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intimate converse with Him (cf. xv. 19). Respecting a priestly Eechabite in apostolic times, see Eusebius, Hist. ii. 23. Wolff thought he discovered them in Yemen in the Keibari Jews, who also live in the Sinaitic peninsula. Palmer, Scene of the Wanderings of the Israelites. This conjecture has no ground. At all events they were not settled in the desert south of Canaan in Jeremiah's days, when they took refuge in Jerusalem from the foe advancing from the north. Judg. i. 16 would rather point to a southern abode.
Contents of ch. xxxv. Humbling of Israel by means of the Eechabites. a. The Obedience of the latter tested, vv. 1-11. b. God's Judgment respecting the disobedient Israelites and this faithful family, vv. 12-19.
It was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when the advancing power of the enemy had frightened many strangers into Jerusalem as a fortified city, that our prophet, at the divine bidding, held up before his fellow-countrymen an example of faithful devotion to paternal injunctions which rebuked their disobedience. He one day invited the family of the Eechabites, an ancient ally of Israel-Judah, which had then taken refuge within the walls of the capital from the plundering foe, to one of the rooms in the temple where sacred feasts were held, and set wine before them. They all refused to drink, because they were forbidden such indulgence, as well as dwelling in houses and tilling the soil, by family tradition.. Not only had these employments and indulgences been always avoided on the part of nomads who held tenaciously to their own modes of life, but Jonadab, who stood in special repute, and who was the head of the family about three hundred years before, made these forms of abstinence a law and testament to his posterity, and they had never departed therefrom. From the temple-chamber, where he gave the faithful tribe the promise in ver. 18 f., the prophet hastens with painful emotion into the forecourt, in order to set before the people their unbroken treachery in the light of the example, standing bodily before their eyes, of centuries of conscientious fidelity to duty. What the Eechabites had observed so faithfully was only a human, although paternal, command,—human in reference to the authority from which it proceeded, human also in regard to the value of its contents, resting only on a ground of relative truth, and therefore claiming only conditional force. On the other hand, the great God had in the most emphatic manner (cf. the emphatic /, ver. 14 ff.) issued commands of absolute validity (ver. 15), adding thereto a more glorious promise than the father of the Bechabites, who remitted his race to restless wanderings: the promise of permanent abode in its own fair land. Yet the commands found no acceptance and obedience! He had renewed His admonition, not merely for a generation like Jonadab, but from one generation to another, without effect! The word of that patriarch, dead so long, still had legal force; the living testimony of Yahveh gained no hearing! On this account the doom, threatened so long, must fall on Judah-Jerusalem (ver. 17); the Rechabites, on the other hand, will receive the reward of their fidelity, the Lord recompensing the perseverance of the family in its devotion to the tradition of its pious fathers by a like prolonging of its existence, and—what is more—always accepting its service to Himself.
Jeremiah's Prophetic Book, Ch. Xxxvi.
XXXVI. 1. 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 Yahveh, saying: 2. Take thee a book-roll and write therein all the words which I spoke to thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, since I spake to thee, from the time of Josiah unto this day.
3. Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I intend to do them, that they may turn every one from his evil way, and I may forgive their guilt and their sin.
4. Then Jeremiah called Baruch, son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Yahveh, which he had spoken to them, in a book-roll . 5. Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch thus: I am restrained, I
Ver. 2. iT^K for rvby.—against. The reference is to the menacing prophecies, which indeed had hitherto been predominant, as in xxx. 2 a book of promises is composed. It is not probable, and this passage does not require us to think, that during the twenty-three years of his preaching (xxv. 3) Jeremiah never wrote anything. But now a complete review of his discourses is proposed, which will make a deep impression on the people. For this end Jeremiah, who could certainly write himself, dictated the book. In so great a work, for which he had again to rely on the Spirit, he gladly availed himself of the help of his trusty servant (Baruch, cf. xxxii . 12). That he refreshed his memory by former records of single oracles is obvious; but he not merely read aloud former leaves, but threw the whole into a new shape, thus laying a basis for his present book. Ver. 5. "WW might mean: kept in custody (xxxiii. 1, xxxix. 15). But since, according to ver. 19, Jeremiah moves freely about, the hindrance must refer to visiting the temple. A prohibition is meant, preventing him entering the cannot go into the house of Yahveh. 6. Therefore go thou in and read from this roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of Yahveh in the ears of the people in Yahveh's house on the fast-day; and also in the ears of all Judah, which have come from their cities, thou shalt read them. 7. Perhaps their supplication will fall before the Lord, and they will turn every one from his evil way, for great is the wrath and the fury of which Yahveh has spoken to this people. 8. Then Baruch the son of Neriah did all as Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, in reading aloud from the book the words of Yahveh in Yahveh's house.
9. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month they proclaimed a fast before Yahveh, the whole people at Jerusalem, and all the people that had come from the cities of
place where he was accustomed to speak in public. Ver. 6. On the fast-day. This description applies not merely to the one day of atonement in the seventh month. In those disturbed times, days of fasting and humiliation were often proclaimed; hitherto Jeremiah had chiefly spoken on these occasions; now the written word was to take the place of the oral word forbidden him, in order, if possible, to move the people to true repentance. That Jeremiah refers to the fast-day mentioned in ver. 9 in the ninth month of the fifth year, before he made this earnest attempt at conversion, is unlikely in itself, and is also too opposed to the entire course of the narrative. Ver. 9 does not exclude a former reading, which is required by ver. 8, but only relates the occasion that led to the burning of the book. Ver. 7. Perhaps their supplication will fall down, more drastic than the usual Ki3 (Ps. cxix. 170 and often), describes, like the latter, reaching God, but in more humble and urgent form. What falls before any one's eyes he must notice. Ver. 8. To read aloud = in reading aloud. Construction as in xliii. 4 and often. Ver. 9. In the fifth year, —LXX wrongly in the eighth,—in the ninth month, about December, cf. ver. 22. They proclaimed a fast-day, an extraordinary day of humiliation, as was usually done when calamity threatened (Joel i. 14; 1 Kings xxi. 9, 12; 2 Chron. xx. 3). The fear probably referred to the Chaldaeans who were advancing nearer and nearer (ver. 29), and who at this crisis had not yet arrived before Jerusalem. The whole people here appears inexactly as proclaiming the fast, in order to intimate that the Judah to Jerusalem. 10. Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in Yahveh's house in the chamber of Geraariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper forecourt at the entrance of the new gate of Yahveh's house in the ears of all the people. 11. Then Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words from the book. 12. And he went down to the house of the king to the chamber of the secretary, and behold, all the princes were sitting there: Elishamah the secretary, 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. 13. Then Micaiah made known to them all the words which he heard, when Baruch read from the book in the ears of the people. 14. And all the princes sent to Baruch Jehudi, son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, saying: "That roll, from which thou readest in the ears of the people—take it in thy hand and come!" Then Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand and came to them. 15. And they said to him: "Sit down now and read it in our ears;" then
whole people took part in the celebration. D'K3n, not for the purpose of worship, but because of the insecurity of the country. Ver. 10. Gemariah, the king's secretary, had a room in the temple; he seems in particular to have had charge of all that pertained to worship in the government. The treasury proper was in the palace (ver. 12) ; his father Shaphan is perhaps the one mentioned in 2 Kings xxii. 3 likewise as secretary, his brother the protector of Jeremiah mentioned in xxvi. 24. The new gate, see on xxvi. 10. The chamber in question was at its entrance. Since the people were not admitted into the inner court, this hall had an exit towards both fore-courts; of course, Baruch sat on the raised steps, with face to the people, therefore nnB applies as usual to the outer place in front of the gate. Ver. 12. In the royal treasury, separated, according to ver. 20, by a court from the king's dwelling, the secretaries and other dignitaries or "princes" were then holding a session. More exactly, this room is called the chamber of the secretary Elishamah, ver. 20. Elnathan, see on xxvi. 22. Ver. 14. Jehudi, a subordinate officer, perhaps deriving his name from the fact that he became a naturalized Jew as the first member of his family, according to Deut.