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Baruch, the Scribe of Jeremiah. 1In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you about Israel, Judah, and all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, until today. 3Perhaps, if the house of Judah hears all the evil I have in mind to do to them, so that all of them turn from their evil way, then I can forgive their wickedness and their sin.a 4So Jeremiah called Baruch, son of Neriah, and he wrote down on a scroll what Jeremiah said, all the words which the LORD had spoken to him. 5Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch: “I cannot enter the house of the LORD; I am barred* from it. 6So you yourself must go. On a fast day in the hearing of the people in the LORD’s house, read the words of the LORD from the scroll you wrote at my dictation; read them also to all the people of Judah who come up from their cities. 7Perhaps they will present their supplication before the LORD and will all turn back from their evil way; for great is the anger and wrath with which the LORD has threatened this people.”b
8Baruch, son of Neriah, did everything Jeremiah the prophet commanded; from the scroll he read the LORD’s words in the LORD’s house. 9In the ninth month, in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, all the people of Jerusalem and all those who came from Judah’s cities to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD. 10So Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll in the room of Gemariah,* son of the scribe Shaphan, in the upper court of the LORD’s house, at the entrance of the New Temple Gate, in the hearing of all the people.
11Now Micaiah, son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD read from the scroll. 12So he went down to the house of the king, into the scribe’s chamber,* where the princes were meeting in session: Elishama, the scribe; Delaiah, son of Shemaiah; Elnathan, son of Achbor; Gemariah, son of Shaphan; Zedekiah, son of Hananiah; and the other princes. 13Micaiah reported to them all that he had heard Baruch read from his scroll in the hearing of the people. 14The princes immediately sent Jehudi, son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi, to Baruch with the order: “The scroll you read in the hearing of the people—bring it with you and come.” Scroll in hand, Baruch, son of Neriah, went to them. 15“Sit down,” they said to him, “and read it in our hearing.” Baruch read it in their hearing, 16and when they had heard all its words, they turned to each other in alarm and said to Baruch, “We have to tell the king all these things.” 17Then they asked Baruch: “Tell us, please, how did you come to write down all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18“Yes, he would dictate all these words to me,” Baruch answered them, “while I wrote them down with ink in the scroll.” 19The princes said to Baruch, “Go into hiding, you and Jeremiah; do not let anyone know where you are.”
20They went in to the king, into the courtyard; they had deposited the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe. When they told the king everything that had happened, 21the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the scribe, and read it to the king and to all the princes who were attending the king. 22Now the king was sitting in his winter house, since it was the ninth month, and a fire was burning in the brazier before him. 23Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, he would cut off the piece with a scribe’s knife* and throw it into the fire in the brazier, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire in the brazier. 24As they were listening to all these words the king and all his officials did not become alarmed, nor did they tear their garments. 25And though Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26He commanded Jerahmeel, a royal prince, and Seraiah, son of Azriel, and Shelemiah, son of Abdeel, to arrest Baruch, the scribe, and Jeremiah the prophet. But the LORD had hidden them away.
27The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after the king burned the scroll and the words Jeremiah had dictated to Baruch: 28Take another scroll, and write on it all the words in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, burned. 29And against Jehoiakim, king of Judah, say this: Thus says the LORD: You are the one who burned that scroll, saying, “Why did you write on it: Babylon’s king shall surely come and ravage this land, emptying it of every living thing”? 30The LORD now says of Jehoiakim, king of Judah:c No descendant of his shall sit on David’s throne; his corpse shall be thrown out, exposed to heat by day, frost by night.* 31I will punish him and his descendants and his officials for their wickedness; upon them, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the people of Judah I will bring all the evil threats to which they did not listen.
32Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to his scribe, Baruch, son of Neriah, who wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words contained in the scroll which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had burned in the fire, adding many words like them.
* [36:5] I am barred: Jeremiah could have been forbidden to enter the Temple for any number of reasons: e.g., his inflammatory preaching (the Temple sermon, 7:1–15; the broken pot); the hostility of Temple guards; the restrictions of arrest.
* [36:10] Gemariah: member of a family friendly to Jeremiah with rights to a room in the gateway fortress overlooking the court of the Temple. His father Shaphan had been Josiah’s secretary of state (2 Kgs 22:3). From a window in this room Baruch read Jeremiah’s scroll to the people.
* [36:12] The scribe’s chamber: the office of the royal secretary.
* [36:23] A scribe’s knife: used to sharpen reed pens.
* [36:30] Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin was named king, but reigned only three months; he was better known for his long exile in Babylon. His corpse shall be thrown out: just as Jehoiakim had thrown pieces of the scroll into the fire (cf. 22:19).
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