The General Title or Introduction
probably prefixed by Jeremiah, when he collected his prophecies and
gave them to his countrymen to take with them to Babylon [Michaelis].
1. Anathoth—a town in Benjamin, twenty
stadia, that is, two or three miles north of Jerusalem; now Anata
(compare Isa 10:30,
and the context, Isa 10:28-32). One of the four cities allotted to the
Kohathites in Benjamin (Jos 21:18).
Compare 1Ki 2:26, 27; a stigma was cast thenceforth on the
whole sacerdotal family resident there; this may be alluded to in the
words here, "the priests … in Anathoth." God chooses "the weak,
base, and despised things … to confound the mighty."
2, 3. Jehoiakim … Josiah …
Zedekiah—Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are omitted for they reigned
only three months each. The first and last of the kings under whom each
prophet prophesied are often thus specified in the general title. See
on these kings, and Jeremiah's life, my Introduction.
thirteenth … of his reign—(Jer 25:3).
fifth month—(2Ki 25:8).
4-10. Jeremiah's call to the prophetical
unto me—other manuscripts read "to
him"; but English Version probably represents the true
Hebrew text; this inscription was doubtless made by Jeremiah
5. knew—approved of thee as My chosen
instrument (Ex 33:12, 17; compare Isa 49:1, 5; Ro 8:29).
sanctified—rather, "separated." The
primary meaning is, "to set apart" from a common to a special use;
hence arose the secondary sense, "to sanctify," ceremonially and
morally. It is not here meant that Jehovah cleansed Jeremiah from
original sin or regenerated him by His Spirit; but separated him to his
peculiar prophetical office, including in its range, not merely
the Hebrews, but also the nations hostile to them (Jer 25:12-38; 27:1-21;
46:1-51:64), [Henderson]. Not the effect, but the predestination
in Jehovah's secret counsel, is meant by the sanctification here
(compare Lu 1:15, 41; Ac 15:18; Ga 1:15; Eph 1:11).
6. From the long duration of his office (Jer 1:2, 3; Jer 40:1, &c.; Jer 43:8, &c.), it is supposed that he was at
the time of his call under twenty-five years of age.
child—the same word is translated,
"young man" (2Sa 18:5).
The reluctance often shown by inspired ministers of God (Ex 4:10;
6:12, 30; Jon 1:3) to accept
the call, shows that they did not assume the office under the impulse
of self-deceiving fanaticism, as false prophets often did.
7. to all that—to all "to whom" [Rosenmuller]. Rather, "to all against
whom"; in a hostile sense (compare Jer 1:8, 17, 18, 19) [Maurer]. Such was the perversity of the rulers and
people of Judea at that time, that whoever would desire to be a
faithful prophet needed to arm himself with an intrepid mind; Jeremiah
was naturally timid and sensitive; yet the Spirit moulded him to the
necessary degree of courage without taking away his peculiar
8. (Eze 2:6; 3:9).
I am with thee—(Ex 3:12; Jos
9. touched my mouth—a symbolical act in
supernatural vision, implying that God would give him utterance,
notwithstanding his inability to speak (Jer 1:6). So Isaiah's lips were touched with a
living coal (Isa 6:7;
compare Eze 2:8, 9, 10; Da 10:16).
10. set thee over—literally, "appointed
thee to the oversight." He was to have his eye upon the nations, and to
predict their destruction, or restoration, according as their
conduct was bad or good. Prophets are said to do that which they
foretell shall be done; for their word is God's word; and His
word is His instrument whereby He doeth all things (Ge 1:3; Ps
33:6, 9). Word and deed are
one thing with Him. What His prophet saith is as certain as if
it were done. The prophet's own consciousness was absorbed into
that of God; so closely united to God did he feel himself, that
Jehovah's words and deeds are described as his. In Jer 31:28, God is said to do what Jeremiah here is
represented as doing (compare Jer 18:7; 1Ki 19:17;
root out—(Mt 15:13).
pull down—change of metaphor to
architecture (2Co 10:4).
There is a play on the similar sounds, linthosh, linthotz, in
the Hebrew for "root out … pull down."
build … plant—restore upon their
repenting. His predictions were to be chiefly, and in the first
instance, denunciatory; therefore the destruction of the nations is put
first, and with a greater variety of terms than their restoration.
11. rod—shoot, or branch.
almond tree—literally, "the wakeful
tree," because it awakes from the sleep of winter earlier than the
other trees, flowering in January, and bearing fruit in March; symbol
of God's early execution of His purpose; Jer 1:12, "hasten My word" (compare Am 8:3).
12. hasten—rather, "I will be
wakeful as to My word," &c.; alluding to Jer 1:11, "the wakeful tree" [Maurer].
13. Another vision, signifying what is the
"word" about to be "performed," and by what instrumentality.
seething—literally, "blown under"; so
boiling by reason of the flame under it kept brisk by blowing.
An Oriental symbol of a raging war.
toward—rather, "from the
north." Literally, "from the face of the region situated towards the
north" (compare Jer 1:14, 15) [Maurer]. The pot in the north rested on one side,
its mouth being about to pour forth its contents southwards, namely, on
Judea. Babylon, though east of Judea, was regarded by the Hebrews as
north, because they appropriated the term "east" to Arabia-Deserta,
stretching from Palestine to the Euphrates; or rather [Bochart], the reference here is not to the site, but
to the route of the Babylonians; not being able to cross the
desert, they must enter the Holy Land by the northern frontier, through
Riblah in Hamath (Jer 39:5; 52:9).
14. break forth—"shall disclose
Out of the north—(Jer 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22; 25:9; Eze 26:7). The Chaldeans did not cast off the
yoke of Assyria till several years after, under Nabopolassar, 625 B.C.; but long previously they had so
increased as to threaten Assyria, which was now grown weak, and other
15. families—the tribes or clans
composing the various kingdoms of Babylon; the specification of these
aggravates the picture of calamity (Jer 25:9).
throne at … gates—the usual
place of administering justice. The conquering princes will set
up their tribunal there (Jer 39:3, 5; 52:9). Or the reference is to the military
pavilion (Jer 43:10)
16. utter—pronounce. The judicial
sentences, pronounced against the Jews by the invading princes,
would be virtually the "judgments of God" (Isa 10:5).
17. gird … loins—resolutely
prepare for thy appointed task. Metaphor from the flowing robes worn in
the East, which have to be girt up with a girdle, so as not to
incommode one, when undertaking any active work (Job
38:3; Lu 12:35; 1Pe 1:13).
dismayed … confound—the same
Hebrew word; literally, "to break." Be not dismayed at
their faces (before them), lest I make thee dismayed before
their faces (before them), that is, "lest I should permit thee to be
overcome by them" (compare Jer 49:37).
18. defenced city, &c.—that is, I
will give thee strength which no power of thine enemies shall overcome
(Jer 6:27; 15:20; Isa 50:7;
54:17; Lu 21:15; Ac 6:10).
walls—plural, to express the
abundant strength to be given him. De
Rossi's'S manuscripts read singular, "wall."
people of the land—the general masses,
as distinguished from the princes and priests.