Jeremiah 36
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures

1. On Jer 36:2. The object of the writing was not only that “litera scripta manet” (CRAMER: “the mouth speaks only to those who are present, but the pen to the absent; the mouth speaks only to the present hours and times, the pen many hundred years afterwards also.” Comp. Exod. 34:27; Deut. 10:4, 5; 17:18; Isa. 30:8; Hab. 2:2), but also to collect all the single lightning strokes into one grand prophetic tempest. Moreover, it is a matter of course that the written word was of special use, not only to posterity, but also to the contemporaries in so far as it rendered possible continued study, repeated quiet contemplation, and careful comparison. Jeremiah certainly prevented no one from taking copies of his book.

2. On Jer 36:4. Did Jeremiah hold such a relation to the Spirit of God as Baruch to Jeremiah when dictating? Then it was a matter of indifference to whom the dictation was made. Then a Saul would do as well as a Samuel, if he could only write. The best writer would be the most chosen instrument. There was no mingling of the individuality of the prophet except in the MS., and that is lost to us with the original. All prophetic writings must have the same type as to form and purport, which, as is well known, is so little the case that according to the saying of BUFFON, le stylec’est l’homme, the portrait of a prophet might almost be drawn from his style.

3. On Jer 36:5. “God’s word is not bound; 2 Tim. 2:9. Paul for example wrote his most beautiful epistles from prison, as those to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, to Philemon, and the second to Timothy.” CRAMER.

4. On Jer 36:14. “It is a good state of things when rulers ask for God’s Word, and cannot be answered or helped promptly and quickly enough to the fulfilment of their purpose. So it was a joy to Paul that he could tell Agrippa what the Lord had done for his soul, and his heart yearned after Agrippa, Festus and all those around them.” ZINZENDORF.

5. On Jer 36:16. “When a true servant of God gets his superiors so far that they hear him, he may surely not doubt, that he will also bring them to obedience. It is then not his, but the Lord’s affair.” ZINZENDORF.

6. On Jer 36:23. “The higher the enemies of God are, the more dangerous; the greater, the more bitterly opposed to the work of the Lord, and the general patience with respect to the wickedness and unrighteousness of men, has certainly given something special to the δόξαις. Procul a Jove procul a fulmine.” ZINZENDORF.

7. On Jer 36:23. “Locus maxime principalis in præsenti hoc textu est de combustione sacrorum librorum, quale fatum illi experti sunt non tantum Jer. 36, verum etiam 1 Macc. 1:59 sub Antiocho Epiphane; nec non tempore Diocleliani, qui et ipse multa bibliorum sacrorum exemplaria undiquaque conquisita comburi jussit; quorum vestigiis insistere non dubitarunt Pontifices romani et præsertim Leo X. qui anno 1520 binos legatos emisit ad Fridericum Sapienlem, postulantes ab ipso, ut libros Lutheri combureret … Quid hodie Jesuitæ de librorum combustione, qui a Lutheranis eduntur, sentiant, peculiari scripto Gretserus aperuit, quod de hoc argumento consarcinavit de jure et more prohibendi, expurgandi et abolendi libros hæreticos et noxios. Ingolst. 1603, 40).” FÖRSTER.

8. On Jer 36:25. “When John’s head was in question, Herod did not understand how he could resist his magnates. When Daniel is to go into the lions’ den, Darius has not the heart to refuse his princes. When Jeremiah is to be delivered up, Zedekiah says with great modesty to his princes: the king can do nothing against you’ (38:5). But when anything evil is to be done, the rulers can insist on having their own way. Here we have an instance: he hearkened not unto them.” ZINZENDORF.

9. On Jer 36:26. “Dominus eos abscondidisse dicilur, quaratione olim Eliam (1 Reg. xvii. 2 sqq. et xvii. 12), nec non Elisæum (2 Reg. vi.), itemque Athanasium et Augustinum et nostro tempore Lutherum abscondidit.FÖRSTER.

10. On Jer 36:27. [“Here is a sublime specimen of the triumph of God’s Word, when repressed by the power, and burnt by the rage of this world, whether it be in the suppression of the Scriptures, or in preventing their circulation, or in casting copies of them into the fire, or in the imprisonment and martyrdom of God’s preachers. That Word rises more gloriously out of all its persecutions.” WORDSWORTH.—S. R. A.]


1. On Jer 36:2, 3. Sermon at a Bible Society Anniversary. The blessing of the written word. 1. That which it has in common with the spoken word (Jer 36:3): preparation of the heart for the reception of salvation. 2. That which it brings in distinction from the written Word: (a) it is present for every one: (b) it is present at every time and at every place: (c) it is present in all its parts (comparison).

2. On Jer 36:21-32. The majesty of the Word. 1. The power, which the word exercises. 2. The independence, which it maintains. 3. The self-verification which it continually effects. Sermons in Berlin by FR. WILH. KRUMMACHER. Berlin, 1849.

3. On Jer 36:24. [“The guilt of indifference to the divine threatenings. It involves: 1, contempt of God; 2, unbelief, making God a liar; 3, extreme hardness of heart.” PAYSON.—S. R. A.]

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,

Historical Presentation of the most important Events from the fourth year of Jehoiakim to the close of the Prophet’s ministry

(B. C. 605–570)


To the collection of discourses and its appendices are now added historical sections. These contain, with the exception of the beginning and the conclusion, a continuous historical narrative. The beginning is formed by a single but highly important event of the fourth and fifth years of Jehoiakim’s reign—the writing out of the prophecies (Jer 36) The conclusion (ch 44) is formed by a portion, which, after a pause embracing 16–18 years, gives an account of Jeremiah’s last appearance, in the midst of the people even in Egypt still devoted to idolatry. From Jer 37 to Jer 43 the events are continuously narrated, which occurred from the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign up to the arrival of the fugitive remnant in Egypt. It should be remarked that the presentation begins indeed with the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, but hurries rapidly over the first ten years (37:1, 2) and begins the connected narrative with the imprisonment of the prophet, which took place in the tenth year of this king. The thread on which the events are hung is the personal experience of the prophet; the behaviour of the people towards the Lord’s servant being both the ground and consequence of the fate which befel them. The single portions of this section may be arranged as follows:

A. The events before the capture of Jerusalem, chh. 36–38

I. The writing out of the prophecies in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Jer 36

1. The command and first writing, 36:1–8.

2. The reading to the people, 36: 9–18.

3. The reading to the king, 36:19–26.

4. The prediction of punishment to Jehoiakim and the second writing, 36:27–32.

II. The events in the tenth and eleventh years of Zedekiah, chh. 37 and 38

1. The embassy of the king and the imprisonment of the prophet in its first and second stages, Jer 37

2. Jeremiah in the pit (third stage of imprisonment), his conference with the king and confinement in the court of the guard (fourth stage of imprisonment), Jer 38


1. Jeremiah liberated from the court of the guard, and delivered to Gedaliah, 38:28 b–39:14.

2. Appendix to 39:1–14; the promise made to Ebed-melech the Cushite, 39:15–18.

3. Jeremiah liberated in Ramah and delivered the second time to Gedaliah, 40: 1–6.

4. The gathering of the people under Gedaliah, 40:7–16.

5. The murder of Gedaliah and its consequences, Jer 41.

6. The hypocritical inquiry, 42:1–6.

7. The unwelcome answer, 42:7–22.

8. The flight to Egypt, 43: 1–7.

9. Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, 43:8–13.

10. Jeremiah at the festival of the Queen of Heaven in Pathros. The last act of his prophetic ministry, ch 44.

a. The charge against the obstinately idolatrous people, 44, 1–14

b. The replication of the people, 44, 15–19.

c. The recapitulation of the prophet, 44:20–30.

α. The refutation of the people’s assertions, 44:20–23.

β. The positive prediction of severest punishment, 44:24–30.

A. The events before the capture of Jerusalem,(chh. 36–38)

I. The writing out of the prophecies in the fourth year of Jehoiakim(Jer 36)

1.The Command and the first writing


1And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of2Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein1 all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto3thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return4every man from his evil way; that I may 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 of5a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up [hindered]; I6cannot 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 in7the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication2 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 this8people. 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 [Jehovah’s] house.


In the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign Jeremiah receives the command to commit to writing the prophecies delivered by him from the beginning of his prophetic ministry (therefore for twenty-three years). The fourth year of Jehoiakim, as frequently shown already, was a turning-point both in the political world and in Jeremiah’s ministry. It was then that in consequence of the battle of Carchemish both the call of Nebuchadnezzar to universal dominion was decided, and also the question, who were to be the northern executors of the judgment on Judah, so often predicted by the prophet. It was now clear that they would be the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar. The way to Palestine and beyond was open to them. Their arrival was to be expected after a very brief interval. It was the last moment when Israel could still propitiate the Lord by sincere penitence, and avert the threatening danger. To determine Israel to make use of the last gracious respite thus granted a last attempt was to be made by the presentation of Jeremiah’s prophecies as a whole. They were now to hear at once, and in a concentrated form, what they had been hearing piece-meal in the course of twenty-three years, and that a powerful effect might be expected from the total impression, is seen from Jer 36:16. Jeremiah now, to discharge his exalted commission, dictates the words of Jehovah to his faithful Baruch, and commands him to read what he has written to the assembled people on the occasion of a fast-day, since he himself, Jeremiah, is hindered from being present.

Jer 36:1-3. And it came to pass … their sin. From the period before the fourth year of Jehoiakim, we find in the book of our prophet as we have it at present, chh. 2; 3–6; 7–10; 11–13; 14–17; 18–21; 11–14; 22:1–23; 23;26. Chh. 25 and 46:1–12; 47; 49:33 are also to be reckoned in here, since they certainly precede the writing, which extended into the fifth-year of Jehoiakim (36:9). Chh. 30. and 31. also belong here chronologically, but in subject they form a סֵפֶר by itself (comp. 30:2), and cannot have been a part of the book here meant, which consisted only of minatory prophecies. The first writing however did not, according to Jer 36:32, contain all these passages, at least not in their present extent. The view of HITZIG, that Jeremiah was not to write out the discourses for the first time, but only from the scattered leaves to compile them into a book, because the former would not have been possible even for the most retentive memory, has been well refuted by GRAF from HITZIG’s own point of view. From my own point of view I remark that the same supernatural factor which operated in the production of the prophecies must have acted also in their reproduction (comp. John 14:26). Here neither the much nor the little enters into consideration, nor must we lay too much weight on the similarity of the prophecies, for even the variations of the theme have their specific object and occasion, and could not be arbitrarily altered.

It is remarkable that the expression מְנִלָּה, apart from Ps. 40:8, occurs only in Jeremiah and later writers (Ezek. 2:9; 3:1; Zech. 5:1, 2), Ps. 40, however, as is well known, is ascribed by many to Jeremiah. But comp. Isai. 34:4. HENGSTENBERG, Beiträge II., S. 494 sqq.—LEYRER in HERZ. R.-Enc., XIV., S. 18.

Jer 36:3. It may be, etc. It is not expressly said, but may be understood, that the words of Jehovah were to be read after being written, as the effects mentioned could not be attributed to the mere writing, and so Jeremiah understood it, Jer 36:6–8.—That before they may return is difficult. We should expect and they will return, (comp. 26:3). The prophet however distinguishes a nearer and a more remote object. The first is that they hear, not in a physical sense, for that was not problematic, but in a spiritual sense, i. e., in the sense of marking, observing, taking to heart. Comp. 7:13; 25:3, 4, etc. The more remote and properly main object, to which the proclaiming and the marking were related only as means, was that they should be converted.

Jer 36:4-8. Then Jeremiah … in Jehovah’s house. Respecting Baruch comp. 32:12. The reason why Jeremiah did not write himself is not necessarily that he could not. From 32:10; 51:60 on the contrary it seems to follow that Jeremiah was well able to write. At least it is not apparent why in these passages it should not be said that Jeremiah dictated, since such a minute statement would well accord with the particularity of his style elsewhere. It may however easily be conceived that in the discharge of so great a task, the aid of a writer to take the mechanical part, was a necessity to the prophet. As the reading, according to Jer 36:9, did not take place till the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, the writing occupied nearly a year.—Shut up (עצור). As, according to Jer 36:19 and 26, Jeremiah and Baruch were able to hide themselves, this cannot mean “imprisoned” as it may well do in 33:1; 39:15. Jeremiah was therefore only detained or hindered. By what we have no means of ascertaining.—And read in the roll. Comp. Deut. 17:19; Neh. 8:8, 18.—Upon the fasting day. The prophet does not mean either the regular yearly fast, which was observed in the seventh month (Lev. 16:29; 23:27), nor does he expect in the ninth month several (extraordinary) fasts, so that we should translate “on a fast-day.” The absence of the article is no more emphatic here than in 3:2; 6:16, etc.—Were the ordinary fast meant in Jer 36:6, and an extraordinary fast-day in Jer 36:9, as many of the older commentators suppose, we cannot conceive why only the second reading had results, but the first passed away without a trace.

Jer 36:7. They will present. Comp. 37:20; 42:2 coll. 38:26; 42:9; Dan. 9:18, 20, where we find the Hiphil. The expression is evidently a stronger form of “come before thee” (Ps. 79:11; 88:3; 119:170coll. Job 34:28) in so far as it involves the idea of humble petitioning, and at the same time the collateral idea of prevailing, being heard. For that which falls down before one, can as little remain unobserved as that which comes before one.—And will return. The prophet presupposes that the words of Jehovah will render clear to the people above all the necessity of repentance, and that accordingly their prayer will above all have reference to power for the fulfilment of this indispensable condition. He also hopes that this effect will be produced by the reading, as by this the greatness of God’s anger will be brought vividly before the minds of the people, and must produce a wholesome fear in them. In Jer 36:8 the accomplishment of the task is reported in general. The particulars follow. Comp. HITZIG in loc.


[1]Jer 36:2.—אֵל for עַל (comp. rems. on 10:1) as is evident from Jer 36:4 and 29. In על ישׂרֹאל however עַל has the meaning of “against,” as we see from Jer 36:3, “all the evil.”

[2]Jer 36:7.—NAEGELSB.: Their supplication will come (prevail) before Jehovah.]

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.


9And 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 peo10ple in Jerusalem and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber [cell] 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 of11all the people. When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had12heard out of the book all the words of the LORD. Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber:3 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,13and 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.

14Therefore 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 come4 So Baruch the son of Neriah took15the roll in his hand, and came unto them. And they said unto him, Sit down now16and read it in our ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other,5 and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the17king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst18thou write all these words at his mouth?6 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced7all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with, ink8 in the book.


In the fifth year of Jehoiakim and the ninth month Baruch on occasion of a public fast reads to the assembled people in the temple the discourses of Jeremiah, written down by him (Jer 36:9, 10). Michaiah, the son of Gemariah, gives notice of this to the princes assembled in the royal chancery, among whom was his father (Jer 36:11–13). Thereupon the princes cause Baruch to be brought with his roll, and commanded him to read it to them (Jer 36:14, 15). What he reads fills them with terror. They declare to Baruch that they must inform the king and inquire as to the particular circumstances of the writing (Jer 36:16, 17). Baruch replies simply that Jeremiah dictated the words to him and he wrote them down (Jer 36:18).

Jer 36:9, 10. And it came to pass … all the people. The rendering of the “ninth month” of the fifth year of Jehoiakim as the ninth month of the civil year, i.e. about December, is favored especially by the circumstance that the statement of the months and days (comp. 39:2), without a previous exact statement of the day and month of the beginning of the reign, would be unintelligible and purposeless, while, if we understand the months and days of the civil year, the matter is clear, provided that the fragments of the initial and concluding years are reckoned as full years.—Proclaimed a fast. It was at any rate an extraordinary fast, such as was not infrequently appointed in times of distress (comp. Joel 1:14; 2:15; 1 Ki. 21:9, 12; 2 Chron. 20:3), then probably occasioned by the danger threatening from the Chaldeans (comp, Jer 36:29). It is therefore very probable, that Nebuchadnezzar then (in December of the fifth year of Jehoiakim) had not yet retired from Jerusalem. This is opposed to those who make the battle of Carchemish immediately precede the siege of Jerusalem (“only a few weeks.” Comp. GUSTAV RÖSCH. Art. Bibl. Zeitrechnung [Bibl. Chronology] in HERZOG,R.-Enc., XVIII., S. 464). The subject, proclaiming the fast, appears (as in Jon. 3:5 colt. Joel 1:14; 2:15) to be the whole people. Elsewhere it is the presiding officers who proclaim the fast (1 Ki. 21:9, 12; 2 Chron. 20:3; Ezr. 8:21). Whether by the former mode of expression anything is intimated concerning the suggestion of the appointment, or a rite in proclamations unknown to us, is not clear. EWALD, as it seems to me incorrectly, after the Vulg., connects “all the people” with “fast” as a genitive [jejunium omni populo].—In the chamber of Gemariah, Jer 36:10. Comp. rems. on 35:2, 4.—This Gemariah is named immediately afterwards as one of the princes assembled in the royal chancery. He had, it seems, as scribe a room in the temple, and also took part in the official transactions in the scribe’s chamber in the king’s house. (Comp. infra on Jer 36:12). His father appears to have been scribe under Josiah (2 Ki. 22:3 sqq.). Possibly the family was a priestly one. (Comp. 2 Ki. 22:3 with 1 Chron. 9:11, 12). His brother Ahikam is mentioned as a protector of Jeremiah, 26:24. On the upper fore-court and new gate comp. comm. on 20:2; 26:10. The room was situated not in the entry but at the entry, so that it might probably be entered directly from the gateway. At any rate it was a very frequented spot. As the higher court was that of the priests (comp. HERZ. R.-Enc XV., S. 609), which the people might not enter, it is possible that the new gate led from the higher into the outer (Ezek. 40:17), or great court (2 Chron. 4:9), and that accordingly the room, from its elevated position, afforded a view over the great court. comp. HITZIG, in loc.

Jer 36:11-18. When Michaiah … in the book. Michaiah, the son of that Gemariah in whose temple-chamber Baruch held his lecture, who was probably present in the chamber, thought himself called upon to inform his father. He found him in the royal chancery (so LUTHER). According to Jer 36:20, the princes go from the chancery into the court of the palace, to the presence of the king. Accordingly, the chancery appears to have been placed more on the outer side of the palace, probably for the sake of accessibility. The “scribe” Gemariah appears to have had the ecclesiastical department (Jer 36:10, minister of worship), and the “scribe” Elishama the political. The latter was thus chancellor, or Secretary of State. Comp. HERZOG, R.-Enc. XIV., S. 2. On the general meaning of “princes” comp. the list of Solomon’s princes, 1 Ki. 4:2 sqq.—If Elishama is identical with the one mentioned in 41:1 and 2 Ki. 25:15, which is not impossible, he was a prince of the royal family. Comp. on 41:1.—ELNATHAN, the son of Achbor, was mentioned before in 26:22.—Jehudi, etc. The name of his ancestor leads us to conclude that he was of Cushite descent. It is not probable that the name Jehudi was given with reference to the injunction in Deut. 23:8, for there it is merely said that the descendants of the Edomites and Egyptians are not to enter the congregation of the Lord till the third generation. With respect to the other nations (with the exception of still more strictly excluded Canaanites, Ammonites and Moabites) there was no such limitation. They might be naturalized in the first generation on fulfilment of the conditions. Comp. SAALSCHUETZ, Mos. Recht, Kap. 92, § 3; Kap. 100, § 2. Moreover, both the father and grandfather bear Israelitish names, and Jehudi is a family, not a national name. The feminine, Judith, appears, even in ancient times, as a proper name among the Hittites (Gen. 26:34). Comp. FUERST s. v.—Sit down now. They are evidently friendlily disposed. Comp. Jer 36:19 and 25.—I do not believe that they were terrified merely in the interest of Jeremiah and Baruch. It was possible to protect them. Without doubt the concentration of the threatenings did not fail of its intended object in their case.—It was clear that after the public reading in the temple, the matter could not be kept concealed from the king. Purposed concealment might be dangerous to those whose duty it was to report.—ROSENMUELLER, HITZIG, GRAF understand the question in Jer 36:17 as if the princes wished to know whether Baruch had not compiled the book against the will and knowledge of Jeremiah, from memory or written documents. But then the reading would have been different. [See TEXTUAL NOTES]. As the words stand, they seem to me simply to express the curious desire for a peep, as it were, into the prophet’s workshop. They supposed that Baruch must have been a witness of secret transactions, and they, therefore, wish to know how the dictation, on the part of the prophet, was given, whether, ex. gr., consciously or in a state of ecstasy. Baruch answers that Jeremiah simply pronounced the words and he as simply wrote them down with ink. There was nothing wonderful about it. How HITZIG can say that קרא cannot mean speaking, but only reading to another, I do not understand. Dictation requires no less an elevation of the voice than reading aloud, and may therefore be designated as “calling.” The phrase “with his mouth” also seems to imply just the opposite of reading from a book. Comp. Jer 36:4 with Jer 36:6 and 10.

[3]Jer 36:12—[NAEGELSBACH: Chancery chamber or chancellor’s room, according to the original Roman use of the word chancellor for chief notary or scribe, or according to the Scripture use for master of decrees, or president of the council, Ezra 4.—S. R. A.]

[4]Jer 36:14.—According to our idiom the expression designates removal from the speaker. In Hebrew it merely designates the leaving of the former position on the part of the person addressed, the terminus in quem being inferred from the context. Comp. 1 Sam. 9:9; 11:14.

[5]Jer 36:16.—פחדו איש אל־רעהו. On the construction comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 112, 7; Gen. 42:28.

[6]Jer 36:17.—מפיו. The LXX. omit the word. So also EWALD. Others take is as=הֲמִפִיו as it must be according to their understanding of the question. [See EXEGET.]

[7]Jer 36:18—יקרא. The Imperf. designates duration in the pest, wherefore also the part. כֹתֵב corresponds to it. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 87, f—13:7, 15:6.

[8]Jer 36:18.—דיו. The word is ἅπ. λεγ. It implies that Baruch only performed the mechanical work. Comp. WINER, H. W. B. Art. Schreibekunst; HERZOG, R.-Enc., Art. Schriftzeichen und Schreibekunst, S. 19, [SMITH Dict. III. 1802].

Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.


19Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let 20no man know where ye be. And they went in to the king, into the court, but they laid up9 the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in 21the 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, 22and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside [before] the king. Now the king sat in the winter house, in the ninth month; and there was a fire on the hearth, 23burning before him [the pot10 kindled before him]. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves [columns], he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth [in the pot], until all the roll was con- 24sumed in the fire that was on the hearth [in the pot]. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, the king nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 25Nevertheless11 [And even though] Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to [prayed] the king that he would not burn the roll: but [yet] he 26would not hear them. But the king commanded Jerahmeel, the son of Hammelech [the king], and Seraiah, the son of Azriel, and Shelemaiah, the son of Abdeel, to take [fetch] Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD [Jehovah] hid them.


The princes command Baruch, together with Jeremiah, to hide themselves (Jer 36:19). Thereupon they give the king personally notice of what has occurred (Jer 36:20). The king has the roll brought, read, cut and thrown into the fire, notwithstanding the intercession of three princes (Jer 36:21–25). He also wishes Baruch and Jeremiah to be taken into custody, but the Lord had hid them (Jer 36:26).

Jer 36:19, 20. Then said … ears of the king. It is noteworthy that under the despotic and ungodly Jehoiakim the princes were friendly to Jeremiah, while under the weak but kindly-disposed Zedekiah they were hostile to him. The reason for this may be partly the outward circumstances, partly the personality of the king. Under Jehoiakim the danger was not so near, and Jeremiah’s continual exhortation to submit did not make so much the impression of treachery and of a laming influence (38:4). Add to this, that Jehoiakim’s annoyance provoked opposition, as Zedekiah’s weakness did insolence.—The proper dwelling-house of the king (doubtless identical with the winter house) stood in a court of its own, “which, regarded from the entrance, formed the hinder court of the whole citadel” (KEIL on 1 Ki. 7:8).—They did not take the roll with them, in order as much as in them lay, to withdraw it from the eyes and fury of the despotic king. If the king himself had it fetched, they were not responsible for what he did with it.

Jer 36:21-24. So the king … these words.Beside the king. The king sat on the floor, those who were standing were therefore above him. Comp. Gen. 18:8; Jud. 3:19; 2 Sam. 20:11.—On the winter-house (Am. 3:15) and the fire-pot comp. WINER, R.-W.-B. s. v. Häuser, near the end. [“In common parlance, the lower apartments are simply el beit—the house; the upper is the ’alliyeh, which is the summer-house. Every respectable dwelling has both, and they are familiarly called beit shetawy and beit seify—winter and summer house. If these are on the same story, then the external and airy apartment is the summer house, and that for winter is the interior or more sheltered room.” THOMSON, The Land and the Book, I. p. 478.—“The Orientals still use pots made of burnt earthenware for warming, instead of fire-places. These pots have the form of a large pitcher, and are usually placed in a hollow place in the middle of the room. When the fire is out, a frame like a table is put over them, and is covered with a carpet, and thus the warmth is kept in them. See also NIEBUHR and TAVERNIER in WINER, R.- W.-B. 1., 468; STANLEY, Lect. 536–538.” WORDSWORTH.—S. R. A.].—The ninth month corresponds nearly to our December. It was therefore the cold and rainy season of the year.

Jer 36:23. And it came to pass, etc. It is unequivocally evident from the words “until all the roll was consumed” that the book did not consist of many leaves, but only of one roll. The roll must also have been written on one side only or the whole could not have been read. That Jehudi did read the whole is evident (1) from the imperfect יִקְרָעְהָ. If Jehudi, after reading some sections, had cut them off and at the same time thrown them with the rest into the fire, we should have had the perfect.—It would then be a matter of indifference whether Jehudi threw the rest into the fire entire or after successive abscissions, for the latter is in itself a perfectly unessential circumstance. It is only of account if the successive reading was connected with it. Only in the latter case is the imperfect, expressing repetition in the past, in place (compare remarks on יִקְרָא, Jer 36:18).—(2) From the words “till all the roll was consumed” and the preceding words. Had Jehudi thrown all at once into the coals, it could at most be said that they looked on and waited till the entire roll was burned up. But as it is said, that Jehudi cut and threw into the fire till the whole roll was consumed, there must evidently have been a repeated cutting and throwing. Such a course, however, presupposes also a successive reading of the whole, for if he did not wish to read it, why should he not throw it all at once into the fire. With this also agrees the prefix כְּ before קְרֹא, which designates the coincidence (comp. Gen. 18:1; 39:18; Deut. 16:6; 1 Kings 1:21), and accordingly in repeated actions must assume the meaning of “as often as.” How GRAF can deny this, is as inconceivable as the assertion, that the successive reading and cutting would be unnatural or indeed trifling. As to the first, the tenor was interesting and exciting enough to render the king desirous of knowing the whole; as to the second, it was the subservient Jehudi who would not wait till the end, to execute punishment on the hateful book. If the דְלָתוֹת were not single leaves, they were columns, the lines of which ran parallel with the margin of the roll. The expression doors, which occurs nowhere else in this sense, is easily explained by the square shape of the columns, which were probably also enclosed in lines. Jehudi’s cutting the roll with his penknife, and not tearing it with his hands, is explained by the character of the material. Even if it were a papyrus roll, cutting was to be preferred to tearing, because in this latter way he would be sure to injure the next columns. It is, moreover, questionable whether they would have burned a leather or parchment roll.—Rent their garments. On this custom comp. WINER, R.-W.-B., Art. Trauer. By the servants of the king who “heard all these words,” are here evidently to be understood those who heard them here for the first time, not those who had already heard them in the secretary’s office. Their petition shows the respect which they entertained for the words of the Lord.

Jer 36:25, 26. And even though … hid them.—Jerahmeel, the king’s son. As according to 2 Kings 23:36, Jehoiakim came to the throne when twenty-five, and was then in the fifth year of his reign, at most thirty years of age, he could not have had a grown-up son, such as this Jerahmeel must have been. “Son of the king” is, therefore, here a prince royal. Comp. 38:6 with 41:1; Dan. 1:3.—Who Seraiah, the son of Azriel, Shelemiah, the son of Abdeel were, we do not know, but the messengers, judging from the rank of the first, appear to have been very respectable. Jehoiakim thus at least honored the prophet of the Lord, sending men of the highest rank to apprehend him. According to Jer 36:19 the kindly-disposed princes commanded Jeremiah and Baruch to hide themselves. They had obeyed. We are now informed that the Lord Himself had guided them in the choice of a hiding-place, and thus guarded against their discovery.


[9]Jer 36:20.—On חִפְקִדוּ comp. 37:21; 40:7.

[10]Jer 36:22.—וְאֵת ואת־האח is not here=and indeed with. It is an emphasizing of the subject, which we might paraphrase by “and as to,” but which the Hebrews express by the accusative. Comp. 2 Ki. 6:5 EWALD, § 277, d; GESEN., § 117, 2.

[11]Jer 36:25.—Observe the paratactic construction, since וְנַם according to the connection belongs to לֹא שָׁמַע. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., 2, 111, 1 Anm.

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,


27Then the word of the LORD [Jehovah] came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, say- 28ing, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were 29in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to12 Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah]; 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 [exterminate] from thence man and beast?

30Therefore thus saith the LORD [Jehovah] of [against]1 Jehoiakim, king of Judah, He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall 31be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost [cold]. And I will punish13 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.

32Then 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 like14 words.


Jehoiakim could, indeed, burn the roll, but not the living word of God present in the mind of the prophet. He, therefore, gained nothing by his act. On the contrary he thus increased both his guilt and the number of the prophecies predicting calamity in the new roll.

Jer 36:27-32. Then the word… like words. The direct address to Jehoiakim in Jer 36:29 passes over into the indirect in Jer 36:30. But as the former is not to be conceived of as to the king in bodily presence, and as it was interrupted by the question put into the mouth of Jehoiakim, “Why hast thou written,” etc., the transition to the third person is easily explained. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 101, 2, Anm.

Jer 36:30. He shall have none, etc. The successor of Jehoiakim was his son Jehoiachin (2 Kings. 24:6).But the reign of the latter was so brief (it lasted only three months) that it does not come into consideration. On what is said of his corpse comp. rems. on 22:19.—Like words. In itself כָּהֵמָה may certainly be referred to “words,” and the similar import of the additions to be thus declared. Then, however, it would stand better after “words.” Its position after “many,” seems to be to indicate that it is to be referred to this word, and that thus the quantitative similarity is to be declared. Accordingly the new collection must have been about double the size of the previous one.


[12]Vers 29, 30.—עַל has the meaning of “over, concerning,” though from the connection in a hostile sense. On Jer 36:31, where after הֵבֵאתִי the third time we find אֵל, comp. remarks on 10:1.

[13]Jer 36:31.—[Literally: I will visit upon.—S. R. A.]

[14]Jer 36:32.—[Or, as many more; literally: as many as they.—S. R. A.]

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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