Jeremiah 36 – The Reading of the Roll & Lachish

Finger Waving UpSo Lachish was kind of like a guard house in front of prison.  So who are the…

Jeremiah 36
The Reading of the Roll

1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

1 Scribes
Scribes played an important role in early Egypt. Only scribes and priests were taught how to read and write. They had to memorize hieroglyphic symbols. Scribes not only kept records, they also often played a supervisory role in society.

2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.

3 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.

4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch (his scribe) the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.

5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:

6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.

2 Sumerian
Sumerian – The scribe Dudu, a votive to Ningirsu

7 It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return everyone from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.

8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.

9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.

10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people.

11 When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,

12 Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.

3 A funerary stele
A funerary stele from ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. Innis believed that hieroglypics engraved in stone originally perpetuated the divine power of Egyptian kings.

13 Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.

14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cusi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.

15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.

16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.

17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?

18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

“Ink” – mentioned only here in the Old Testament, but see 2 Cor 3:3; 2 Jn 12:3; 3 Jn 13.  In ancient times, ink was made from soot or lampblack mixed with gum Arabic, oil, or a metallic substance (as in the case of the Lachish ostraca).

4 Clay tablet
Clay tablet with Sumerian cuneiform script listing gods in order of seniority, 2400-2200 B.C.

19 Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.

20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.

21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.

22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.

5 Akkadian cylinder seal
Akkadian cylinder seal impression, showing a battle of the gods. On the left, a pair of gods are sword-fighting; the one on the left is a scorpion god. On the right, a pair of gods are seen stabbing another god holding a trident. Circa 2340 – 2150 B.C.

25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.

26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.

27 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,

28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.

29 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?

6 Eannatum in a war chariot leading his men to victory
Eannatum, in a war chariot, leading his men to victory. During his lifetime, he was never defeated in battle. Detail from the Vulture Stele. He is the King of War. He charges into battle wielding a sickle sword in one hand and a giant spear in the other. His chariot is equipped with maces, javelins, and a battleaxe. He is a one man juggernaut.

30 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.

“Jehoakim…shall have none to sit upon the throne” – his son Jehoiachin ruled only three months and then was captured and carried off to exile in Babylon where he eventually died.

31 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.

32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.

…Sea People?


Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tel Lachish or Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime Mediterranean coast.  It is now a National Park in Israel.

7 Tel Lachish
Tel Lachish
Tel Lachish is the site of an ancient Near East city, now an archaeological site and an Israeli national park. Lachish is located in the Shephelah region of Israel between Mount Hebron and the Mediterranean coast. It is first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša.

According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:31-33). The territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (15:39) and became part of the Kingdom of Israel.

The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša (EA 287, 288, 328, 329, 335). According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Josh 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:39) and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel.

Occupation at the site of Lachish began in the Neolithic period, reaching appreciable size during the Early Bronze Age. The next significant development of the city came during the Middle Bronze II period when the area began to come under strong Egyptian influence.

The next peak was the late Late Bronze Age, when Lachish is mentioned in the Amarna Letters, as stated above. This phase of the city was destroyed during the general devastation of the region c. 1150 B.C. sometimes ascribed to the Sea Peoples. Rebuilding began in the Early Iron Age c. 900 BC.

Under Rehoboam, Lachish became the second most important city of the kingdom of

8 Single Inscription
Single Inscription
The single inscription which identifies the location depicted in the reliefs reads:

“Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment, before (or at the entrance of) the city of Lachish (Lakhisha). I give permission for its slaughter.”

Lachish is mentioned in several books in the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Joshua refers to Lachish in chapter 10 (verses 3, 5, 23, and 31-35), describing the Israelite conquest of Caanan. Japhia, the King of Lachish, is listed as one of the Five Amorite Kings that allied to repel the invasion. After a surprise attack from the Israelites, the kings took refuge in a cave, where they were captured and put to death.

Joshua and the Israelites then took the city of Lachish after a two-day siege, exterminating the populace. In 12:11, the King of Lachish is mentioned as one of the thirty-one kings conquered by Joshua. The city is assigned to the Tribe of Judah in 15:39 as part of the western foothills.

Judah. In 701 B.C., during the revolt of king Hezekiah against Assyria, it was captured by Sennacherib despite determined resistance.

Some scholars believe that the fall of Lachish actually occurred during a second campaign in the area by Sennacherib c. 688 B.C. Nonetheless the site now contains the only remains of an Assyrian siege ramp in the Near East.

Sennacherib later devoted a whole room in his palace for artistic representations of the siege on stone orthostats now in the British Museum. The orthostats depict battering ramps, sappers, and other fighters along with Lachish’s architecture and its surrender, these along with the archaeology give a good understanding of siege warfare of the period.

The town later reverted to Judaean control, only to fall to Nebuchadnezzar in his campaign against Judah in 586 B.C.

During Old Testament times Lachish served an important protective function in defending Jerusalem and the interior of Judea. The easiest way to get a large attacking army (such as an Assyrian army ( see Isa 36:2, 37:8; Jer 34:7), up to Jerusalem was to approach from the coast.

Lachish was one of several city/forts guarding the canyons that led up to Jerusalem and greater Judea. In order to lay siege to Jerusalem an invading army would first have to take Lachish, which guarded the mountain pass.

During the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah, the Assyrians, under King Sennacherib, attempted to take Jerusalem, and, in that campaign, succeeded in taking Lachish (see 2 Chr 32:9; Isa 36:2).

Modern excavation of the site has revealed that the Assyrians built a stone and dirt ramp up to the level of the Lachish city wall, thereby allowing the soldiers to charge up the ramp and storm the city.

Excavations revealed approximately 1,500 skulls in one of the caves near the site, and hundreds of arrowheads on the ramp and at the top of the city wall, indicating the ferocity of the battle.  The city occupied an area of 20 acres (8 hectares) and was finally destroyed in 587 B.C.

…Sea People?

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