Jeremiah 36:7
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 has pronounced against this people.
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Jeremiah 36:7-8. It may be they will present their supplications — Hebrew, תפל תחנתם לפני יהוה, peradventure they may prostrate themselves in supplication before Jehovah; or, more literally, their supplication may fall before Jehovah, which, undoubtedly, says Blaney, “respects the humble posture of the supplicant in presenting it:” see note on Jeremiah 36:3. In the subsequent part of the verse, the words anger and fury (or, wrath, as החמה, should rather be rendered) are put by a metonymy for the effects of them, namely, the heavy judgments which, in consequence thereof, Jehovah had denounced against this people. We learn from this verse that prayer and reformation are the most likely means that can be used to turn away God’s wrath when it is ready to fall upon a sinful nation.36:1-8 The writing of the Scriptures was by Divine appointment. The Divine wisdom directed to this as a proper means; if it failed, the house of Judah would be the more without excuse. The Lord declares to sinners the evil he purposes to do against them, that they may hear, and fear, and return from their evil ways; and whenever any one makes this use of God's warnings, in dependence on his promised mercy, he will find the Lord ready to forgive his sins. All others will be left without excuse; and the consideration that great is the anger God has pronounced against us for sin, should quicken both our prayers and our endeavours.They will present their supplication - i. e., humbly. See the margin. The phrase also contained the idea of the prayer being accepted. 7. present … supplication—literally, "supplication shall fall"; alluding to the prostrate attitude of the supplicants (De 9:25; Mt 26:39), as petitioners fall at the feet of a king in the East. So Hebrew, Jer 38:26; Da 9:18, Margin. We had an expression like this Jeremiah 36:3; it teacheth us that the only means to turn away God’s fierce anger ready to fall upon people is prayer and reformation. It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord,.... Or, "perhaps their supplication will fall" (o); they will present it in an humble manner before him; alluding to the prostration of their bodies, and dejection of their countenances, in prayer:

and will return every man from his evil way; not only pray for mercy, but repent of sin, and reform; without which mercy is not to be expected:

for great is the anger and fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people; a very sore judgment, no less than the utter destruction of their city, temple, and nation.

(o) "forte, vel fortasse cadet deprecatio eorum", Piscator, Schmidt. So Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

It may be they will {f} 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.

(f) He shows that fasting without prayer and repentance does nothing but is mere hypocrisy.

7. they will present their supplication] mg. their supplication will fall. The attitude of the petitioners is transferred in thought to the petition. Cp. the phrase in several other places (Jeremiah 37:20, Jeremiah 38:26, etc.), and sometimes (Jeremiah 37:20, Jeremiah 42:2) with the further sense, which also seems to belong to it here, of acceptance.Verse 7. - They will present their supplication; literally, their supplication will fall (as margin). The phrase seems to be suggested by the gesture of a suppliant. Hence humility is one idea; but success is entirely another. That which lights down before one's eyes cannot be disregarded. Hence, in Jeremiah 37:20 and Jeremiah 42:2, the Authorized Version renders, "be accepted." This is, at any rate, a better rendering than that quoted above, which is both weak in itself and obscures the connection. And will return; rather, so that they return. "Returning," i.e. repentance, is necessary, because their "evil ways" have provoked Jehovah to "great anger and fury;" but is only possible by the Divine help (comp. Acts 5:31, "To give repentance unto Israel"). Hence prayer is the first duty. In the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, bidding him commit to writing all the addresses he had previously delivered, that Judah might, if it were possible, still regard the threatenings and return (Jeremiah 36:1-3). In accordance with this command, he got all the words of the Lord written down in a book by his attendant Baruch, with the further instruction that this should be read on the fast-day in the temple to the people who came out of the country into Jerusalem (Jeremiah 36:4-8). When, after this, in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, a fast was appointed, Baruch read the prophecies to the assembled people in the chamber of Gemariah in the temple. Michaiah the son of Gemariah mentioned the matter to the princes who were assembled in the royal palace; these then sent for Baruch with the roll, and made him read it to them. But they were so frightened by what was read to them that they deemed it necessary to inform the king regarding it (Jeremiah 36:9-19). At their advice, the king had the roll brought and some of it read before him; but scarcely had some few columns been read, when he cut the roll into pieces and threw them into the pan of coals burning in the room, at the same time commanding that Baruch and Jeremiah should be brought to him; but God hid them (Jeremiah 36:20-26). After this roll had been burnt, the Lord commanded the prophet to get all his words written on a new roll, and to predict an ignominious fate for King Jehoiakim; whereupon Jeremiah once more dictated his addresses to Baruch (Jeremiah 36:27-32).

Since Jeremiah, according to Jeremiah 36:3, Jeremiah 36:6, Jeremiah 36:7, is to get his addresses written down that Baruch may be able to read them publicly on the fast-day, now at hand, because he himself was prevented from getting to the temple, the intention of the divine command was not to make the prophet put down in writing and gather together all the addresses he had hitherto given, but the writing down is merely to serve as a means of once more presenting to the people the whole contents of his prophecies, in order to induce them, wherever it was possible, to return to the Lord. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar, after vanquishing the Egyptians at the Euphrates, advanced against Judah, took Jerusalem, and made Jehoiakim tributary. In the same year, too, Jeremiah had delivered the prophecy regarding the giving up of Judah and all nations for seventy years into the power of the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 25); this was before he had been bidden write down all his addresses. For, that he did not receive this command till towards the end of the fourth year, may be gathered with certainty from the fact that the public reading of the addresses, after they were written down, was to take place on the fast-day, which, according to Jeremiah 36:9, was not held till the ninth month of the fifth year. The only doubtful point is, whether they were written down and read before or after the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Most modern commentators take the former view; e.g., Hitzig says, briefly and decidedly, "According to Jeremiah 36:29, the Chaldeans had not as yet appeared in the country." But this is not mentioned in Jeremiah 36:29. The threatening in this verse, "The king of Babylon shall come and destroy this land, and exterminate men and beasts from it," does not prove that the king of Babylon had not yet come to Judah, but merely that the country had not yet been destroyed, and men and cattle exterminated from it. When Jerusalem was first taken, Nebuchadnezzar contented himself with subjecting Jehoiakim under his supreme authority and requiring the payment of tribute, as well as carrying away some of the vessels of the temple and some hostages. The devastation of Judah and the extirpation of men and beasts did not commence till the second subjugation of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, and was completed when the city was utterly destroyed, in Zedekiah's time, on its third subjugation. The settlement of the question that has been raised depends on the determination of the object for which the special fast-day in the fifth year was appointed, whether for averting the threatened invasion by the Chaldeans, or as a memorial of the first capture of Jerusalem. This question we have already so far decided in the Commentary on Daniel, at Jeremiah 1:1, where it is stated that the fast was held in remembrance of that day in the year when Jerusalem was taken for the first time by Nebuchadnezzar; we have also remarked in the same place, that Jehoiakim either appointed or permitted this special fast "for the purpose of rousing the popular feeling against the Chaldeans, to whom they were in subjection, - to evoke in the people a religious enthusiasm in favour of resistance; for Jehoiakim keenly felt the subjugation by the Chaldeans, and from the first thought of revolt." However, every form of resistance to the king of Babylon could only issue in the ruin of Judah. Accordingly, Jeremiah made Baruch read his prophecies publicly to the people assembled in the temple on that day, "by way of counterpoise to the king's desire;" the prophet also bade him announce to the king that the king of Babylon would come, i.e., return, to destroy the land, and to root out of it both men and beasts. These circumstances give the first complete explanation of the terror of the princes when they listened to the reading of the book (Jeremiah 36:16), as well as of the wrath of the king, exhibited by his cutting the book in pieces and throwing it into the fire: he saw that the addresses of the prophet were more calculated to damp those religious aspirations of the people on which he based his hopes, than to rouse the nation against continued submission to the Chaldeans. Not till now, too, when the object of the appointment of the fast-day was perceived, did the command given by God to the prophet to write down his prophecies appear in its proper light. Shortly before, and in the most earnest manner, Jeremiah had reminded the people of their opposition to the word of God preached by him for twenty-three years, and had announced to them, as a punishment, the seventy years' subjugation to the Chaldeans and the desolation of the country; yet this announcement of the fearful chastisement had made no deeper or more lasting impression on the people. Hence, so long as the threatened judgment was still in the distance, not much could be expected to result from the reading of his addresses in the temple on the fast-day, so that the command of God to do so should appear quite justified. But the matter took a considerably different from when Nebuchadnezzar had actually taken Jerusalem and Jehoiakim had submitted. The commencement of the judgments which had been threatened by God was the proper moment for laying before the hearts of the people, once more, the intense earnestness of the divine message, and for urging them to deeper penitence. Just at this point the reading of the whole contents of the prophecies delivered by Jeremiah appears like a final attempt to preserve the people, on whom judgment has fallen, from complete destruction.

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