And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe…
1. Consider the object which God has in view in writing His Word and sending His written messages to mankind. This object is most pathetically set forth (ver. 3). That is why God has given us the Bible! Not to bewilder us, not to start us on courses of intellectual speculation, not to tempt our curiosity, not to found rival sects, but to bring us to Himself to obtain forgiveness of iniquity and sin.
2. Man is so unwilling to hear anything unpleasant or disagreeable about himself that lie gets into a wrong temper before he actually knows what God s object is. Jehoiakim did not hear the whole roll. Did any man ever destroy the Bible who knew it wholly? The difficulty is in the "three or four leaves." There are men to-day who having heard three or four leaves of Genesis have cut it with the penknife. They cannot get over the six days and the talking serpent, so they cut the roll with the penknife. Or if they begin another book, they are offended by the extraordinary numbers of people killed in war, and the romantic ages of the patriarchs; so they cut the roll with the penknife. Or if they begin elsewhere, they are offended by the descriptions of human nature, its depravity, its helplessness, its horrible sin; and having heard three or four leaves, they cut the roll with the penknife. Now the Bible must be read in its entirety, that all its parts may assume their just proportions and their appropriate colour.
3. Though Jehoiakim cut the roll and cast it into the fire, the words were all rewritten, and the impious king fell under the severe and fatal judgment of God (ver. 30). Men have not destroyed revelation when they have destroyed the Bible. "The Word of the Lord abideth for ever." The penknife, cannot reach its spirit, the fire cannot touch its life. The history of the Bible is one of the proofs of its inspiration.
4. The desire to cut the Bible with the penknife and to cast it into the fire, is quite intelligible because in a sense profoundly natural. The Bible never lures human attention by flattering compliments. What wonder if the leper should break the mirror which shows him his loathsomeness?
5. This desire to mutilate the holy Word shows itself in various ways, some of them apparently innocent, others of them dignified with fine names and claiming attention as the last developments of human progress.
(1) Look, for example, at the use made of the sectarian penknife.
(2) Look at the use of the philosophical penknife. The letter is cut down to nothing, and revelation becomes a question of consciousness, so that the inquiry is not so much, What is written? as, What do you feel? From these reflections we may well learn to hold the roll as inviolable, holy, sufficient, final.
(J. Parker, 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.