Jeremiah 33:1-26


The “Branch”


Halley has, “Of the 20 Davidic kings who reigned over Judah during the 400 years between David and the Captivity, most of them were very bad.  Only a few were worthy of the name of David.  In chapters 22 and 23 Jeremiah bitterly indicted this family line of kings to whom God had given the promise of ETERNAL THRONE.  Here, in chapter 33, he repeats with fuller explanation, the prophecy of ONE GREAT KING, called “The Branch,” in whom the promise would be fulfilled [p. 316].”  J. Vernon McGee has, “The day is very dark for Judah, but God allows Jeremiah to look down through the tunnel to where light can be seen at the other end [as we just saw in verses 37-41 of the last chapter and in verses 31-34 of chapter 31].  In chapter 33 God confirms and reaffirms the covenant that he made with David.  There is a time coming when he will restore the people to the land of Israel and to fellowship with himself (verses 6-14)  Jeremiah was still in jail (verse 1).”  Verses 6-14 point to the eventual 2nd coming of the Messiah and Millennial Kingdom of God, but there has been a partial lesser fulfillment in the return of the Jews under Ezra and Nehemiah during the reign of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia.  Verse 15 is a prophecy which has been fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus Christ, it is specifically fulfilled in the first coming of Christ (see for  full treatment of that subject).  Verse 16 is looking forward to when The Branch, Jesus Christ, will rule over all Israel, Judah and the world for that matter (cf. Zechariah 14:9).  Jerusalem will be called, as it says here, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Verses 17-26 point to the fact that the throne of David there will never lack a man to sit on it.  This has confused many theologians, who clearly see historically, the throne of David ending with the death of Zedekiah.  Jeremiah mysteriously disappears from historic view with Zedekiah’s daughters and his faithful scribe Baruch.  We know the tribes of Israel, driven from Palestine in the 700s BC are residing somewhere up north in the Russian steppes.  Jeconiah through his wife did produce many sons in Babylon, that’s a historic fact.  Joseph, husband of Mary, Jesus’ mother, was descended from one of them.  It is said under Nebuchadnezzar’s son many of these sons of Jeconiah were allowed to move north out of the territory of Babylon. God could easily keep his promise to never lack a man of the line of David to sit on the throne of Israel simply by placing a descendant of David over one or more of these displaced tribes of Israel, wherever they were, now historically lost from view.  History does tend to indicate this possibility.  But the trial historically ends in Egypt with the mysterious disappearance of Jeremiah in custody of Zedekiah’s daughters.  God is making a pretty powerful statement in these verses.  Some theologians explain it this way, that since Jesus Christ is alive in heaven, he now is the fulfillment of this prophecy, but they ignore the wording of verse 26.  The crown of David is somewhere over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ten tribes of which are historically missing, or else the ordinance of day and night have ceased.  My last check with shows me the sun is still out there in all its intensity, and the earth is still spinning, giving us night and day.  So where’s the crown of David in our day and age?  Who knows?  We’ll find out later when the Lord returns and reveals that to us.  But to fulfill the prophecy here, it can either be over the House of Judah or the House of Israel and still remain fulfilled.  It obviously is not over the House of Judah.


“Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD who made it, the LORD who formed it to establish it (the LORD is his name):  Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword:  They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in my anger and my fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden my from this city. (verses 1-5)”  The LORD now switches his prophecy from the immediate destruction taking place before Jeremiah’s eyes to the distant future when the Millennial Kingdom of God will be bringing about the ultimate restoration of the House of Judah and Jerusalem and the House of Israel.


Time of Restoration Coming From the LORD


Verses 6-14, “Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.  And I will cause  the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and rebuild those places as at the first.  [Comment: most of the English speaking world, as well as the Jewish Israeli nation will loose their freedom in the opening Blitzkrieg attacks at the beginning of World War III, the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  Those who survive this devastation will be taken captive for the duration of that huge worldwide war, until the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  “I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return…” will be nothing short of Jesus Christ leading the survivors of Israel and Judah back to the Promised Land, to live in peace and rebuild the old waste places.  For  the sequence of events leading up to this, see  and read through those various links to Revelation 20.  To see who will be doing the attacking, see]  I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against me.  Then it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’  Thus says the LORD:  ‘Again there shall be heard in this place---of which you say, It is desolate, without man and without beast---in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: Praise the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his mercy endures forever---and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.  For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at first,’ says the LORD.  Thus says the LORD of hosts:  ‘In this place which is desolate, without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall again be a dwelling place of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.  In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South, in the land of Benjamin, in the place around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flocks shall again pass under the hands of him who counts them,’ says the LORD.  ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:  In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness (verse 15a) [Comment: the first part of verse 15 has been fulfilled, and refers to the 1st coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  See learn more about this BRANCH prophecy.]  He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’


David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel


Verses 17-26, “For thus says the LORD:  ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before me, to kindle grain offerings and to sacrifice continually.’  [Comment:  The LORD directly stated here through Jeremiah that David would never lack a man to sit on the throne  of the house of Israel.  But historically, Zedekiah’s sons were all killed by Nebuchadnezzar, and no descendant has sat on the throne in Jerusalem over Judah ever since then, and Jesus hasn’t returned, nor has David been resurrected to sit on his throne over Israel again, which occurs at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom of God at Jesus’ return.  But did you catch the wording?  “never to lack a man TO SIT ON THE THRONE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”  It didn’t say Judah, it said House of Israel.  At the end of the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah historically disappears along with his scribe Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters.  If this promise of God has been kept, it means God transferred the crown of David to wherever some of the House of Israel had migrated to, and there David’s descendants are the royalty in that nation or group of nations, wherever that may be.  That’s the only way this promise could ever be fulfilled.  How solid is this promise? In the following verses God tells us, verses 19-26.  During a web-search totally unrelated to this subject I came across this site which offers a plausible explanation combining Scripture with secular history sources.  Check out and click on the article titled: “Jeremiah’s Mission.”  That article is totally their speculation and not that of this website.  Interesting, yes, but we’ll find out for sure when Jesus returns and we can ask Jeremiah in person.]  And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD:  If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that there will be not day and night in their season, then my covenant may also be broken with David my servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, my ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me.’  Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD has chosen, he has also cast them off?  Thus they have despised my people, as if they should no more be a nation before them.’  Thus says the LORD:  ‘If my covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  [ Descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” that would be all 12 tribes as well as the Levites.   And don’t forget, more than two thirds of all the Jews do not live in the Israeli nation right now.  Most of them may actually be scattered in whomever the House of Israel is today.]  For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.’”  That has been fulfilled when the Jews returned to Judea and Jerusalem during the reign of Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire, but it will also have a  far larger fulfillment at the regathering of all Israel at Yeshua’s, Jesus’ return to earth at his 2nd coming.


Jeremiah 34:1-22


Halley has, “During the siege Zedekiah proclaimed freedom to all slaves [bond-servants due to their debt], evidently to gain God’s favor; but failed to enforce it.  ARCHAELOGICAL NOTE:  The “Lachish Letters,”  In 34:7 Lachish and Azekah are mentioned as being besieged by the king of Babylon.  Fragments of 21 Letters, written during this siege, from an outpost of Lachish, to the captain of the guard who was defending Lachish, were found (1935), by the Wellcome Archaeological Expedition, under the direction of J.L. Starkey and Sir Charles Marston.  These letters were written just before Nebuchadnezzar launched his final attack, by kindling fires against its walls.  They were found in a deposit of ash and charcoal on the floor of the guard room.  In one of the letters the outpost says that he was “watching for signals from Lachish,” and that “he could see no signals from Azekah” (perhaps already fallen).  These letters refer to and mention by name certain persons whose names appear in the Biblical narrative, “Gemariah,” an officer of king Zedekiah (Jeremiah 29:3).  “Mattaniah,” original name of king Zedekiah (II Kings 24:23).  “Neriah,” father of Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe (Jeremiah 43:3).  They were written in Hebrew, by a contemporary of Jeremiah.  Like a voice from the dead, they confirm the reality of Jeremiah’s story.”  Historically, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem on the 10th month (approx. January on our calendar) of 588BC (9th year of Zedekiah).  Just about this time the LORD sent word to Zedekiah through Jeremiah, telling him the city would definitely fall, but he, Zedekiah, would be spared (verses 1-7).  Verse 7 shows not all Judah had fallen yet, but as those Lachish Letters show, Judah was in the process of falling militarily.  Zedekiah along with the wealthy people of Jerusalem, hoping to appease God, made a covenant to free all the debt-slaves, as prescribed in Exodus 21 (verses 9-22).  According to the Law the proclamation of this liberty for debt-slaves was to be made on the Day of Atonement, the 10th day of the 7th month on the Hebrew calendar.  This is probably the day they were freed, 10th day of seventh month 588BC.  Putting all this together with history, it is likely God saw fit to honor the action of the people, and Pharaoh set out for Jerusalem (this is not the same Pharaoh that had killed Josiah trying to help the dying Assyrian Empire defeat the Babylonians, this is Pharaoh Hophra, also called Apries).  Nebuchadnezzar then temporarily lifted the siege to go intercept Pharaoh and his approaching army (as seen in Jeremiah 37:5).  Shortly after the lifting of the siege, the leaders of Jerusalem took the poor people back into debt-slavery (Jeremiah 34:11).  This action infuriated the LORD, and he allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat Pharaoh and his army, causing him to retreat in defeat back into Egypt.  Nebuchadnezzar then came back to Jerusalem and laid siege to it again.  That’s the flow of events depicted in Jeremiah 34 and also Jeremiah 37.


Verses 1-7, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem and all its cities, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:  Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, Thus says the LORD:  Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.  And you shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand; your eyes shall see the king of Babylon, he shall speak to you face to face, and you shall go to Babylon.  Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah!  Thus says the LORD concerning you:  You shall not die by the sword.  You shall die in peace; as in the ceremonies of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they shall burn incense for you and lament for you, saying, Alas, lord!  For I have pronounced the word,’ says the LORD.  Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah;  for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.”  Verse 7 (underlined), as we just saw has been historically authenticated by the “Lachish Letters,” discovered in an archaeological expedition in 1935.


Proclamation of a covenant to free the debt-slaves, and the breaking of that covenant


Verses 8-22, “This is the word to Jeremiah from the LORD, after king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them:  that every man should set free his male and female slave---a Hebrew man or woman---that no one should keep a Jewish brother in bondage.  [Comment:  As a part of God’s Old Testament Law, written not only as a church law, but a national law for the governing of a people in a nation (like our Constitution and the laws based upon it), the Law had a set of laws dealing with stealing, under the 8th Commandment.  These laws, called Judgments, governed punishments for various thefts, generally penalizing the successful thief exponentially more than the stupid one (i.e. payback of four sheep for a stolen sheep, and five bulls for a stolen bull).  If the thief couldn’t pay back the debt and penalty, he was to be sold into bond-servitude for a period to be no longer than six and a half years. Coming into the 7th year (on the Day of Atonement) these bond-servant slaves were to be set free (so, 6 years, seven months as a bond-servant, essentially).  Also if a person went into debt and couldn’t pay it off, he or she would go into bond-servitude for seven years to pay off the debt, and the debt would be wiped clean in the 7th year, no matter how large.  But the wealthy Jews had been holding onto their bond-servant Hebrew slaves longer than the prescribed six years, getting rich off of them and refusing to set them free.  See Exodus 21:1-6 (verses 7-11 are not about bond-servants, but apply to marriage), and Exodus 22:1.  The judgments part of God’s Law gave specific guidelines on how the Big Ten, the Ten Commandments, were to be applied under various circumstances, with penalties for the various infractions.  Consider the Ten Commandments the major Constitutional Law of the land.  The Holy Days and Sabbath are grouped together in Leviticus 23, with the 7th Day Sabbath being listed as the first Holy Day in Leviticus 23:1-3.  The LORD speaking to Jeremiah directly quoted this part of the Law in verses 12-14 below.]  Now when all the princes and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should set free his male or female slaves, that no one should keep them in bondage anymore, they obeyed and let them go.  But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return, whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves (verses 8-11).”  Verses 12-16, “Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:  I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, At the end of seven years let every man set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to him; and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you.  But your fathers did not obey me nor incline their ear.  Then you recently turned and did what was right in my sight---every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name.  Then you turned around and profaned my name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves whom you had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’”  Now let’s see where we are.  This chapter was recorded after the fact, obviously.  When this freeing of bond-servant slaves had taken place, they’re starting to follow God’s Law concerning bond-slaves, God inspired Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) to start north with his army to attack Nebuchadnezzar right at that moment.  Nebuchadnezzar broke off his siege of Jerusalem to go deal with Pharaoh and his army.  Seeing relief from the siege, the people who had been owners of these slaves took them back into slavery, a very stupid move.  God immediately returned to backing up Nebuchadnezzar’s army, which successfully drove the Egyptian army and Pharaoh back into Egypt, where he remained amid political unrest due to his defeat.  Nebuchadnezzar then returned with his Chaldean army and besieged Jerusalem again.  God warns the Jews through Jeremiah in the next set of verses what is to befall them due to their breaking covenant with him so blatantly.  Verses 17-22, “Therefore thus says the LORD:  ‘You have not obeyed me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor.  Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD---‘to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine!  And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.  And I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it---the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf---I will give them into the hand of those who seek their life.  Their dead bodies shall be meat for the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth.  And I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army which has gone back from you.  [Comment:  “and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army which has gone back from you” indicates that when God spoke this to the Jews and Zedekiah through Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar and his army were still chasing off Pharaoh Hophra and his Egyptian army.  The LORD was promising to turn Nebuchadnezzar around when he was finished, and bring him right back to besiege Jerusalem again, and that this time he would destroy the city and kill off the guilty ones he’s talking about here.]  Behold, I will command,’ says the LORD, ‘and cause them to return to this city.  They will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.’”


Jeremiah 35:1-19


This chapter is chronologically out of sequence by over eleven years back in time from the previous chapter, as will be chapter 36 also, as it was written and the LORD gave it in the reign of king Jehoiakim, (see, whose reign was from 608BC to 598BC.  The LORD brings out the example of the Rechabites, who were a subtribe of Judah from the time of Moses (cf. 1st Chronicles 2:55; Numbers 10:29-32; Judges 1:16; 2nd Kings 10:15, 23).  This group of people, through the centuries, has sworn off the use of alcohol, and stuck to their oath faithfully.  J. Vernon McGee has, “In chapter 35 we find the Rechabites who are part of the believing remnant, and they are in sharp contrast to the nation as a whole.  God has given us this account to remind us that there has always been a remnant---he will never leave the world without a witness to himself.  Even in the darkest time in history the world will ever know---the Great Tribulation Period which is yet future, when the 144,000 will have been forced underground---there will still be two witnesses who are going to stand for God.  That is just the way God is gong to have it.  Even at the time when Satan is being allowed to run the whole show, God says, ‘I will keep two witnesses around, and they will be inviolate---you won’t be able to touch them---until their mission has been accomplished.’  (Verses 1-2) The Lord tells Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites to the house of the LORD and give them wine to drink.  (Verses 5-6) On the basis of a command that had been given to their family many years [centuries] before, the Rechabites refuse the wine that Jeremiah gives to them.  (Verses 13-15) God draws this sharp contrast between the Rechabites who faithfully obey the commands of their earthly father and the children of Judah who have failed to hearken to the commands of their loving heavenly Father.  In the remainder of the chapter he goes on to pronounce judgment on the people of Judah and blessing upon the Rechabites.


Verses 1-11, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, ‘Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.’  Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, his brothers and his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites, and I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door.  Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, ‘Drink wine.’ But they said, ‘We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever.  You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’  Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed.  But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.  But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, ‘Come, let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and for fear of the army of the Syrians.’  So we dwell at Jerusalem.’”  Comment:  Some might use this passage to promote their own interpretation of the Bible in saying that the Bible commands believers to abstain from all alcohol consumption.  That is not true at all, and a twisting of Scripture.  But as we will see, these Rechabites were honoring a vow taken by their ancestor in the time of Moses, a vow to not touch alcohol, not to build houses or own land or sow seed.  If you were to try to use this passage to command believers to not consume alcohol or wine, you would also have to include the rest of the vow, not to own land, build houses, or farm in any way, not even have a garden.  You’d have to live in a tent all your life as a nomad, as well as not touch or drink wine.  Somehow this ancestor had vowed for his whole clan, and although God wouldn’t have held any Rechabite responsible to observe a vow taken by someone else, family member or not.  They freely chose to honor their ancestor’s vow, and by doing that honor the wishes of their ancestor.  That is the point the LORD is about to make here.  Their ability to honor the wishes and desires of their ancestor, yet Judah’s inability to honor the LORD who brought them out of Egyptian bondage and slavery.  Verses 12-16, “Then came the word of the LORD to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:  Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction to obey my words?’ says the LORD.  ‘The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father’s [“father’s” in this sense means “ancestor’s”, a common terminology in the Old Testament] commandment.  But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey me.  I have also sent to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doing, and do not go after other gods to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.  But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed me.  Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father [ancestor], which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed me.’


The LORD  Pronounces Doom on all the Inhabitants of Jerusalem and a Blessing on the house of Rechab forever


Verses 17-19, “Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel:  ‘Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered.’   And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:  ‘Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:  Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a son to stand before me forever.’”


Jeremiah 36:1-32


The King Burns Jeremiah’s Book


Halley has, “Jeremiah, at this time, had been prophesying for 23 years, from the 13th year of Josiah to the 4th year of Jehoiakim [604BC, verse 1].  He is now commanded to gather these prophecies into a book, so that they could be read to the people, for, at the time, Jeremiah himself was not free to speak to the people (verse 5).  It took a year or so to write the book (verses 1 and 9).  The reading of the book made a profound impression on some of the princes, but the king brazenly and defiantly burned the book.  Then Jeremiah wrote it all over again.”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p.317]  J. Vernon McGee has, “Chapter 36 reveals the attitude which Jehoiakim had toward the Word of God and the messages of God sent to him through his prophet, Jeremiah.  God told Jeremiah to record all his words in a book; so Jeremiah dictated all of God’s words to Baruch who wrote them down for him.  Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch to take the roll [scroll] into the house of the LORD and read it in the hearing of all the people.  When the princes heard what had taken place, they sent for Baruch and had him read the roll in their presence.  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.409]”  In verses 16-19 the princes send for Baruch to read the scroll to them, and when they hear it they tell Baruch “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.”  The princes, knowing Jehoiakim’s mind, obviously, knew this scroll was one hot potato, and that Baruch’s and Jeremiah’s lives were in danger!  But God’s Word cannot be stopped or destroyed.  In verses 28-30 the LORD tells Jeremiah to write another scroll with the same words on it, and then informs Jehoiakim through Jeremiah that “he shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.”  Also the line of Jesus Christ through Mary does not come through this man’s line, going back to Solomon, but is through Nathan the son of David.


Verses 1-10, “Now it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying:  ‘Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day.  It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.’  Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the LORD which he had spoken to him.  And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, ‘I am confined, I cannot go into the house of the LORD.  You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the LORD, in the hearing of the people in the LORD’s house on the day of fasting.  [Comment:  “on the day of fasting”, so Jeremiah has chosen some kind of special fast day for the reading of this when he knew “the house would be packed”.  It may or may not have been the Day of Atonement.  I think it probably wasn’t the Day of Atonement, because that was a pretty busy day for all the priesthood, and they might have thrown out Baruch on his ear had he tried that, which would have interrupted God-ordained ceremonies (cf. Leviticus 16).  This was probably some other special fast day of the Jews where they all ‘came to temple.’  It says “all Judah who come from their cities”, so this must have been some special fast, which now gives Baruch a chance to ‘air’ God’s message, the written chapters of Jeremiah 1 through 35, in the presence of a good portion of the religious portion of Judah.]  And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities.  It may be that they will present their supplication before the LORD, and everyone will turn from his evil way.  For great is the anger and fury that the LORD has pronounced against this people.’  And Baruch 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.  [Now it describes how Baruch did this, one year later.]  Now it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim [603BC] the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month [around December in the Gregorian calendar we use], that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people who come from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem.  Then 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, in the hearing of all the people.”


The Scroll Read in the Palace to the Princes


Verses 11-19, “When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD from the book, he then went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber; and there all the princes were sitting---Elishama the scribe, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor, Gemariah the son of Shaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.  Then Michaiah declared to them all the words that he heard when Baruch read the book in the hearing of the people.  Therefore all the princes 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 in the hearing of the people, and come.’  So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. And they said to him, ‘Sit down now, and read it in our hearing.’  So Baruch read it in their hearing.  Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, that they looked in fear from one to another, and said to Baruch, ‘We will surely tell the king of all these words.’  And they asked Baruch, saying, ‘Tell us now, how did you write all these words---at his [i.e, Jeremiah’s] instruction?’  So Baruch answered them, ‘He proclaimed with his mouth all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the book.’  Then the princes said to Baruch, ‘Go and hide, you and Jeremiah; and let no one know where you are.’”


The King Destroys Jeremiah’s Scroll


Verses 20-26, “And they went to the king, into the court; but they stored the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the hearing of the king.  So the king sent Jehudi to bring the scroll, and he took it from Elishama the scribe’s chamber.  And Jehudi read it in the hearing of the king and in the hearing of all the princes who stood beside the king.  Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month [December], with a fire burning on the hearth before him.  And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth.  Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words.  Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them.  And the king commanded Jerahmeel he 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 Rewrites the Scroll


Verses 27-32, “Now after the king burned the scroll with the words which Baruch had written at the instruction of Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying:  ‘Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words which were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.  And you shall say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘Thus says the LORD:  You have burned this scroll, saying, Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and cause man and beast to cease from here?’.  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.  I will punish him, his family, and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah all the doom that I have pronounced against them; but they did not heed.’  Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire.  And besides, there were added to them many similar words.”


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