Jeremiah Chapter 36

Several things happen in this chapter of which we did not know in the previous 35 chapters. One thing to keep in mind, Jeremiah is going back to the reign of Jehoiakim; his 4th year out of his 11 years on the throne of the Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah reminds the King that since the days of his father Josiah, the last God-fearing king on the throne, he has been warning Judah of their pending and irreversible doom. His prophecies didn’t only include Judah, but verse 2 informs us that he also prophesied about Israel (Kingdom of) and other nations as regards End Time; God’s judgement on those who are His chosen and those who are Gentile.

God tells Jeremiah to get a scroll and begin writing all that HE has told him. Baruch now enters the picture. Jeremiah calls upon him to take the dictations and write for him.  God tells Jeremiah to not only write it all down, but to read it to the people and the leadership of Judah. Jeremiah 36:4 is where we finally find out about Baruch being the one to actually write what Jeremiah had experienced and was told by God per his constant message and prophecy. This is simple to understand. God needed Jeremiah through the Holy Spirit to recall all that had happened up to this point; not spend a great deal of time actually writing.

At this time, Jeremiah is “shut up” as it says in the king James. There are a few translations that differ enough with this comment that it begs additional explanation. Some say “shut up;” a few say “restrained;” some translate “detained, banned, or not allowed to go there” It is simple enough to put it the way it was; Jeremiah was sequestered from preaching in the synagogue and  not allowed to venture anywhere. He had made enemies of his own kindred Tribe of Judah and its spiritual and secular leadership.

Then, by the direction of Jeremiah, Baruch took the scroll/manuscript to the Temple and read it aloud to the spiritual leadership.  This reading of the Jeremiah scroll had such an influence on the Temple leadership that they declared a fasting. Not only had the leadership heard what Baruch wrote then read, but so did many of the populace who were in the Temple at that time. Most of the “princes” and officials were not at the Temple. They were conversing in the King’s Court or Palace. They heard about Baruch reading the scroll and sent someone to fetch him. At first glance they were simply wanting to hear what had been read by Baruch even though it was something they had heard for years from the mouth of Jeremiah; the scrolls author.

Upon hearing what Jeremiah dictated to Baruch and after Baruch read to them in the King’s Palace, they suddenly felt a fear come upon them. These officials questioned Baruch as to where he had gotten the information to put on the scroll. He told them “from Jeremiah.” They felt it necessary to inform the King (Jehoiakim). We don’t know if it was a tattle-tail forwarding of information to the king or if they had a fear since the word came to them from someone other than Jeremiah. However, knowing King Jehoiakim’s hate for Jeremiah and the “surrender to Babylon message” Jeremiah kept repeating, the royal officials told Baruch to get Jeremiah and go hide in a secret place. They already knew how Jehoiakim would react. However, the royal officials kept the scroll in their possession.

scrollHere is where so many get the history of this event wrong. It was neither Jeremiah nor Baruch who read the scroll to the King. It was his servant Jehudi who read the words from the scroll.  Since it was winter time in Judah, the King was in his heated winter rooms of the palace. We know this as verse 22 tells us this is so. There was a fire in the fireplace in which Jehoiakim was sitting. AS Jehudi read from the scroll, the King would grab it, cut off the section Jehudi had read, than toss the scrap into the fire place. He had total contempt for the Word of God.

Here is another HOWEVER… those in the room did hear the prophecy so they KNEW what was coming. Somehow they and Jehoiakim figured by destroying the message, it would not come true as they were “not afraid.” Some of the leaders from the Temple tried to get King Jehoiakim to not tear up and burn the scroll. He refused them. As it reads in Jeremiah 36:26…the king ordered both Jeremiah and Baruch arrested. But… these men sent to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah came back empty handed. They could not find the men.burning book

So still being free of the clutches of the King, God told Jeremiah to re-dictate the message to Baruch and write it once again. There is a sever consequence for having burned the scroll. God tells Jeremiah that after re-writing the book to go and tell Jehoiakim the penalty for having done so. It is a brutal commandment from God and punishment to Jehoiakim.

“So this is what the LORD says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: Jehoiakim’s descendants will not sit on David’s throne. When Jehoiakim dies, he will not get a king’s funeral, but his body will be thrown out on the ground. His body will be left out in the heat of the day and the cold frost of the night.” [Jeremiah 36:30]

This warning should have brought Jehoiakim to his knees. It didn’t. We find out later on that this is precisely what happened to King Jehoiakim. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were less than honoring to their captors. There are exceptions but this will not be one of them. During the rewrite of the Book of Jeremiah, the final verse in chapter 36 tells us that some additional information was added at this time…”And many other words like those messages were added to the second scroll.” We do not know what was added and what was in the original scroll text before Jehoiakim burned it piece by piece. We do know that all in the original text was rewritten and “some additional words were added.”

Immediately in the next chapter (C37) we find that Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiakim from the throne and installed his uncle to the throne of Judah, albeit a puppet king at best. We should be reminded that during this history of Judah, they were pawns of Egypt and then Babylon. Jehoiakim’s older brother had only ruled for three months when Necho II, Pharaoh of Egypt, had him removed and Jehoiakim installed.

“Rabbinical literature describes Jehoiakim as a godless tyrant who committed atrocious sins and crimes. He is portrayed as living in incestuous relations with his mother, daughter-in-law, and stepmother, and was in the habit of murdering men, whose wives he then violated and whose property he seized. He also had tattooed his body” [Jewish Encyclopedia].

JIV: Tattooed? Is this God’s feeling about such a practice?

In short, Jehoiakim was a bottom of the barrel ruler in Judah. He paid a severe price for it. There was another prophet during this time by the name of Uriah Ben Shemaiah. He apparently told the king the same things as did Jeremiah per his evil living style. Uriah suffered death at the hands of Jehoiakim for it. We find this information back in Jeremiah 26:20-23. Uriah Ben Shemaiah fled to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Jehoiakim but was soon sought out and arrested. Upon his being returned to Judah, Jehoiakim had him executed. This is all we hear of and know about this “other prophet.”

Recall that back in Jeremiah 1 God told Jeremiah he would suffer for being a prophet but he would protect him from being executed.

How fitting it was to be that King Jehoiakim had slaughtered then tossed this minor prophet into the slums of a pit to rot and be exposed to the heat and wild animals. This is precisely what Jeremiah told Jehoiakim would be his own death treatment. It should have scared him but it only showed his contempt for prophets of God and God himself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
October, 2017

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Jeremiah – Chapter 21

When nothing is going wrong to us individually, that is of which we are aware, life in the fast lane is bliss. But, as our knowledge grows our surroundings, enforinment, or culture within which we live and our understanding of outcomes or consequences increases, bliss becomes tainted. This is precisely the situation King Zedekiah finds himself in chapter 21. He suddenly realizes, better said, he finally accepts as true knowledge with the beginnings of understanding, what Jeremiah has been prophesying is now surrounding the cities of Judah and Jerusalem; i.e. Babylonian troops.

JIV INSIGHT: Pashhur son of Malkijah is not the same Pashhur we discussed in chapter 20. The second Pashhur is mentioned in Jeremiah 21:1. The “Zephaniah” mentioned in the same verse is NOT the same man who wrote the Book of Zephaniah. *Zephaniah the author is Zephaniah the son of Cushi and one of the twelve Minor Prophets. Zephaniah in verse 1 of C21 is Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, a Levite priest.

*Zephaniah the son of Cushi and author of the Book of Zephaniah is the great, great grandson of King Hezekiah of Judah but he is NOT the same Zephaniah (Levite) mentioned in chapter 21.

Are you confused? Me tooJ

When one looks down the road of potential trouble (such as Babylonians on the march in this chapter) we try to take escape or evasive action. NOW Jeremiah is suddenly important to the leaders of Judah, both the religious (Zephaniah) and the secular (Pashhur). We see this in the selection of these two as negotiators sent from King Zedekiah to Jeremiah.

Verse 2 is very telling. The bible tells us that God looks at the true intent of the heart (kavanah, chavanah, sometimes spelled cavanah). It is an easy to question the motives of the religious and secular leadership of Judah. Here is verse 2 from the ESV:

Inquire of the LORD for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.”escape

There is nothing in this request from King Zedekiah to Jeremiah to pray for the sin of Judah and its leadership or a hint of repentance. The intent of their heart is to escape or evade; not return to the God of Israel. They are hoping that God will deliver them as he has done in the past histories of Israel as a nation and later as the (southern) Kingdom of Judah.

Good verses to keep in mind at this point include:

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnessbut only if and when we confess them.time

Jeremiah 21 verses 4 and 5 are a comparison and contrast with Jeremiah’s tenure in history and the coming Apocalyptic End Time but we can draw comparisons. Verse 4 is very similar to both Jeremiah’s and End Time but the oxymoron with End Time is found in verse 5.  Verse four tells us that the weapons of Judah will be useless against such an enemy (Babylon) just as as they will against a 200,000,000 man enemy of End Time. Both times God will bring the enemy into the city of Jerusalem itself. However, in verse five, God says (ESV) “I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm.” In End Time Revelation 19:15 we are told Jesus will fight the battle for Israel against the overwhelming odds circling Jerusalem; destroying the enemies of Judah/Israel with the words of his mouth. 

“On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place” (Zechariah 12:6). “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9). (the 200,000,000 man army destroyed)

Verse six it is similar in events coming to the world during the 2nd [black] and 3rd [red] horsemen of the Apocalypse; pestilence, disease, starvation, death on a great scale. But verse 7c needs a bit of insight. It reads: “and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.” This is NOT GOD doing the smiting, but Nebuchadnezzar and his armies.if

Verse 8 & 9 are conditional promises just as stated in previous articles from this website regarding God’s intervention or help… “If you do ____, then I will do ____”. The total statement goes through v10 but here is the gist of it. “…and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.” But verse 8 also gives a condition of choice, just like we have today. It says, understand that I will let you choose to live or die” (but you must___.) This too is very similar to End Time issues surrounding Jerusalem (Revelation 12:6 where the woman referred to is Israel). We can learn much about the end of the Church age by studying the O.T. histories of actuality an alternative word for Israel. Much is foreseen in Daniel and spoken of in Matthew 24. It is in Luke 21 (20-24) where we draw the parallel of Jerusalem being surrounded by enemy. We also can’t leave out references in Zechariah 14:1-3 or Joel 2:1-10. There are strong parallels in each of these passages.

NOTE: The bible student will look up these passages where the casual reader will read on. Both may be students of the Word but the casual reader is seeking awareness and the student who searches is fulfilling a need for knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 21:14, the final verse in chapter 21, leaves no wiggle room. It reads… (ERV) “You will get the punishment you deserve. I will start a fire in your forests that will completely burn everything around you.'” This message is from the LORD.”

However, lets’ summarize these past and future events discussed in chapter 21 by what Ray Stedman writes. He is referencing Matthew 24 but implying Jeremiah 21…

Ray Stedman,

Who are they who must flee so urgently when the last days begin? Who dare not hesitate long enough even to go back into the house to pick up a wrap, but must immediately head for the hills? There is no need to wonder, for the Lord says plainly, “those who are in Judea” Now Judea is a geographical part of the land of Israel, ancient Palestine. It comprises the hill country surrounding the city of Jerusalem and includes the city as well. It is to the residents of Jerusalem and Judea that this warning is addressed. Furthermore, the Lord’s mention of the Sabbath establishes the fact that these residents of Judea are Jews. He urges them to pray that their flight will not be in the winter, with its distress of cold, or on the Sabbath, with its travel limitations, for Jews are allowed to travel only a short distance on a Sabbath day. Later in this passage these Jews are called “the elect” (“for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened”), and this makes clear they are believing Jews, that is, men and women of faith who know and love Jesus Christ as Lord and are prepared to live or die for him. They are not Christians in the usual sense of that term, referring to those who are members of the church, for we are told that in the church there is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free. Jews are not to be distinguished from Gentiles within the church. These distinctions, we are precisely told by the apostle Paul, have been invalidated in the church. The “middle wall of partition” has been eliminated; there are no distinctions of background, race or religious training that are recognized within the church of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Christians, we are told, are free from the law and no longer observe special days, special feasts, new moons and Sabbaths. In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul clearly speaks of the fact that the Sabbaths were included in those shadows which were done away in Christ. But here the Sabbath distinctly will be a restricting factor in the flight of these people. Here then will be a class of people who cannot be identified with the present day church but with Jerusalem. These people will be Jewish believers in Christ who will be converted after the removal of the church and before the time of the Great Tribulation.

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark March 2017