2238.) Jeremiah 36

J36 burning the scroll

Jeremiah 36   (NLT)

Baruch Reads the Lord’s Messages

During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”

 “If Jeremiah’s life were in danger, if he had no sons to carry on his word (Jeremiah 6:2), if the nation and the whole fabric of society were about to collapse, then a scroll would preserve the message.”

–Frank C. Thompson

So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll.

This account is of great interest in that it gives the only detailed Old Testament description of the writing of a prophetic book. That Jeremiah dictated to a secretary was normal for the times. Writing was a specialized skill, often restricted to the professional class. Learned men might have been able to read but scorned to write. The document was probably written on a blank papyrus scroll imported from Egypt.  (The Archaeology Bible)

Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple. So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the Lord that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.”

Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple. He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day. 10 Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance.

So, in 605 B.C., the year Nebuchadnezzar made his first move against Jerusalem, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to write down all the prophecies he had delivered. These were dictated to Baruch and read by him publicly at the temple a year later.

11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the Lord, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting.

This Michaiah was a godly man, having been connected with the reforms and revival under King Josiah (2 Kings 22:12-13). He heard all the words of the Lord from the book, and brought the message of the book to the leaders of Judah—sons of nobility and royalty, leaders in the kingdom.

–David Guzik

Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, 14 the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. 15 “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested.

16 When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. 17 “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?”

18 So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.”

J36 scroll and ink

The only mention of ink in the Old Testament (but see also 2 Corinthians 3:3, 2 John 12, and 3 John 13). In ancient times ink was made from soot or lampblack mixed with gum arabic or oil.  (The Archaeology Bible)

19 “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” 20 Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened.

Once the princes had heard the prophecies, and after authenticating the document, they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide. They knew the king would be displeased.

King Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up.

This was a deliberate, dramatic way to insult and reject the prophet and the God whom the prophet represented. Jehoiakim hoped to burn and destroy the word of the prophet and his God.

24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.

26 Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the Lord had hidden them.

The king was not bothered in the least. As his scribe read the scroll (God’s word), the king cut it into pieces and burned it. The others were appalled. 

Jeremiah Rewrites the Scroll

27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals.

This was the aspect of Jeremiah’s message that so upset Jehoiakim. He didn’t want to hear that Nebuchadnezzar was going to come again to Jerusalem and eventually destroy the city.

30 Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!

Jeremiah rewrote the prophecies, adding an appropriate section concerning the fearful doom of the king!

–William MacDonald



God has spoken to his people, alleluia, and his words are words of wisdom, alleluia.  HERE  is Desert Harmony, a children’s choir from the United Arab Emirates.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
the king burns the scroll (Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett).      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Book_of_Jeremiah_Chapter_36-3_%28Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media%29.jpg
2000 year old Hebrew writing on papyrus.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/c2628-1.jpg
scroll and ink.   https://image.shutterstock.com/z/stock-photo-roll-of-parchment-ink-pot-and-writing-quill-medieval-still-life-isolated-white-background-1461624.jpg
the king, seated, burns the scroll.  https://witzend.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/jehoiakim-burns-scroll.jpg

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