Gemariah, the official, and Jerahmeel, the king’s son (Jeremiah 36)

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During the fourth year of king Jehoiakim (605 B.C.), God directed Jeremiah to record on a scroll prophecies against the nation and particularly against Jerusalem and Judah (Jeremiah 36:1-3). Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, documented the prophecies and later read the scroll in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan the scribe (36:4-10). When Gemariah’s son Micaiah notified the king’s officials of the scroll, they requested Baruch to read its words to them (36:11-19), after which they confiscated the scroll and read it to the king (36:20-21). As the scroll was being read, each portion already read was cut away and burned, even though Gemariah and others pleaded with the king not to do so (36:22-25). The prophecies made the king so angry that he dispatched his son Jerahmeel and several others to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah, “but the Lord had hidden them” (36:26, cf. 36:19). God then directed Jeremiah to replicate the first scroll, including in the new one additional indictments against Jehoiakim (36:27-32).

A clay seal impression of Gemariah was unearthed in excavations in Jerusalem of the 587 B.C. destruction level. It reads “Belonging to Gemariah (son of) Shaphan”. Researchers are in possession of a seal and a seal impression of Jerahmeel, both aquired on the antiques market, which read “Belonging to Jerahmeel, the king’s son”.


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