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son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, 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. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every 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 of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot
day, specially appointed in connexion with the national danger, very possibly fixed for the first anniversary of the capture of the city, Jeremiah gives the king and people a summary of the warnings which he had for so-many years sounded in their ears without avail.
2. Take thee a roll of a book] The command to Isaiah (viii. 1) was "Take thee a great roll." The word used in his case however, though bearing some resemblance to the Hebrew word here, meant rather a tablet of wood or metal, with a thin coating of wax. Here the substance on which the prophet was to write was parchment. Several skins were stitched together and attached to a roller of wood at one or both ends. The writing was arranged in columns parallel to the rollers, so that as the parchment was gradually unrolled from one end to the other, the successive columns could be read. Our word volume (that which is rolled up) points by its derivation to this older form of book.
write therein all the words] This would be done in part by transcribing from such comparatively fragmentary records as are spoken of in chaps xxii. 30, xxx. 2, and in part from the prophet's memory, which would supply him with the substance at any rate of the prophecies which he had uttered for the twenty-three years of his mission on the subjects indicated in ver. 3.
3. It may be that the house of Judah...] Compare for a similar expression of hopefulness chap. xxvi. 3. Meantime probably (see note on ver. 1, above) the capture of Jerusalem had added to the prophet's hope that this final warning might be effectual.
4. Then Jeremiah called Baruch] He has been mentioned already (xxxii. 12, 13) as the prophet's attendant.
0. / am shut up] The same verb in the original is used chaps, xxxiii. 1, xxxix. 15, where it means imprisoned. Here however, it cannot have that force, as we see by ver. 19, but simply means that he was hindered from addressing the people by some cause, probably danger to his life arising from the extreme unpopularity of his recent utterances.
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 in the ears of all Judah that come out of their ties. It may be they will present their supplication 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 this people. 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. 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. 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.
6. the fasting day] or, a fast-day. The original may bear either sense, as implying that the day was or was not already determined.
7. they -Mill present their supplication] literally, their supplication -will falL The attitude of the petitioners is transferred in thought to the petition. We have the same phrase in several other places (xxxvii. 20, xxxviii. 26, etc.), and sometimes (xxxvii. 20, xlii. 2) with the further sense, which hardly belongs to it here, of acceptance.
8. And Baruch...did according to all] This concise statement that Baruch discharged the commands laid on him, is followed by the detailed account of the same in the subsequent verses.
9. in the ninth month] our December, see ver. 22. Thus the fast was not that annual one of the seventh month, the only stated fast of the Law (Lev. xvi. 29, xxiii. 27), but specially appointed probably, either in memory of the capture of the city by the Chaldaeans in the previous year, or on account of the blow given to the independence of the Jews by the battle of Carchemish, and the anticipation of a speedy attack from Nebuchadnezzar.
10. in the chamber] probably at the door of it, so as to be heard by the people.
Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe] Shaphan was himself scribe in the days of Josiah (2 Kings xxii. 3). We gather from xxvi. 24 that this Gemariah was brother of Ahikam, who was friendly to Jeremiah. He is, of course, distinct from the Gemariah mentioned xxix. 3.
11— 19. The Roll is read before the princes.
When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the Lord, then he went ivn into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and-4a, 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. Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. 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. And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it cayne to pass when they had heard all the words, they were afr .id both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they. asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these
11—19. The Roll Is Read Before The Princes.
11. When Michaiah...had heard] As it was in the chamber of Michaiah's father that Baruch had been allowed to read the roll, Geinariah, engaged at the moment at a council of the princes in another room, would naturally be desirous of learning as soon as might be the particulars of what had occurred.
12. then he went down] See notes on xxii. 1, xxvi. 10. Elnathan the son of Achbor] mentioned chap. xxvi. 22.
14. Jehudi...the son of Cushi] Although the first of these names also means a Jew, and the second an Ethiopian, it is more probable that both are distinctly proper names here. There may however still be a reference to Ethiopian descent in the latter name.
15. Sit down] These words taken with ver. 19 shew that the princes were favourably disposed towards Baruch and Jeremiah. The same has been marked already in chap. xxvi. 16. Baruch took the position ordinarily assumed by an Eastern teacher. Compare Luke iv. 20.
16. they were afraid both one and other] literally, they trembled every one to his neighbour, i.e. they looked at each other and trembled.
We will surely tell] rather, We must certainly tell. It is in no wise a threat, but the expression of a solemn duty.
17. Now didst thou write] They desired to know how far the words
18 words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I
19 wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.
20—26. It is read before the King. Its fate.
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
21 told all the words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fet 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
22 the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before
23 him. 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
might be Baruch's own, that they might be able to state to the king the amount of responsibility for them which rested upon each.
19. Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah] See note on ver. 5.
20. into the court] into the inner court yard, where the king's apartments were.
they laid up] they gave in charge, committed to safe keeping.
21. fet] See note on xxvi. 23.
beside] literally, above, referring to the fact that the king was sitting and his attendants standing.
22. in the winter-house in the ninth month] See note on ver. 9 above. Amos (Hi. 15) mentions both winter and summer houses. "Such language is easily understood by an Oriental. In common parlance the lower apartments are simply el belt—the house; the upper is the alliyeh, which is the summer house. Every respectable dwelling has both... If these are on the same storey, then the external and airy apartment is the summer house, and that for winter is the interior and more sheltered room. It is rare to meet a family which has an entirely separate dwelling for summer."—Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 309.
there was a fire on the hearth burning] Hearths are unknown in the East. Braziers containing charcoal are placed in a depression in the middle of a room for purposes of warming. Render therefore here, the fire-pan was burning.
23. leaves] pages, literally, folding doors, referring to the ordinary arrangement of the writing as described above (see note on ver. 2).
penknife] literally, scribe's knife,
consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 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. But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the Lord hid them.
27—32. Its contents re-written.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burnt the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again *s another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burnt. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast burnt this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to
24. Yet they were not afraid...neither the king] Contrast with this the conduct of the king's father when the newly found Book of the Law was read in his ears (and compare 1 Kings xxi. 27). Josiah on that occasion in sorrowful dismay rent his garments (2 Kings xxii. 11) but his son now rends not his garments, but the Roll itself. And thus passed away "his last chance, his last offer of mercy: and as he threw the torn fragments of the roll on the fire he threw there in symbol his royal house, his doomed city, the temple, and all the people of the land."—Sp. Comm.
24. nor any of his servants] This cannot refer to the princes, who, as we have seen (ver. 16), were by no means of the king's mind.
25. Elnathan...had made intercession] See note on xxvi. 22; also on xxvii. 18. Elnathan seems to have changed his view of things, as we find him here so thoroughly on Jeremiah's side.
26. the son of Hammelech] As this name might be rendered the king, some would take it so here, understanding that Jerahmeel was Jehoiakim's son. It is however in all probability simply a proper name. See chap. xxxviii. 6.
27—32. Its Contents Re-written.
29. The king of Babylon shall certainly come] See note on ver. r. This expression by no means proves that the king of Babylon had not come already. It is probable that this prophecy was uttered after such a visitation, a much less severe disaster however than that