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Jeremiah 36:1-5

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  36:3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the disaster I intend to bring on them, they will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. 6  If they do, I will forgive their sins and the wicked things they have done.” 7 

36:4 So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then Jeremiah dictated to Baruch everything the Lord had told him to say and Baruch wrote it all down in a scroll. 8  36:5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am no longer allowed to go 9  into the Lord’s temple.

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.

6 tn Heb “will turn each one from his wicked way.”

7 tn Heb “their iniquity and their sin.”

sn The offer of withdrawal of punishment for sin is consistent with the principles of Jer 18:7-8 and the temple sermon delivered early in the reign of this king (cf. 26:1-3; 7:5-7).

8 tn Heb “Then Baruch wrote down on a scroll from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord which he [the Lord] had spoken to him [Jeremiah].” The syntax of the Hebrew sentence is awkward and hard to reproduce “literally” in any meaningful way. The English sentence has been restructured to reproduce all the pertinent facts in more simplified language.

9 tn Heb “I am restrained; I cannot go into.” The word “restrained” is used elsewhere in Jeremiah of his being confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse (33:1; 39:15). However, that occurred only later during the tenth year of Zedekiah (Jer 32:1-2) and Jeremiah appears here to be free to come and go as he pleased (vv. 19, 26). The word is used in the active voice of the Lord preventing Sarah from having a baby (Gen 16:2). The probable nuance is here “I am prevented/ debarred” from being able to go. No reason is given why he was prevented/debarred. It has been plausibly suggested that he was prohibited from going into the temple any longer because of the scathing sermon he delivered there earlier (Jer 26:1-3; 7:1-15).



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