14 Jeremiah 36:1-32 What’s so special about the Bible?

by | Mar 1, 2017 | 01 Podcasts, Jeremiah

Jeremiah 36:1-32 records a story about Scripture and reveals part of the process of how it was written down.   In looking at why God instructs Jeremiah to write down His words, we’re going to answer, “What’s so special about the Bible?”

For resources on how to study, I recommend:

Historical Setting

Jeremiah began his ministry as the dominant world power, the Assyrians, descended into civil war.  As the Assyrians began to lose their power,  Babylon and Egypt sought to occupy the power vacuum that the Assyrians would leave.  In the midst of this political turmoil the Lord calls Jeremiah.  His job is to predict and warn of the coming Babylonian invasion and the restoration that would follow the exile.

The Situation

1In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  2″Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.  3″Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”  4Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him. – Jeremiah 36:1-4
  • The 4th year of Jehoiakim is 605-4 BC
  • 36:9 tells us it was read in the temple in the 9th month of Jehoiakim’s fifth year which would be December 604 BC.
  • Most likely the scroll contained the oracles proclaimed before 605BC which are found mostly in Jeremiah chapters 1-25 and 46-51.
  • The exile happened in three different deportations (see Chronology).
  • The first deportation occurred about 605 BC after the Battle of Carchemish when Nebuchadnezzar defeated the combined forces of Assyria and Egypt.  The prophet Daniel was in that group of exiles (Jeremiah 46:2; Daniel 1:1-7).
  • The second deportation occurred about 598BC when Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took the prophet Ezekiel and about 10,o00 into exile (2 Kings 24:12-17; 2 Chronicles 36:6).
  • The third and final deportation occurs in 588 BC when the Babylonian army leveled the entire city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:1-18).
  • The events in this chapter most likely happen after the Battle of Carchemish and before the first deportation.
  • Into this chaos and political strife, the Lord speaks.
  • What’s so special about the Bible?  1) It is a divine book. 2) The Lord wrote it so that His people might hear and repent (36:3).
  • See also: Matthew 3:1; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Mark 6:7-12

The First Readings

5Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, “I am restricted; I cannot go into the house of the LORD.  6″So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD’S house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.  7 “Perhaps their supplication will come before the LORD, and everyone will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and the wrath that the LORD has pronounced against this people.”  8Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.  9Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD.  10Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the LORD’S house, to all the people.  11Now when Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of the LORD from the book, 12he went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber. And behold, all the officials were sitting there–Elishama the scribe, 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 other officials.  13Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard when Baruch read from the book to the people.  14Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, “Take in your hand the scroll from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and went to them.  15They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them.  16When they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one to another and said to Baruch, “We will surely report all these words to the king.”  17And they asked Baruch, saying, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?”  18Then Baruch said to them, “He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the book.”  19Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are.”  20So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king.  – Jeremiah 36:6-20
  • National fast days were not fixed dates.  They were called in response to a crisis or emergency.  The emergency could be the sacking of Philistine city of Ashkelon by the Babylonian army.
  • Notice the number of people involved in getting the Word out: Jeremiah dictates and Barch writes.  Barch reads the scroll.  Micaiah hears and takes it to the king’s officials.  The officials take the scroll to the king.
  • What’s so special about the Bible? 3) It is written in normal human language that ordinary people can and do understand.
  • The fact that this book is divine means we SHOULD listen to it. The fact that it is human means that we CAN listen to it.

The King’s Response

21Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the officials who stood beside the king.  22Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him.  23When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier.  24Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments.  25Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.  26And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.  – Jeremiah 36:21-26
  • Compare Jehoiakim’s response here with his father, King Josiah’s response in 2 Kings 22-23.
  • Josiah turned.  Joehoaikim burned the scroll.

God’s Response

27Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah, saying,  28″Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned.  29″And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, ‘Thus says the LORD, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast to cease from it?'”  30’Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night.  31″I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the calamity that I have declared to them–but they did not listen.”‘”  32Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, the scribe, and he wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them. – Jeremiah 36:27-32
  • God responds by having Jeremiah written another scroll with “many similar words”s added.
  • What’s so special about the Bible? 4) God’s Word will not be destroyed or thwarted.
  • Josiah was forgiven because he turned and repented.  Jehoiakim was judged because he did not repent.
  • That’s the same choice we face.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.

Next: 15 Jeremiah 38:1-13 Why do I get punished for doing the right thing?

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Series: Questions Jeremiah Answered

Resources: Jeremiah Resources

Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.

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