Jeremiah 36:22
Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month.—The “winterhouse” (the palaces of kings seem to have been commonly provided with such a special apartment; comp. Amos 3:15) was probably the southern wing of the palace. It was in November or December, and, as glass windows were unknown, a charcoal fire, placed after the Eastern fashion in a brazier, or earthen pot, in the middle of the room, was a necessity. So we find a fire in the court of the high priest’s palace in the raw early morning of a Passover in March or April (John 18:18).

Jeremiah 36:22. Now the king sat in the winter-house — The princes and great men had distinct houses, or apartments, fitted for the several seasons of the year, Amos 3:15. In the ninth month — Which answers to the latter end of our November and part of December. And there was a fire on the hearth burning before him — Hebrew, יאת האח לפניו מבערת, et focus coram ipso ardebat, Buxtorff: literally, And a hearth, or, fire-pan was burning before him. Thus the LXX., και εσγαρα πυρος κατα

προσωπον αυτου: and a pan of fire before him. To the same purpose the Vulgate, et posita erat arula coram eo plena prunis, There was set before him a little altar, or fire-pan, full of burning coals. The reason of this phraseology we have in the account which Lightfoot gives us from Maimonides, namely, that chimneys were not admitted at Jerusalem by reason of the smoke. And Mr. Harmer tells us, (chap. 3. obs. 24,) that Sir John Chardin, in his MS. notes, supposes that the fire which was burning before Jehoiakim was a pan of coals; and cites a passage from him, which says, in French, “This was just as persons of quality warm themselves in winter in Persia, and particularly in Media, and wherever there is no want of wood. The manner in which they sit will not allow them to be near a chimney: in these places, therefore, of the East, they have great brasiers of lighted coals.” Harmer likewise informs us, that “the fires used at Aleppo, in the lodging rooms, are of charcoal in pans; and that pans of coals are the fires which are often made use of in winter in Egypt.” It may be observed further here, that this description of Jehoiakim sitting in his winter-house, in the ninth month, with a pan of fire before him, answers to Dr. Russel’s account, who says, that the most delicate in those countries make no fires till the end of November. How long they continue the use of them he does not say: but we learn from other sources, that in Judea they are continued far into the spring: see John 18:18.36:20-32 Those who despise the word of God, will soon show, as this king did, that they hate it; and, like him, they would wish it destroyed. See what enmity there is against God in the carnal mind, and wonder at his patience. The princes showed some concern, till they saw how light the king made of it. Beware of making light of God's word!The winterhouse - A separate portion of the palace was used for residence according to the season (marginal reference).

And there was a fire on the hearth ... - And the fire-pan burning before them. On the middle of the floor was a brazier containing burning charcoal.

22. winter house—(Am 3:15).

ninth month—namely, of the religious year, that is, November or December.

fire on … hearth—rather, the stove was burning before him. In the East neither chimneys nor ovens are used, but, in cold weather, a brazen vessel containing burning charcoal; when the wood has burned to embers, a cover is placed over the pot to make it retain the heat.

The ninth month with them answered part of our November and December, which was a time of the year called for fires. Now the king sat in the winter house, in the ninth month,.... The month Cisleu, which answers to part of November, and part of December; and so was the midst of winter, and a proper time for the king to be in his winter house; though, as this was a fast day, it would have been more proper for him to have been at the worship of God in the temple, Jeremiah 36:9. This winter house probably was a winter parlour, as distinguished from a summer parlour, Judges 3:20; and both might be under the same roof, or parts of the same house; only the one might be more airy and cool, and the other more close and warm. Kings had their summer and winter houses; see Amos 3:15; this circumstance is mentioned for the sake of what follows, the burning of the roll; and accounts for there being a fire at hand to do it:

and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him; there was a stove, or some such vessel or instrument, in which a large fire of wood was made, at which the king sat to keep himself warm while the roll was reading, and about which the princes stood.

Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the {l} ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

(l) Which contained part of November and part of December.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. in the winter house] See on Jeremiah 36:9. It was a cold and rainy time of the year (see Ezra 10:9). Amos (Jeremiah 3:15) mentions both winter and summer houses. “In common parlance the lower apartments are simply el beit—the house; the upper is the ullîyeh, which is the summer house. Every respectable dwelling has both.… If these are on the same storey, then the external and airy apartment is the summer house, and that for winter is the interior and more sheltered room. It is rare to meet a family which has an entirely separate dwelling for summer.”—Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 309.

in the ninth month] omit with LXX.

there was a fire in the brasier] Brasiers containing charcoal are placed in a depression in the middle of a room for purposes of warming. The change of one Hebrew consonant gives us the right sense. As the MT. stands, it is defective and lacking in grammar.Verse 22. - In the winter house; i.e. that part of the royal palace (beth, house, may also be rendered apartment) which was arranged for a winter habitation (comp. Amos 3:15). According to Dr. Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' p. 309), the more airy part of a house is called "summerhouse," and the more sheltered room "winter house." The ninth month, in which the events now being related took place, corresponded approximately to our December. It was, therefore, the cold and rainy season; December is a stormy month in Palestine. A fire on the hearth; rather, in the chafing dish (or, brazier). It was a vessel with live coals placed in the centre of the room, still used in the East in cold weather. When Baruch came, the princes, in token of friendly and respectful treatment, bade him sit down and read to them out of the book he had brought with him. Jeremiah 36:16. But when they heard all the words read, "they were afraid one at another;" i.e., by looks, gestures, and words, they gave mutual expression of their fear, partly because of the contents of what had been read. Although they were generally acquainted with the sense and the spirit of Jeremiah's addresses, yet what had now been read made a powerful impression on them; for Baruch plainly had read, both to the people in the temple and to the princes, not the whole book, but only the main portions, containing the sternest denunciations of sin and the strongest threats of punishment. The statement, "he read in (out of) the book the words of Jeremiah" (Jeremiah 36:10), does not mean that he read the whole book; this would only have wearied the people and weakened the impression made. But they were partly also terrified, perhaps, by the boldness of a declaration which so decidedly opposed the desires and hopes of the king; for the thought of the event mentioned in Jeremiah 26:20. would at once suggest to them the danger that might arise to the live of Jeremiah and Baruch from the despotic character of the king. They said therefore to Baruch, "We must tell the king all these things." For it was clear that the matter could not long remain concealed from the king, after the public reading in the temple. Hence they dared not, agreeably to their official relation to the king, hide from him what had taken place.
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