt papyrus. Several pieces were stitched together and attached to a roller of wood at one or both ends. The writing was arranged in columns parallel to the rollers, so that as the scroll was gradually unrolled from one end to the other, the successive columns could be read. Upon this scroll Jeremiah is commanded to record “all the words which he has spoken” (Jeremiah 36:2). Some have suggested that Jeremiah had fragmentary written records which he used in compiling the first edition of his book, While this is not impossible it seems more likely that the prophet relied upon his memory, guided and aided, of course, by the Holy Spirit. At any rate the book was to contain excerpts from his twenty-three year ministry.

God’s purpose for issuing the command to commit the divine word to writing is clearly outlined in Jeremiah 36:3. Three goals are in view: (1) that they will hear the word, not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense i.e., in the sense of observing, heeding, taking it to heart; (2) that by hearing the word they might thereby be converted; and (3) that God might, in view of their conversion, be able to forgive their iniquity and sin. Perhaps the recent invasion of the area by Nebuchadnezzar and the capture of Jerusalem would make the people more receptive to the threats of destruction by the enemy from the north. At any rate by ordering His prophet to produce a copy of the inspired word, God was endeavoring once again to lead His people to repentance. One has to ask with Isaiah, “What could have been done more?” (Isaiah 5:4).

2. The commandment executed (Jeremiah 36:4)

Jeremiah complied with the commandment of the Lord by securing Baruch the son of Neriah to be his scribe. Why did not Jeremiah himself pen the words? It is not necessary to conclude that Jeremiah could not write. Indeed there are hints within the book that the prophet did on occasion take the pen in hand (see Jeremiah 32:10 and Jeremiah 51:60). It may be that Baruch was employed merely to relieve some of the burden of producing such a massive work. Anyone who has undertaken an extensive writing project knows the inestimable value of a good secretary. Josephus relates that Baruch was “exceptionally well instructed in his native tongue." Antiquities X. 9. 1. Baruch, who appeared for the first time in Jeremiah 32:12, seems to have been from a noble family. His brother Seraiah was in the royal service (Jeremiah 51:59) and according to Josephus his grandfather was Maaseiah (2 Chronicles 34:8), the governor of the city.

Just exactly how long it took to complete the writing of the scroll is not stated. It may have been a matter of days or weeks. The writing began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; the scroll was publicly read in the fifth year and the ninth month. Assuming that the public reading of the scroll took place some time very soon after the writing, some scholars would posit as much as a year or more for the writing process. It is best however to leave the matter of the length of time involved an open question.

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE WORD Jeremiah 36:1-32

As has been repeatedly emphasized thus far, the fourth year of Jehoiakim was a turning point both in the political world and in the ministry of Jeremiah the prophet. This was the year in which the famous battle of Carchemish determined Which power would rule the world for the next half-century or so. It was in this same year that Jeremiah was commissioned by the Lord to permanently record the messages which he had been preaching for the past twenty-three years. It is difficult to determine which came first, the battle or the writing. Jeremiah 36:29 has been submitted as proving that Nebuchadnezzar had not yet won at Carchemish, had not yet swept down through Syria-Palestine. But since Nebuchadnezzar invaded this area so many times it is hardly possible to dogmatically insist that Jeremiah 36:29 must refer to the first invasion. On the other hand, while the battle of Carchemish seems to have occurred early in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the scroll was not read publicly until the ninth month of the fifth year of his reign (Jeremiah 36:9). One must of course allow for a slow process of writing in those days. But even so it is difficult to see how the beginning of the writing could be pushed back prior to Carchemish in the early part of the preceding year.

Chapter 36 is instructive from several standpoints. First, it throws considerable light upon the history of the Book of Jeremiah. The scroll produced at the dictation of Jeremiah was the first edition of the book. That book was destined to undergo two and possibly three subsequent editions before it finally reached the form in which it is found in the English Bible today. Secondly, this chapter provides a wealth of information about the mechanics of producing a Biblical book. Involved in the process were a roll-book, pen, ink, the selection of a scribe, and the actual dictation. It is not unlikely that the procedures followed here were followed in the case of many other books of the Old Testament, Then too this chapter marks a turning point in the career of Jeremiah. mile he was only a preacher, Jeremiah’s influence was limited by and large to his native land. But when he committed his sermons to writing he was destined to influence the world for generations to come.

The Word Written Jeremiah 36:1-4

The first paragraph of chapter 36 relates how Jeremiah received a commandment from the Lord to commit his messages to writing and how the prophet executed that command.

Verses 4-8

Jer 36:4-8

Jeremiah 36:4-8

THE READING OF THE BOOK TO THE PEOPLE

Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Jehovah, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of Jehovah: therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of Jehovah in the ears of the people in Jehovah’s house upon the fast-day; and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before Jehovah, and will return every one from his evil way; for great is the anger and the wrath that Jehovah hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of Jehovah in Jehovah’s house.

At this point in their history, the apostasy of Israel was complete. God had commanded only one fast day, i.e., the Day of Atonement; but the evil rulers of the people had made public fasting to be a political weapon; and the one mentioned here in the month of December was connected in no way with the Day of Atonement which came in the seventh month. "December was the Hebrew month Chisleu that began on the first moon of the ninth month."

There were many fasts invented by the Jews, after their own devices, and not according to the will of God.

Keil stated that the fast-day mentioned here was, "In remembrance of that day in the year when Jerusalem was taken for the first time by Nebuchadnezzar ... It was appointed (or allowed) by Jehoiachim for the purpose of rousing popular feeling against the Chaldeans to whom they were subjugated."

The Word Read Jeremiah 36:5-19

The word of God was never intended to be written and then deposited in the public archives. God’s word is meant to be read, studied, heeded, and obeyed. Therefore it is both significant and appropriate that Jeremiah not only published the word but saw to it that the word was proclaimed. If the word of God is to have an impact upon individual it must be transferred from the written page to the hearts and minds of individuals. Thus in the present paragraph Jeremiah requests of Baruch that he publicly read the scroll (Jeremiah 36:5-7). Baruch complied with that request (Jeremiah 36:8-10) and his reading of the scroll created quite a stir among the princes of the land (Jeremiah 36:11-19).

1. The request of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:5-7)

Sometime after he had completed dictating the scroll to Baruch, Jeremiah requested that his secretary go to the house of God and read that which he had written. For some unexplained reason Jeremiah himself was not able to go to the Temple to perform this task. He was not imprisoned as the English versions might imply for both he and Baruch were to hide themselves according to Jeremiah 36:19; Jeremiah 36:26. Jeremiah was probably prohibited by royal edict or by Temple authorities from appearing any longer in the Temple to preach his message of doom. Less likely are the suggestions that Jeremiah was sick or ceremonially unclean at the moment. He was literally “detained” or “restrained” from entering the Temple. The lesson to be learned from all this is that truth is more important than the speaker. What one hears is more important than whether he hears from the lips of an eloquent Jeremiah or a humble Baruch.]

Jeremiah instructs Baruch to read the scroll on a fast day (Jeremiah 36:6). Just why this fast had been proclaimed in the ninth month of the year is not stated and it is useless to speculate about it. Only one fast day was prescribed in the law and it fell in the seventh month (Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 23:27). Streane suggests that the fast here may have been called to commemorate the recent capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Laetsch cites a passage from the Talmud which calls for a fast in the ninth month If the rains have not yet fallen. The main point is that Baruch was to read the scroll in the Temple at a time when he would have the largest audience. Jeremiah may have waited for quite some time for just the right opportunity to have his book read. He was prayerfully hopeful that in that hallowed spot the people would make genuine supplication to the Lord and thus avert the outpouring of divine wrath (Jeremiah 36:7).

Verses 9-10

Jer 36:9-10

Jeremiah 36:9-10

DETAILS ON THE FAST-DAY READING OF THE ROLL

Now it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, that all the people in Jerusalem, and all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast before Jehovah. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of Jehovah, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the new gate of Jehovah’s house, in the ears of all the people.

This paragraph merely describes where the reading took place, evidently in one of the prominent chambers of the temple. For this to have been done with any degree of completion it would have required most of the whole day; and it is nowhere stated that the two subsequent readings took place on the fast-day.

2. The reading by Baruch (Jeremiah 36:8-10)

As Jeremiah faithfully executed the commands of God, Baruch faithfully carried out the instructions of his master in every detail (Jeremiah 36:8). It was December (the ninth month according to the Jewish reckoning) when the Temple authorities proclaimed a fast and a large host of the inhabitants of Judah flocked to Jerusalem to the Temple (Jeremiah 36:9). Baruch selected the chamber of Gemariah the scribe as the spot from which to read the scroll. He probably stood at the door of this room so that he might be heard by the people milling about in the Temple courts. This Gemariah was brother of Ahikam who was friendly to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:24). Another Gemariah is mentioned in Jeremiah 29:3. Thus Baruch was on friendly territory as he stood in the doorway of the office belonging to Gemariah. This office was located “in the higher court at the entry of the new gate of the Lord’s house” (Jeremiah 36:10). The higher court would be the court of priests which was elevated slightly above the court of the people. The location of the “new gate” is uncertain. Laetsch suggests that the new gate is to be identified with the high, or upper, gate of Benjamin mentioned in Jeremiah 20:2 which was built comparatively late in the time of Jotham. One of the doors of Gemariah’s office must have led into the court of the people. It was from this elevated spot which afforded a view over the larger court of the people that Baruch read the scroll.

Verses 11-19

Jer 36:11-19

Jeremiah 36:11-19

READING OF THE ROLL TO ALL THE PRINCES

And when Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of Jehovah, he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes were sitting there, [to wit], 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. Then Micaiah 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, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thy 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. 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, they turned in fear one toward another, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye are.

All the princes...

(Jeremiah 36:14; Jeremiah 36:14). Apparently all of these princes had an impressive pedigree and were doubtless some of the most important people in the city.

They turned in fear one toward another...

(Jeremiah 36:16) All of them were afraid, and they demonstrated by looks, gestures, and words their fear and concern. Why were they afraid? The words of the prophet alone were enough to strike fear into the heart of every believer; but there was also another reason. The king, upon hearing that these princes had listened to the words of Jeremiah, might have been expected to react violently. They promptly informed Baruch that they would indeed tell the king all about it. There was, in fact, no way whatever by which such a report could have been avoided. The words of the book had already been read publicly!

They immediately requested that Baruch would explain to them just how the dictation took place, and Baruch promptly answered. It is evident that: (1) God’s Word was transmitted accurately, and (2) that it was not edited or changed in any manner by Baruch.

The sympathy of these mighty princes toward Baruch and Jeremiah is evident in a number of incidentals: (1) they invited him to "sit," thus assuming the position of a teacher; (2) they questioned him about the manner of the dictation; and (3) they warned him to hide both himself and Jeremiah from the wrath of the king, which they had every right to anticipate. The implication in this is that, they would not have rushed their appearance before Jehoiachim, but would, in all probability, have allowed a reasonable time to pass in order to facilitate the hiding of Baruch and the prophet.

The king’s lust for blood had already been demonstrated to those princes, when he extradited Uriah from Egypt and murdered him, casting the prophet’s body into the common graveyard (Jeremiah 26:23).

3. The reaction of the Princes (Jeremiah 36:11-19)

One person who heard Baruch read the scroll that day was particularly touched. His name was Michaiah and he was the son of Gemariah whose office Baruch was wing to proclaim the word. He was anxious to report to his father what had transpired in the Temple that day. It so happened that Gemariah was engaged at that moment in a council of the princes in the office of Elishama. Michaiah declared to the princes the message which Baruch had been reading to the people in the Temple court (Jeremiah 36:13). The princes were so impressed that they dispatched Jehudi[314] to summon Baruch to appear before them with the scroll (Jeremiah 36:14). The name of his ancestor leads one to suspect that Jehudi was of Cushite or Ethiopian descent. Since Baruch belonged to a family of distinction (see on Jeremiah 36:4) the princes received him respectfully and cordially. In the light of Jeremiah 36:19; Jeremiah 36:25 it would appear that these particular princes were favorably disposed towards Baruch and his master.

When the princes heard the words of the scroll they looked at each other and trembled (Jeremiah 36:16). Why were they afraid? Had the scroll made them aware of their own personal guilt? Did the bold, prophetic announcement of imminent destruction strike terror in their hearts? Were they afraid of the reaction of the king? Perhaps all of these factors mingled together to make these princes afraid. At any rate they were convinced that it was their responsibility as first officers of the realm to report the incident to the king (Jeremiah 36:16). Before doing so however they inquired more precisely about the scroll as to how it came into being and who was responsible for it (Jeremiah 36:17). Baruch honestly answered the question: “Jeremiah clearly and distinctly pronounced with his mouth while I was writing them with ink upon the scroll.” Thus Baruch takes no credit (or blame as the case might be) for the scroll. He attributes “all these words” to his master. Baruch had neither added to nor taken away from the words of the prophet. Anticipating the reaction of the king to the scroll the friendly princes urged Baruch and Jeremiah to immediately hide themselves and to reveal to no one their whereabouts (Jeremiah 36:19).

Verses 20-26

Jer 36:20-26

Jeremiah 36:20-26

THE READING OF THE BOOK BEFORE THE KING

And they went in to the king into the court; but they had laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll; and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes that stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter-house in the ninth month: and [there was a fire in] the brazier burning before him. And it came to pass, when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, that [the king] cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. And they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Moreover Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll; but he would not hear them. And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Jehovah hid them.

Three or four leaves...

(Jeremiah 36:23). The roll of the book did not have leaves, so what is meant is that after reading three or four prophecies, the king refused to hear any more.

The king cut it with the penknife...

(Jeremiah 36:23). According to Keil, the tenses used here indicate that the king repeatedly cut the book, casting it into the fire until all of it was burned.

As a number of commentators have pointed out, hardly any explanation is needed for this whole chapter.

The Word Attacked Jeremiah 36:20-26

After depositing the scroll in the office of Elishama the scribe for safekeeping, the princes hastened immediately to royal court to report the matter to king Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:20). Why did not the princes take the scroll with them into the presence of the king? Perhaps they feared what the king might do to the scroll and wished to delay as long as possible that violent reaction. Perhaps they reasoned that if the king himself ordered the scroll brought into his presence that they would no longer be responsible for what he did with it. It may be too that they hoped the king would not wish to be bothered by the scroll and would not wish to waste his time having it brought to him and read. The king however was very interested and dispatched Jehudi, who is not further identified, to get the scroll. Then Jehudi is ordered to read the scroll in the presence of the king, the princes mentioned in Jeremiah 36:12, and other princes of the realm (Jeremiah 36:21). Since the temperature was chilly, the king was holding court that day in the winter house, the inner portion of the palace which was shielded from the winter winds. In order to keep warm the king was sitting beside a brazier filled with live coals. Jehudi began to read the scroll. But before he could read three or four columns (not leaves as in KJV). The Hebrew literally says “three or four doors.” The writing on ancient scrolls was done in the form of columns of prescribed width and height called “doors” because of their resemblance to small doors. Jehoiakim jumped from his throne, tore the book from the hand of the reader, slashed it to pieces with his penknife, and threw the fragments into the fire (Jeremiah 36:23). That it was Jehoiakim who actually burned the scroll and not Jehudi is made clear by Jeremiah 36:25; Jeremiah 36:27-28; Jeremiah 36:32. The king and his ministers were so calloused that they manifested neither sorrow nor fear that the word of God was being destroyed before their very eyes (Jeremiah 36:24). This probably does not include the princes who had earlier listened so attentively to the reading of the scroll. They were not of the same mind as the king. In spite of the pleas of Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah the king persisted in burning the scroll until not a shred remained (Jeremiah 36:25). If this is the same Elnathan as is mentioned in Jeremiah 26:22 he certainly seems to have had a change of heart regarding the prophet of God. Having destroyed the written word Jehoiakim gave orders that Baruch and Jeremiah be arrested. Jehameel the son of Hammelech is thought by some to be the son of Jehoiakim since the word Hammelech might be translated “the son of the king.” However it is best to regard it as a proper name as in the KJV. The king planned to silence Jeremiah as he earlier had silenced Uriah the prophet (Jeremiah 26:20-24). But the Lord hid His faithful servants and thus frustrated the plans of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:26).

The document which Jehoiakim destroyed would not have been very long since it was read three times in one day. No doubt the scroll was made of papyrus (paper) since a document of animal skins would have been very difficult to cut with a knife and burn on a small brazier. A number of passages in the present Book of Jeremiah come from before the time when the scroll was written. See Chapters 2–18; Jeremiah 21:11-14; Jeremiah 22:1-23; Jeremiah 23; Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 26; Jeremiah 46:1-12; probably most of Jeremiah 47:1 to Jeremiah 49:33. Not all of these passages however were part of that first edition of Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 36:32). Certainly chapters 30–31 were not in it for they form a sepher (book) in themselves. It seems likely that this scroll consisted only of minatory prophecies. ‘It did contain prophecies concerning foreign nations (Jeremiah 36:2), but probably not the lengthy oracles which appear toward the end of the present Book of Jeremiah. The scroll doubtlessly included chapter 25 which contains threats against numerous neighboring nations. As for the oracles concerning Israel and Judah it is impossible to identify specifically which chapters were part of that early book.

This is the first recorded effort to systematically destroy the word of God. Jehoiakim was the first of a long line of emperors and kings who thought that they would banish the word of God from their realm. Jehoiakim has rightly been called the first Higher Critic of the Bible. He did not like what he heard in the word and therefore he sought to destroy it. An ever increasing number of scholars within theological circles today have dedicated themselves to undermining the confidence of the people of God in their Scriptures. With the penknife of rationalism they have cut out from the Scriptures those passages which describe the mighty acts of God in human history. Without one shred of manuscript evidence—one shed of objective proof—they will label one passage as unauthentic and another as uninspired. They do so without fear in spite of the repeated warnings concerning those who would add to or take away from the word of God.

Verses 27-32

Jer 36:27-32

Jeremiah 36:27-32

Then the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 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. And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah thou shalt say, Thus saith Jehovah: 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? Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning 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. 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 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.

He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David...

(Jeremiah 36:30). We do not understand the thinking of some writers who declare that this prophecy was unfulfilled, basing their denial upon the fact that a son did succeed him in Jerusalem for a brief three months and a few days; but, in our view, his being deposed in such a short time was more than an adequate fulfillment of what Jeremiah stated here.

We are reminded that Jehoiachim was not the last ruler to attempt to rid himself of God’s Word by burning the written records of it. Hitler and his evil associates burned the Bible at Nuremberg in 1933, with the same disastrous consequences for himself and his kingdom as those which overcame Jehoiachim and his kingdom.

The Word Restored Jeremiah 36:27-32

Every effort in human history to destroy the word of God was doomed to failure before it began. “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). Kings may burn Scripture and burn those who read Scripture. Men may die because of the grand old book. But the word of God shall stand for ever! Destructive critics may undermine the faith of many individual Christians and they may return to the dismal swamp of the unregenerate life. But the word of God shall stand for ever! One can criticize Scripture and pass judgment upon it. One can ignore It, disregard it, show disrespect for it. But the books of Holy Scripture will be there in that final day as a standard and basis for judgment (Revelation 20:12).

Sometime later in his place of hiding, Jeremiah was commanded to rewrite the scroll which king Jehoiakim had destroyed (Jeremiah 36:27-28). The new edition of the book was to contain a specific word concerning the king. The Hebrew reposition is best rendered “concerning” rather than “to” as in KJV. Direct communication between the prophet and the king was cut off by the incident which was just narrated. Jehoiakim had been enraged about the threats at the hands of the Babylonians and had therefore destroyed the word of God (Jeremiah 36:29). The expression “the king of Babylon shall certainly come” by no means proves that Nebuchadnezzar had not come already. Nebu chadnezzar visited Jerusalem in 605 B.C. shortly after the battle of Carchemish and took hostages. That visitation may well have already occurred at the time Jehoiakim destroyed the scroll. Perhaps the threats of destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar angered Jehoiakim all the more because of the recent humiliation which Jerusalem had suffered. But the destruction of the scroll had not eliminated the divine threat against the king and his subjects. Four distinct threats against Jehoiakim are contained in the closing verses of chapter 36. (1) Jehoiakim would have no descendant to sit upon the throne of David. As a matter of fact Jehoiakim was briefly succeeded by his son Jehoiachin. But the Hebrew word translated “sit” implies some degree of permanence. Since Jehoiachin reigned but three months during all of which Jerusalem was surrounded by Chaldean troops, it could be said that he did not sit (permanently) on the throne of David. (2) Jeremiah predicts a violent and dishonorable death for Jehoiakim. It was the last and worst indignity for one to be left unburied and apparently that is what Jeremiah is predicting in Jeremiah 36:30. (3) The family and servants of the king as well as Jehoiakim himself would be punished by God. (4) God would bring upon the inhabitants to Judah and Jerusalem all the calamity which He, through His prophets, had been threatening for so many years (Jeremiah 36:31).

The final verse of the chapter simply records that Jeremiah faithfully carried out the instructions of the Lord. The scroll was reproduced and “there were added besides unto them many like words.” This would be the second edition of the Book of Jeremiah. It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty which sermons or episodes were added in this second edition of the book.

Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll - Jeremiah 36:1-32

Open It

1. What is your most vivid memory of being sent to do something risky, and how did it feel at the time?

2. When has a routine duty suddenly required courage on your part?

3. For what reasons might you be willing to defy the governing authorities?

Explore It

4. Who was king of Judah when Jeremiah wrote down this prophecy from God? (Jeremiah 36:1)

5. What was God’s purpose in having Jeremiah record His judgments against Judah? (Jeremiah 36:2-3)

6. Who helped Jeremiah record God’s message and deliver it to the people? (Jeremiah 36:4-7)

7. Why had many Jews gathered in Jerusalem at the time Baruch read the scroll in the temple? (Jeremiah 36:8-10)

8. Who reported the gist of the prophecy to the officials gathered in the secretary’s room? (Jeremiah 36:11-13)

9. What did the other officials ask when they heard what was happening in the temple? (Jeremiah 36:14-15)

10. What did the shaken officials feel they must do about the prophecy? (Jeremiah 36:16)

11. What questions did the officials ask of Baruch? (Jeremiah 36:17-18)

12. What orders did the officials give Baruch for himself and Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 36:19)

13. How did the king respond in action and attitude as the scroll was being read aloud? (Jeremiah 36:20-24)

14. What did the king’s officials respond to what the king did with the scroll? (Jeremiah 36:25)

15. What was the king’s first action after he had burned the scroll? (Jeremiah 36:26)

16. What was God’s response to king Jehoiakim through His servant Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 36:27-31)

17. How did Jeremiah and Baruch faithfully demonstrate that God’s plans would not be stopped by the king? (Jeremiah 36:32)

Get It

18. How is God’s long-suffering nature portrayed in the story of Jeremiah’s scroll?

19. What character traits were exhibited by Baruch in this story?

20. Why were the officials afraid when they heard Baruch’s message?

21. What are the indications within the story that the officials had a good idea of how the king would react to the scroll?

22. When might a routine duty suddenly require courage to do the right thing?

23. How does a public pronouncement of a written document add weight to a message someone wants to deliver?

24. What is our responsibility when a decision with moral consequences lies in the hands of someone above us in the chain of command?

Apply It

25. How will you respond to those in immediate authority over you who resolutely oppose God?

26. How can God’s offer of yet one more chance remind you to seek God’s forgiveness for repeated offenses you’ve had trouble conquering?

Questions On Jeremiah Chapter Thirty-Six

By Brent Kercheville

1 What is God’s intention when commanding Jeremiah to write all his words on the scroll (Jeremiah 36:1-3)? What do we learn about God?

2 Why can’t Jeremiah proclaim the words to the people (Jeremiah 36:4-10)? Who helps Jeremiah accomplish his task?

3 What is the reaction of the officials upon hearing the word of God (Jeremiah 36:11-19)?

4 Why do the officials tell Jeremiah and Baruch to hide? What does this tell you about the spiritual condition of Israel?

5 What was the response of King Jehoiakim as the scroll of the word of the Lord was read (Jeremiah 36:20-26)? What are your thoughts about this scene?

6 What is God’s response (Jeremiah 36:27-32)? How is this a message to the king and the people?

TRANSFORMATION:

How does this relationship change your relationship with God? What did you learn about him? What will

you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 36". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-36.html.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile