« PreviousContinue »
of them nothing but what is an evident and important duty ? Let the solicitude which these people showed to keep up the customs of their ancestors, lead us to be concerned to keep up the entail of religion and the worship of God in our families, from generation to generation ; remembering, that strict sobriety and moderation to this world, are the best means of preserving it : whereas pride and luxury are its bane and ruin. When young persons grow ashamed of the simplicity and the employments of their ancestors, and are aspiring to a higher rank and place in life, they too often lose the religion of their ancestors ; and though they become more esteemed in the sight of men, are an abomination in the sight of God, and lose the greatest glory of the family.
2. How much more reasonable and important is it to obey the commands of God! How forcible was the argument used in this chapter to the Jews ? Jonadab was but a man, and had been long dead ; but God was their father and master, almighty, and eternal, He never tied them up to such severities as were enjoined upon the Rechabites. His favours to the Jews were incomparably greater than Jonadab's to his children ; and he had reminded them of Iris commands and favours, by many prophets and for many succeeding years. How absurd and monstrous is it for young persons, though dutiful and affectionate to earthly parents, to forget God ! to cast off fear, and restrain prayer before bim ! to be tractable and respectful to men, but disobedient and rebellious to God ! Let us fear God our father in heaven ; and keep his commandments, for they are not grievous ; and in keeping of them there is great reward.
3. What special obligations are christians under, to celebrate the death of Christ at his table. The Rechabites thought the will of a dying ancestor sufficiently binding, and they fulfilled it for many generations. How inexcusable then are those christians, who will not fulfil the dying command of a Saviour, in showing forth his death till he come? That Saviour to whom they profess subjection, and owe all their privileges and hopes ? His authority and love should engage their obedience ; and to refuse it, is such ingratitude and inconsistency, as may justly fill them with shame, and alarm their fears : while those who punctually, regularly, and seriously fulfil their master's will, and act consistently, may cheerfully expect his great and eternal salvation.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, orders the roll to be fetched, and burns
O son of Josiah king of Judah, [that] this word came unto VOL. V.
2 Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book,
or, a scroll of parchment rolied upon a stick,* and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake
unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day, write a 3 summary of those things thou hast delivered from time to time, It
may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them ; tbat they may return every man from
his evil way ; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. 4. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah ; and Baruch
wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, 5 which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Je.
remiah commanded Baruch, saying, I [am] shut up : I cannot
go into the house of the LORD ; that is, I am a firisoner ; or 6 rather, I am forbid to go thither : Therefore go thou, and read in
the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord's house upon the
fasting day, the day of atonement : and also thou shalt read them 7 in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be
they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way : for great [is] the anger
and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people. 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah
the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of 9 the Lord in the Lord's house. And it came to pass in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, [that] they proclaimed a fast before the Lord to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came
from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem ; perhaps for the removal 10 of that drought mentioned, chap. xiv. 1, 2. Then read Baruch in
the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lordt in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD's house, in the ears of all the people ; probably out of some window or balcony.
that the people in the courts of the temple might the better hear him. 11. When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, 12 had heard out of the book all the words of the Lord, Then be
went down into the king's house into the scribe's chamber; and, lo, all the princes sat there, [even] Elishama the scribe, and De laiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and
Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hana, 13 niah, and all the princes. Then Michaiah declared unto them
all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in
. These were the books then in use; this may account for the transposition of the chap ters in this propliecy, which were probably written on many separate scrolls,
+ This was a proper means to effect this end, and would leave them inexcusable; though God knew that in fact they would not hearken.
This was near a year after the former command; he had probably been reading it to Gelect companies all this time.
14 the ears of the people.* Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi
the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the
son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them. 15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears, 16 So Baruch read [it] in their ears. Now it came to pass, when
they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and another, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words : impressed with the predictions and threatenings,
they resolved to tell them the king, as they could do nothing without 17 him. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst 18 thou .write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answer
ed them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his 19 mouth, and I wrote (them) with ink in the book. Then said the
princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah, and let no man know where ye be; thinking that the book would protoke the king, and having a regard for Jeremiah and Baruch, they ad.
viscd them to hide themselves. 20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up
the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the 21 words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fetch
the roll : and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber.
And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all 22 the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the
winter house, in the ninth month : and [there was a fire] on 23 the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, [that]
when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, or rather, columns or paragraphs, that he cut it with the penknife, and cast [it] into the fire that (was) on the hearth, until all the roll was constmed in the fire that (was) on the hearth ; a high affront 10 God, and
a declararion that he despised his precepts, and defied his threaten24 ings. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, [nei
ther) the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words, as they ought to have done, and as Josiah did in the like cuse. In verse sirteenth it is said they were afraid ; but, being under the
influence of the king, they began 10 think as he did, at least to show 25 no fear before him. Nevertheless, Elnathan and Delaiah arid Ge
mariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn 26 the roll : but he would not hear them. But the king command
ed Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet : but the LORD liid them; God
so ordered matters that they were not discovered. 27 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that ile
king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote al 28 the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll,
• Michaiah seems to have done this from a cod principle, as his father had lent Baruch the cliamder to read out of; he went to the secretaries' office, and told them of it; they rer. haps being too busy to attend the temple service ou a tast day.
and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, 29 which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou
shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD ; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written there. in, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and de
stroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and 30 beast? intimating that this was the substance of the whole. There
fore, thus saith the Lory of Jehoiakim king of Judah ; 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 31 the frost.* And I will punish him and his seed and his ser
vants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them ; but they hearkened not.
Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah ; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire : and there were added beside unto them many like words.
1. W E are here shown the end for which the scriptures were
VV written, and ministers preach, v. 3—7. It was by divine appointment that the scriptures were written; and they are to be publicly read and explained, to engage men to consider, and repent of Their evil ways. It is a great encouragement to repentance that God will forgive their iniquity ; though without it he will not. . For this end ministers are to preach the word : and if, as in the case before us, they repeat the same sentiments, exhortations, or even discourses, it may be useful, that they may be better known, considered and remembered. They have a divine pattern for so doing; and perhaps, those curious hearers, who are most ready to complain of it, need it most. The end of preaching is so important, that there is need of line upon line, and precept upon precept, to save men from sin and destruction.
2. How vain are all the outward shows of piety, while the power of it is wanting! These sinful people proclaimed a fast, while they went on in their trespasses. These courtiers showed some reverence to the word of God at first, some respect to the prophet and his secretary : but the good impressions quickly wore off. When they saw how light the king made of the threatenings, they began to think there was nothing in them ; they contented themselves with asking impertinent questions about the manner of writing the
• Which Josephus says was the case. There is a great difference between that climate and ours; a river there is sometimes frozen over in a night, when the preceding day is very hot.
prophet's sermons, while they were not wrought upon by the sermons themselves. So easily do men deceive themselves in the most weighty matters. How careful should we be that we hear, consider, and obey the commands of the Lord, and tremble at his word.
3. How lamentable is the obstinacy of sinners when it leads them to despise the word of God. What horrible insolence was the king guilty of in burning Jeremiah's prophecy! What impatience under reproof! What an affront to God ! He showed a steady determination not to comply with the command, and expressed an impudent defiance of the threatening : thus he hardened his own heart, and set a bad example to his courtiers and people. But observe how the chapter concludes : the same words were written in another book, and there were added unto them many like words. Men may burn the bible, but not one tittle of it shall fall to the ground. Its threatenings stand in full force, and shall all be executed upon the disobedient ; who only prepare heavier judgments for them. selves, by their contempt of God's word and commandments : for it is as true of its threatenings, as of its promises, that the word of God liveth and abideth for ever.
The Egyptians having raised the Chaldean siege, Zedekiah sends to
Jeremiah, who prophecies the return of the Chaldeans, and their victory ; upon which he is beaten and put into prison.
A ND king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of
Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, in the room of Z his nephew, and had taken of him an oath of homage. But nei
ther he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken
unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet 3 Jeremiah. And Zedekiah the king sent Jebucal the son of
Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maasseiah the priest to the
prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God 4 for us. Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the peo5 ple : for they had not put him into prison. Then Pharaoh's
army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they raised the siege and departed from Jerusalem.*
• Zedekiah had broken his league with the king of Babylon, and entered into an alliance with the king of Egyx, and the Egyptians came to help him ; upon this the Chaldeans left Jerusalem, and went to face the Egyptians ; in which having sveceeded, they canse again to the siege.