Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for August 6

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for August 6


Jeremiah 36:19–31

Throughout history, God’s written Word has been outlawed and destroyed by oppressive governments and leaders. Our passage today highlights an occasion in Israelite history when a Jewish king attempted to destroy a scroll containing a message from Jeremiah.

Jewish king Jehoiakim cut up and burned in a fire the written message of the prophet Jeremiah, yet God’s Word cannot be destroyed by governmental leaders.

Delivered (19–21)

God’s Word comforts and persecutes. Josiah, Jehoiakim’s father, was instrumental in a religious revival that occurred after the discovery of biblical manuscripts during a remodeling of the temple in Jerusalem.

When the king encountered the message of the Bible, he tore his clothes as a sign of repentance and implemented religious reforms by removing pagan idols and idolatrous priests from temple duties (2 Kings 23). Unfortunately, his son Jehoiakim was not faithful to God and attempted to destroy God’s Word and God’s servants. Jeremiah displeased Jehoiakim with his message of repentance.

The message of Jeremiah was read on a day of fasting, perhaps as Babylonian armies approached the capital city. While King Jehoiakim could make the right religious claims publicly, he lacked faithfulness to God. Sympathetic officials encouraged Jeremiah and Baruch to hide. Key cabinet members hid the scroll for safekeeping with the royal scribe Elishama for safe keeping.

The king ordered Jehudi to seize the scroll and had the scroll read to him and his royal court.

Destroyed (22–26)

The Jewish king cut up the scroll and burned it in his fireplace. More importantly, King Jehoiakim refused to repent, as evidenced by his failure to be terrified at Jeremiah’s message and since he did not tear his clothes as a sign of public repentance. The king ordered three men to seize Jeremiah and Baruch, but the Lord hid them.

Throughout history, God’s Word has been outlawed by numerous political entities such as oppressive anti-Christian governments.

Replaced (27–31)

This passage emphasizes three times that Jehokiam destroyed Jeremiah’s scroll. After the destruction of his original biblical scroll, God ordered Jeremiah to write the original words on another scroll. Further, the prophet was to deliver a personal message to Jehoiakim.

The message provides a possible hint about Jehoiakim’s attempt to destroy the scroll. The king disliked Jeremiah’s message of a Babylonian victory over God’s people. The king did not realize that the Babylonian captivity of the Jews was God’s plan due to their unfaithfulness to God.

Because of Jehoiakim’s actions of persecuting the prophet Jeremiah and destroying the manuscript of Jeremiah, God announced that Jehoiakim would never have a descendant to serve as king.

The Jews practiced burial of the dead. Rather than receiving an honorable burial, Jehoiakim’s body received a dishonorable exposure rather than burial. The king fought against God’s Word. From a Jewish perspective, the king’s end was one of total disgrace. The lack of a proper burial was viewed as a curse. Animals and birds would likely eat the body.

By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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