Jeremiah 36:4
So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah. At the dictation of Jeremiah, Baruch wrote on a scroll all the words the LORD had spoken to Jeremiah.
Vicarious Ministry in Holy ThingsA.F. Muir Jeremiah 36:1-8
Hearers of God's WordS. Conway Jeremiah 36:1-32
God's Servant ImprisonedE. Davies, D. D.Jeremiah 36:4-7
Jeremiah in PrisonHomilistJeremiah 36:4-7
The Utility of Holy ScriptureJohn Trapp.Jeremiah 36:4-7

We can understand the prophet thus speaking, but how can there be anything uncertain or contingent with God? And yet it is he who here speaks and says, "It may be." We are accustomed to say, "God knows all the past, and all the present, and all the future (cf. Isaiah 46:9-11). Reason and Scripture alike seem to say that there can be nothing probable with God. But yet this is his word. Why does he thus speak? Perhaps -

I. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO LAW, NO DECREE, AGAINST THE PEOPLE'S REPENTANCE. He had made no such law, and man had not. There is no decree of reprobation.

II. IT MAY BE CONSISTENT, AFTER ALL, WITH THE TRUTH OF THINGS FOR GOD THUS TO SPEAK, THOUGH WE CANNOT SEE HOW. We infer certain conclusions from what we read and learn about God, and these conclusions seem to deny the possibility of there being any "it may be" with him. But we may be wrong after all, and the fact that he does thus speak lends to the suspicion that we are.

III. BECAUSE IT WOULD BE ILL FOR US WERE HE TO REVEAL THE CERTAINTIES OF THINGS. If they were to be such as we would desire, we should cease to labour for them. If otherwise, we should sit down in despair. But God desires us to labour and pray, and therefore hides the future from our eyes. Presumption and despair are both great evils; therefore to prevent them, God speaks after the manner of men, if not after the manner of God.

IV. BECAUSE HE INTENDS HIS "MAY BE" TO BECOME "SHALL BE." He would have us fellow workers with him, and therefore he encourages our efforts, but hides from us be that which would lead us to think them unnecessary. And probably the "may be" will become "shall be," though not at the time nor in the manner we expect. Let us, therefore, be ever cheered forward when God says, "It may be." - C.

I am shut up.
1. Jeremiah's age was one of great political troubles.

2. It was also an age of signal religious privileges.

3. It was an age of great moral corruption.

I. HIS IMPRISONMENT SUGGESTS THE SAD MORAL CHARACTER OF HIS AGE. The prisons of an age are often criteria by which to determine its character. When prisons are filled with men of signal excellence of character, force of conscience, and self-denying philanthropy, you have sad moral proofs of the deep moral corruption of the age that could tolerate such enormity.

II. HIS IMPRISONMENT SUGGESTS GOD'S METHOD OF RAISING HUMANITY. Heaven's plan embraces the agency of good men. The agency is twofold, primary and secondary. There are spiritual seers and spiritual mechanics.

1. Jeremiah may be regarded as a type of the primary human agents whom God employs. They are frequently in the lowest secular condition; yet in that condition God communes with them, and gives them a message for the world.

2. Baruch may be regarded as a type of the secondary agents. In this age the Baruchs are numerous. Men abound who will take down the thoughts of great thinkers; but the Jeremiahs are rare. Thought power, rather than tongue power, is wanted now.


1. He is free in his communion with heaven. From the dungeon he cried, and God heard him (Lamentations 3:56, 57).

2. He was free in his sympathies with the race. He could not go out in body to the house of the Lord, but he went out in soul. Walls of granite, massive iron bars, chains of adamant, cannot confine the soul; nor can the densest darkness throw on it a single shadow.


When Henry Burton, two centuries ago, was persecuted for the name of Christ and put in prison, "I found," he said, "the comforts of my God in the Fleet Prison exceedingly, it being the first time of my being a prisoner." Go thou, and read in the roll. — The prophet and the roll: —



III.THE HOPE OF JEREMIAH (Ver. 7).If Divine mercy could not woo them back to righteousness, he hoped that Divine justice might drive them. Alas! he was disappointed. The national heart, with a few rare exceptions, hardened into granite. And then they were overwhelmed with calamities.

(E. Davies, D. D.)

See here the utility of the Holy Scriptures and the excellent use that may be made of reading them. A man maybe thereby doubtless converted, where preaching is wanting, as divers were in Queen Mary's days, when the Word of God was precious; as was, by reading Romans 13.; , by the prophet Jonah; Franciscus Junius, by John 1., &c.

(John Trapp.)

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