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Jeremiah 36:10-11

Context
36:10 At that time Baruch went into the temple of the Lord. He stood in the entrance of the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan who had been the royal secretary. 1  That room was in the upper court 2  near the entrance of the New Gate. 3  There, where all the people could hear him, he read from the scroll what Jeremiah had said. 4 

36:11 Micaiah, who was the son of Gemariah and the grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch read from the scroll everything the Lord had said. 5 

Jeremiah 36:15-16

Context
36:15 They said to him, “Please sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch sat down and read it to them. 6  36:16 When they had heard it all, 7  they expressed their alarm to one another. 8  Then they said to Baruch, “We must certainly give the king a report about everything you have read!” 9 

Jeremiah 36:21-23

Context
36:21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He went and got it from the room of Elishama, the royal secretary. Then he himself 10  read it to the king and all the officials who were standing around him. 36:22 Since it was the ninth month of the year, the king was sitting in his winter quarters. 11  A fire was burning in the firepot in front of him. 12  36:23 As soon as Jehudi had read three or four columns 13  of the scroll, the king 14  would cut them off with a penknife 15  and throw them on the fire in the firepot. He kept doing so until the whole scroll was burned up in the fire. 16 

1 sn Shaphan had been the royal secretary under Jehoiakim’s father’s rule. During the course of his official duties the book of the law had been discovered and he had read it and reported its contents to Josiah who instituted sweeping reforms on the basis of his obedience to it. (See 2 Kgs 22 and note especially vv. 3, 8, 10.) If the Shaphan mentioned in 26:14 is the same person as this, Gemariah would have been the brother of the man who spoke up on Jeremiah’s behalf when the priests and prophets sought to have him killed.

2 sn It is generally agreed that this is the same as the inner court mentioned in 1 Kgs 6:36; 7:12. It is called “upper” here because it stood above (cf. 1 Kgs 7:12) the outer court where all the people were standing.

3 sn The New Gate is the same gate where Jeremiah had been accused of falsely claiming the Lord’s authority for his “treasonous” prophecies according to 26:10-11. See the study note on 26:10 for more details about the location of this gate.

4 tn The syntax of the original is complicated due to all the qualifying terms: Heb “And Baruch read from the scroll the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord in (i.e., in the entrance of) the room of Gemariah son of Shaphan the scribe in the upper court at the entrance of the New Gate in the house of the Lord in the ears of all the people.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to contain all the same information in shorter English sentences that better conform with contemporary English style.

5 tn Heb “Micaiah son of Gemariah son of Shaphan heard all the words of the Lord from upon the scroll.” The words “heard Baruch read” are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for smoothness.

6 tn Or “‘to us personally’…to them personally”; Heb “‘in our ears’…in their ears.” Elsewhere this has been rendered “in the hearing of” or “where they could hear.” All three of those idioms sound unnatural in this context. The mere personal pronoun seems adequate.

7 tn Heb “all the words.”

8 tn According to BDB 808 s.v. פָּחַד Qal.1 and 40 s.v. אֶל 3.a, this is an example of the “pregnant” use of a preposition where an implied verb has to be supplied in the translation to conform the normal range of the preposition with the verb that is governing it. The Hebrew text reads: “they feared unto one another.” BDB translates “they turned in dread to each other.” The translation adopted seems more appropriate in this context.

9 tn Heb “We must certainly report to the king all these things.” Here the word דְּבָרִים (dÿvarim) must mean “things” (cf. BDB 183 s.v. דָּבָר IV.3) rather than “words” because a verbatim report of all the words in the scroll is scarcely meant. The present translation has chosen to use a form that suggests a summary report of all the matters spoken about in the scroll rather than the indefinite “things.”

10 tn Heb “and Jehudi read it.” However, Jehudi has been the subject of the preceding; so it would be awkward in English to use the personal subject. The translation has chosen to bring out the idea that Jehudi himself read it by using the reflexive.

11 tn Heb “in the autumn house.” Commentators are agreed that this was not a separate building or palace but the winter quarters in the palace.

sn Larger houses, including the palace, were two-storied buildings with a lower quarters better suited for the cold of winter and an upper quarters which was better ventilated to provide cool in the summer. Since this was the ninth month (December) the king had taken up residence in the lower, warmer quarters which were equipped with a portable fire pot or brazier to keep him warm.

12 tc Heb “the fire in the firepot was burning before him.” The translation assumes that the word “fire” (אֵשׁ, ’esh) has dropped out after the particle אֶת (’et) because of the similar beginnings of the two words. The word “fire” is found in the Greek, Syriac, and Targumic translations according to BHS. The particle אֵת should be retained rather than dropped as an erroneous writing of אֵשׁ. Its presence is to be explained as the usage of the sign of the accusative introducing a new subject (cf. BDB 85 s.v. אֶת 3.α and compare the usage in 27:8; 38:16 [in the Kethib]; 45:4).

13 tn Heb “doors.” This is the only time the word “door” is used in this way but all the commentaries and lexicons agree that it means “columns.” The meaning is figurative based on the similarity of shape.

14 tn Heb “he.” The majority of commentaries and English versions are agreed that “he” is the king. However, since a penknife (Heb “a scribe’s razor”) is used to cut the columns off, it is possible that Jehudi himself did it. However, even if Jehudi himself did it, he was acting on the king’s orders.

15 sn Heb “a scribe’s razor.” There is some irony involved here since a scribe’s razor was used to trim the sheets to be sewn together, scrape them in preparation for writing, and to erase errors. What was normally used to prepare the scroll was used to destroy it.

16 tn Heb “until the whole scroll was consumed upon the fire which was in the fire pot.”



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