Jeremiah 36
Clarke's Commentary
God commands Jeremiah to write down in one roll or volume all the predictions he had uttered against Israel and Judah, and all the surrounding nations, from the day of his vocation to the prophetic office, that the house of Judah might have abundant warning of the dreadful calamities with which their country was about to be visited, if not prevented by a timely repentance, Jeremiah 36:1-3. The prophet employs Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, to write from his mouth all the words of the Lord, and then to read them publicly upon a fast day in the Lord's house, Jeremiah 36:4-8. A general fast is proclaimed in the following year, viz., the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim; upon which occasion Baruch, in obedience to the prophet's command, reads the words of Jeremiah to all the people at the entry of the new gate of the temple, Jeremiah 36:9, Jeremiah 36:10. The princes, hearing of this, send for Baruch, who reads the roll to them; at the contents of which they are greatly alarmed, and solemnly resolve to give information to the king, at the same time advising both the prophet and his scribe to hide themselves, Jeremiah 36:11-19. Jehoiakim likewise having sent for the roll, Jehudi reads to him a part; and then the king, though advised to the contrary by some of has princes, having cut the leaves, throws the whole into the fire, Jeremiah 36:20-25, and orders Jeremiah and Baruch to be seized; but they could not be found, because a special providence of God had concealed them, Jeremiah 36:26. Jeremiah is commanded to re-write his prophecies, and to denounce the judgments of God against the king who had destroyed the first roll, Jeremiah 36:27-31. Baruch accordingly writes from the mouth of Jeremiah a new copy, with numerous additions, Jeremiah 36:32.

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,
And it came to pass in the fourth year - About the end of this year, see Jeremiah 36:9. This discourse also bears its own date, and was probably delivered at a time when the people enjoyed peace, and were about to celebrate one of their annual fasts.

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.
Take thee a roll of a book - Take a sufficient quantity of parchment; cut and stitch it together, that it may make a roll on which to write the words that I have already spoken, that they may serve for a testimony to future generations. The Jewish rolls, several of which now lie before me, were made of vellum, or of sheep-skins dressed in the half-tanned or Basil manner. These were cut into certain lengths, and those parts were all stitched together, and rolled upon a roller. The matter was written on these skins in columns or pages. Sometimes two rollers are used, that as the matter is read from the roll in the left hand, the reader may coil it on the roller in his right. In this form the Pentateuch is written which is read in the synagogues.

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.
It may be that the house of Judah will hear - It was yet possible to avert the judgments which had been so often denounced against them. But in order to this they must -

1. Hear what God has spoken.

2. Every man turn from his evil way.

3. If they do so, God graciously promises to forgive their iniquity and their sin.

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.
Then Jeremiah called Baruch - This man, so useful to the prophet, and so faithfully attached to him, was by office a scribe; which signifies, not only a writer, but also a man in office; a chancellor, secretary, etc., a learned man; one acquainted with laws and customs.

And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:
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.
Upon the fasting day - A day when multitudes of people would be gathered together from all parts to implore the mercy of God. This was a favorable time to read these tremendous prophecies.

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.
Present their supplication - "Let their supplication fall," that they may fall down before God, and deplore their sins.

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.
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.
In the ninth month - Answering to a part of our December.

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.
In the chamber of Gemariah - He was one of the princes of Judah. See Jeremiah 36:12.

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, 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.
Then 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, 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.
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 were afraid both one and other, 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?
How didst thou write all these words? - At his mouth? - So the text should be pointed. They wished to know whether he had not copied them, or whether he wrote as Jeremiah prophesied.

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 be.
Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah - They saw that the king would be displeased, and most probably seek their lives; and as they believed the prophecy was from God, they wished to save both the prophet and his scribe; but they were obliged to inform the king of what they had heard.

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.
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.
Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
Winterhouse - A warm apartment suited to the season of the year, (December), when in Palestine there is often snow upon the ground, though it does not last long. A fire on the hearth - a pan or brazier of burning coals. This is the case to the present day. In cold weather the rich burn wood in brass or earthen pans, placed in any part of the room; the indigent burn sticks on the floor.

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.
When Jehudi had read three or four leaves - Rather columns; for the law, and the sacred Hebrew Books, are written in columns of a certain breadth. דלתות delathoth, signifies gates or openings between column and column, or between section and section.

He cut it with the penknife - בתער הספר bethaar hassopher, "the knife of the scribe," properly enough penknife.

And cast it into the fire - To show his contempt for God's words.

Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.
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.
Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah - Three of the princes wished to save the roll, and entreated the king that it might not be burnt. They would have saved it out of the fire, but the king would not permit it to be done.

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.
But the Lord hid them - They had, at the counsel of some of the princes hidden themselves, Jeremiah 36:19. And now, though a diligent search was made, the Lord did not permit them to be found.

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,
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.
Take thee again another roll - There was no duplicate of the former preserved; and now God inspired the prophet with the same matter that he had given him before; and there is to be added the heavy judgment that is to fall on Jehoiakim and his courtiers.

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?
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.
He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David - He shall have no successor and himself shall have an untimely end, and shall not even be buried, but his body be exposed to the open air, both night and day. He who wishes to hide his crimes, or take away the evidence which is against him, adds thereby to his iniquities, and is sure in consequence to double his punishment. See the threatening against Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 22:19 (note), and the note there.

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.
There were added - many like words - All the first roll, with many other threatening and perhaps more minute declarations which were merely of a temporary importance and local application; and the Holy Spirit did not think proper to record them here.

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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