1:1 The a words of Jeremiah the son of b Hilkiah, of the priests that [were] in c Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
The Argument - The prophet Jeremiah born in the city of Anathoth in the country of Benjamin, was the son of Hilkiah, whom some think to be he that found the book of the law and gave it to Josiah. This prophet had excellent gifts from God, and most evident revelations of prophecy, so that by the commandment of the Lord he began very young to prophecy, that is, in the thirteenth year of Josiah, and continued eighteen years under the king, three months under Jehoahaz and under Jehoiakim eleven years, three months under Jehoiachin, and under Zedekiah eleven years to the time that they were carried away into Babylon. So that this time amounts to above forty years, besides the time that he prophesied after the captivity. In this book he declares with tears and lamentations, the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people, for their idolatry, covetousness, deceit, cruelty, excess, rebellion and contempt of Gods word, and for the consolation of the Church reveals the just time of their deliverance. Here chiefly are to be considered three things. First the rebellion of the wicked, who wax more stubborn and obstinate, when the prophets admonish them most plainly of their destruction. Next how the prophets and ministers of God should not be discouraged in their vocation, though they are persecuted and rigorously handled by the wicked, for Gods cause. Thirdly though God shows his just judgment against the wicked, yet will he ever show himself a preserver of his Church, and when all means seem to mens judgment to be abolished, then will he declare himself victorious in preserving his. 1:2 To whom the d word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
(a) That is, the sermons and prophecies.
(b) Who is thought to be he that found the book of the law under king Josiah, ( 2 Kings 22:8 ).
(c) This was a city about three miles from Jerusalem and belonged to the priests, the sons of Aaron, ( Joshua 21:18 ).
(d) This is spoken to confirm his calling and office, as he did not presume of himself to preach and prophecy, but was called to it by God. 1:3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the e son of Josiah king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth f month.
(e) Meaning the nephew of Josiah: for Jehoahaz was his father, who reigned but three months, and therefore is not mentioned, nor is Jehoiakim that reigned no longer. 1:5 Before I g formed thee in the womb I knew thee; and before thou wast born I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet to the h nations.
(f) Of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, who was also called Mattaniah, and at this time the Jews were carried away into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
1:6 Then said I, i Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I [am] a child.
(g) The scripture uses this manner of speech to declare that God has appointed his minsters to their offices before they were born, as in ( Isaiah 49:1 ; Galatians 1:15 ).
(h) For Jeremiah did not only prophecy against the Jews, but also against the Egyptians, Babylonians, Moabites and other nations.
1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and k touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
(i) Considering the great judgments of God which according to his threatening would come on the world, he was moved with a certain compassion on the one hand to pity them that would thus perish, and on the other hand by the infirmity of mans nature, knowing how hard a thing it was to enterprise such a charge, as in ( Isaiah 6:11 ; Exodus 3:21 Exodus 4:1 ).
1:10 See, I have this day set thee over the l nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
(k) Which declares that God makes them meet and assures them, whom he calls to set forth his glory, giving them all means necessary for the same, ( Exodus 4:12 ; Isaiah 6:7 ).
1:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a m rod of an almond tree.
(l) He shows what is the authority of Gods true ministers, who by his word have power to bear down whatever lifts itself up against God: and to plant and assure the humble and such as give themselves to the obedience of Gods word, ( 2 Corinthians 10:4 2 Corinthians 10:5 ; Hebrews 4:12 ), and these are the keys which Christ has left to loose and bind, ( Matthew 18:18 ).
(m) He joins the sign with the word, for a more ample confirmation: signifying by the rod of the almond tree, which first buds, the hasty coming of the Babylonians against the Jews. 1:13 And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a boiling n pot; and its face [is] toward the north.
(n) Signifying that the Chaldeans and Assyrians would be as a pot to seethe the Jews who boiled in their pleasures and lust. 1:14 Then the LORD said to me, Out of the o north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
(o) Syria and Assyria were northward in respect to Jerusalem, which was the Chaldeans dominion. 1:16 And I will utter my p judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
(p) I will give them charge and power to execute my vengeance against the idolaters who have forsaken me for their idols. 1:17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I q confound thee before them.
1:18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an r iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against her princes, against her priests, and against the people of the land.
(q) Which declares that Gods vengeance is prepared against them who do not execute their duty faithfully, either for fear of man, or for any other reason, ( 1 Corinthians 9:16 ).
(r) Signifying on the one hand that the more that Satan and the world rage against Gods ministers, the more present will he be to help them, ( Joshua 1:5 ; Hebrews 13:5 ) and on the other hand, that they are utterly unfit to serve God in his Church, who are afraid and do not resist wickedness, whatever danger depend on it, ( Isaiah 50:7 ; Ezekiel 3:8 ).