Scripture reading – Jeremiah 36


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Our study of Jeremiah continues and covers the years of the reign of Jehoiakim (the third to the last king of Judah). Baruch, who acted as Jeremiah’s assistant and scribe (Jeremiah 32:12), played a central role in today’s Scripture reading.


Jeremiah 36


God’s Inspired Word (Jeremiah 36:1-2) 

The LORD came to Jeremiah and commanded the prophet, “Take a roll [scroll] of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations” (Jeremiah 36:2). Notice that the command was specific: “Write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee”(Jeremiah 36:2). In that statement, we find a brief definition of the doctrine of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

The Bible does not merely contain the Word of God; it is the very words of God, revealed to and penned by “holy men of God” and preserved by the LORD. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Peter penned the same and stated that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).


The Purpose and Method for Writing God’s Word (Jeremiah 36:3-4)

Ever longsuffering, the LORD declared His desire for “the house of Judah” to hear His words and know the “evil” [the judgment] that would befall them as a people if they did not repent (Jeremiah 36:3). Serving as Jeremiah’s scribe, “Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book” (Jeremiah 36:4). As Jeremiah spoke the words the LORD put in his mouth, Baruch inscribed them upon a scroll (Jeremiah 36:4).

Baruch, A Faithful, Courageous Servant

The Public Reading of God’s Word (Jeremiah 36:5-8)

Having penned “all the words” the LORD had spoken to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:4), the prophet commanded Baruch to take the scroll to the Temple on a day of fasting when all Judah would be in attendance (Jeremiah 36:6). The LORD longed for the people to repent of their sins when they heard they had provoked “the anger and the fury” of the LORD (Jeremiah 33:7-8).


Baruch, A Faithful, Courageous Servant (Jeremiah 36:9-19)

Faithful and obedient, Baruch made his way to the Temple on the day of fasting that was proclaimed by Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:9). Standing in the Temple, he read “the words of Jeremiah…at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house, in the ears of all the people (Jeremiah 36:10).

“When Michaiah the son of the scribe Gemariah” heard the “words of the LORD” read by Baruch (Jeremiah 36:11), he went to the king’s palace and told the officials all that he had heard (Jeremiah 36:12-13). After hearing Michaiah’s report, they summoned Baruch to the palace with the scroll in hand (36:14). Deferring to Baruch, they requested he would read the words in the scroll (36:15). Upon hearing the judgment God had declared for Judah and Jerusalem, “they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?”  (Jeremiah 36:17)

When Baruch declared the words penned in the scroll were from Jeremiah (36:18), the officials of Jehoiakim’s palace urged him and Jeremiah to hide and “let no man know where ye be” (33:19), for the king was an enemy of the prophet.


King Jehoiakim Rejected God’s Word (Jeremiah 36:20-26)

The king’s officials determined to convey the message in the scroll to the king; however, they secured the scroll “in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king” (Jeremiah 36:20). The king, not content with merely hearing the message of the scroll, demanded it be brought to him, and commanded it be read aloud to him and his court (Jeremiah 36:21).

After he heard God’s judgment declared (36:24), the king slashed the leaves of the scroll with a knife and threw them into a fire “until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jeremiah 36:23). Some asked the king to “not burn the roll: but he would not hear them” (Jeremiah 36:25). Instead, he demanded the arrest of Baruch and Jeremiah, “but the LORD hid them” (Jeremiah 36:26).

King Jehoiakim Rejected God’s Word

God’s Word Preserved: The Second Writing (Jeremiah 36:27-32)

Although King Jehoiakim despised the LORD’s words and destroyed the scroll, his actions did not silence the warning of God’s imminent judgment (Jeremiah 36:27). The LORD then commanded Jeremiah to direct Baruch to write a second scroll, like the one that was destroyed by the king (Jeremiah 36:28).


Closing thought

Though Jehoiakim destroyed the scroll bearing the word of the LORD, God’s Word would not be voided. The king refused to accept the warnings of God’s judgment, and the LORD declared he and his household would suffer for his sin and rebellion. No son of the king would succeed him on the throne, and when he died, his body was left exposed and unburied (Jeremiah 36:30).  

Because Jehoiakim rejected the Word of the LORD, the king’s family, servants, and the citizens of Jerusalem and Judah suffered the judgments God “pronounced against them” (Jeremiah 36:31).

In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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