Baruch is to write the prophecies of Jeremiah. (1-8) The princes advise them to hide themselves. (9-19) The king having heard a part, burns the roll. (20-32)
Verses 1-8 The writing of the Scriptures was by Divine appointment. The Divine wisdom directed to this as a proper means; if it failed, the house of Judah would be the more without excuse. The Lord declares to sinners the evil he purposes to do against them, that they may hear, and fear, and return from their evil ways; and whenever any one makes this use of God's warnings, in dependence on his promised mercy, he will find the Lord ready to forgive his sins. All others will be left without excuse; and the consideration that great is the anger God has pronounced against us for sin, should quicken both our prayers and our endeavours.
Verses 9-19 Shows of piety and devotion may be found even among those, who, though they keep up forms of godliness, are strangers and enemies to the power of it. The princes patiently attended the reading of the whole book. They were in great fear. But even those who are convinced to the truth and importance of what they hear, and are disposed to favour those who preach it, often have difficulties and reserves about their safety, interest, or preferment, so that they do not act according to their convictions, and try to get rid of what they find troublesome.
Verses 20-32 Those who despise the word of God, will soon show, as this king did, that they hate it; and, like him, they would wish it destroyed. See what enmity there is against God in the carnal mind, and wonder at his patience. The princes showed some concern, till they saw how light the king made of it. Beware of making light of God's word!
This chapter gives an account of an impious action of King Jehoiakim's burning the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies read unto him, and the consequence of it. The order to write this roll, the time when, the contents and use of it, are in Jer 36:1-3; the writing of it by Baruch, the order of the prophet to read it to the people on such a day, with the view he had in so doing, Jer 36:4-7; the reading of it by Baruch to the people first, Jer 36:8-10; then to the princes, being sent for by them, upon a report made to them, Jer 36:11-15; the king being acquainted with it, Jehudi was sent to fetch the roll, who read it to the king, Jer 36:16-21; who having heard part of it, burnt it, notwithstanding the intercession of some of his princes to the contrary, Jer 36:22-25; and who also ordered the apprehension of Jeremiah and Baruch, who could not be found, Jer 36:26; upon this a new roll is ordered to be written, Jer 36:27,28; which was done with some additions to it, respecting the destruction of the land, and the people in it, by the Chaldeans; and particularly the death of the king, and his want of burial, Jer 36:29-32.