This chapter is almost short enough to read out loud in one or two deep breaths. That is the oddity of Jeremiah 45. In fact, not only is it short in comparison to the rest of the chapters in Jeremiah, it seems to be totally out of place. It reads like it could follow chapter 36 of Jeremiah. Chapter 36 identifies Baruch as the penman or recording secretary for Jeremiah himself and after whom the book is titled. It will now be Baruch’s second effort to write the words of God through Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim had shred and burned the original scroll(s) as it was being read to him. Baruch had to return to Jeremiah with the bad news. No wonder he was distraught.
JIV NOTE: As we studied in the previous chapter (44) the attitude of King Jehoiakim, him now long gone, is reflected in his military, fellow leaders, and the common people of Judah. God is simply rejected out of hand by all but Jeremiah and Baruch. What a burden to take the obvious prophecy of Jeremiah rejecting it for self-centered reasons.
If this is the burden to which chapter 45 infers or refers it would be the daunting task of having to hand-write the book once again via the dictation of Jeremiah. Add to this task the fact that King Jehoiakim totally rejected the words given to him per the pending doom of Judah. Jehoiakim destroys the scroll(s) but chapter 36 tells us Jeremiah dictated again and Baruch records the words accordingly.
Here follows the 5 verses of Jeremiah 45 as written in the International Standard Version (ISV).
This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Neriah’s son Baruch, when in the fourth year of the reign of Josiah’s son King Jehoiakim of Judah had, at Jeremiah’s dictation, written these words in a scroll: “This is what the LORD God of Israel says to you, Baruch:
‘You have said, “How terrible for me, for the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I’m weary with my groaning, and I haven’t found rest.”‘ Say this to him: ‘This is what the LORD says: “Look! What I’ve built I’m about to tear down, and what I’ve planted I’m about to pull up—and this will involve the entire land.” Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t seek them. Indeed, I’m about to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but your life will be spared wherever you go.'”
This short chapter is all about Baruch. No matter his heart’s ambition he is told to follow Jehovah God and his days will be long; your life will be as a prize of war wherever you go.” This means that even though taken by force to Egypt after the death of the Babylonian appointed Gedaliah, his life would be spared the catastrophes awaiting those Judeans who flee to Egypt seeking safety…”wherever you [Baruch] go.” There are two mysteries at this point that go unaddressed. Only church and Jewish legend offer possibilities. We do not know what happens to or where Baruch and Jeremiah end up with the rest of their lives. God promised Jeremiah security from the onset (Jeremiah 1:8). This means both him and Baruch (this chapter) have the same promise.
Being that this is such a short chapter and the Book of Jeremiah is not in a chronological order, it may be a good time to sequence people and events during the life of Jeremiah. Recall that the Book of Jeremiah was written twice; the second time from memory. I offer the following:
686—Manasseh assumed sole of kingship
648—Birth of Josiah (last good king)
642—Amon succeeded Manasseh as king
640—Josiah succeeded Amon
633—Josiah sought after God (2 Chronicles 34:3)
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria died
Cyaxares became king of Media
628—Josiah began reforms in Judah
627(26?)—Jeremiah called to be a prophet
626—Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylonia
621—Book of the law found in the Temple (Josiah)
612—Nineveh destroyed by Babylon
609—Josiah slain at Megiddo
Jehoahaz ruled three months
Jehoiakim enthroned in Jerusalem
605-606—Babylonians defeated Egyptians at Carchemish
Daniel, other hostages, and vessels taken to Babylon (Dan 1:1)
Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon
604—Nebuchadnezzar returned to Palace in Judah to receive tribute
601—Nebuchadnezzar defeated near Egypt
598—Jehoiakim’s reign ended
Jehoiachin ruled from 9 Dec 598 to 16 March 597 and deported 22 April 597.
597—Zedekiah began as king in Judah (a weak king)
588—Siege of Jerusalem began in January
587-Jeremiah buys land saving the property deed
Oct. 7, Gedaliah slain and Jews migrated to Egypt against God’s orders to not do so.
All dates are B.C.E. (Before Current Era). Even though this is not the chronology of the Book of Jeremiah, this list may help the serious student of the Word to do so.
We see toward the end of Judah as a kingdom, King Manasseh was brutal and anti-God. Not by circumstances but by choice. We read in II Kings 21:16 that he slaughtered so many of his own people they could be lined up from one end of Jerusalem to the other.
Amon, son of Manasseh ruled two years. Josiah became king at the age of 8. Following his grandfather Hezekiah’s example, he ordered reforms at the age of 20; born in 648 B.C.; ordered reforms to begin in 628 B.C.