Jeremiah 36:9
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 to Jerusalem.
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(9) It came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim.—The LXX. gives “the eighth year,” but the Hebrew text gives much the more probable date. What follows refers apparently to the same occasion as Jeremiah 36:8, and is of the nature of a note explaining the circumstances under which the prophetic discourse was read. An interval of some months thus passed between the writing of the book and its delivery in the Temple, during which its substance was, perhaps, made known to the inner circle of the prophet’s disciples. The fast was probably proclaimed on the king’s hearing of the approach of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, as described by the Rechabites in Jeremiah 35:11.

Jeremiah 36:9-10. In the fifth year, &c., they proclaimed a fast — “It was customary among the Jews to proclaim anniversary fasts upon certain days, in memory of some great calamities which had befallen them at that time. Of this kind were the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months, mentioned Zechariah 7:5; Zechariah 8:19; the first instituted in remembrance of the city’s being taken by Nebuchadnezzar; the second in memory of the temple’s being burned in that month; the third for the murder of Gedaliah; the fourth in memory of the siege which then began. Then read Baruch the words of Jeremiah, in the house of the Lord — It has been before observed, that by the house of the Lord is meant all that is included within the sacred precincts of the temple; not only the sanctuary, or house properly so called, but all the out-buildings, and the courts around, both the inner court of the priests, and the outer court, which was open to all the people. In the chamber of Gemariah the scribe — This chamber was undoubtedly in the great outer court, either close to, or over the gateway of the eastern gate; so that if he read, as is supposed, from a window, or balcony, he would be heard by the concourse of people that came flocking into the court through that gate: see Jeremiah 26:10.36:9-19 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.The ninth month answers to our December, and the fast was probably in commemoration of the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans in the previous year. 9. they proclaimed … to all the people … to all, &c.—rather, "all the people … all the people proclaimed a fast" [Michaelis]. The chiefs appointed the fast by the wish of the people. In either version the ungodly king had no share in appointing the fast. This fast was appointed upon a particular emergency, whether it was for a famine which was then in the land, or to avert the ruin which they justly feared from the king of Babylon, who had lately brought them under his servitude, is not certain; the yearly fast, Leviticus 23:27, was to be kept in the seventh month, nor did God ever ordain any fast to be kept in the ninth month. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month,.... This was a different time of reading the book from the former, enjoined by the prophet, and performed by Baruch, Jeremiah 36:6; that was on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; this was in the fifth year of his reign, and in the ninth month of the year, a year and two months after the former, as it should seem; but Jehoiakim's fifth year beginning in the seventh month after the day of atonement, this ninth month is to be reckoned not from the beginning of his fifth year, but from the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the spring; so that this was but two months after the former reading:

that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord: this was not an ordinary fast, or a common annual one of divine appointment, which came in course, but an extraordinary one, upon some particular occasion. Some think it was on account of the dearth, drought, and famine in the land, Jeremiah 14:1; and others, which seems most likely, take it to be on account of the calamity threatened the nation by the Chaldean army. This fast was not in course, but was proclaimed by the order of the king and his council; and it may be at the request of the people, at least they, greed and consented to it, and indeed are represented in the text as the proclaimers; for so the word "they" is explained in the following clause, which should be rendered, not

to all the people, but even "all the people in Jerusalem" (p),

and all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem: these proclaimed the fast; they applied to the government for one, or however obeyed the king's orders, and published and proclaimed a fast; not only the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but those who came from other cities on business, or for safety, or for worship.

(p) "omnis populus Hierosolyma", Cocceius; "omnis populus in Hierosolyma", Schmidt.

And it came to pass in the fifth {g} 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 to Jerusalem.

(g) The fast was then proclaimed and Baruch read this rule which was a little before Jerusalem was first taken, and then Jehoiakim and Daniel and his companions were led away captive.

9. in the ninth month] afterwards called Chisleu, our December (see Jeremiah 36:22), not therefore the annual solemnity of the seventh month, the only stated fast of the Law (Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 23:27).

9–20. See introd. summary to the chapter.Verse 9. - In the fifth year of Jehoiakim. It is remarkable that the Septuagint has here the eighth year; and Josephus, too, relates that Jehoiakim paid tribute to Nebuchadnezzar in his eighth year. This latter statement seems to tally with the notices in 2 Kings 24. The vassalage of Jehoiakim is there said to have lasted three years; this followed the rebellion; while the siege of Jerusalem was reserved for the short reign of Jehoiachin. Now, as this siege must have been the punishment of Jehoiakim's rebellion, and as the reign of the latter king lasted eleven years, we are brought to the same date as that given by Josephus for the commencement of the vassalage, viz. the eighth year. It is to this year, then, that 2 Kings 24:1 refers when it says, "In his days Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant;" and also the narrative before us in the statement that "they proclaimed a fast before Jehovah to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem." What other event would have produced such a concourse of worshippers? The battle of Carchemish (which took place in the fourth year of Jehoiakim)? But it was by no means clear as yet that the consequences of this would be disastrous for Judah. Carchemish was too far off for the people of Judah to show such serious alarm (similarly Gratz, 'Monatsschrift,' etc., vol. 23. p. 300). If so, Jeremiah kept his prophecy by him for several years, till the fight moment came. The ninth month. As this is a winter month (see ver. 22), Jeremiah evidently reckons by the Babylonian calendar, the ninth month of which, Kisiluv (Hebrew, Chisleu), began from the new moon of December. The word of the Lord to Jeremiah was to this effect: "Take thee a book-roll, and write on it (אליה for עליה) all the words that I have spoken unto thee concerning Israel and Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah till this day. Jeremiah 36:3. Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I meditate doing to them, that they may return every one from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin." ישׁמעוּ here means, to hear correctly and lay to heart; cf. Jeremiah 26:3. Hitzig views the command as meaning, not that Jeremiah is now for the first time to write down his addresses (which would be an impossibility for the most faithful memory), but that he is merely to write them down together in one book, out of the several scattered leaves and scraps. Graf has already refuted this view, though more fully than was necessary. It is not a copying, word for word, of every separate address that is meant, but merely a writing down of the essential contents of all his oral discourses. This is quite clear, not merely from what is stated in Jeremiah 36:3 as the object of this command, but also from the character of these collected addresses, as they are preserved to us. That the expression "all the words" is not to be understood in the most rigid sense, follows from the very fact that, when Jeremiah anew wrote down his prophecies, Jeremiah 36:32, he further added "many similar words" to what had been contained in the first book-roll, which was burned by Jehoiakim. But Jeremiah might perhaps be able to retain in his memory the substance of all the addresses he had delivered during the twenty-three years, since all of them treated of the same subjects - reproof of prevailing sins, threat of punishment, and promises.
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