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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 45

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,

After the completion of the prophecies and histories appertaining to the Jewish people and kings, Jeremiah subjoins one referring to an individual, Baruch, even as there are subjoined to the letters of Paul addressed to churches, letters to individuals, some of which were prior in date to the former. Afterward follow the prophecies referring to other nations, closing the (Grotius). The date of the events here told is eighteen years before the taking of the city: this chapter in point of time follows Jeremiah 36:1-32. However, it may have been subsequent to the suspicion thrown on Baruch by Azariah and Johanan (Jeremiah 43:3), which caused his despondency; and so its position here may be its right place. Baruch seems to have been regularly employed by Jeremiah to commit his prophecies to writing (Jeremiah 36:1; Jeremiah 36:4; Jeremiah 36:32).

These words - his prophecies, from the 13th year of Josiah to the 4th year of Jehoiakim.

Verse 2

Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch;

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.

Thou didst say ... the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow. Jeremiah does not spare his disciple, but unveils his fault-namely, fear for his life, by reason of the suspicions which he incurred in the eyes of his countrymen (cf. Jeremiah 36:17), as if he was a favourer of the Chaldeans and instigator of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 43:3); also ingratitude in speaking of his "grief," etc., whereas he ought to deem himself highly blessed in being employed by God to record Jeremiah's prophecies.

Added - rescued from the peril of my first writing (Jeremiah 36:26), I am again involved in a similar peril. He upbraids God as dealing harshly with him.

I fainted - rather I am weary [ yaaga` (H3021)].

No rest - no quiet resting-place.

Verse 4

Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.

That which I have built ... planted I will pluck up - (Isaiah 5:5). This whole nation (the Jews), which I rounded and planted with such extraordinary care and favour, I will overthrow.

Verse 5

And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.

Seekest thou great things for thyself? - thou art over- fastidious and self-seeking. When my own special people, a "whole" nation (Jeremiah 45:4), and the temple, are being given to ruin, dost thou expect to be exempt from all hardship? Baruch had raised his expectations too high in this world, and this made his distresses harder to be borne. The frowns of the world would not disquiet us if we did not so eagerly covet its smiles. What folly to seek great things for ourselves here, where everything is little, and nothing certain!

I will bring evil upon all flesh - the whole Jewish nation, and even foreign peoples (Jeremiah 25:28).

But thy life will I give unto thee for a prey - esteem it enough, at such a general crisis, that thy life shall be granted thee. Be content with this boon of life, which I will rescue from imminent death, even as when all things are given up to plunder, if one escape with aught, he has a something saved as his "prey" (Jeremiah 21:9) It is striking how Jeremiah, who once used such complaining language himself, is enabled now to minister the counsel requisite for Baruch when falling into the same sin, (Jeremiah 12:1-5; Jeremiah 15:10-18). This is part of Gods design in suffering His servants to be tempted, that their temptations may adapt them for ministering to their fellow-servants when tempted.


(1) Jeremiah had once betrayed a querulous spirit (Jeremiah 12:1-5; Jeremiah 15:10-18), and, yielding to an over-sensitive nature, which shrank from the opposition of the world, had uttered unwarrantable language in respect to the dealings of God toward him. Being now cured of this wrong spirit, through the grace of God he was able to minister spiritual counsel to his fellow-labourer, Baruch, who, through the pressure of the reproaches and threats of his ungodly fellow-countrymen (Jeremiah 36:17; Jeremiah 43:3), was tempted to give way to despondency and sinful complaints, as if the Lord were treating him with undue harshness. It is one of the sweet lessons taught by temptation passed through and overcome, to be able to sympathize with, and suggest suitable consolations and admonitions to, our fellow-disciples when passing through the same ordeal. In this respect, as in all others, the Saviour was pre-eminent. The Lord God gave Him the tongue of one learned-that is, taught in the school of experience-that He should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Isaiah 50:4). "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, and so He is an High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15).

(2) Baruch's fault was that of many beginners in religion-he was too apt to be discouraged because of the difficulties which are sure to meet us in the world while we desire to serve God (Jeremiah 45:3). We mistake the whole character of the present life when, like him, we expect a quiet resting-place here and are disappointed that we "find no reset" (Jeremiah 45:3). In the Lord we shall always "find rest" (Matthew 11:28-29); but "in the world" we must look for "tribulation" (John 16:33). Instead of complaining of our "grief," like Baruch (Jeremiah 45:3), we should try to count our countless mercies-above all, that we have been called out of this lost world, if, indeed we be believers, to the honourable service of God, and to the privilege of confessing our Saviour before the men of the world, who sneer at all vital godliness. It will be time enough to expect rest when we reach the blessed world where "the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."

(3) When God was overthrowing the holy city and the elect nation Baruch might think himself very well off to have his life preserved by the goodness of God (Jeremiah 45:4-5). So when so many of God's own dearest saints have suffered the most cruel torments in this country in other times, and in other countries in our own time, we should be ashamed to complain of the comparatively trifling difficulties which we have to contend with in our Christian course.

(4) "Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not" (Jeremiah 45:5), should be the motto of every faithful soldier of Christ as to earthly things. As to heavenly things, we cannot aim too high; for the higher we aim the more lowly shall we feel in spirit. It is by having raised their earthly expectations too high that many feel so keenly the trials and disappointments of life. How petty at best are the greatest of the great things of this world, and how transitory and uncertain! Let us seek to be great before God, by having that poverty and that meekness of spirit which the Lord declares to be the prominent characteristics of the blessed heirs of His kingdom (Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:5).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 45". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jeremiah-45.html. 1871-8.
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