1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah [Divrei Yirmeyah ben Chilkiyah], of the priests [kohanim] that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin [Anatot in Eretz Binyamin]:
These words were Yahweh' s words spoken by the prophet who gave him utterance (v. 7). Jeremiah means Yah will throw down or Yahweh exalteth from root ramah. So it is a cipher for his message to punish apostate Judah, but to exalt those who remain faithful amidst the Apostasy.
Hiikiah (=portion of Yah) his father, was High priest in the time of Josiah (2Kgs 22.4·14), and who embarked on restoration of the Temple and renewal of the Law finding the torah scrolls in the Temple.
Anathoth (=Answer), 2-3 miles north of Jerusalem, was a possession of the House of Aaron (priestly class) (Josh.21.18), who turned against Jeremiah (Jer. 11.21-23), as the Pharisees did against Christ.
Jeremiah commenced his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (V.2). Josiah reigned 31 yrs, so that, 18 of the 40 yrs ministry was in the reign of Josiah. The prophet was very cut up when Josiah was suddenly slain in battle (2 Chron.35.25) since he knew that dark times would follow the death of this righteous king.
There was great lamentation.
Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2019.
2 To whom the word of Yahweh came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
Jeremiah begins his ministry in the reign of the good king Josiah. It was a bright, brief interlude of righteousness-but it did not last. Josiah began to reign when he was 8. When he was 16 he dedicated himself to serve God, and when he was 20 he set about purging Judah from all their wickedness and idolatry.
Jeremiah began his ministry in the next year-the 13th of Josiah's reign. Jeremiah would be about the same age as Josiah- about 20. It is truly a touching picture of these 2 young men-king and prophet-laboring to turn the nation to righteousness as the smoldering judgments of God hovered over the land, just as 2 young men, a prophet and a king-John and Jesus-did in the days of the nation's final judgment.
It is notable that Jeremiah's ministry began just 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple by the Babylonians. We remember that Jesus began his ministry just 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple by the Romans.
In each case, a 40-year period of final probation was given the city.
Jeremiah's mission was to witness for God against apostate and worldly Israel. The Jews today still jealously preserve and revere the prophecy of Jeremiah, though it contains their condemnation as a nation, and the record of God's pleading in vain with them to turn and be saved.
Jeremiah's work was not only as a witness of condemnation. It had a far more glorious purpose. It was to encourage and strengthen the scattered, faithful remnant-of his own day and of all ages since. And in this sad time of present crisis for the Truth, its message of comfort has great and sustaining power.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.
3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
James recommends when he says,
"Take, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience."
Jeremiah is more serviceable in this respect than almost any of the prophets, for we get closer to him, and observe the shades of his individual feelings in the various circumstances in which he was placed.
His prophecy is remarkable for the absence of all pompous introduction. Nothing could be more bald or literal than the preface which describes him ...
...What a total absence is there here of any attempt to magnify the importance of Jeremiah and his writings. How unlike in this respect to all ordinary literary efforts; how indicative, amongst many things, of the genuine character of his communications from God. *
4 Then the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
...he had been ordained a prophet before his birth. The natural corollary of this as a matter of human thought would have been one of two things, and perhaps both; first, that God would have made Jeremiah a strong, self-sufficient, impervious man, proof against all trouble; and secondly, that Jeremiah would at least have had a strong sense of his capacity for the work to which he was called. Instead of that, the very first response of Jeremiah is...*
6 Then said I, Ah, Adonai Yahweh! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
...we have Jeremiah's extreme sense of unfitness for the work to which he was called...This response never could have been written but for the sincere experience of the sentiment; and it never could have found entrance into a human conception of a prophet's mission.
It is a characteristic that crops up very frequently in the history of God's use for men. Even Moses, that first and greatest of the prophets, raised a similar objection, a sense of extreme self-deficiency; and Paul confesses to the same feeling.
Such a feature naturally belongs to the genuine employment by God of men for purposes of revelation. It is easy to understand that Omnipotence would employ weak human mediums in the revelation of divine purposes and wishes: human importances and self-confidences would naturally have been in the way. Jeremiah appears very far from one in the position of self-confidence. At this very opening interview he is divinely exhorted to be strong, because he was feeling weak. *
7 But Yahweh said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith Yahweh.
He was not to be daunted by their hard-heartedness, intransigence and opposition. God would be with him in the important messages he had to deliver. He was not his own, but God's messenger to Judah and its apostate eldership (1 Cor 6: 19,20) *
*Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2019
11 Moreover the word [Devar] of Yahweh came unto me, saying, Jeremiah [Yirmeyah], what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree [makel SHAQED (a branch of an almond tree).].
Heb makel shaqed = almond tree or wakeful tree. It was a symbol of hope for the almond tree is wide awake in winter when all other trees are dead and fruitless. It is producing flowers, buds and fruit (almonds) all at the same time.
Aaron's rod that budded represented the resurrection tree (Christ).
Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2019
14 Then Yahweh said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
Externally, there was nothing but continuous and deepening tragedy right to the end. Internally, of course, he had the peace of God-the perfect peace assured to all whose hearts are fixed on God. This peace-the deepest inner layer of his consciousness carried him through everything. It made the struggle possible. But it was not an automatic, insulated, unfeeling peace. Christ had this peace. It made the outcome of Gethsemane possible, but it did not eliminate or neutralize Gethsemane.
Jeremiah's life, like Christ, was a life of suffering and struggle, of sorrow and rejection, and in both cases not for themselves, but for the sorrows of their people. More than any other, Jeremiah was the forerunner of Christ in this.
For 40 years, he gave faithful and courageous testimony to a hated and rejected message. The latter half, after Josiah was dead, was far worse than the first. He was universally despised as a traitor to his nation-an enemy to his people. He was ridiculed and beaten, put in stocks, and thrown in dungeons and cisterns and left to die.
He was called to his mission at an early age, and he protested his youth. But God said to him, verse 10 of chapter 1, "I have this day set thee"-a term meaning to give great authority, "set thee over the nations...to root out, and to pull down...to build, and to plant." This to a young boy, who would have no standing as yet, even in his own village.
He was not only to foretell, but to bring to pass. Of course, it was all of God, but Jeremiah was the instrument.
Paul says, "All things are for your sakes." If we are Christ's, then all world developments are solely on our account, and for our eternal welfare. It is a tremendous thought with tremendous responsibilities. We do not dare to be ordinary. The young Jeremiah had a great responsibility.
Verse 17 - "Gird up thy loins...be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them." He must do his part with courage, or God would not stand behind him. He must publicly stand fast for God, whatever might come.
He was called in the fourteenth year of Josiah-one year after Josiah's reforms had begun. There are very few historical details concerning his first 18 years, under Josiah. There is no mention of his having had any part in Josiah's national reforms. But we can be sure that they worked together. We know he was publicly active all that time, because five years after Josiah's death, he says in chapter 25 that he had been rising early and speaking to them for 23 years. Jeremiah would not suffer any official abuse or persecution, as long as Josiah lived. Still his heavy message that the nation was doomed brought him continual ridicule and hatred.
Josiah's national reform was only on the surface; the people were wicked and idolatrous in their hearts. The doom of the nation was already determined by God, and this Jeremiah must proclaim.
Bro Growcott - Jeremiah, son of sorrow
17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
Thus authorised, Jeremiah goes forth to his work, and soon finds it the most painful work a man could have been called to; so painful that he wished himself dead.
"Cursed be the day wherein I was born; let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. Cursed be the man that brought tidings unto my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee, making him very glad. Let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew, because he slew me not from the womb. Wherefore came I forth to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?" *
* TC Exhort 275
18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
Jeremiah's life is one of the loneliest and saddest in Scripture. His personal experiences were bitter; the message of disaster he had to proclaim was depressing and unwelcome; and the times in which he lived were of unparalleled national calamity.
His efforts were foredoomed to failure. It was a lost cause from the beginning. He was everywhere hated and misunderstood. While intensely loving and grieving for his countrymen and his nation, he was despised and persecuted as an enemy and a traitor.
But amidst all this background of thick gloom, there shines-in a few chapters in the center of the book-the glorious picture of the eternal Kingdom of Righteousness that will finally triumph, and in which this rejected prophet will have an honored part:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper and execute judgment and justice IN THE EARTH.
"In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely."
"He that scattered Israel shall gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock."
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.