And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD…
This chapter brings before us an instructive variety of these hearers.
I. SUCH AS THE PROPHET. To him and such as he the Word of God came, and was received with reverent submission and diligently obeyed at all costs. They could say, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."
II. SUCH AS THE PEOPLE GENERALLY. (Ver. 10.) The mass seemed unaffected. We do not read of their being in any wise wrought upon by what they had heard. But there was an exception (ver. 11). Michaiah was really aroused, impressed, and alarmed. Often it is thus; the general congregation unmoved, but one here, one there, touched and led to God.
III. SUCH AS MICHAIAH. We have seen how it affected him. He could not keep it to himself, but went to tell the princes of it (ver. 12). He unfeignedly believed. Now, he came of a godly house. It was his grandfather who, in King Josiah's day, had first received the book of the Law which had been found in the temple. Hilkiah the high priest gave it to him, knowing, no doubt, that it would be reverently dealt with. And so it was; for first he read it himself, and then read it aloud to the young king, and that led to the reformation which the king carried out. And the father of this Michaiah was a man of a like spirit. From the balcony of his house Baruch had read his book to the people; Michaiah's father had lent him a pulpit. And it was this same man who, with two others, tried, but in vain, to stay the king's hand when about to burn the book (ver. 25). Hence Michaiah came of a godly stock. It is the training of such homes that more than aught else prepares and predisposes the heart to receive the Word of God.
IV. SUCH AS THE PRINCES. These are a very instructive group, (vers. 11-26). They listened patiently to the Word, and gave it much attention. They were much moved, and desired to hear it over again exactly as it had been given, and so they sent for Baruch, and listened in like manner to him. They seriously deliberate, and resolve to go and warn the king; for that in all probability was their motive. They show affection to God's servants, and desire to protect both them and the written Word. They go in to the king, notwithstanding they must have known the peril of so doing. And some of them endeavour to stay the king from his evil intent to destroy the book. But there they stop. The king's rage overpower them, and they keep silence when they ought to utter strong protest. They are an illustration of "the fear of man which bringeth a snare." How often the like cause leads to like unfaithfulness still!
V. SUCH AS THE KING. The words fix his attention, but they excite his rage and then they ensure his doom. He comes to hate both the Word and the writers of the Word, and he disregards the feeble remonstrances of its timid friends. Thus he seals his own destruction, as such ever do. We are hearers of the Word. To which class do we belong? - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,