Jeremiah 36

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Read Jeremiah 36

Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll

36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Take a scroll and write on it all the wordsI have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. Perhapswhen the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”

So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll.Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I am not allowed to go to the Lord’s temple. So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. Perhaps they will bring their petition before the Lord and will each turn from their wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the Lord are great.”

Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the Lord’s temple he read the words of the Lord from the scroll. In the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, a time of fasting before the Lord was proclaimed for all the people in Jerusalem and those who had come from the towns of Judah. 10 From the room of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper courtyard at the entrance of the New Gate of the temple, Baruch read to all the people at the Lord’s temple the words of Jeremiah from the scroll.

11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the royal palace, where all the officials were sitting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Akbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 After Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read to the people from the scroll,14 all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them with the scroll in his hand. 15 They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.”

So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all these words, they looked at each other in fear and said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it?”

18 “Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.”

19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide. Don’t let anyone know where you are.”

20 After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in the courtyard and reported everything to him. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him.22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment,with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire.24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear,nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.

27 After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:28 “Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. 29 Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?” 30 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.

Go Deeper

As we read in Jeremiah 36, King Jehoiakim didn’t like the message that was being communicated by Jeremiah (given to him by God). After God told Jeremiah to write this message down on a scroll (v. 1-8), Jeremiah enlisted Baruch to write these words on the scroll as Jeremiah dictated them. At the time, writing was a specialized skill and not everyone was capable of doing so, but Baruch did just what Jeremiah asked him to do (v. 8) and eventually even read the words aloud in the temple, calling for Judah to repent. 

As the scroll was read first to the people in the temple court, then the royal officials, then ultimately King Jehoiakim, the reaction was…interesting. King Jehoiakim cut off parts of the scroll one at a time “until the entire scroll was burned in the fire” (v. 23). The text tells us that they weren’t fearful and they didn’t tear their clothes (a sign of mourning or despair). We can infer that they simply didn’t want to hear the message God wanted them to hear. 

The passage ends with God giving another set of instructions to Jeremiah: write it all down again. So Jeremiah enlisted Baruch to help him once again as he spoke the words from God once again. God also promised a judgment on King Jehoiakim because of his actions. Nebuchadnezzar would come from Babylon and destroy Judah, just as God had told Jeremiah would happen. 

Reading this chapter should stir up a deep appreciation for the unending and enduring power of God’s Word. This story is such a great reminder to us of how the Holy Spirit has preserved these words in these 66 books written by 40 different authors. Even when people (Jehoiakim, in this instance) try to extinguish the word of God, God finds a way to keep it in front of His people. Praise God that we benefit from His Word today.


  1. What stuck out to you on your first read through this chapter? Why? 
  2. What do you know about King Jehoiakim up to this point? Where else has he been referenced in the Old Testament? 
  3. Do you find yourself taking God’s Word for granted? How can you develop a new appreciation for it today?

Did You Know?

Pastor David Guzik in his Enduring Word commentary had this note on other notable attempt to destroy the Bible:

“In AD 300, the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered every Bible burned and they destroyed thousands of Bibles, even just portions of Bibles. A Christian could be killed for just having a Bible. Yet it didn’t work. The next Roman emperor ordered 50 brand new complete Bibles to be made at government expense.”

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3 thoughts on “Jeremiah 36”

  1. Five pivotal words captured my attention at the close of v31 as God decrees disaster upon this stubborn king and his family, “because they have not listened.” It’s not just wicked King Jehoiakim, but we, too, have refused to learn vital lessons from God’s word. Instead of letting scripture and the Holy Spirit inform our behavior, we are “like sheep gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). May we never forget that Jesus paid for our sin and waywardness with his life, and never ignore the truth he calls us to walk in. “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure. That he would give his only son to make a wretch (like me) his treasure” (Townsend).

  2. 23 “Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire”

    Yes, I am also certainly tempted to cut out sections of God’s Word that are not enjoyable or don’t align with my viewpoint. Thomas Jefferson most famously actually did that!

    Lord, help me to deeply understand that ALL scripture is breathed by you and is useful for this life!

  3. Steadfast. Jeremiah was certainly steadfast. Am I? We learned more yesterday about being the church. What it means to apply that into our life, being the church. We are called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph 4:1b-3a. Steadfastly, indivudually walking in our calling. What is your calling? There are quizes out there but also trial and error of figuring it out. Stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into a need that the church is asking for help on, even if that is not what you want to do, is a step into being the church literally. I know that HC is hosting the BeSo and are in need of prayer partners during this event. At Regen we are in need of people to step into becoming a mentor for those that are going through this program ( if this interest you there is a mentor training tonight at 6:30, come). We all need accountability partners in this walk of being the church. HC is needing child care for different events happening. There is a constant need for people to step up and out to help each other as we work together on being the church, now today. Unity, steadfast, loving with humility, gentleness and patience is the call.

    God thank You for me stepping out of my comfort zone, daily. Thank You that I am learning to be more steadfast to You. Help me to subdue my fear and just step into being the church with humility, gentleness and patience with abounding love for Your people today, in the minutes of this day You have given me. God help me to put off my old self, which belonged to my former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, instead I want to be renewed in the spirit of my mind and to put on my new self, created after the likeness of You, God in true righteousness and holiness. Thank You God for my listening ears, words to speak that You give me and my love goggles to see Your people today in these minutes in Jesus name amen.

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