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Jeremiah 36:1

Context
Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll Containing the Lord’s Messages

36:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the fourth year 1  that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 2 

Jeremiah 36:9

Context
36:9 All the people living in Jerusalem 3  and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns of Judah came to observe a fast before the Lord. The fast took place in the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 4 

1 sn The fourth year that Jehoiakim…was ruling over Judah would have been 605/4 b.c. Jehoiakim began his rule in 609/8 b.c. after his father Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo. Necho had installed him as puppet king in place of his brother Jehoahaz who was deposed by Necho after a reign of only three months (2 Kgs 23:31-35). According to Jer 46:2 that was the year in which Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jehoiakim’s suzerain Necho at Carchemish. That was also the same year that Jerusalem came under attack and submitted to Babylonian control after a brief siege (Dan 1:1; see the study note on 25:1 for the reason for the difference in the dating between Jer 25:1; 36:2 and Dan 1:1). These events confirmed what Jeremiah had been saying about the foe from the north (4:6; 6:1; 15:12) and would have provided the impetus for the hopes that the people would repent if they were reminded about what Jeremiah had been saying.

2 tn Heb “This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah the king of Judah, saying.”

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn There is some debate about the syntax of the words translated “All the people living in Jerusalem and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns in Judah.” As the sentence is structured in Hebrew it looks like these words are the subject of “proclaim a fast.” However, most commentaries point out that the people themselves would hardly proclaim a fast; they would be summoned to fast (cf. 1 Kgs 21:9, 12; Jonah 3:7). Hence many see these words as the object of the verb which has an impersonal subject “they.” This is most likely unless with J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 180) the word “proclaim” is used in a looser sense as “observed.” The translation has chosen to follow this latter tack rather than use the impersonal (or an equivalent passive) construction in English. For a similar problem see Jonah 3:5 which precedes the official proclamation in 3:7. The Hebrew text reads: “In the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month they proclaimed a fast before the Lord, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah into Jerusalem.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

sn Judging from v. 22 this was one of the winter months meaning that the reckoning is based on the calendar which starts with April rather than the one which starts with September (Nisan to Nisan rather than Tishri to Tishri). The ninth month would have been Kislev which corresponds roughly to December. According to Babylonian historical records this is the same year and the same month when Ashkelon was captured and sacked. The surrender of Jerusalem and the subsequent looting of the temple in the previous year (Dan 1:1) and the return of the menacing presence of Nebuchadnezzar in the near vicinity were probably the impetus for the fast.



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