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Jeremiah Chapter 45
Jeremiah Comforts Baruch, Jeremiah 45:1-5
After the completion of the prophecies and histories appertaining to the Jewish people and kings, Jeremiah adds something at the end, as referring to Baruch. The date of the events here told is eighteen years before the taking of the city; this chapter in the point of time follows Chapter 36. Baruch seems to have been often employed by Jeremiah to write his prophecies (Jer.36:1, 4, 32).
Theme: Prophecy to Baruch
Baruch was a friend who helped Jeremiah. He was the one who wrote the words of Jeremiah on the scroll which was sent to King Jehoiakim, and the king then cut the scroll with a knife and threw it into the fire (Jer.36). When Jeremiah was in prison and bought the property in Anathoth, Baruch completed the transaction for him. He had the papers signed and carried through with all the necessary work for the purchase of the land (Jer.32). Last but not least, Baruch was taken down into Egypt with Jeremiah (Jer.43:6).
The prophecy to Baruch, here in Chapter 45 was actually given during the reign of Jehoiakim. The Book of Jeremiah, it is not arranged chronologically. Although the prophecy was given back during the reign of Jehoiakim, it is recorded here, and possibly there is a reason for that. It could be recorded here as an encouragement to Baruch. The LORD had already revealed to him what would happen to him if he identified himself with Jeremiah the prophet. This should be an encouragement to him when he was forced to go to Egypt with the remnant of Judah.
The prophecy we have in this Chapter concerns only Baruch, yet it is intended for the support and encouragement of all the LORD'S people that serve him faithfully and keep close to Him when trying times is difficult. It is placed here after the story of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews, but was delivered long before that, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, as was the prophecy in the Chapter 46, and probably those that follow. Here, we find, (1). How Baruch was terrified when he was brought into trouble for writing and reading Jeremiah's roll (vs.1-3). (2). How his fears were tested with a reproof for his great expectations and silenced with a promise of special preservation (vs.4-5). Although Baruch was only Jeremiah's scribe, special notice is taken of his fears, and the provision made for his comfort; for the LORD loves His servants, and is graciously concerned for even the smallest and weakest of them, for Baruch the scribe as well as for Jeremiah the prophet and anyone who lovingly and willingly serves the LORD!
Baruch Was Terrified When He got into Trouble for
Writing and Reading Jeremiah's Roll (Jer. 45:1-3)
Jer. 45:1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, (KJV)
The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah . . . Baruch was Jeremiah’s secretary or scribe; this word of prophecy that he spoke not to Baruch of himself, but in the Name of the LORD, as coming from Him.
When he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah. . . not what immediately precede, concerning the destruction of the Jews in Egypt; which were delivered out many years after the writing of the roll by Baruch here referred to; and which was done, as said here,
In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah . . . which was eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem; so that means that this prophecy does not stand in order of time, for it properly should have followed Chapter 36; where there was the story of what Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah in a roll, and read to the people, and after that to the princes; which exposed him to great danger, and caused the grief expressed by him in this Chapter; but since it was written to a private person, is placed here,
Saying; as follows:
Jer. 45:2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch . . . Jeremiah knew Baruch by name, had a great respect for him, and honors him with this prophecy; and being an Israelite, both in a literal and spiritual sense. Jeremiah addresses him as the God of Israel, and as being his covenant God; in whom he should put his trust, and from whom he might expect safety and protection in the worst of times; and to who’s sovereign will, in all the dispensations of His wisdom, he should humbly and patiently submit.
*****Jeremiah had in his former discourses revealed the will of God concerning nations, here he reveals it personally to Baruch his secretary, and because of this, some compare Jeremiah to the apostle Paul writing to Philemon as well as to churches.
Jer. 45:3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. (KJV)
Thou didst say, woe is me now! . . . what will become of me? I am ruined and undone; this he most likely said in his heart, if not with his lips, perhaps both ways; when the king gave orders for the apprehending of him and the prophet, being provoked at the roll which he had written and read (Jer.36:26).
For the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow . . . caused him abundant grief and sorrow; for there were many things which caused grief and sorrow; the trouble of his office, as secretary to the prophet; the reproach cast upon him by the people for it; the critical and severe judgments contained in the prophecies he recorded, concerning the ruin of his people and nation; the king's great displeasure at what was in the roll, and his burning it. And added to that, was the danger he placed himself in for writing it; and specifically, that he may be caught for writing it over again, after it was burned, to which were added new threats, such that personally concerned the king.
I fainted in my sighing . . . with all this, Baruch sighed and groaned at what he saw coming upon his country, and above all, upon himself. It simply overcame his frame of mind; as he labored in his sighing . . . yet amidst all his sighs and groans, he prayed to the LORD, and labored in prayer, that he might be delivered from the evils he feared were to come upon him.
And I find no rest . . . no comfort, no peace, no rest from his grief, sorrow and sighing. No end of that; no quietness nor composure of mind; no answer of prayer from God. Some interpret the grief of Baruch to be because he had no gift of prophecy bestowed on him, which he expected by being a servant of the prophet.
*****There could be times like this that may come into our lives. All Jeremiah’s enemies now were Baruch’s enemies too; and he desperately needed these promises of support.
It seemed that the LORD had added grief to his sorrow . . . Baruch had mourned for the desolations that were coming on his country, and now he mourns for the dangers to which he feels his own life was exposed to; for we saw from Chapter 36:26, that the king had given commandment to take both Baruch and Jeremiah, in order that they might be put to death as an example by his nobles.
His Fears Were Checked with a Reproof for His Great Expectations and Silenced with a Promise of Special Preservation (Jer.45:4-5)
Jer. 45:4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. (KJV)
Thus shalt thou say unto him . . . this is spoken to Jeremiah, and is an order from the LORD to Baruch, and what he should say in the LORD’S Name to Baruch.
The LORD saith thus, behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up . . . the Jewish nation, both the church and state; which the LORD had built up as a spacious and beautiful house to dwell in, and had planted a vineyard, and set it with pleasant plants; but now the LORD would demolish this building, and destroy the vineyard.
Even this whole land . . . not only a few cities, or only Jerusalem the capital, but the whole land of Judea; every part of it would be left desolate. The LORD will absolutely fulfill all those threats contained in the roll that Baruch had written; for God would destroy the whole land.
Jer. 45:5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. (KJV)
Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not . . . riches, wealth honor, esteem, peace and prosperity . . . these things should not be sought after and expected, when the whole nation would be involved in such an overall disaster. It may be possible that Baruch might have expected that his reading the roll to princes would have been a way of advancing him to some place, where he might have acquired wealth, gotten praise and live in peace and plenty all his days; but Jeremiah tells him this was not to be expected, because the very roll he wrote and read contained in it prophecies of the general ruin of the nation.
For, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh . . . not upon every individual person in the world; but upon all the inhabitants of Judea, who would either die by the sword, by famine, by pestilence or be carried captive, or to be in some distress or another.
But thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest . . . suggesting that he should be forced to leave his native country, and go from place to place; as he did along with the prophet, after the destruction of Jerusalem, and even into Egypt with the Jews that went there; where his life would be in danger, and yet he would be preserved. Baruch would be snatched as a brand out of the burning (Zec.3:2), when Jerusalem was taken; and in other places, when exposed. Even though he would lose everything, yet he did not lose his life; which should be as dear to him as a rich treasure taken by the soldier.
And seekest thou great things for thyself? . . . nothing better can be expected of these people . . . and by the vast majority of people today! And as for any benefit to Baruch himself, he should think it sufficient that God had determined to preserve his life in the midst all these dangers.
But thy life will I give unto thee for a prey . . . this is a well-known expression. We have seen it before (Jer.21:9; 38:2; 39:18), and it seems to have the following meaning. As a prey or spoil is that which is gained from a defeated enemy, so it is preserved with pleasure as the proof and reward of a man's own valor. So too, Baruch's life should be doubly precious to him, not only because of the dangers through which God had caused him to pass safely, but also because of those services he had been enabled to contribute, the consolations he had received, and the continual and clear intervening of the LORD in his behalf. All these should be dearer to him than the spoils of a vanquished foe to the hero who had overcome in battle. The preservation of his life, in such circumstances, must be more than he could expect; for his life would be safe, and he would have it as a spoil, where ever he would go. This assurance must have quieted his fears.
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