Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
COLLECTED IN A
1. fourth year--The command to write the roll was given in the fourth
year, but it was not read publicly till the fifth year. As Isaiah
subjoined to his predictions a history of events confirming his
37:1-38; 38:1-22; 39:1-8),
so Jeremiah also in the thirty-seventh through forty-third chapters;
but he prefaces his history with the narrative of an incident that
occurred some time ago, showing that he, not only by word, but in
writing, and that twice, had testified all that he about to state as
having subsequently come to pass [GROTIUS]. At
the end of Jehoiakim's third year, Nebuchadnezzar enrolled an army
against Jerusalem and took it in the end of the fifth or beginning of
the sixth year, carrying away captive Jehoiakim, Daniel, &c. Jehoiakim
returned the same year, and for three years was tributary: then he
withheld tribute. Nebuchadnezzar returned and took Jerusalem, and
carried off Jehoiakim, who died on the road. This harmonizes this
and Da 1:1-21.
2. roll of a book--a book formed of prepared skins made into a roll.
Compare "volume of the book," that is, the Pentateuch
It does not follow that his prophecies were not before committed to
writing; what is implied is, they were now written together in
one volume, so as to be read continuously to the Jews in the
against . . . nations--
from . . . days of Josiah--
From Josiah's thirteenth year
3. hear--consider seriously.
return . . . from . . . evil way--
4. all . . . words of . . . Lord--God specially suggesting what might
otherwise have escaped his memory, and directing the choice of words, as
well as the substance
(Joh 14:26; 16:13).
5. I am shut up--not in prison, for there is no account of his
imprisonment under Jehoiakim, and
Jer 36:19, 26
are inconsistent with it: but, "I am prevented," namely, by some
hindrance; or, through fear of the king, to whose anger Baruch was less
exposed, as not being the author of the prophecy.
6. go--on the following year
An extraordinary fast, in the ninth month (whereas the fast on
the great day of atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh
Le 16:29; 23:27-32),
appointed to avert the impending calamity, when it was feared
Nebuchadnezzar, having in the year before (that is, the fourth of
Jehoiakim), smitten Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish, would attack Judea, as
the ally of Egypt
(2Ki 23:34, 35).
The fast was likely to be an occasion on which Jeremiah would find the
Jews more softened, as well as a larger number of them met
7. present . . . supplication--literally, "supplication shall fall";
alluding to the prostrate attitude of the supplicants
as petitioners fall at the feet of a king in the East. So
9. they proclaimed . . . to all the people . . . to all, &c.--rather,
"all the people . . . all the people proclaimed a fast"
chiefs appointed the fast by the wish of the people. In either version
the ungodly king had no share in appointing the fast.
10. chamber--Baruch read from the window or balcony of the chamber
looking into the court where the people were assembled. However, some of
the chambers were large enough to contain a considerable number
Gemariah--distinct from the Gemariah, son of Hilkiah, in
Shaphan--the same person as in
scribe--secretary of state, or he who presided over the public records.
higher court--that of the priests, the court of the people being lower
The east gate.
12. scribe's chamber--an apartment in the palace occupied by the
secretary of state.
princes--holding a counsel of state at the time.
Elnathan--who had already been an instrument of evil in Jehoiakim's
(Jer 26:22, 23).
Hananiah--the false prophet
14. Jehudi--of a good family, as appears from his pedigree being given
so fully, but in a subordinate position.
come--Instead of requiring Baruch to come to them, they ought
to have gone to the temple, and there professed their penitence. But
pride forbade it
16. afraid, both one and other--Hebrew, "fear-stricken," they
turned to one another (compare
This showed, on their part, hesitancy, and some degree of fear of God,
but not enough to make them willing to sacrifice the favor of an
We will surely tell the king--not the language of threatening
but implying that the matter is of such moment that the king ought to
be made acquainted with it, so as to seek some remedy against the
17. What they wished to know was, whether what Baruch had read to them
was written by him from memory after hearing Jeremiah repeating his
prophecies continuously, or accurately from the prophet's own dictation.
18. his mouth--Baruch replies it was by the oral
dictation of the prophet;
accords with this view, rather than with the notion that Jeremiah
repeated his prophecies from manuscripts.
ink--his specification of the "ink" implies: I added nothing save the
hand, pen, and ink.
19. Showing that they were not altogether without better feelings
Jer 36:16, 25).
20. chamber--There were chambers in the king's palace round the court
or great hall, as in the temple
The roll was "laid up" there for safekeeping, with other public
21. sent Jehudi--Note how unbelievers flee from God, and yet seek Him
through some kind of involuntary impulse
[CALVIN]. Jehudi seems to have
been the king's ready tool for evil.
22. winter house--
ninth month--namely, of the religious year, that is, November or
fire on . . . hearth--rather, the stove was burning before him.
In the East neither chimneys nor ovens are used, but, in cold weather, a
brazen vessel containing burning charcoal; when the wood has burned to
embers, a cover is placed over the pot to make it retain the heat.
23. three or four leaves--not distinct leaves as in a book, but the
consecutive spaces on the long roll in the shape of doors (whence
the Hebrew name is derived), into which the writing is divided: as
the books of Moses in the synagogue in the present day are written in a
long parchment rolled round a stick, the writing divided into columns,
pen-knife--the writer's knife with which the reed, used as a pen, was
mended. "He" refers to the king
As often as Jehudi read three or four columns, the king cut asunder the
part of the roll read; and so he treated the whole, until all the parts
read consecutively were cut and burnt;
"all these words," implies that the whole volume was read
through, not merely the first three or four columns
24. The king and his "servants" were more hardened than the
"princes" and councillors
Contrast the humble fear exhibited by Josiah at the reading of the law
25. (See on
The "nevertheless" aggravates the king's sin; though God would have
drawn him back through their intercession, he persisted: judicial
blindness and reprobation!
26. Hammelech--not as Margin, "of the king." Jehoiakim at
this time (the fifth year of his reign) had no grown-up son: Jeconiah,
his successor, was then a boy of eleven (compare
with 2Ki 24:8).
(Ps 31:20; 83:3;
27. roll, and . . . words--that is, the roll of words.
28. all the former words--It is in vain that the ungodly resist the
power of Jehovah: not one of His words shall fall to the ground
Ac 9:5; 5:39).
29. say to Jehoiakim--not in person, as Jeremiah was "hidden"
but by the written word of prophecy.
saying, Why--This is what the king had desired to be said to Jeremiah
if he should be found; kings often dislike the truth to be told them.
30. He shall have none to sit upon the throne--fulfilled
&c.; 2Ki 25:1-30).
He had successors, but not directly of his posterity, except
his son Jeconiah, whose three months' reign is counted as nothing.
Zedekiah was not the son, but the uncle of Jeconiah, and was raised to
the throne in contempt of him and his father Jehoiakim
dead body . . . cast out--
(Jer 22:18, 19).
day . . . heat . . . night . . . frost--There are often these
variations of temperature in the East between night and day
32. added besides . . . many like words--Sinners gain nothing but
additional punishment by setting aside the word of Jehovah. The law was
similarly rewritten after the first tables had been broken owing to
(Ex 32:19, 34:1).