Bible Study, Commentary

Jeremiah 36 – Solitary Man

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Jeremiah 36

Febuary 12, 2024 2:54 PM
Solitary Man


Jer 36:1 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,

This word would be dated at 605 BC.

Jer 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book (scroll), and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.

We do not know if Jeremiah (or anyone else) had ever formally set down all the words he had spoken thus far. Chances are he had not. Remember that this time period is at the end of the first of his 2 main phases of ministry, the second large part being towards the end of Zedekiah’s reign.

This would probably be a parchment scroll – several skins sewn together and cut of an even breadth, with a piece of wood at one end to roll it on.

Jeremiah was supposed to record all the words he had spoken since Josiah’s day, even up to 605 BC, which was the year of the first major defeat by Babylon, and the subsequent 1st deportation, of which Daniel was a part of. We do not know if there were several scattered parchments lying around, but what was commanded was that all these words needed to be brought together into one place.

The words to be preserved were not just those spoken against Judah, but Israel, whose kingdom had disappeared many years ago, and all the surrounding nations whom Jeremiah had spoken about, which would be seen later in the book. Remember that Jeremiah began prophesying in the 13th year of Josiah, til his 31st year, and now 4 years of Jehoiakim, making a total span of 22 years.

Jer 36:3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear (shama) all the evil (rah) which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return (shoob) every man from his evil (rah) way (deh-rek); that I may forgive (saw-lakh – pardon, spare) their iniquity (aw-vone – moral evil) and their sin (khat-taw-aw – an offence and its penalty).

It’s a good thing to make a permanent record of God’s word. It can then be used at any time to convert someone, not just the 1st time when it is spoken. Thank God for the faithful men of old that preserved the utterances of the holy one. Think of all the countless people who have been saved due to reading something that was written thousands of years ago.

God wants to give Judah every chance. Perhaps there were those who never heard Jeremiah prophesy. Or their memory has become dim and/or muddled. Get it down on paper. Someone may read it at a later date, in God’s perfect timing.

Not to ever equate a personal prophecy that we are given with holy writ, it is never a bad idea to write down what you believe God is saying. Recollections have a way of changing over time. I fondly tease my spouse as to how she seems to regularly alter the contents of a straightforward story, adding and embellishing details! I know she may not appreciate me sharing this little tidbit, but we all tend to recollect any and all events somewhat more imperfectly as time goes on.

Note how repentance is always needed before sin can be forgiven. There is no other way. God says he wants to forgive their iniquity and their sin. The word sin is the same one used for a specific type of sacrifice of the temple, the sin offering, as described in Lev 4:8,20. In this case, God is saying if they repent (shoob – turn away) from his rah deh-rek, their evil road or evil course of life, then I can pardon their moral evil, and take away their sin and its associated penalty, which the sin offering is but an imperfect way that I’ve been dealing with it in the temple.

Jer 36:4 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 of a book.

Apparently this was not simply collecting scraps of paper and collating them into one nice, new document. No, God gave Jeremiah supernatural recall and he was able to speak all the former words of prophecy all at one time. 22 years of prophecy all at one time! Sometimes I can’t remember why I even got up from my chair, yet here God is downloading 22 years worth of info all at once! Is anything too hard for our God? People may quibble about whether or not every single word was exactly the same as he first uttered it. We can rest assured that all the essential core truths were preserved exactly as God desired.

We shall see in this chapter that this will not be the only time that God’s word will have to be recalled and rewritten.

Baruch’s lineage was as follows (from the pulpit commentary):

Maaseiah, his grandfather, was governor of the city (2 Chr 34:8), and Seraiah his brother (Jer 51:59) held some equally honourable, though not so easily definable, position in the court.

Jer 36:5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:

It did not say that he was shut up in prison (at least not at this time), but he was under some sort of restraining order. Probably some sort of compromise was reached by those wicked rulers that did not want to hear this doom and gloom preacher discouraging the zealous patriots who were trying to fight Babylon versus the remnant of the court who yet had a sincere fear of the Lord. He probably was prohibited from giving any more public prophecies.

Jeremiah might of been the first soul ever to be ‘deplatformed’!

Jer 36:6 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.

First, Jeremiah confirms that Baruch wrote this from Jeremiah’s mouth, not from some old crib notes. Second, kings often proclaimed a special fast day in times of national distress (Joel 2:1, 2 Chr 20:3-4, 1 Ki 21:10). An opportunity would arise in verse 9. This would be a time when the most number of citizens would be found at the temple, so the word would reach the most people. God is concerned with reaching as many people as possible.

Jer 36:7 It may be they will present (naw-fal – normally to fall, cast down) their supplication before (paw-neem – the face) the LORD, and will return (shoob) every one from his evil (rah) way (deh-rek): for great is the anger (af – the nose or nostril, associated with anger from rapid breathing in passion) and the fury (khay-maw – poisonous rage, wrath) that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.

Jeremiah is hoping the people will fall on their faces before the face of God. Naw-fal is used to speak of fallen ones, but in this case, we are to fall down as low as we can get before the Lord when we are to repent before him. It’s an attitude of the heart. Do not appear before God with all your failures with a haughty attitude. God is depicted as breathing fire like a dragon, so great is his anger against his continuously rebellious people.

Jer 36:8 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 house.

If we want to be used of God, then learn faithfulness. Obey those whom the Lord has set over you. Of course, it goes without saying that you obey them, as they obey the Lord. There has been too many cases in the Laodicean church of false shepherds virtually enslaving their followers, terrorizing them by stating that if you don’t do everything they say, then you are rebelling against God. How many times have you heard these heretical lunatics use the verse : ‘Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm’. If you feel you actually have to use that threat, then you are about as familiar with the genuine anointing of God as the cabal is with mercy. Stop using witchcraft on your sheep. If you are truly a man of God, you don’t have to tell anybody. Your gift will make room for you. God will bring you Baruchs that you will have the privilege to train.

Jer 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 unto Jerusalem.

An opportunity has just presented itself. This fast occurred around Nov/Dec in 604 BC. The first deportation just occurred last year. Things were not looking good. Even this wicked king was persuaded to call a special day of prayer. People generally obeyed the king’s decree, so there would of been quite a crowd at the temple.

Jer 36:10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber 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 of all the people.

Shaphan helped rebuild the temple under Josiah (2 Ki 23:12). Shaphan’s son Ahikam protected Jeremiah in Jer 26:24. Gemariah places his chamber, or apartment, at the service of the prophet’s delegate. Baruch would of read from a balcony of this apartment, overlooking some common court, of which a gate called the new gate was situated.

Jer 36:11 When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,

We do not know the motive behind Michaiah’s actions. Was he of a devout heart, like his father and grandfather? Or was he a preacher’s kid, with a streak of rebelliousness in him? Did he genuinely want to bring a true word of the Lord to the leadership, or did he want to report on another subversive missive from this renegade prophet, who was already under some sort of restraining order?

This is where we really should never seek the role of heresy hunter. Unless and until God gives you authority to do so, be very careful in calling our specific individuals. There is nothing wrong in calling out heresy. We are commanded to do so. Unless the heretic has publicly confirmed his own heresies out of his own mouth, we do not know what is in a person’s heart, most of the time. Was this Michaiah a good man, or not? All we know is he went and reported what he heard.

Jer 36:12 Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: 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, and all the princes.

This Michaiah obviously knew his way around the current leadership. Elishama may be the one mentioned in 2 Ki 25:25. His grandson Ishmael in Jer chapter 41 is said to be of the seed royal, and assassinated the puppet king that Nebuchadnezzar had installed after Jerusalem’s sack. So, not something in favor of him. If he was of royal blood, then everything he heard would of ran through a political filter in his brain, just like all our so called leaders today. Delaiah stands for Jeremiah when the king starts burning the scroll later in the chapter.

In Neh 6:10, Shemaih is said to be the son of Delaiah, the opposite of what is stated here. Note that Nehemiah’s time is 140 years later than here. This is an instance where the most prominent member of the house is named as father so the term does not always mean a literal father, but could skip many generations, but could also indicate descendants of the same name. Look at how middle eastern cultures today name so many kids with the same name.

One has to accept the fact that biblical genealogies often skip several generations. Some are meant to be comprehensive, some are abbreviated, to mostly indicate the founder’s name. Others only speak of the most noble personages in the bloodline. Names are often repeated, so when some names are skipped, and you happen to hit on a name that has appeared in more detailed genealogies before but in a different relationship, chances are it’s 2 different people with the same name.

Elnathan was used by this king to capture a prophet previously (Jer 26:22-23). Gemariah of course was the father of Michaiah (v11). Of Zedekiah no more is known.

So what we have assembled here is a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have people from prophetic households, such as Gemariah. We have no names like Zedekiah. We have households who produce assassins like Elishama. We have prophet persecutors like Elnathan. Why they were all assembled and what was the reason Michaiah ran to tell them what Jeremiah said, we can only speculate. It seems to me that these were some of the power brokers, meeting together to discuss a common threat. All these political factions, with divergent interests, meeting to see how they could keep the swamp running in the face of the Babylonian threat.

Jer 36:13 Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.

It almost has the sense that this guy was the eyes and ears of this little cabal. Maybe I am reading something into the text that isn’t there. You decide.

Jer 36:14 Therefore 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 come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.

More and more names to investigate. This shows that God is always taking names. You may think he doesn’t know who is on what side, but he most certainly does. We may not know, especially after so many years, but God never forgets those who are his, and those who are not.

This long genealogy may serve the purpose to state that his lineage was Ethiopian. His most famous ancestor may of been the Cushi that was a courier of Joab’s in 2 Sam 18:21. Like Ebed-melech (Jer 38:7), he most likely became a proselyte. Dt 23:8 only allowed the 3rd generation of such a proselyte (Edomite or Egyptian – Ethiopian would of fallen under Egyptian), to become fully incorporated as an Israeli. Jehudi (Jew) would of naturally enough been given to the first child that attained that privilege. Of course this was a different Cushi than the long ago time of Joab during David’s reign. It only serves to indicate that there were other Ethiopians who had joined the Israelis in the past. In any event, he was some sort of ministerial aide.

Jer 36:15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.

Baruch was gracious enough to come to the leaders and deliver God’s word. We always need to take advantage of every opportunity to share God’s word wherever God sends us.

Jer 36:16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard (shama) all the words, they were afraid (paw-khad – to be startled by a sudden alarm, to stand in awe, to shake) both one and other (both man and his fellow), and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.

It is hard to know exactly how many of the prophecies they listened to. Did they patiently listen to all 22 years worth of pronouncements all at once? It said they heard all the words. Whether that meant that Baruch spoke every word that he wrote down, or what he spoke, they all heard of that portion, we cannot say. However we can confidently say that in this instance, the word shama simply means that they heard the words. There was no time or ability to hear and obey.

There is disagreement as to why they were afraid. Were they genuinely overcome by a true, reverent fear of the Lord? Or were they afraid of what would happen when the king and his closest advisors heard these things? Perhaps a combination of both? Again, we can only guess.

Jer 36:17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
Jer 36:18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

These 2 verses sound quite facile on the surface. Yet they reflect a serious question. Did Baruch actually write down word for word what Jeremiah said, or did he write a sort of summary of what he remembered Jeremiah speaking from time to time over the years? In other words, just how accurate were these prophecies?

Baruch was careful to state that every word was straight from the prophet’s mouth. There was no paraphrasing, no recollecting, no Reader’s Digest version. It was word, and all word. We need to be very careful when we handle the word of God ourselves.

I think this is a good place to talk about translations. We have already seen that all these prophecies have now been given for a second time. We will find out later in the chapter that they will be spoken again a 3rd time. There may even be an indication in a later chapter that they may of had to of been written a 4th time! So does every jot and tittle matter? If they are written and rewritten, did every single letter match exactly each and every time?

Jesus said every jot and tittle mattered. Therefore, we can have full confidence that the final version produced was exactly what was supposed to of been preserved. Yet we know that the writing styles of each author of the books of the bible contain differences. The words will reflect the education, the culture, and the personality of the author. The apostle John will express truths in his epistles in an entirely different way than Paul would. It’s not hard to recognize John’s style. Jude Is different from James, who is definitely different from Paul.

So we turn to the question of translations. Is one better than the other? Should we use more than one? Which one?

I am a devout King James fan, as you can plainly tell. Since English has by far the most translations of any language on earth, we are the virtually the only ones that really have to wrestle with this issue. Most people groups are overjoyed to have one translation into their language, let alone hundreds. According to one source, there are 450 translations of the bible into English.

Perhaps that God allowed the book of Jeremiah to be written and rewritten at least twice is a subtle poke at all us ‘King James only’ adherents! I use it because it’s the most familiar. More people use it than any other (at least I believe so). The manuscripts it’s based on are the soundest ones to use. There is a majesty and a poetry to it. Certain books like Psalms cannot be improved upon.

The biggest reason is that using one translation helps immeasurably in bible memory. If you study more than one version, then which one do you memorize? I find it confuses me, as far as memorization goes. Any and all textual issues have been exhaustively dealt with in the King James.

Yet those of us who think that every other translation verges on heresy have gone way too far. It is no bad thing to allow another translation to communicate the same timeless truths using slightly different English words. Indeed, I have been engaging in this practice throughout this commentary, disclosing many alternate meanings of words via the Strong’s concordance. No King James only person has a problem with using Strong’s. Then why is it such a problem to allow someone else’s take on translation?

You certainly need to be aware that many modern translations have been done by people who aren’t even saved, and have no fear of God. Some have been done with evil motives. Paraphrases can be dangerous, if you try and create new doctrines by someone’s super loose interpretation of the text.

I think the main reason people have walked away from the King James is that our intelligence level has been steadily dropping in the west, to be honest. Yes, there are many obsolete words found in the KJV. But why are those words obsolete in the first place? It’s because we’ve stopped using them, having dumbed down our language to the abbreviated text lingo we write and speak today.

Recently I actually bought my wife an NLT translation (heresy, I know!). She has absolutely loved it! She has never had such a hunger for reading the word as she does now. She found the KJV fine, but certain portions would completely baffle her, and so little was gained from the text. With the exception of the Psalms, which just can’t be beat in the KJV, she has been greatly blessed with a more modern interpretation of the ancient texts.

If God leads you to use a different translation, don’t be afraid to do so. Yet don’t be so quick to totally abandon the good ole KJV either, as there is just something special about that book!

Jer 36:19 Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.

It seems as if these princes were quite sympathetic overall to what they heard. It’s kind of ironic. This Jehoiakim was a wicked king, but seemed to have some God fearing advisors. Zedekiah, who was open to the word, seemed to be surrounded by generally more wicked counsellors, as we have already saw, and will see more clearly in future chapters.

Let no man know where ye be – do not put your trust in man. Reminiscent of Jesus words in John’s gospel:

Joh 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
Joh 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Jer 36:20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.

They exercised prudence. Not knowing what the king’s response would be, they did not want him to act out of emotion and do something rash. Perhaps they knew something of the temperament of this king. They knew caution was in order. From verse 12, we know Elishama was the scribe, making him the obvious person to hold on to the scroll. They summarized the contents to the king orally.

Jer 36:21 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, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.

Here are the mechanics of what happened. The king, as it turns out, was not pleased with what he was hearing. Not only did he want to confirm what was actually said, but he wanted the actual copy of the truth in his possession, for reasons that will shortly become abundantly clear.

Jer 36:22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

The winterhouse most likely refers to a separate portion of the palace used for the winter season, as this was November or December. He would of had a fire going for warmth.

Jer 36:23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

It is assumed that the king, and not Jehudi, kept reaching over and cutting off one prophecy after another, as it was read, and threw it in the fire, thus showing his utter contempt for God and his word. He especially would not of liked the destruction of this throne, and the 70 years of exile predicted (Jer 25:11). Men who hate God always show their hatred first and foremost to his holy word. The word of God tells you what you are doing wrong. It tells you how you must live if you hope to please God and escape hell. It denounces your sin, your self will, your lifestyle. It takes man off the throne and puts God back there. The wicked cannot help themselves, they hate the bible more than anything else.

As our nations are becoming more and more dark, it is becoming commonplace for public reading of the bible to cause more and more violence. People walking by start cursing and swearing. Their demons within just can’t stay silent. Police are very quick to send 8 cops to handcuff and drag away those that dare preach ‘hate speech’ in public. It will become increasingly more difficult and dangerous to publicly proclaim the word in our lands. Now that our population is being replaced with most people who are outright the most hostile to the gospel (communists and muslims), we are in for a very tough time.

Jer 36:24 Yet they were not afraid (paw-khad) nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard (shama) all these words.

Think about what this means. This king of Judah, from David’s bloodline, the sweet psalmist of Israel, a man after God’s own heart, displayed for all to see his utter contempt for God and his warnings. If you hate the bible and what it says, you hate God. Those who can’t stand the judgments of God within his word have hearts that are far from him, regardless of what they think. Those that reject God’s punishments for certain sins as being barbaric or inhuman, have no idea of who God is. They have no understanding of his mishpat or his tsed-aw-kaw.

May God forgive us for each and every instance where we thought that we knew better than him.

Jer 36:25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.

These three seemed to have a greater fear of God than the rest. God notices. He has recorded their names for all eternity. In Elnathan’s case, he did go and arrest a prophet that had fled the state on behalf of the king’s orders. You could go more than one way in crafting a sermon about him. He could be the type that simply followed orders, without regard to the morality of what he was doing. You could say that he had become alarmed and fed up with the direction this king was taking the country, so he found his courage and was now taking a stand. You could debate the merits of why he stayed in the job if he was morally opposed. All these speculations may lead to good sermons, but we truly do not know his circumstance, nor his heart, especially thousands of years after the fact.

Perhaps someone who worked in the king’s court could not leave of this own volition. The king’s word was supreme. Career changes were not so easily accomplished. Perhaps God wanted him right where he was. In addition, the only negative we have of him, is that he carried out the king’s orders in capturing Urijah the prophet (Jer 26:22-23). He is a good case to remind us not to judge each other too quickly. Usually we do not have all the facts. Secondly, our own prejudices and tendencies often help to skew our conclusions in a direction that may not be of the Lord.

Jer 36:26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel (God is compassionate) the son of Hammelech (melek – king), and Seraiah (Yah had prevailed) the son of Azriel (help of God), and Shelemiah (thank offering of God) the son of Abdeel (serving God), to take Baruch (blessed) the scribe and Jeremiah (Jah will rise) the prophet: but the LORD hid them.

Hammelech is the Hebrew word melek – which almost always means king. Thus, it could read Jerahmeel the king’s son. He most likely was not a literal son, as some think Jehoiakim was only around 25 years old at this time. He may of been of the seed royal, related in some way and simply called a son here. The King James translators may of had an issue with calling him a son, due to the king’s age, so they included the article to come up with Ham – melek. This may turn out to be actually true, due to the king’s age. Names in the bible often had other words incorporated into them. Thus it is not a stretch to see the word melek incorporated into someone’s name, just as Jah was incorporated in the majority of names in this chapter. This was just a short lesson in the difficulty of assigning proper translations to certain passages, especially when it involves names. Remember, no vowels and no punctuation were in the original text!

The only other Seraiah is found in Jer 51:59, but he is the son of Neriah, and the brother of Baruch (Jer 32:12). Shelemiah is the father of Jehucal (Jer 37:3), who at first is sent by Zedekiah to consult the prophet, then later arrested him (Jer 38:1). In conclusion, given what little we do know about these 3, they are probably the most likely to be known as in the party of the prophet’s opponent, so the king uses them to arrest these two.

However, God had other plans. If God is not done with you, it matters not what your enemies plot. No one can really harm you until God says so. Jeremiah’s ministry was not nearly finished, so the schemes of men would come to nought in this case.

This does not mean that you won’t suffer any hardship and pain even while God preserves your life. All we need to do is examine the apostle Paul’s life. He suffered tremendous physical harm, yet the devil could not take his life until his course (deh-rek) was complete. As soldiers, we need to understand exactly what we have signed up for. When we read promises of protection and possibly being hidden from the tribulation, that does not mean a pain free ride. Even as soldiers may experience any and every sort of injury, so we must settle it in our own minds that any and all sorts of distress may be our lot in the days ahead. Brace yourself. Prepare to stand.

Jer 36:27 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,

God always has the last word. When it looks like the enemy has won, do not despair. The final chapter has not yet been written.

Jer 36:28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.

I am not sure what Jeremiah and Baruch thought about all this. They may of wondered why God did not tell them to hide the first roll better, or perhaps they should of made a copy of it. Now God is going to have to give Jeremiah a second round of supernatural recall. This would be the third version of God’s pronouncement. Here is an instance where all believers need to make a choice. You can allow your thoughts to entertain the idea that there was no way in heaven that all these prophecies would of been preserved in the exact original format, or that even each and every word would of been recalled. You can allow those sorts of doubts to fill your mind. Yet I ask you this: If this is the same God who you believe created the universe in 6 literal days, exactly where is the problem in him being able to give Jeremiah perfect recall not once, but twice? Don’t you think even if he had to give him these words 100 different times, that our God is big enough to get it done? Or is your God not quite up to the task?

Jer 36:29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; 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 from thence man and beast?

Not only are they to go ahead and redo all these prophecies, but there is a personal message to that awful, wicked man who so blasphemed God by burning his word.

Jer 36:30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.

God did not consider his direct successor, Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) to really count, as he only sat on the throne for 3 months. God counted it as nothing. After that, the throne went to Zedekiah, the uncle of Jeconiah.

This verse is where the most likely reason is found for the judgment in Jer 22:18-19:

Jer 22:18 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!
Jer 22:19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

If you want to be treated like an ass by God, just disrespect God’s word like this loser did.

The callous and nonchalant way that Christians in effect do this very thing should cause all of us to shudder in abject fear. Think of all the times we are in effect calling God a liar when we refuse to believe what is clearly written. We say God will never judge his own, he only blesses us because all he is is love. Or we refuse to believe he does miracles today. Or we embrace the heresies of evolution, calling God a liar. Or we think God is barbaric, when we read of the judgments he meted out in the Pentateuch for certain sins. In effect, we’re taking a match to certain sections of God’s word, because it does not fit our worldview, and our image of Yahweh that we have created in the wicked imaginations of our own corrupt hearts.

Always go where the text takes you. If you persist in walking your own deh-rek, then you may finally end up at the place that Jehoiakim did, burning the word because he simply could not bear to hear it, nor could he bear to let anyone else hear it in the future, so he had to destroy it.

Jer 36:31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity (perversity); and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil (rah) that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened (shama) not.

God continues to reiterate his judgments. He keeps creating circumstances that prove again and again that his sentences are the correct ones. Whenever we think the punishment is too harsh, let us remember the several stories found in this book. They all illustrate that no matter how gradual, or how often, or how thoroughly God punished his people, it was never enough to get them to shoob away from their rah deh-rek, and shoob toward the proper deh-rek. They did not know how to shama properly. Indeed, they had no desire to shama. I think we need all these stories in order to conclusively make the case that God was righteous and correct in destroying this rebellious lot. Even as he is righteous and correct in destroying us in this ungodly generation.

By now, I think we can start to grasp the general structure of this book. The first portion seems to of collected all the specific words spoken against God’s people, both Israel and Judah. There may of been certain stories included, such as watching the potter work at his craft, but that only served to enhance the specific word of judgment that God was conveying.

We are now in the second portion of the book, that deal with more and more the actual events in Jeremiah’s life, during the reigns of the last 2 major kings of Judah. They revolve around the plight of Jeremiah, the opposition he faced, and the continual rejection of God’s word, plans and purposes of his people every step of the way. No matter how much pain God inflicted upon them, they seemed incapable of changing course. This is such an important lesson to grasp. We think that enough pain will eventually cause everyone to repent. While true for certain hearts that can yet be reached, it is most definitely not true for the majority of the wicked out there. As the curses grow, so does the hardness of their wicked, unbelieving hearts. Think of how often the wicked curse God as the 7 last bowl judgments are poured upon the earth (Rev chapter 16). Do not expect to see the whole world fall on their faces and repent as the judgments increase. Instead, expect the opposite.

The final portion of the book is a section that many think was appended to the end and it contains various prophecies given over the entire course of Jeremiah’s ministry to the surrounding nations.

Jer 36:32 Then 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 like words.

Here we see the amazing work of the Holy Spirit. For the third time, the same words were recalled and written. And because this would now become the definitive volume of Jeremiah, some other prophecies were added that were omitted the previous time. They may of been older sections, as well as passages such as this chapter describing the latest events.

In any case, God preserved exactly what he wanted preserved. Instead of wondering what was left out or changed, we can rest in the fact that the final version is exactly the version that God wanted his people to have. Man may destroy written copies of the word, but the true child of God will have his holy word written on the tablet of their heart.

Let us always strive to engrave with an iron stylus the eternal, unchangeable, incorruptible word of the almighty God in our hearts and minds forever, as the greatest of all treasures that we can ever acquire while on this sin cursed planet.

Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos


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