The order of Jeremiah (Jer 51:59-51:59)

“The word that

The prophet Jeremiah

commanded Seraiah,

The son of Neriah,

The son of Mahseiah,

When he went

With King Zedekiah,

Of Judah

To Babylon,

In the fourth year

Of his reign.

Seraiah was the quartermaster.”

Now we are back at the 4th year of the Judean reign of King Zedekiah, about 594 BCE, years before the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah told Seraiah, the quartermaster or bearer of gifts of the king to go with King Zedekiah to Babylon. Jeremiah’s secretary Baruch and Seraiah had the same father, Neriah, and grandfather, Mahseiah, so that they were brothers.

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Baruch reads the scroll at the great fast (Jer 36:8-36:10)

“Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Did all

That the prophet Jeremiah

Ordered him

About reading

From the scroll

The words of Yahweh

In Yahweh’s house.

In the fifth year

Of King Jehoiakim,

The son of King Josiah,

Of Judah,

In the ninth month,

All the people in Jerusalem,

With all the people

Who came from the towns

Of Judah to Jerusalem,

Proclaimed a fast

Before Yahweh.

Then,

In the hearing

Of all the people,

Baruch read

The words of Jeremiah

From the scroll,

In the house of Yahweh,

In the chamber of Gemariah,

The son of Shaphan,

The secretary,

Which was in the upper court,

At the entry

Of the New Gate

Of Yahweh’s house.”

Baruch did exactly as Jeremiah had told him to do. He read the scroll of Jeremiah that had the words of Yahweh that had been dictated to him by Jeremiah, in Yahweh’s Temple. This occasion was a great fast that had been called to ward off the king of Babylon. This was about a little over a year after the original oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah, about 604 BCE. Thus at this assembly, Baruch read from the scroll in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of a friend of Jeremiah, Shaphan, who was a secretary. All this took place in the upper court at the entry to the New Gate at the Temple.

Baruch writes things down (Jer 36:4-36:4)

“Then Jeremiah

Called Baruch,

The son of Neriah.

Baruch wrote

On a scroll,

At Jeremiah’s dictation,

All the words

Of Yahweh

That he had spoken to him.”

Jeremiah then called his secretary Baruch to write things down on this scroll, although Yahweh had asked Jeremiah to do it himself. However, Jeremiah was going to dictate to Baruch all the words that Yahweh had spoken to him. This is the same Baruch from chapter 32, who took the deed from Jeremiah. Thus, he was a disciple, friend, and secretary of Jeremiah. He has been considered the writer of the Book of Baruch, one of the lesser prophets. He was also the son of Neriah, whose father was Mahseiah.

Yahweh’s charge to Baruch (Jer 32:13-32:15)

“In their presence,

I charged Baruch,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Take these deeds!

Put both this sealed deed

Of purchase

With this open deed,

In an earthenware jar.

Thus they may last for a long time.’

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel.

‘Houses,

Fields,

As well as vineyards

Shall again be bought

In this land.’”

Jeremiah than had an oracle of Yahweh for Baruch in the presence of all the people there. The Lord of hosts and God of Israel wanted Baruch to put both these field sale documents, the sealed one and the open one, into a pottery jar. So that both these documents would last a long time and not be lost. Since Baruch was like the secretary for Jeremiah, this seemed like a reasonable request. Then Yahweh said that this was like a sign of things to come when people would again buy houses, fields, and vineyards in this land. In other words, there was hope for things to come.

Against Shebna (Isa 22:15-22:19)

“Thus says Yahweh,

God of hosts.

‘Come!

Go to this steward,

To Shebna,

Who is master of the household.

Say to him.

What right do you have here?

Who are your relatives here?

Why have you cut out

A tomb for yourself?

Why have you cut a tomb on the height?

Why did you carve a habitation

For yourself in the rock?

Yahweh is about to hurl you away violently,

My fellow.

He will seize firm hold on you.

He will whirl you around and around.

He will throw you like a ball

Into a wide land.

There you shall die.

There your splendid chariots shall lie.

O you!

Disgrace to your master’s house.

I will thrust you from your office.

You will be pulled down

From your station.’”

Yahweh told Isaiah to go to Shebna, the head of the household of King Hezekiah, and admonish him in a very specific way. There was a Shebnah that was the secretary of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 19. It is not exactly clear whether this is the same person. It is also not clear what this Shebna had done other then build his own tomb. There may have some sort of plot that was not mentioned. Yahweh, via Isaiah, was clear in his language to Shebna. He wanted to know why Shebna was there and who his relatives were. Yahweh, via Isaiah, seemed particularly upset about this tomb that Shebna was building. However, Shebna was about to die with all his splendid chariots. Yahweh was going to spin him around and around and then throw him like a ball into some waste land. He was a disgrace to King Hezekiah, but exactly how is not mentioned. He was about to be removed from his official position.