And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe…
I. DEEP AND VARIED INTEREST OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH.
1. Divine truth of doctrine and promise (Jeremiah 17; Jeremiah 30; Jeremiah 31, &c.).
2. Views of a prophet's inner life of anguish and faith (chaps. 1, 9, 10, 12).
3. Passages of vivid narrative (this chapter).
II. A STRANGE SCENE.
III. A SEARCHING LESSON FOR THE SOUL. The possibility of complete indifference to the most urgent warnings from God, even without open rejection of religion. Let us take the case of Zedekiah thus in some few respects.
1. His act as a specimen of the soul's acts now.
2. His excuses.
3. His doom.
IV. ZEDEKIAH HEARS A MESSAGE FROM ONE WHOM, ON THE WHOLE, HE OWNS AS GOD'S MESSENGER, AND, BY WAY OF REPLY, HE BURNS IT. Countless souls own the Bible, as, on the whole, God's Word. Perhaps in a time of distress, like Zedekiah (chap. Jeremiah 38.), they will anxiously turn to it. But in their hour of security, when grief or conscience is silent, the Bible may warn mere, but in vain. Church lessons, sermon texts, family portions, private reading, all bring them God's warnings. The soul, while it dares not say it is false, can yet cast the unfelt truth aside.
V. ZEDEKIAH, PERHAPS, EXPLAINED HIS ACT IN SOME VAGUE WAY TO HIMSELF. "Jeremiah is a prophet; but cannot a prophet be prejudiced and exaggerate?" So Bible readers will let sceptical depreciation off the Bible so far warp them as just to take the edge off the reality of its warnings. "Ye shall not surely die."
VI. BUT MUCH MORE THAN THIS: ZEDEKIAH POSITIVELY REJECTED THE MESSAGE FROM WOUNDED PRIDE. He did not want it: he was well enough as he was. This blinded him in great measure to the question whether it were from God or not. So self will rise against the very words of Jesus, till it has seen its need and misery as it is (Revelation 3:17).
VII. ZEDEKIAH, FOR ALL THIS SECURITY AND INDIFFERENCE, WAS ON THE VERGE OF A REAL AND DREADFUL DOOM. Ruin, captivity, blindness, bereavement (chap. Jeremiah 39.). So now, indifference to Divine warnings is no disproof of their truth. The Judge of all the earth will act, not on our view of things, but on His own.
VIII. HE WHO THREATENS IS HE WHO ATONES, SAVES, AND LOVES. He sends His real threatenings to drive us to His real mercy (Revelation 3:19).
(H. C. G. Moule, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.