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Jeremiah 36:1-2

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  36:2 “Get a scroll. 3  Write on it everything I have told you to say 4  about Israel, Judah, and all the other nations since I began to speak to you in the reign of Josiah until now. 5 

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 sn Heb “a roll [or scroll] of a document.” Scrolls consisted of pieces of leather or parchment sewn together and rolled up on wooden rollers. The writing was written from right to left and from top to bottom in columns and the scroll unrolled from the left roller and rolled onto the right one as the scroll was read. The scroll varied in length depending on the contents. This scroll was probably not all that long since it was read three times in a single day (vv. 10-11, 15-16, 21-23).

4 sn The intent is hardly that of giving a verbatim report of everything that the Lord had told him to say or of everything that he had actually said. What the scroll undoubtedly contained was a synopsis of Jeremiah’s messages as constructed from his memory.

5 sn This refers to the messages that Jeremiah delivered during the last eighteen years of Josiah, the three month reign of Jehoahaz and the first four years of Jehoiakim’s reign (the period between Josiah’s thirteenth year [cf. 1:2] and the fourth year of Jehoiakim [v. 1]). The exact content of this scroll is unknown since many of the messages in the present book are undated. It is also not known what relation this scroll had to the present form of the book of Jeremiah, since this scroll was destroyed and another one written that contained more than this one did (cf. v. 32). Since Jeremiah continued his ministry down to the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 b.c. (1:2) and beyond (cf. Jer 40-44) much more was added to those two scrolls even later.



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