In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah received this Message from God:
"Get a scroll and write down everything I've told you regarding Israel and Judah and all the other nations from the time I first started speaking to you in Josiah's reign right up to the present day.
"Maybe the community of Judah will finally get it, finally understand the catastrophe that I'm planning for them, turn back from their bad lives, and let me forgive their perversity and sin."
So Jeremiah called in Baruch son of Neriah. Jeremiah dictated and Baruch wrote down on a scroll everything that God had said to him.
Then Jeremiah told Baruch, "I'm blacklisted. I can't go into God's Temple,
so you'll have to go in my place. Go into the Temple and read everything you've written at my dictation. Wait for a day of fasting when everyone is there to hear you. And make sure that all the people who come from the Judean villages hear you.
"Maybe, just maybe, they'll start praying and God will hear their prayers. Maybe they'll turn back from their bad lives. This is no light matter. God has certainly let them know how angry he is!"
Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do. In the Temple of God he read the Message of God from the scroll.
It came about in December of the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah that all the people of Jerusalem, along with all the people from the Judean villages, were there in Jerusalem to observe a fast to God.
Baruch took the scroll to the Temple and read out publicly the words of Jeremiah. He read from the meeting room of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary of state, which was in the upper court right next to the New Gate of God's Temple. Everyone could hear him.
The moment Micaiah the son of Gemariah heard what was being read from the scroll - God's Message! -
he went straight to the palace and to the chambers of the secretary of state where all the government officials were holding a meeting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other government officials.
Micaiah reported everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll as the officials listened.
Immediately they dispatched Jehudi son of Nethaniah, son of Semaiah, son of Cushi, to Baruch, ordering him, "Take the scroll that you have read to the people and bring it here." So Baruch went and retrieved the scroll.
The officials told him, "Sit down. Read it to us, please." Baruch read it.
When they had heard it all, they were upset. They talked it over. "We've got to tell the king all this."
They asked Baruch, "Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Was it at Jeremiah's dictation?"
Baruch said, "That's right. Every word right from his own mouth. And I wrote it down, word for word, with pen and ink."
The government officials told Baruch, "You need to get out of here. Go into hiding, you and Jeremiah. Don't let anyone know where you are!"
The officials went to the court of the palace to report to the king, having put the scroll for safekeeping in the office of Elishama the secretary of state.
The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He brought it from the office of Elishama the secretary. Jehudi then read it to the king and the officials who were in the king's service.
It was December. The king was sitting in his winter quarters in front of a charcoal fire.
After Jehudi would read three or four columns, the king would cut them off the scroll with his pocketknife and throw them in the fire. He continued in this way until the entire scroll had been burned up in the fire.
Neither the king nor any of his officials showed the slightest twinge of conscience as they listened to the messages read.
Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah tried to convince the king not to burn the scroll, but he brushed them off.
He just plowed ahead and ordered Prince Jerahameel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Jeremiah the prophet and his secretary Baruch. But God had hidden them away.
After the king had burned the scroll that Baruch had written at Jeremiah's dictation, Jeremiah received this Message from God:
"Get another blank scroll and do it all over again. Write out everything that was in that first scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up.
"And send this personal message to Jehoiakim king of Judah: 'God says, You had the gall to burn this scroll and then the nerve to say, "What kind of nonsense is this written here - that the king of Babylon will come and destroy this land and kill everything in it?"
"'Well, do you want to know what God says about Jehoiakim king of Judah? This: No descendant of his will ever rule from David's throne. His corpse will be thrown in the street and left unburied, exposed to the hot sun and the freezing night.
I will punish him and his children and the officials in his government for their blatant sin. I'll let loose on them and everyone in Jerusalem the doomsday disaster of which I warned them but they spit at.'"
So Jeremiah went and got another scroll and gave it to Baruch son of Neriah, his secretary. At Jeremiah's dictation he again wrote down everything that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. There were also generous additions, but of the same kind of thing.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)