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Jer 1:1-19. THE GENERAL TITLE OR INTRODUCTION
Jer 1:1-3, 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
4-10. Jeremiah's call to the prophetical office.
5. knew--approved of thee as My chosen instrument
(Ex 33:12, 17;
Isa 49:1, 5;
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.
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 individuality.
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
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
11. rod--shoot, or branch.
13. Another vision, signifying what is the "word" about to be
"performed," and by what instrumentality.
14. break forth--"shall disclose itself."
15. families--the tribes or clans composing the various kingdoms of
Babylon; the specification of these aggravates the picture of calamity
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
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;