Therefore go you, and read in the roll, which you have written from my mouth…
I. THE OLD. The message itself was old. It had been proclaimed before in parts and on different occasions. There was not, indeed, opportunity for anything new. The audience also was to some extent old. But then let it always be understood that God speaks according to the necessities of the case, not according to the itching ear of man ever clamouring for novelty and relief from ennui. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither wilt they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." There may come a time in every man's life, when it is not the new but the old and neglected or misunderstood that will prove the necessity of the soul.
II. THE NEW.
1. The messenger. Not Jeremiah, but Baruch; not a prophet, but a prophet's deputy; not a word spoken, but a word read; not a part of Jeremiah's utterances, but the whole, so that people might have it brought home to them how much they had neglected. Old truth appears in new framework and new relations, so that it may arrest people who have become indifferent to the old associations. There was a time when Jeremiah's face was fresh, and curiosity would make people stop to hear what this babbler might say. But after hearing him often, they ceased to heed him. Then Baruch comes forward, and words that were an exact repetition of words heard before got a flavour of novelty.
2. The occasion. The fasting day. Read Isaiah 58, carefully to discover the avowed purpose and yet utter uselessness of the fasting day in Israel. The people met together to acknowledge their sins, to punish their bodies, to please God, to avert his displeasure. It might, therefore, be assumed that then, if ever, they were in a state prepared to listen to the volume of one great prophet's utterance. If anything was to be got out of seizing the best available occasion, then surely it was to be got here. Thus we learn how occasion adds responsibility to utterance; responsibility both for him who speaks and those who hear. These people were not stopped in the street or the market; their homes were not invaded by prophetic messages; they had no pretence for saying they were interfered with. They put themselves in Baruch's way. His work, as reader of Jeremiah's prophecies, was in exact harmony with what ought to have been the feelings and desires of his audience.
3. The audience. That audience, as we have said above, was to some extent old, but to some extent also it would be new. A new message to some people in Jerusalem, and quite new doubtless to the bulk of those who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem. The whole proceeding helps us to see how valuable the public reading of the Scriptures may be. For old as they are, with so much in them that savours of vanished ages and customs, their have, nevertheless, to do with perennial wants, miseries, and possibilities. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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 in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
WEB: therefore you go, and read in the scroll, which you have written from my mouth, the words of Yahweh in the ears of the people in Yahweh's house on the fast day; and also you shall read them in the ears of all Judah who come out of their cities.