The account preservedhere mirrors 2 Kings 22
, suggesting to some scholars that it functions as a literary device contrasting thereactions of Josiah (who tore his clothing
upon hearing the reading of the scroll containing God's word)with those of Jehoiakim (who tears the scroll, itself, in an act of defiance). Therefore, the value of ch 36
as a source for historical reconstruction is in dispute. Efforts to identify some portion of the current bookof Jeremiah with
Baruch's scroll have proven especially disappointing.
The fourth year of King Jehoiakim (605 BCE). In light of portentous contemporary events (
), Jeremiah commissionedBaruch son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah, one of King Zedekiah's ministers (
), totranscribe his oracles (words of the Lord) on a papyrus scroll. Seals belonging to Baruch and Seraiah havebeen discovered.
For an unstated reason, Jeremiah was barred from the Temple; so, on the occasionof a fast proclaimed by Jehoiakim because
of Nebuchadrezzar's advance against Ashkelon (probably inNovember, 604 BCE), he instructed Baruch to read the scroll in his stead. Gemariah son of Shaphan, afriend of Jeremiah (
26.24; see 40.1–6n.
Baruch was asked to re‐read the scroll before anassembly of royal officials. Although most cannot be identified, Elnathan son of Achbor was perhaps theking's father‐in‐law (2 Kings 24.8
) and was head of the mission that brought the prophet Uriah back fromEgypt for execution (
Jehoiakim ordered the scroll brought from the court scribe's office. Despite protests from some officials, he burned it as
it was read, three or four columns at a time,and ordered the arrest of Jeremiah and Baruch. Penknife, a knife used to sharpen the point of the scribes’reed pens.
The explicit statement that Jehoiakim did not tear his garments highlights the contrastbetween him and King Josiah (2 Kings 22.11
Using the destruction of the scroll as a symbol,Jeremiah announced the ignominious death of Jehoiakim (
22.18–19; 2 Kings 24.6–15
) and dictated anexpanded copy of the scroll.
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