Jeremiah 36:16
Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said to Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) They were afraid both one and other . . .—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 (Leviticus 5:1; Proverbs 29:24).

Jeremiah 36:16-19. When they heard all the words — It is hardly to be imagined that all these counsellors would sit still till they had heard all the prophecies read which Jeremiah had uttered for the last twenty-two years; but all signifies many, or, the substance of all his prophecies. They were afraid both one and other — That is, they were all of them afraid. The judgments denounced were so terrible as to make the ears of them that heard them tingle. Jeremiah had now been above twenty years a prophet to this people, and doubtless had been in great esteem for eighteen years of that time, while Josiah was alive, and they could not but observe that his prophecies had been often accomplished. They were, therefore, it seems, afraid that they should see these fulfilled also. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words? — This seemed a reasonable question, considering they were the substance of what he had been prophesying for so many years. The matter seemed strange to the princes, the prophets not being used to study and write their discourses, but to preach them extempore. Baruch answered, He pronounced all these words, and I wrote them, &c. — This could not but add to the princes’ fear that these prophecies would be accomplished, for they must needs conceive that, without a special influence of God, it would have been a thing impossible that Jeremiah should have called to mind all that he had spoken at sundry times for so many years. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go hide thee, thou and Jeremiah — They thought it their duty to acquaint the king with the matter, and yet were unwilling that Jeremiah and Baruch should feel the effects of his displeasure.36:9-19 Shows of piety and devotion may be found even among those, who, though they keep up forms of godliness, are strangers and enemies to the power of it. The princes patiently attended the reading of the whole book. They were in great fear. But even those who are convinced to the truth and importance of what they hear, and are disposed to favour those who preach it, often have difficulties and reserves about their safety, interest, or preferment, so that they do not act according to their convictions, and try to get rid of what they find troublesome.They were afraid both one and other - literally, "they trembled each to his neighbor," i. e., they showed their alarm by their looks and gestures one to another. They felt that what he had so consistently prophesied for a period of 23 years would in all probability be fulfilled.

We will surely tell - Rather, We must tell the king. It was their official duty.

16. afraid, both one and other—Hebrew, "fear-stricken," they turned to one another (compare Ge 42:28). This showed, on their part, hesitancy, and some degree of fear of God, but not enough to make them willing to sacrifice the favor of an earthly king.

We will surely tell the king—not the language of threatening but implying that the matter is of such moment that the king ought to be made acquainted with it, so as to seek some remedy against the divine anger.

It is hardly to be imagined that all these counsellors should sit still till they had heard all Jeremiah’s prophecies for twenty-two years read, but all signifies many, or the sense and substance of all the prophecies. They were all of them afraid: Jeremiah had now been above twenty years a prophet to this people, and doubtless in great esteem for eighteen years of it, while Josiah was alive, and one whose prophecies they could not but observe had been oft accomplished; therefore they could not but be afraid that they should see these words also fulfilled, and took themselves bound in duty to acquaint the king with them. Some, if not all, of these probably had been great men in Josiah’s time, which was but four or five years before, and from him sucked in some good and religious principles, which begat some awe of God in them. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words,.... In the roll or book read by Baruch; they heard them read patiently, which was what the king afterwards would not do:

they were afraid both one and another; both good and bad; for there were some of both sorts among them: or, "a man to his friend" (r); they looked at one another, and knew not what to say to each other, as men amazed and astonished; they trembled at what they heard, the threatenings were so terrible, and the calamity threatened so great; and they consulted together what they should do with this roll, or what course they should take to avert the threatened vengeance, and particularly whether they should acquaint the king with it or not; and which they thought the safest and most prudent part to do:

and said unto Baruch, we will surely tell the king of all these words; this they said, not to terrify Baruch, or out of any ill will to him; but partly for their own security, lest they should incur the king's displeasure, should he come to the knowledge of it any other way; and chiefly hoping it might have some effect upon him, to cause a reformation; though of this they were dubious, and rather feared it would exasperate him; and therefore desired that Baruch and Jeremiah would hide themselves, Jeremiah 36:19; this was the sense of some of them, of those that were good men among them, and wished things were otherwise than they were.

(r) "vir ad socium suum", Montanus; "ad proximum suum", Vatablus; "ad amicum suum", Pagninus; "erga socium suum", Schmidt.

Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were {i} afraid both one and another, and said to Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.

(i) The godly were afraid, seeing God so offended, and the wicked were astonished for the horror of the punishment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. they turned in fear one toward another] lit. they trembled every one to his neighbour, i.e. they looked at each other and trembled.

unto Baruch] omit with LXX.Verse 16. - They were afraid both one and other; rather, they turned shudderingly one to another. Such an announcement as Jeremiah's at such a serious crisis startled them by its boldness. We may infer that the prophet had for some time, by Divine command, kept his sombre anticipations in the background. We will surely tell the king; rather, we have to tell the king. Friendly feeling would have prompted them to hush up the affair (see Jeremiah 27:20, 21), but duty forbade. On this day Baruch read the addresses of Jeremiah out of the book to the people who had come to the temple, in the "chamber of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper forecourt, at the entrance of the new gate of the house of the Lord." Gemariah the son of Shaphan was one of the king's private scribes, a secretary of state. For, according to Jeremiah 36:12, he belonged to the princes, and was probably a brother of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, who had already shown himself, before this, a protector of the prophet (Jeremiah 26:24). The chamber which he had in the temple was situated in the upper forecourt, at the entrance of the new gate, whose position we cannot exactly determine (see on Jeremiah 26:10), but which led from the outer to the inner court of the priests, which rose higher than the others.
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