Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
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
and the context,
One of the four cities allotted to the Kohathites in Benjamin
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
thirteenth . . . of his reign--
4-10. Jeremiah's call to the prophetical office.
unto me--other manuscripts read "to him"; but English Version probably represents the true Hebrew text; this inscription was
doubtless made by Jeremiah himself.
5. knew--approved of thee as My chosen instrument
(Ex 33:12, 17;
Isa 49:1, 5;
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;
6. From the long duration of his office
(Jer 1:2, 3;
&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"
The reluctance often shown by inspired ministers of God
(Ex 4:10; 6:12, 30;
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
(Eze 2:6; 3:9).
I am with thee--
9. touched my mouth--a symbolical act in supernatural vision, implying
that God would give him utterance, notwithstanding his inability
So Isaiah's lips were touched with a living coal
Eze 2:8, 9, 10;
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
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
God is said to do what Jeremiah here is represented as doing (compare
pull down--change of metaphor to architecture
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
"hasten My word" (compare
12. hasten--rather, "I will be wakeful as to My word," &c.;
"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
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 itself."
Out of the north--
(Jer 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22; 25:9;
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 neighboring peoples.
15. families--the tribes or clans composing the various kingdoms of
Babylon; the specification of these aggravates the picture of calamity
throne at . . . gates--the usual place of
administering justice. The conquering princes will set up their
(Jer 39:3, 5; 52:9).
Or the reference is to the military pavilion
16. utter--pronounce. The judicial sentences, pronounced against
the Jews by the invading princes, would be virtually the "judgments of
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
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
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;
walls--plural, to express the abundant strength to be given
ROSSI'S'S manuscripts read singular, "wall."
people of the land--the general masses, as distinguished from the
princes and priests.