And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son
Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month
This was a different time of reading the book from the former, enjoined by the prophet, and performed by Baruch, ( Jeremiah 36:6 Jeremiah 36:8 ) ; that was on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; this was in the fifth year of his reign, and in the ninth month of the year, a year and two months after the former, as it should seem; but Jehoiakim's fifth year beginning in the seventh month after the day of atonement, this ninth month is to be reckoned not from the beginning of his fifth year, but from the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the spring; so that this was but two months after the former reading: [that] they proclaimed a fast before the Lord:
this was not an ordinary fast, or a common annual one of divine appointment, which came in course, but an extraordinary one, upon some particular occasion. Some think it was on account of the dearth, drought, and famine in the land, ( Jeremiah 14:1 ) ; and others, which seems most likely, take it to be on account of the calamity threatened the nation by the Chaldean army. This fast was not in course, but was proclaimed by the order of the king and his council; and it may be at the request of the people, at least they, greed and consented to it, and indeed are represented in the text as the proclaimers; for so the word "they" is explained in the following clause, which should be rendered, not to all the people,
but even "all the people in Jerusalem" F16, and all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem:
these proclaimed the fast; they applied to the government for one, or however obeyed the king's orders, and published and proclaimed a fast; not only the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but those who came from other cities on business, or for safety, or for worship.