Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jer 36

36:2. One way to look at this section from the One Year Bible is from the perspective of time.

There's probably not anyone who goes through a reading schedule that doesn't say "this takes SO long." For example, the One Year Bible itself sets aside 26 consecutive days for Jeremiah! But here in our passage for today, Baruch, after Jeremiah dictates his words to him, reads the whole thing "in the Lord's house" (36:6, 11). Then another guy repeats the thing to another group (36:13). Then Baruch reads it again to some officials (36:14-16).

36:23. Then someone had an idea for a shortcut (AV/RV/ASV/NAS/NKJV), or, in another reading, a long cut (RSV/NIV/ESV).


Well, the king, in the first reading, was of the "this takes too long" mindset, and could only hear three or four columns, then burned the scroll. I doubt if the font was very small, so maybe just a few verses were read, before the king lost his conscience (36:24) and burned the whole scroll.

Time. No time to read? Do we even burn the scroll, i.e., remove the possibilities provided to us to read, either them from us, or ourselves from them? Because what we've read before (maybe even as little as a few columns?) is not a flattering reflection on us (36:29), do we somehow ban it (ESV) or restrict it (36:5)? I confess to have done this many a time.

The king, in the second reading had plenty of time. Two or three columns AT A TIME, he would cut and throw the verses into the fire, sitting, by a fireplace, until the whole thing was finished. Oh boy, is that bad. It's one thing to have no time. It's another level of evil entirely, to put time into attempting to destroy the words. Of course, that doesn't succeed (36:32). It becomes part of the fulfillment of the words.

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