At approx. 607 BC Babylon Conquers Egypt (Jer. 46:2) & Judah is put under tribute (2 Kings 24:1, Dan. 1:1-2, Jer. 25:1). This takes place at the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The House of the LORD is partly robbed (Dan. 1:2) and the prophet Daniel and companions are deported (Dan. 1:1-4). After this, Judah spends 3 years in faithful servitude to Babylon… and then rebels (2 Kings 24:1). The account of why Babylon did not come around the 7th and 8th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, the year he rebelled (2 Kings 24:1), is not revealed. Babylon could have been occupied in other wars and this delayed its coming, but it is most likely that Babylon did come by the 9th or 10th year of Jehoiakim because the siege appears to have been long enough to help bring about a devastating famine (Jer. 14:1-22). Babylon finally conquered, with no detailed record of how these things transpired. This much we do know: by this time (the 2nd Captivity) it was the 11th year of Jehoiakim’s reign and the 7th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (2 Kings 23:36). Surprisingly, only three major passages of scripture seem to be dedicated to this approx. 6-year period (Jeremiah Ch. 36, Ch. 25, & 14:1-17:18; with one small prophecy given personally to Baruch – Jer. 45:1-5). These are passages detailing climactic events, truly! …but, notably, the overall silence could be because of Jehoiakim’s horrific act of burning the scroll and attempt at capturing and killing Jeremiah and Baruch, which forced them into hiding for the remainder of Jehoiakim’s rule. This is what happened…
– At the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 36:1) and after the took place (Jer. 46:2), I conclude, for the following reasons: (1st) A new ministerial effort is undertaken because of the rise of persecution, and now that Jeremiah is in hiding, Baruch assumes his ministerial role (Jer. 36:4). The valiant strides of Jeremiah’s preaching and pleading (urgently undertaken just prior to the besiegement of Babylon and the 1st Captivity) ended with Jeremiah being put in the stocks (Jer. 19:14-20:18). Remember, this was the climactic end of Jeremiah seeking to rescue Jerusalem from imminent destruction (Note: he did not know what would happen in the 1st Captivity, nor did he know how many Captivities would transpire thereafter). Jeremiah marched around Jerusalem in public defiance of apostasy amidst strong conspiracy for his murder, a plot which no doubt continued after he was released from the stocks (Jer. 20:3), therefore to prevent an untimely martyrdom he went into hiding at God’s command (“I am shut up; I cannot go into the House of the LORD” – Jer. 36:5). (2nd) Necessarily so, Baruch was called, appointed, and sent forth to minister; and, take note, the historical narrative of Jeremiah 36:1-8 and Jeremiah 36:9-32 are meant to be taken together. There is a clear time-gap in between Jeremiah 36:8 and Jeremiah 36:9, and this is implicit of Baruch’s ongoing success in ministry. Remember, this was just months after Babylon invaded the region, surrounded Jerusalem, and by this time defeated Egypt (Note: the people were allowed travel to and fro from Jerusalem, denoting peace, therefore the besiegement must have been over; “Judah that come out of their Cities” – Jer. 36:6).
After the took place, one might expect the people to be humbled and fearing. They were! Think of it, my reader. The nation that nobody knew, thought about, or considered, ARRIVED! Having amassed an undefeatable army, the Nation that lonely Jeremiah told them about slew the Army of Egypt (i.e. the confidence of Judah), marched into Jerusalem, spoke an indiscernible language, and took captive all the mighty men of the nation (to the shame of the false prophets who denied that this would happen!). Because of these things, we see a very different behavior displayed by the common people of Judah and Jerusalem in Jeremiah 36:1-8.
What were they doing? They were fasting, praying, and seeking God. Amidst a surge of Jews circuiting Jerusalem for fasting, Jeremiah’s prophesying theretofore was written in a scroll and read in the House of the LORD by Baruch (and thereby spread throughout Jerusalem, no doubt). After the proud and impenitent people were humbled greatly, the word of the LORD to Jeremiah conveyed a renewed hope. Now, God wanted to rehearse before the people ALL THAT WAS PROPHESIED theretofore in hopes that the people would realize that God’s word, against all odds, came to pass and will come to pass. God said,
“It may be that the House of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” – Jer. 36:3
Purposefully, this is the first mention of Jeremiah’s prophesying being written down in a book. It was for Baruch’s ministry! The blood-thirsty King and Jeremiah’s familiars, the Priesthood, couldn’t endure the likes of Jeremiah in public places, so God rerouted the rescue mission to attempt a grassroots revival from an unsuspecting source. “Go thou, and read in the roll”, Jeremiah commanded Baruch (Jer. 36:6). Jeremiah was hopeful! Why? “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” (Jer. 35:7). Shocking.
These appeals for mercy were delivered and sincerely hoped for by the LORD – that is, when and if the people comprehend that the was just the beginning (Jer. 36:3, 7). An incrementally delivered WOE is the Divinely Authored plan so that God would have opportunity to plead with the ready-to-die people over and over again, saying, “why will ye die, O House of Israel” (Ezek. 18:31)! According to the historical account detailed in this Chapter, no small stirring was underway for the next year and 9 months. At least, it was a grassroots revival in its beginnings. At most, the grassroots revival rose to the very neck of the nation to turn the Kingdom back to God!
Nearly 1 year and 9 months of prophesying could have taken place by way of Baruch reading the scroll in the House of the LORD (Jer. 36:1, 9) including any additional prophecies given, like that of Jeremiah 25:1-38, because they could have been added to the Book which was written and used in the reading of Baruch from thenceforth. After 1 year and 9 months transpired, the grassroots revival appeared to culminate in the proclamation of an all-inclusive special fast. Prominent leaders and Princes were fearing and Jeremiah’s prophecies made their way to the Kings Court, the neck of the Nation! But, at last, as we will soon see when we cover Jeremiah 36:9-32, Jehoiakim squelched the fires of revival, intimidated the Princes, and burnt the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophesying. Also, after the King gave commandment to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah (Jer. 36:26), Baruch joined Jeremiah in hiding. Before this, no small work of revival was underway! Here’s what happened…
– At the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 25:1) and as an interlude between Jeremiah 36:1-8 and Jeremiah 36:9-32, I conclude, because this was a timely word to the suddenly awakened people! There is indisputable evidence that this word was given as an interlude between these two points in time because, the book of prophecy that had been written by Baruch (as recorded in Jeremiah 36:1-8) is referenced in Jeremiah 25:13. Furthermore, because Baruch was presently reading from the book of Jeremiahs prophesies to God-fearing seekers in the House of the LORD (notably, they came from all over Judah; Jer. 36:1-8), Jeremiah was purposeful to bear witness of his ministry in its entirety (Jer. 25:3-4). Reasonably, “even unto this day”, was of particular emphasis (Jer. 25:3).
Jeremiah’s honesty and truthfulness had been verified in the arrival of Babylon and the . Judah and Jerusalem were ascending out of the conflict between Egypt and Babylon, and having just watched Egypt fall, their confidence in false prophets had been significantly shaken. Remember, Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon for the space of approximately 1 year. Seeing the two powers engage one another, with the Kingdom of Judah in the balance, the people of Judah were compelled to think long and hard about what the end of these things might be. Did Jeremiah come to mind? Absolutely. Who could forget Jeremiah’s tear-stained face, the cracking of his voice which cried out in alarm, and his literal running to and fro throughout Jerusalem! Also, by the time of this prophecy, Jehoiakim surrendered to Babylon, the took place, and the war was over. Therefore, with the conflict at rest and Judah under tribute to Babylon, the people had ample opportunity to consider their ways or, on the contrary, speak peace to themselves. Jeremiah, though, knowing they had not rightly remembered the word of the LORD given to him from the very beginning of his ministry (Jer. 1:15-16), took opportunity to remind them of the course of things which had happened theretofore (Jer. 25:3, 25:9-10; Note: the book that was begun in Jer. 36:2 was referenced here in Jer. 25:13), at God’s command.
With many families mourning at the loss of their sons, daughters, and family members, everyone wondered… HOW LONG? Frantically, they questioned: “When will I see my family members again?” “Will they be restored to Jerusalem?” “Will the Captivity return?” The false prophets, no doubt, were poised at enmity against the truth (Jer. 27:12-28:17), but at the present time God delivered the first word on record to the freshly humbled people. When the people were hurting and in pain, the LORD graciously reminded them of the conditional promise, “and I will do you no hurt” (Jer. 25:6). Further, He said, “Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me” (Jer. 25:7). God said that the wickedness of their works has been “to [their] own hurt” (Jer. 25:7). The Lord reasoned with the conscience of the people in hopes to win their agreement in that, because the longstanding messages of hope and promise were stubbornly rejected theretofore (Jer. 25:3-7), there was no more hope until “seventy years are accomplished”. In other words, the would not return and there were 6 more Captivities yet to come! God must be loyal to the disloyal people by keeping the Covenant, whether in blessing or in curse, and long ago it was foretold, “Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand” (Deut. 28:32). This was just the beginning. Soon… all the other curses would be fulfilled as well, to wit: God said, “thou shalt be mad from the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see” (Deut. 28:34). How fearful! Seventy years of chastisement must be accomplished!
“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” – Jer. 25:11-12
“Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north [the ], saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant [the ], and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” – Jer. 25:9
First, the LORD will send “all the Families of the North” (meaning, the Armies of Babylon and Affiliates) for the , but Nebuchadrezzar will be absent. Then, three months later, the LORD will send both the Babylonian Armies and Nebuchrezzar for the . Thereby, Jeremiah 25:9 will be incrementally wrought in two more stages of fulfillment.
“For, lo, I begin to do evil on the City which is called by My Name, and should ye be utterly unpunished?” – Jer. 25:29
Furthermore, lest the hurting and childless people lose all hope in God as they consider the coming judgment upon the Kingdom of Judah, the LORD reveals the turn-around-judgment which He will execute upon Babylon (Jer. 25:14-38). The people of God are not the only ones who will be driven to madness! God was and is furious with the heathen nations of the world (Jer. 25:15)! They too shall “be mad” – they shall be driven to insanity “because of the sword that I will send among them”, the LORD declared (Jer. 25:16)! It was written,
“The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His Holy Habitation; He shall mightily roar upon His Habitation; He shall give a shout as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” - Jer. 25:30
How shocking! How fearful! The Lord will not suffer the people to be wide-eyed onlookers at the glory of Babylon and its false gods. No! Rather, God will take all the glory for Himself (Jer. 25:15-33). What does this mean? This means that God will deliver every wicked heathen man to the sword of the LORD, just as He did to the wicked of the Kingdom of Judah, the only difference being: there will be no righteous remnant among “the inhabitants of the earth” (Jer. 25:29). All of them will be wicked! “He will give them that are wicked to the sword” (Jer. 25:31; 1 Pet. 4:17-18), and, therefore, “the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth” (Jer. 25:33)! Though partial fulfillments of these prophecies do exist, and God was talking directly to literal and historical Babylon, we know that there is a Spiritual Babylon which will exist in the future when this prophetic woe is fulfilled in its entirety during , and this means: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15; Spiritual Babylon: 1 Pet. 5:13, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, 4-5, 10, 21; The Eradication of all Wicked Men from the Earth (an incomplete list): Psalm 1:4, 37:38, 59:13, 68:1-2, 75:8, 104:35, 119:119, Prov. 2:22, 10:30, 11:31, Isa. 11:4, Jer. 25:31). Therefore the heathen of the Gentile World, the inhabitants of Spiritual Babylon, need to pledge allegiance to the Jewish Messiah and become citizens of His Kingdom, or else.
Note: utter destruction and captivity were prophesied to transpire at the hand of Babylon, but since Jehoiakim initially surrendered resulting in the this did not immediately take place; thus, an occasion of stumbling was presented before the people as they see a small beginning of the word spoken… will they deny its eventual consummation? They will. They did… but not without a grassroots revival making its way to the neck of the Nation.
– At the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign and in the midst of Baruch’s ministry (recorded in Jer. 36:1-8), right after the when Babylon took control over the region instead of Egypt, Baruch was overcome with fear, distress, and covetousness. In response, the Lord gave him a sharp and sure word. My reader, this is fearful! Even Baruch was in disbelief that the sword of the LORD would pass through the Land at any time soon, thus… HE WAS STILL SEEKING GREAT THINGS FOR HIMSELF!
It is truly fearful what God said to Baruch! It was a great mercy, and a great providence, that Baruch was allowed by God to keep his life at the loss and robbery of all else! “Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest” (Jer. 45:2-5). The remnant of the Tribulation Period would learn the great mercy of this underserved gift! Baruch had no rest or peace because he was resisting tribulation instead of embracing it. Baruch was susceptible to and overtaken by the staunch mockery of the people, who said, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). If we don’t actively resist such mockery and scorning we will be passively overcome by it! Even with Bible in hand, like Baruch, we will fall a-prey to the allurements of deception!
– At the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 35:2), I conclude, seeing that the message is fitting and cohesive with what is being said and done at this time. The Word of the LORD to the Rechabites is a profound indicator of the times, especially in the light of what is about to take place in the 5th year of the reign of Jehoiakim.
– At the 5th year and ninth month of Jehoiakim’s reign (see the time transition in verse 9), the grassroots revival was rising up to the neck of the nation to turn it back to God! After many months of Baruch’s ministry (approx. 1 year and 9 months), disseminating the word of God through Jeremiah to all the faithful of the Kingdom of Judah via the circuiting Jews, a major fast was proclaimed. Why? The Nation was turning to God! Take note: only high-authority leaders could call a fast like this one because it was “proclaimed” and “all the people in Jerusalem” and “all the people” visiting were required to participate (Jer. 36:9). This was a special fast for intentional reasons and, judging by how all the Princes were fearing God at the hearing of the words of Jeremiah the intentions of the fast are clear (Jer. 36:16)! This behavior is a radical change from their former behavior before the 1st Captivity, and this is strong evidence of the grassroots revival having an affect unto this special occasion, a citywide fast! The grassroots revival traveled abroad through circuiting Jews in the same way demonstrated in the Jews who humbled themselves to attend the Temple convocations in Hezekiah’s day (2 Chron. 30:10-11, 31:1)? What happened after they gathered together at the Temple in those days? It was written,
“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.” – 2 Chron. 31:1
The potential for revival by this means should not be underestimated. It was the wisdom of God that the LORD appointed Baruch to read and preach the word of God for the past year and nine months, and what happened? The people were notably humbled (and fasting!), Baruch was openly reading (“in the ears of all the people” – Jer. 36:10), chief authorities proclaimed a special fast and it was thus required that all the people participated, and all the Princes were fearing (especially Delaiah, Elnathan, & Gemariah, and Germiah’s son named Michaiah)! Shockingly, though, with all this momentum the revival made its way to the King’s Court and HE STRUCK IT DOWN! According to the Historical Record, Michaiah heard the word, he shared it with all the Princes, the Princes called Baruch to hear the word themselves and were moved with fear. Showing contemplation and intentionality, the Princes commanded Baruch and Jeremiah to hide themselves (Jer. 36:19) because they were going to make a move to try to turn the Nation back to God by bringing Jeremiah’s prophecies before the King, and if the King responded ill then Jeremiah and Baruch would be preserved from harm. Demonstrating the collaborated effort, it was recorded, “And Jehudi read it in the ears of the King, and in the ears of all the Princes which stood beside the King” (Jer. 36:21). See, all of them were unitedly standing by! They had already heard the word themselves, mind you (Jer. 36:16). In a Nation almost turned back to God, Jehoiakim was the last man standing!
Why were all the Princes afraid when they heard afresh the prophecies of Jeremiah? Because Jeremiah’s word came true AGAINST ALL THE WORDS of the Prophets and Priests of so called “THE REMNANT” that was in leadership. They felt lied to and shaken from their former confidences because they watched Babylon invade the region, defeated Egypt, overtake Egyptian sovereignty over Judah, and take Captive a multitude of Jews just as Jeremiah had prophesied! Ah, these treacherous false prophets! The Princes remembered clearly how deception flourished through the winsome words of false prophets, amassed in droves, every one of them attempting to drown-out the lonely, weeping, running, and crying Prophet whom God had sent. Jeremiah was the only man on earth who was prophesying of the Babylonian Captivities and the utter destruction of the Kingdom of Judah! Fearfully, though, despite all of this! Jehoiakim burned the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecy, saying, “Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this Land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?” Jehoiakim! The same man who, at 12 years old, beheld Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Josiah usher the City of Jerusalem into the Presence of God (2 Chron. 34:33)! Yes, with only 5 years of rebellion against God under his belt, the young King was deranged and deluded to revolt against the aged Prophet, Jeremiah, the companion of his father Josiah! Remember that Jehoiakim walked in obedience to the LORD from years 12 to 25 (2 Chron. 34:33), and now this!
Because of Jehoiakim’s murderous anger, Jeremiah went into further and even more intentional hiding at the charge of the Princes who feared for his life (Jer. 36:19). Jehoiakim fully turned upon Jeremiah like he did to Urijah the Prophet (Jer. 26:20-23). Alas! Jehoiakim’s actions were bold and highhanded provocations against the correcting hand of God who brought the Armies of Babylon to the very gates of Jerusalem! …but, you see, Jehoiakim wrongly believed that the Armies of Babylon wouldn’t return for war anymore. Though the 30-year-old King did thus, Jehoiakim was not bold enough to break the tributary agreement with Babylon. Not yet. Jehoiakim continued in the tributary agreement for 3 years of faithful servitude (2 Kings 24:1; from the 4th year to the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign), and… at last, after another year and three months of thinking, “Peace, peace” (Jer. 8:11), and, hearing, “Sword and famine shall not be in the Land” (Jer. 14:15), and, “We are delivered to do all these abominations” (Jer. 7:10), the false prophets prevailed upon Jehoiakim to erroneously seek the Covenantal Ideal of “liberty” from Babylon, so he thought …when, in reality, they “looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble” (Jer. 8:15). BABYLON CAME!
Once again, according to the operation of Glory demonstrated theretofore, the glory of God in the Tribulation Period, the LORD was personally offended and personally interactive with the backslidden King. The man, Jehoiakim, who dared to BURN THE WORD OF GOD, was confronted by God for what he did. Shockingly, the LORD was looking, listening, seeing, hearing, responding, and prophetically declaring His retaliation! The LORD quoted Jehoiakim and then told him how HE WAS GOING TO KILL HIM, what He would do with his dead body, and how He would punish His servants and his seed! Read it, my reader… and fear. Give glory to God!
“And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the LORD 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 the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants 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.” – Jer. 36:29-31
An incomplete revival was followed by a completely successful apostasy, can you believe it? Jehoiakim’s actions were paramount, indeed, but he was not alone in the madness. The last and final word delivered to the Kingdom of Judah during Jehoiakim’s reign, contained in Jeremiah 14:1-17:18, will shed more light on how this sudden and successful apostasy was achieved. In it, God will quote and confront the other individuals who partnered with and confirmed Jehoiakim’s high-handed rebellion against God – YOU BETTER BELIEVE GOD HAS SOME CHOICE WORDS FOR THEM! Wagg your head and it, my reader… and fear.
– Sometime after the 5th year and ninth month of Jehoiakim’s reign, after Jehoiakim burned the Word of God, and before the conquering of Jerusalem in the 11th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, a fierce word of general reprobation is delivered (Jer. 15:1). After observing the time references of this prophecy (see ), and because of the richness of the following events, it is helpful to note in summary several points of relevance and complexity. For a focused and necessary explanation of the following, see the .
The Silence of God: This was the last and final prophetic word, a word of general reprobation, given to the recently lead-astray Kingdom under Jehoiakim; the man who personally offended the KING of Israel by cutting and burning the word of prophecy, Judah’s only hope. God’s wrath was both warranted and retaliatory.
Jehoiakim Rebelled Against Babylon: This was a word that needed to be spoken in this time, not only because Jehoiakim behaved himself violently against the written word of God in the 5th year of his reign, but, in further defiance and at the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, he rebelled against Babylon in pursuit of “liberty” – a liberty heralded as a promise by false prophets that resulted in Jehoiakim’s utter destruction.
A Strong Delusion via Choice Instruments: A nearly successful revival of the Church was quickly redirected into a completely successful apostasy, and according to Jeremiah, who watched the events unfold, the false prophets were infamously and staggeringly responsible for it all!
Jeremiah Backslid: Feeling shocked and exasperated, unrighteously so, lonely Jeremiah succumbed to worldly sorrow and evil unbelief. As a consequence to this, the wrath of God was statedly upon him! As an aid to help Jeremiah repent and escape the wrath of God, the LORD was gracious to pointedly innumerate his compromises; and, as a result of these events and Jeremiah’s restoration, deep-rooted misunderstandings were directly confronted and hopefully purged once and for all.
A general 4-year period of silence transpired after Jehoiakim burned the Word of God, excepting Jeremiah 14:1-17:18 (likely delivered around the time that Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon in the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign). The command to find, arrest, imprison, and or kill Jeremiah and Baruch was already given, and the two went into hiding by the hand of God until judgment came.