I The pedigree, time, and calling of Jeremiah, confirmed against his excuses, ver. 1-10. His visions of an almond-rod and seething pot, ver. 11-14. His heavy message against Judah, ver. 15, 16. God promises him his assistance, ver. 17-19.
Verse 1. Anathoth - Was a city three miles from Jerusalem, allotted out of the tribe of Benjamin for the priests.
Verse 2. The word - That commission from God that authorized him to his prophetic work, for the space of forty-one years successively in Judea, viz. from the 13th year of Josiah to the 11th year of Zedekiah, besides the time that he prophesied in Egypt. In the days - During his reign. Thirteenth - By which it appears that Jeremiah prophesied the last eighteen years of Josiah's reign; for he reigned thirty-one years, 2 Kings xxii, 1.
Verse 3. It - The word of the Lord. Jehoiakim - Called at first by Josiah, Eliakim. Jehoahaz and Jehoiakin, whereof the former reigned before him, the latter succeeded, are conceived not to be mentioned, because they reigned each of them but three months, and therefore not considerable. Of Jerusalem - The inhabitants of Jerusalem, under Zedekiah, during all which time Jeremiah prophesied. Captive - This does not terminate the time of his prophecies; for he prophesied also both in Judea, and in Egypt afterwards: but only relates to what he prophesied while the city and temple were standing, the rest seeming to be added as a supplement. Fifth month - Of that present year; for, tho' the year end not at the fifth month, yet it might end the year of Zedekiah's reign, because he might begin his reign at the fifth month of the year.
Verse 4. Then - When he was first called to his office.
Verse 5. I sanctified - I ordained thee for this publicservice. He speaks thus to Jeremiah, not to the other prophets, because he stood in need of greater encouragement than they, both in respect of the tenderness of his years, and the difficulties which he was to encounter with. The nations - To other nations besides the Jews.
Verse 7. Thou shalt speak - Fear not, I will make thee eloquent and courageous.
Verse 9. Then - God having excited the prophet by command and promise, now in a vision confirms him, either by the hand of an angel, or by himself in some visible shape.
Verse 10. The kingdoms - Having now received his commission, he is directed to whom he is to go; to the greatest, not only single persons, but whole nations, as the Babylonians, Persians, and Egyptians. To pull down - That is, to prophecy that I will pull down; which I will as certainly effect, as if thou hadst done it thyself: for, according to scripture-usage, the prophets are said to do that which they foretell shall come to pass. To plant - Metaphors taken from architects and gardeners: either the former words relate to the enemies of God, and the latter to his friends; or rather to both conditionally: if they repent, he will build them up, he will increase their families, and settle them in the land; if they do not, he will root them up, and pull them down.
Verse 11. Came unto me - This and the boiling caldron, ver. 13, is thought to be at the same time, and in the same vision, when he was first appointed to the work. Almond-tree - That had leaves, and probably blossoms on it like Aaron's. This is a tree that blossoms early, and speedily, and so it may point at either God's readiness, to smite, ver. 12, or Israel's ripeness to be smitten; this rod being like a portentous comet, shewing to Jeremiah the miseries that were at hand, at the death of Josiah, which soon followed this vision, the taxing them by Pharaoh Necho, presently after the breaking in of the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, and then the Babylonian captivity.
Verse 12. Well seen - Or thou hast seen and judged right. Hasten - Word for word, I will almond-tree it, that is, I will be upon them speedily, in a short time. My word - My threatening against Judah and its inhabitants.
13. Seething-Pot - I see a pot coming, meaning the Babylonian army, who would besiege Jerusalem as a fire plays round the pot, when it is to be made boil; and reduce the inhabitants to miserable extremities. Face - Or front of the pot, or furnace, the place where the fire was put in, or blowed up to make it boil. North - Indicating from whence their misery should come, namely, from Chaldea, which lay north from Jerusalem.
Verse 14. North - From Babylon.
Verse 15. The families - Those nations that were under one Lord. Kingdoms - The Babylonians, and their assistants; the Medes also being in confederacy with them, whose king's daughter Nebuchadnezzar married. His throne - Their seats, pavilions or tents shall be pitched, which shall be as so many thrones. Entering - Of the gates, or way leading to them.
Verse 17. Gird up - It is a speech taken from the custom of the countries where they wore longgarments; and therefore they girt them up about them, that they might not hinder them in any work that required expedition. Consume thee - Lest I destroy thee even in their sight, to become their reproach.
Verse 18. This wholeland - All its inhabitants in general; intimating, that though men of all degrees should set themselves against him, yet God would support him against their all, and would carry him thro' his work, tho' his troubles would not be only great, but long; passing thro' several king's reigns.