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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 1

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-3

Jer 1:1-3

THE PART OF JEREMIAH IDENTIFIED WITH THE SCROLL

Jeremiah 1:1 to Jeremiah 20:18

THE CALL AND COMMISSION OF JEREMIAH

Chapter summary: the general title (Jeremiah 1:1-3), Jeremiah’s call to the prophetic office (Jeremiah 1:4-10), the two visions of the almond tree, and the boiling caldron (Jeremiah 1:11-16), and the assurance to Jeremiah of Divine protection (Jeremiah 1:17-19).

Jeremiah 1:1-3

"The words of Jeremiah the Son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: to whom the word of Jehovah came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiachim, 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."

There were five kings of Judah during the time period mentioned here; but the names of Jehoahaz and Jeconiah are omitted because each of these kings reigned only three months. If we calculate the length of Jeremiah’s ministry only from the data mentioned here, it was exactly forty years and six months (Under Josiah, 18 years; under Jehoahaz, three months; under Jehoiachim, 11 years; under Jeconiah, three months; and under Zedekiah, 11 years).Jeremiah 40-41 record events that happened several years after the destruction of Jerusalem,” indicating that this summary occurs in Jeremiah before the book was completed, pertaining not to all of the book, to part of it. This supports the view of some scholars that Jeremiah’s ministry lasted perhaps as long as fifty years.

"Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah ..." (Jeremiah 1:1). The Hebrew form of this name is Ben-Hilkiah, which according to the Dean of Canterbury "made it improper grammatically to insert the further identification of Hilkiah as `the High Priest.” This writer also answered other objections to understanding this Hilkiah as the High Priest who discovered the Book of the Law in the temple, pointing out that for ages this has been the understanding of the identity of Jeremiah’s father. "Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Kimchi, and Abravanel,” are among the ancient scholars cited.

Another objection based upon the supposition that the "High Priest" who discovered the Book of the Law `probably’ lived in Jerusalem is trivial. Jerusalem was only three miles from Anathoth! Besides, the record here was not speaking of the residence of Hilkiah, but of ancestral connection. Christ was born in Bethlehem, but he was nevertheless called "Jesus of Nazareth!"

"In the thirteenth year of his reign ..." (Jeremiah 1:2). This is generally agreed by scholars to have been the year 627-626 B,C. Ash, a dependable scholar, mentions a plausible theory that this was the birth of Jeremiah instead of his call, based upon the truth that God called him while in the womb. This theory is rejected here because of the plain words of the text.

"To whom the word of Jehovah came... It also came.." (Jeremiah 1:2-3). These are, perhaps, the most important words in this paragraph:

"This word came to Jeremiah by means of inspiration, and is neither the product of a reflective musing as to what his calling was to be, nor the outcome of an irresistible impulse within him to come forward as a prophet. It was a supernatural divine revelation vouchsafed to him, which raised his spiritual life to a state of ecstasy, so that he both recognized the voice of God and felt his lips touched by the hand of God (Jeremiah 1:9). Further, he saw in spirit, one after another, two visions, which God interpreted to him as confirmatory tokens of his divine commission.”

The prophets of Israel were launched upon their prophetic career by a definite call. Amos, the herdsman from Tekoa, declared that God took him from following the flock and inducted him into the prophetic ministry (Amos 7:14-15). He felt a divine compulsion to preach (Amos 3:8). Isaiah, the aristocrat, saw a vision of divine glory and heard the voice of his God calling for a messenger. Isaiah knew that the call was meant for him and so he volunteered: “Here am I! Send me!” (Isaiah 6). Ezekiel saw the dazzling and mysterious throne-chariot of God and from this experience he came to realize that he was to preach the word of God (Ezekiel 2:8 ff.). An essential mark of a true prophet and “a primary element in the prophetic consciousness" was the assurance of a divine call. “Logically and chronologically the prophet’s career begins with a call." It is therefore most appropriate that the account of the call of Jeremiah stands first in the book.

A great deal of information is packed into the brief preface with which the Book of Jeremiah opens. Most of this information has been sifted and weighed in the preceding pages. It remains here to briefly take note of the literary, personal, geographical and chronological data contained in the first three verses.

The superscription opens with the formal title of the book: The Words of Jeremiah. Though the book contains a great deal of biographical narrative the emphasis throughout is on the preaching of Jeremiah. He was first and foremost a preacher of the word.

Concerning Jeremiah personally the superscription relates three facts: (1) That he was of the family of Hilkiah; (2) that he was a priest before he was a prophet; and (3) that he lived in the priestly town of Anathoth. As a priest—possibly the son of the high priest—the prospect before him was that of a quiet and probably uneventful life teaching the Torah of God in his home town and serving periodically at the Temple in Jerusalem. But God had other plans for this timid young priest. From the obscurity of priestly service Jeremiah was catapulted by the call of God into a position of national and even international responsibility.

The main function of the preface is to sound forth the note that Jeremiah had received divine revelation. The phrase “to whom the word of the Lord came” describes that mysterious process by which the prophet of God received divine revelation. This expression occurs some twenty times in the Book of Jeremiah. Many attempts have been made to explain how God spoke to the prophets. Did the revelation come to the prophet while in a state of mental unconsciousness and inactivity? Or did they receive their oracles while in complete possession of their rational consciousness? It is interesting to notice that the New Testament is silent as to the manner in which God spoke to the prophets. peter declared: “Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). To go beyond this simple statement is to become involved in useless speculation.

The superscription is full of valuable chronological information. Three kings are named: Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin, both of whom reigned only a matter of months, are omitted. The year of Jeremiah’s call is pin-pointed as the thirteenth year of king Josiah. This was one year after Josiah began to purge Jerusalem and Judah and five years before the discovery of the lost law book.

The superscription seems to imply that the ministry of Jeremiah terminated with the fall of Jerusalem in the eleventh year of Zedekiah. The problem is that Jeremiah continued to perform his prophetic duties for some time (possibly years) after the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 41-44). The solution to this problem probably lies in the fact that there was more than one edition of the Book of Jeremiah during and shortly after the lifetime of the prophet. See earlier discussion. It is of course possible that the superscription simply means that the active or official ministry of Jeremiah closed with the destruction of Jerusalem. A minister today who has officially retired and terminated his active ministry might still preach occasionally.

Verses 4-7

Jer 1:4-7

Jeremiah 1:4-7

"Now the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee; I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord Jehovah! behold, I know not how to speak; for I am a child. But Jehovah said unto me, Say not, I am a child; for to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak."

The foreknowledge of God is clearly stated here, revealing that, long before Jeremiah was born, God knew him and selected him as the great prophet who would announce the final judgment upon Judah and condemn all of the wicked nations on earth.

"I know not how to speak, for I am a child ..." (Jeremiah 1:6).

This reluctance on Jeremiah’s part is similar to that of Moses when he was called to deliver Israel from Egypt. God overruled his objection, "On the grounds that authority resides not in the person of the messenger, but in the Divine commission!" Jeremiah’s plea that he was only a child was overruled by God who commanded him not to say that. As a matter of fact, scholars place his age at the time given here as being about twenty years of age. "The very same words were applied to Solomon after he was anointed king about the age of 20!”

We should not believe that Jeremiah’s timidity and hesitation in the acceptance of so formidable a task were a sign of inability upon his part. They were due to a recognition of the nearly impossible difficulty of the assignment.

The call of Jeremiah is disappointing to those who love the spectacular and melodramatic. The account of how Jeremiah became a prophet of God is marked by stark simplicity. He was not privileged to see the grandeur of the heavenly throne room and hear the majestic praises of celestial beings as was Isaiah. Nor was he granted a vision of the throne-chariot of God with its flashing and intriguing wheels within wheels as was Ezekiel. The call of Jeremiah seems to have occurred on an ordinary day and in an ordinary place.

Jeremiah’s call is presented in the form of a dialogue between the Lord and his prospective prophet. First comes the divine summons (Jeremiah 1:4-5) and then, as is Usual in such call narratives, the hesitant human response (Jeremiah 1:6). This in turn is followed by divine assurance to the reluctant prophet (Jeremiah 1:7-10).

The Divine Summons Jeremiah 1:4-5

The change from the third person used in the preface to the first person in verse four is striking and indicates that the following verses are autobiographical. The preface was probably prefixed to the book by Baruch the faithful secretary of Jeremiah. But the account Of the prophetic call was either written by or dictated by the prophet himself. TWO matters are of interest in considering the divine summons: (1) the time and manner of it (Jeremiah 1:4) and (2) the content of it (Jeremiah 1:5).

1. The time and manner of it (Jeremiah 1:4)

Jeremiah 1:4 indicates that, from the human standpoint, the call and appointment of Jeremiah occurred in 627 B.C., “then” referring back to Jeremiah 1:2, the thirteenth year of Josiah. Looking on the call of Jeremiah from the divine standpoint, Jeremiah 1:5 indicates that his appointment long antedated the birth of the prophet. Scholars differ as to whether or not Jeremiah is here describing a visionary experience. The prophet does not say that he saw the Lord; rather he simply says “the word of the Lord came unto me.” Did he hear the word of God with his mind or with his ears? The question can never be answered.

It must be emphasized that this was a genuine experience on the part of Jeremiah and not an imaginary one as claimed by some critics. It is God and not Jeremiah who took the initiative in this passage. The tasks to which God calls men are often unpleasant and arduous. Men are not eager to assume the responsibilities. Jeremiah claimed that God had spoken to him and amid the tumult and clamor of four decades he never wavered in that claim. One may open the book at random and find the same theme note repeated time and again with only slight variation: “The word of the Lord came unto me”; “Thus said the Lord to me”;[97] “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord.” Jeremiah was called upon again and again to suffer for that claim. No one in his right mind would endure what this man endured unless he knew that God had spoken.

2. The content of it (Jeremiah 1:5)

The divine summons contained two essential elements: (1) an affirmation concerning the past; and (2) an intimation concerning the future.

a) An affirmation concerning the past. In the first part of Jeremiah’s call experience the divine purpose for his life was revealed to him. God informs the prophet that before he was born he had been selected for the task to which he is now called. A similar concept appears in one of the grand Servant poems of Isaiah. The Servant, none other than the Messiah himself, declares to the nations: “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he has mentioned my name” (Isaiah 49:1 b). The Psalmist David declared much the same thing when he wrote: “My unformed substance your eyes saw; in your book all of them were written, even the days that were ordained when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:16). Samson was to be a Nazarite from the womb (Judges 13:5); John the Baptist was to be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15); Paul declared that God had “separated” him “from his mother’s womb” (Galatians 1:15).

At first glance, verse five seems to involve an almost mechanical notion of predestination. But this cannot be what is meant, otherwise the whole dialogue between God and the prophet would have no point. Jeremiah is being told that God has had His eye upon him for a long time—even before he was born—when he was still just a thought in the mind of God. Jeremiah’s ordination had taken place in the mind of God before the prophet was born.

The distinction must be drawn between personal predestination and professional predestination. It is the latter that is involved in this passage. The predestination here has nothing to do with eternal salvation. Professional predestination is illustrated by the case of Samson in the Book of Judges. Prior to Samson’s birth specific instructions were given as to how this lad should be reared and definite predictions were made as to what this lad would accomplish (Judges 13:2-5). This was professional predestination. Samson was the right man, at the right time and the right place in the plan of God. So also with Jeremiah, Even before his birth God had been directing affairs in such a way as to make this man uniquely qualified to perform the work to which he was now being called. Note: The concept of professional predestination also appears in literature outside Israel. Assurbanipal in the opening of his “annals” declares that the gods made him to rule Assyria while he was still in the body of his mother.

Jeremiah needed to know at the outset the identity of the One who was commissioning him. In the four verbs of Jeremiah 1:5—formed, knew, set-apart, appointed—God identified Himself as the rightful sovereign of Jeremiah’s life. Each of these verbs is rich in theological overtones. Here in turn are the concepts of creation, election, consecration and installation.

(1) Creation: “I formed you.” The birth of Jeremiah was no accident. God takes credit for forming him in the belly of his mother, This verb “formed” is used here as in Genesis 2:7 where God formed man from the dust of the earth. God’s creative activity is like that of a potter whose handiwork reveals his design (see Jeremiah 18:1-4). The fact that God formed Jeremiah in the womb of his mother does not mean that his birth was supernatural like that of Jesus. Rather the thought is that God needed a prophet and so providentially planned that one should be born who could fulfill such a ministry. The implication is that God gave the child the character, the temperament, the gifts, and the talents which would qualify him for the office of a prophet.

(2) Election: “I knew you.” The verb “to know” involves intellectual knowledge. In the case of Jeremiah this would be foreknowledge. Since the future is always the present to the Omniscient One, God knew the fact that Jeremiah would be born. But the Hebrew word is not limited to mere intellectual knowledge; it embraces also intimate knowledge. This is the word which is used of the most intimate of all human experiences, the relationship between husband and wife. Thus God did not merely know about Jeremiah; He knew—intimately knew—Jeremiah himself. God knew his strong points and his weak: nesses, his abilities, his deficiencies and his potentialities. It was as though God had met him and fellowshiped with him for long years before he was ever born. But the Hebrew verb “to know” involves still more. It involves selective knowledge. Through Amos the prophet God said to Israel, “you only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). The verb “to know” is part of the terminology of election. When the Lord said “I knew you” it was virtually equivalent to His having said “I selected you.” Finally, the verb “to know” implies commendatory knowledge. In Nahum 1:7 God knows those that trust Him. In Psalms 1:6 God knows the way of the godly. In both passages the implication is that God knows and approves of the godly ways of the righteous. Thus God knew Jeremiah intellectually, intimately and selectively and approved of his life before he was ever born.

(3)Consecration: “I set you apart.” God had separated, sanctified or set apart Jeremiah for holy service before he was born. Here is the only use of this term in connection with a prophet in the Old Testament. While the word here primarily involves “vocational sanctification,” the idea of “ethical sanctification” is not altogether absent. God alone is holy. When the Old Testament speaks of a man being “made holy” or “sanctified” it means that a person is to be exclusively devoted to God for His purposes and in His service. It is interesting that Jesus speaks of Himself as “sanctified and sent into the world” by the Father (John 10:36).

(4) Installation: “I have appointed you.” The word translated “appointed” literally means “to give, to put or place.” Implied in the meaning is an appointment that carries with it the impartation of spiritual gifts which would enable one to perform the tasks for which he was appointed. Did the Lord appoint Jeremiah to his prophetic office prior to his birth or at the very time this statement was made? This is the only verb in Jeremiah 1:5 which is not positively antecedent to the birth of Jeremiah, Nevertheless, in the light of the implications of the preceding three verbs it seems highly likely that the appointment also took place in the mind of God before the prophet’s birth.

From the time of his call there is planted in the heart of this young man the conviction that a combination of things happened even before his birth that were to be determining factors in his becoming a prophet. The endowments, and all the influences of heredity and education have shaped, molded and prepared his life for his prophetic career. Jeremiah came to realize that everything that he had received or that had happened to him worked together under the hand of God to prepare him for the work to which he was being called. The consciousness that he had been planned of God before his birth must have stirred the sensitive young man from Anathoth to the depths of his being. In the opinion of Freedman, “This consciousness must have sustained him and enabled him to triumph over the moods of despondency to which he was subject." It is useless to speculate as to whether Jeremiah could have refused the call of God. As a matter of fact he did not; and God in his infinite knowledge knew that Jeremiah would not spurn the summons to service. However the principle which is affirmed by Biblical revelation in general may be confidently affirmed viz., prescience on the part of God does not demand compulsion on the part of man.

b) An intimation concerning the future. A great deal is said later in the chapter concerning the future ministry of the prophet. Yet even here in the divine summons there is an intimation of the role that Jeremiah is to play in the divine scheme of things. Jeremiah is called to be a prophet. The Hebrew word translated “prophet” occurs some three hundred times in the Old Testament. The precise etymology of the word is uncertain. As the term is used in the Old Testament it means one who is “qualified, called, and commissioned to speak God’s truth to men." A prophet was a mouthpiece, a spokesman. He was one who stood in the divine inner council of God and then went forth to speak of what he had seen and heard. A prophet was a man who spoke to men on behalf of God and to God on behalf of men..

By virtue of its position in the Hebrew sentence the phrase “a prophet to the nations” receives emphasis. Here is something unique about Jeremiah for he is the only prophet to be designated as “a prophet to the nations.” His ministry was to embrace in a special way nations other than Judah. But since Jeremiah only left his native land on one occasion how can he be said to have performed an international ministry? The verse need not mean that Jeremiah is to go to the nations to proclaim his message. It may only mean that he is to include the nations within the scope of his prophecies. He was to be the exponent of God’s world plan in that age of convulsion and upheaval. It is completely unnecessary, then, to follow those critics who dismiss the phrase “prophet to the nations” as not being originally part of the text, or who emend the text in any way. Jeremiah was to become a prophet to the nations and this intimation of his future work is a genuine part of his call experience.

Several observations with regard to the title “prophet to the nations” need to be made:

1. Prophetic concern with foreign nations can be traced back through Isaiah and Amos to Elijah and Elisha and even to Samuel himself. Samuel commissioned Saul to destroy the Amalekite nation (1 Samuel 15). Elijah was commissioned by God to anoint Hazael as king of Damascus (1 Kings 19:15) and this task was discharged by his successor Elisha (2 Kings 8:7-15). Jonah was sent on a mission to Nineveh to proclaim the doom of that city. Amos and Isaiah uttered numerous oracles against foreign nations. Both of these eighth century prophets developed the theme that mighty Assyria was but a tool in the hands of God. Jeremiah himself described his prophetic predecessors as men who had “prophesied against many lands and great kingdoms” (Jeremiah 28:8).

2. The issues with which Jeremiah was to deal would of necessity involve the nations of his day. In the late seventh and early sixth centuries before Christ it was no longer possible to treat Judah as though that nation existed in a political vacuum. A judgment upon Judah would involve an international upheaval in which some powers would go down and others be built up. These were the political realities of that day.

3. A large portion of the Book of Jeremiah is devoted to oracles of doom against the nations. These oracles have been collected in chapters 46–51. In Jeremiah 25:15-29 Jeremiah addresses the small states of Syria-Palestine warning them that they must submit to the authority of Nebuchadnezzar or be destroyed.

The Human Response Jeremiah 1:6

In Jeremiah 1:6 the hesitation of Jeremiah is placed over against the decisiveness of God in the previous verses. Those called to special service by God were always humbly hesitant to accept their commission. Jeremiah was no exception. His response to the divine call was both emotional and logical.

1. The emotional response

Staggered by the responsibility of his call Jeremiah, relates that he heaved a deep sigh to God, “Ah!”. It is the same desperate sigh uttered by Joshua after the disaster at Ai (Joshua 7:7) and by king Jehoram when he saw his army fainting for lack of water in the wilderness (2 Kings 3:10). “Ah!” is not an entreaty that God should change the circumstances but is a lament that circumstances are what they are. It is a cry of alarm and pain. It is hesitation, not rebellion. Jeremiah was fond of the word and used it in three other passages (Jeremiah 4:10; Jeremiah 14:13; Jeremiah 32:17). The weeping prophet was acquainted with the vocabulary of lamentation.

2. The logical response

Jeremiah’s response to the divine summons is not purely on the emotional level. In the latter part of Jeremiah 1:6 he disclaims any adequate preparedness for the task to which God is calling him. To Jeremiah the call seemed impractical for two reasons: (1) his age, and (2) his lack of natural gifts.

a) His age. In the Hebrew word order the emphasis is on the youth of the prophet. The Hebrew word translated “youth” or “child” has a wide range of usage in the Old Testament. It is used of an infant (e.g., Exodus 2:6), a small boy (e.g., Genesis 21:12) or a young man of marriageable age (e.g., Genesis 34:19). The same word is used of Joshua at age forty-five (Exodus 33:11) and of Solomon when he succeeded his father as king (1 Kings 3:7). The Jewish Rabbis defined the word as referring to a youth of his fourteenth year. Estimates on the age of Jeremiah at the time of his call range from 17 to 25. Jeremiah is not rejecting the heavenly call in this verse but is, in effect, pleading for delay. It is as if he had said, “May I not wait till I can speak with the wisdom and authority that comes with years?” He was not saying “I will not,” but “I cannot; not now at any rate.”

Jeremiah may have mentioned his youth because he had not yet reached the age when he, as a priest, would be permitted to serve the Lord. During the wilderness wandering the years of service for the Levites were fixed from the twenty-fifth to the fiftieth year (Numbers 8:23-25). Later this age restriction was changed by David from twenty to fifty (1 Chronicles 23:24-32). One family of Levites, the Kohathites, could only serve from ages 30 to 50 (Numbers 4:3; Numbers 4:23; Numbers 4:30-35; Numbers 4:47). Could it be that Jeremiah was still a youth in the sense that he had not yet reached the age of priestly service? Still this was not a legitimate excuse as far as the prophetic ministry was concerned. The office of prophet was not limited to any definite number of years. God called men when He pleased and retained them as long as He desired.

b) The lack of natural abilities. Because of his youth Jeremiah felt a keen sense of inadequacy. Literally he says, “I do not know to speak” (i.e., “I do not know how to speak”). The word “know” in Hebrew frequently means “to be skilled or experienced in doing anything.” Like Moses he felt he did not have the powers of oratory which would win the attention of vast throngs. He did not have the persuasive abilities necessary to sway the conduct of hostile multitudes. A youth in antiquity was expected to be seen and not heard. Who would listen to him if he presumed to preach the word of God?

Verses 8-10

Jer 1:8-10

Jeremiah 1:8-10

"Be not afraid because of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith Jehovah. Then Jehovah put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Jehovah said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth: see, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

"Jehovah ... touched my mouth ..." (Jeremiah 1:9). The Holy Bible reveals that nothing is more powerful than the touch of the Lord’s hand. Our Saviour blessed the children by a touch, placing his hands upon them (Luke 18:15); he cured all kinds of diseases by a mere touch, sometimes even by the touching of his garment (Matthew 2:8; Matthew 2:15); and he even raised the dead, taking the deceased daughter of Jairus by the hand (Luke 7:14).

"To pluck up, to break down, to destroy, to overthrow, to build and to plant" (Jeremiah 1:10). These six mighty infinitives outline the scope of Jeremiah’s commission, which was very largely one of destruction; but as indicated by the last two, "giving ground for hope following judgment."

The situation which called for such drastic action upon God’s part was the result of the general moral decay and apostasy which had engulfed, not merely Judah, but the whole world as well. When the first general apostasy came upon mankind, God’s answer was the Great Deluge. The second such defection from the knowledge of God resulted in God’s choice of a Chosen People who were commissioned to preserve and propagate the knowledge of the true God until the times of Messiah; but in that mission Israel utterly failed; and in the awful conditions in the times of Jeremiah, God would respond by the abrogation of the covenant with the Once Chosen People, and the final termination of their status of enjoying God as their husband. Their kingdom, and their favored status ended in the Babylonian captivity. Henceforth, Judah would continue as God’s protected servant until Messiah should be born and cradled in the manger at Bethlehem! But all of the glorious promises to the patriarchs would be fulfilled in a "righteous remnant" who would form the nucleus of the New Israel in Christ; and all racial considerations on God’s part disappeared forever! Four times the New Testament declares that, "There is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles" (Acts 11:12; Acts 15:9; Romans 3:12 and Romans 10:12).

The Divine Assurance Jeremiah 1:7-10

When called of God Moses brought forth excuse after excuse; but Jeremiah only needed encouragement and reassurance. The Lord took steps to give that timid and hesitant young prophet the encouragement he needed. The assurance in these verses is fourfold: assurance of (1) direction, (2) deliverance, (3) power, and (4) authority.

1. Assurance of divine direction (Jeremiah 1:7)

The divine assurance begins not with promises of assistance but with a gentle rebuke and a reaffirmation of His will. “Do not say, I am only a youth.” God is telling Jeremiah that his focus is wrong. Jeremiah had been looking at himself, whereas he should have had his focus on obedience to God. The emphasis throughout these verses is on the divine “I” and not the weak human “you”: “I send you . I have commanded you . I am with you . I have placed My words in your mouth . I have made you an overseer.” Thoughts of self are altogether out of place in one who has received a divine commission. It was Jeremiah’s duty simply to obey the instructions of his Sovereign. The objections raised by Jeremiah are beside the point. Often men try to set feeble excuses against the plain call of God. They imagine that they are being modest. They plead a lack of qualification or strength or ability when in fact they may be doubting and mistrusting the power of God to provide for His own work.

Jeremiah’s focus needed to be lifted from self to God (Jeremiah 1:7). He need not worry about where he will go or what he shall say. The Lord will direct his ways and his words. All Jeremiah needs to do is follow the leading of the Lord. He is to go where God sends him and speak what God commands him. The verbs “go” and “speak” in Jeremiah 1:7 are not imperatives but imperfects in Hebrew and for this reason most translators render them in English as futures. But the imperfect sometimes has imperative force and in the present context an imperative seems to fit best. After all God’s “wills” are in reality “musts.” When God is directing a ministry He will provide both the place and the power for service. God in effect is saying here, “Where you will go and what you will say is My business.” A great burden lifted off the shoulders of the young priest when he heard these reassuring imperatives.

The limits of Jeremiah’s preaching are clearly defined. He is to preach what God commands. He is not called to propagate the philosophies of men or to concoct and say what is clever and interesting and amusing. Jeremiah was called to preach the word! The greatest temptation that any preacher faces is that of identifying his own desires, interests and opinions with those of God. If every preacher would make his preaching as broad and as narrow as the expressed commandments of God he would avoid this pitfall.

2. Assurance of divine deliverance (Jeremiah 1:8)

The Lord saw within the heart of Jeremiah a fear of those to whom he was sent. Jeremiah had not said he was afraid but the Lord saw the fear in his heart. Sinful men never had welcomed a message of judgment and condemnation, and there was strong possibility of reprisal. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord says to his prophet, “for I am with you.” The Hebrew reverses the order and has it “with you am I.” What words of comfort. God spoke these words to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:12), Joshua at Jordan (Joshua 1:15) and Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:15). They are reminiscent of the parting words of Jesus: “Lo I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). The major point of emphasis here is that God will be available to his prophet. But implicit in these words is a warning that the Lord will be near him to mark his words and deeds.

God promises to “deliver” Jeremiah. Deliver him, but from what? From hardship? From trial? From discouragement? From slander and attack? Hardly! The promise is not that Jeremiah will be free from danger but that God will be his Deliverer. It is not that Jeremiah would remain unhurt physically, mentally, emotionally throughout his ministry. It is rather that God will deliver him from destruction at the hands of his enemies. He will not be delivered from trial but will be enabled to pass through trial.

3. Assurance of divine power (Jeremiah 1:9)

Jeremiah declares that after the assurance of divine direction and deliverance “the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth.” It is obvious that this is not purely metaphorical (as in Psalms 51:15); it represents a real experience on the part of the prophet. This experience however must have been a visionary one analogous to that which Isaiah experienced at the beginning of his ministry. But why did God touch the lips of the prophet? In Isaiah the touching of the lips was for purification; here, for communication. The hand is the symbol of making and doing. The act symbolized the fact that God was taking over his mouth, remaking it. Henceforth Jeremiah would speak with the tongue (authority) of God.

4. Assurance of divine authority (Jeremiah 1:10)

The divine summons closes with assurance that Jeremiah will have divine authority. God declares “I have made you an overseer over the nations and kingdoms,” i.e., the officer who puts God’s plan into operation. His ministry will have both a negative and a positive emphasis. Four verbs describe the negative work that the prophet must perform: (1) to uproot like a noxious weed; (2) to tear down; (3) to destroy; and (4) to raze or overthrow. Of course the prophet himself would not have the power to do these things; but it would be his mission to announce what God was about to do. Jeremiah fulfills this part of his commission by preaching divine judgment upon the nations of his day. Old sinful Judah must be destroyed. So too must the foreign nations which have proudly lifted up themselves against their Creator be uprooted.

But Jeremiah is not merely a prophet of destruction; he is also a prophet of construction. Two infinitives describe the positive aspect of his ministry: (1) to build, and (2) to plant. Beyond the tumult of war and destruction Jeremiah was permitted to see the dawn of a new day. In the assessment of the ministry of Jeremiah the emphasis is on the negative. Four verbs are used to describe the destructive side of his ministry while only two verbs are used to describe the constructive aspect. Furthermore the negative elements are listed before the positive. As one reads through the Book of Jeremiah it is true that threatening is much more in the foreground and promise in the background. Yet somehow one gets the impression that the ultimate purpose of this prophet is to pave the way for that new day, that new beginning. The old must be swept away in order that the new can be inaugurated. In the words of Jensen:

“Jeremiah was to pluck up dead ritual and plant living worship, pluck Up vile ways and plant straight paths, pluck up degenerate hearts and plant new hearts of a new covenant."

Verses 11-12

Jer 1:11-12

Jeremiah 1:11-12

"Moreover, the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree. Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch over my word to perform it."

The meaning of this vision turns upon the fact of the almond-tree being the first one that puts out blooms in the spring. JKP translated almond-tree here as "`The early-awake tree’; the Hebrew word translated `almond’ means this.” Thus, the revelation to Jeremiah was that, just as the almond tree in bloom signified the near-approach of spring, so God was soon to bring his word to pass.

In the last half of chapter 1 the call of Jeremiah is confirmed and amplified through two visions and further words of exhortation and encouragement. The two visions are of particular interest. The first one expresses a general principle of prophecy; the second deals with a particular concrete application. Before considering the visions themselves two preliminary matters need to be touched upon: (1) the time of the visions, and (2) the nature of them.

The time of the visions. Hyatt calls the visions “inaugural visions” but it really is not certain that they were part of the call experience or even that they followed immediately after the call. The fact that each vision has a separate introductory formula would suggest a certain time interval between the call and the visions and between the two visions as well. If these visions did not come immediately upon the call of Jeremiah they were given very early in his career for God seems to use them to assure Jeremiah of his prophetic call. They are confirmatory tokens. The visions also serve to create within Jeremiah an awareness that momentous events affecting the kingdom of Judah were imminent.

The nature of the visions. God made known His will and purpose through two kinds of visions in the Old Testament. In the first type of vision the prophet saw with his mind (or perhaps with his eyes, who can say) an object or scene which had no external reality. In this kind of vision God produced what was seen and also provided the interpretation of it. In the second type of vision the prophet happened to notice or was directed to notice an object or scene. He meditated upon what he saw and as he did so God revealed to him the prophetic significance of it. In the one case God caused the prophet to see a significant object; in the other, God caused the prophet to see significance in an object. Into which one of these two vision categories do the visions in Jeremiah 1 fall?

It is difficult to decide whether God showed the almond rod and the boiling pot in mental visions or whether Jeremiah happened to see the external objects and then learned their symbolic significance through divine revelation. In both visions God asked Jeremiah “What do you see?” The same language is used in Jeremiah 24:3 where the problem again arises as to the nature of what the prophet saw. The absence of the words “the Lord showed me” which are present in other similar passages (e.g., Jeremiah 24:3; Amos 7:8; Amos 8:2) might suggest that Jeremiah did not receive a mental vision. However the phrase “the Lord showed me” is sometimes absent in contexts where mental vision is mandatory (e.g., Zachariah Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 5:2). Exegetically, then, decisive evidence with regard to the nature of what Jeremiah saw in chapter 1 is lacking. The present writer is inclined to think that as Jeremiah meditated on these common, every day objects God caused him to see in them a mystic or prophetic significance.

The Vision of the Almond Rod Jeremiah 1:11-12

As Jeremiah held in his hand an almond walking stick or rod God caused the prophet to come to a tremendous realization. The almond tree which blossoms in January was poetically named by the Hebrews the wakeful tree because it was the first to awake from winter sleep. When God asked Jeremiah what he saw His purpose was not only to direct the attention of the prophet to the almond rod, but also to get the prophet to pronounce the word for almond. The Hebrew word for almond tree is shaked and the Hebrew word for watch (or wakeful) is shoked. Here then is paronomasia or word play. God is using the rod of “wake-tree” wood to show Jeremiah that He is wakeful.

Aside from the word play, what is the import of this vision? First, the vision speaks of God’s concern. Since the days of wicked Manasseh no judgment had befallen the nation of Judah. As in the winter season all was at rest. But the Keeper of Israel does not slumber or sleep (Psalms 121:4). Amid the moral and spiritual deadness round about, God was awake. He was aware of and concerned about the corrupt condition of the nation. At times things seemed to go unchecked, evil seems to triumph and men assume that God is dead or unconcerned. But the winter of moral desolation cannot last forever; the Lord is wakeful. When the season of judgment has fully come the Wakeful One will manifest Himself as the God of wrath.

The almond rod also suggests the chastisement of the nation. As Aaron’s almond rod that budded in the wilderness was a token of God’s wrath against the rebellious (Numbers 17:8) so now the almond rod which Jeremiah observes presages the outpouring of God’s judgment upon the apostate people of another time. It is not a branch with twigs and leaves which the prophet sees but rather a stick used for walking or striking. This would be a most appropriate symbol of an instrument of chastisement. The symbolic significance would not be lost upon a prophet who knew the writings of Isaiah: “Ho Assyrian, the rod of My anger, the staff in whose hand is My indignation!” (Isaiah 10:5).

The third focus of the almond rod vision is that of the certainty of prophetic revelation. God is watching with persistent care to see that His word is performed. He sees to it that His word does not return unto Him void but rather accomplishes His good pleasure (Isaiah 55:11). Whether it be judgment or salvation, threat or promise His word will come to pass. Jeremiah need have no fear that he will ever be embarrassed or proven to be wrong if he preaches the word of God. Thus the prophet can be absolutely confident that what he predicts through divine revelation will be fulfilled. Such confidence would enable Jeremiah to preach with boldness, power and assurance. Every preacher should remember that he is the messenger of Him who watches over His word; no promise shall fail, no threat shall go unfilled.

Implicit in the first vision is the calendar of divine judgment. When one in Palestine sees the almond tree blossom he knows that spring is hastening inevitably onward. As the almond among the trees hastens to put forth its leaves, so God is hastening (note the translation of the King James Version) to perform His word of judgment. Such was the interpretation of the great Jewish commentators Rashi and Kimchi. On God’s calendar, judgment was imminent.

Verses 13-16

Jer 1:13-16

Jeremiah 1:13-15

"And the word of Jehovah came to me the second time, saying, what seest thou? and I said, I see a boiling caldron; and the face thereof is from the north. Then Jehovah said unto me, Out of the north shall evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith Jehovah; and they shall come, and they shall set everyone his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah."

"A boiling caldron ..." (Jeremiah 1:13). This boiling caldron was something similar to an old fashioned washpot; and its being tilted toward the south indicated that the disastrous judgments upon Jerusalem would come from military expeditions attacking from the north. Some think there may be a reference here to the Scythians; but we explored this possibility in the Introduction and rejected it. "The meaning was that the great Babylonian power at the north of Palestine would soon be directed against Judea."

It may be objected that Babylon, strictly speaking, was not actually north of Judea; but military actions against Jerusalem invariably came from that direction. Herodotus informs us that the Babylonian assault against Jerusalem indeed came from that direction.

"Strictly speaking, the Babylonians were an eastern people from the point of view in Palestine; but the caravan-roads which the Chaldean armies had to take entered Palestine at Dan and then proceeded southward."

"Evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land ..." (Jeremiah 1:14). A better word than `evil’ in this place would be `calamity.’ "The Hebrew word often means `misery,’ `distress,’ or `trouble,’ as well as `evil.’ " `The inhabitants of the land’ is a reference to the population of Palestine.

The fulfillment of this prophecy that foreign kings would set up their thrones in the gates of Jerusalem is recorded in Jeremiah 39:1-4.

Regarding Jeremiah 1:15, RKH pointed out that it is in no sense compatible with the theory that the passage here applies to a Scythian invasion. There is no evidence whatever that any Scythian king ever set his throne in the gates of Jerusalem; but "All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate" (Jeremiah 39:3); and the very next verse names no less than six members of the royalty who did so, "along with all the rest of the princes of the King of Babylon!" This of course, explains the use of the plural "kings" in the prophecy (Jeremiah 1:15).

Dummelow explained the purpose of kings sitting in the gates thus:

The function of administering justice was exercised by the king himself; and the neighborhood of the city gate was the ordinary place at which trials were held. The prophecy states that here then the rulers of the invader’s army will sit in judgment on the conquered people.

The Seething Caldron Jeremiah 1:13-16

At some undetermined time subsequent to the almond rod revelation Jeremiah experienced another vision. He observed a large cooking or wash pot over an open fire. The same kind of pot was used by a whole company of prophets to cook their meals (2 Kings 4:38). It probably was made of metal (Ezekiel 24:11). He describes the pot as seething or boiling. The Hebrew word here means literally “blown up.” The idea seems to be that the fire beneath the pot had been fanned into a fierce flame by a blast. of wind thus bringing the contents of the pot to a boil. So much is clear. But what did Jeremiah mean when he said “its face is from the north”? The King James translation “to the north” has been rightly corrected by more recent English versions. “Its face” probably refers to the side of the pot facing Jeremiah. Others think the face of the pot was what one would see as he looked into the pot, i.e., the contents. The face of the pot is “from” i.e., away from, “the north.” If the pot is tilting away from the north it must be tilting toward the south. How the pot got in this precarious position is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it had been set unevenly on the fire at the start or perhaps as the materials on which it was standing were consumed the pot settled unevenly and the southern side sank.

Nothing could be more appropriate in describing the political conditions in the days of Jeremiah than a seething caldron. The whole Fertile Crescent was seething with plans for revolt after the death of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 627 B.C. The Assyrian empire was tottering. The Neo-Babylonian kingdom was rising on the horizon. Shortly the calamitous contents of that political caldron would be unleashed against the inhabitants of Judah. The word translated “unleashed” (ASV, “shall break forth”) means literally, “opened.” Cheyne suggests that the caldron had a lid and the removal or falling off of this lid is the “opening” to which the prophet alludes. It is also possible that the evil or calamity in the north was “opened” in the sense of “revealed.” The “evil” (ASV) or calamity which is the subject of Jeremiah 1:14 is the invasion of Judah by hordes of Babylonian soldiers. The word translated “land” in this verse can also mean “earth.” Here the former meaning is intended as Jeremiah 1:15 indicates.

The key word in Jeremiah 1:14 is the word “north.” Previous to the battle of Carchemish the Babylonians are only mentioned vaguely by Jeremiah as a northern people. See Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1; Jeremiah 10:22. Strictly speaking they were an eastern people from the point of view of Palestine. However, the caravan route which the armies of Babylon would follow as they swept southward entered Palestine at Dan (cf. 4:I5 and Jeremiah 8:16) and then proceeded due south. Jerusalem could be attacked successfully only from the north, as the west, south, and east sides of the city were rendered practically impregnable by deep valleys. Thus the ominous and as yet unidentified enemy is pictured as coming from the north.

The significance of the boiling caldron pouring forth its contents toward Judah is explained in Jeremiah 1:15. God will summon against Judah all the families of the kingdoms of the north. The army of king Nebuchadnezzar was made up of mercenaries of the various kingdoms which he had conquered. This vast throng would attack Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. The “thrones” might refer to the formal judgment passed upon the inhabitants of the conquered city by the victorious Babylonian generals. On the other hand “thrones” might be metaphorical for the tents of the enemy generals or perhaps even for some of the large siege instruments. The formula “oracle of the Lord” (ASV “saith Jehovah”) underscores the truth of the prediction made in this verse. This is the first of numerous occurrences of this expression in the Book of Jeremiah. The expression is one of the strongest possible claims of inspiration in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 1:16 makes it clear that the coming conquerors are but instruments of God who is sending His divine judgment upon an apostate people. The expression “speak or pronounce judgments” is peculiar to Jeremiah, occurring elsewhere only in 2 Kings 25:6. See Jeremiah 4:12; Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:9. The judgment falls upon Judah because of all of their wickedness. Three specific examples of this wickedness are cited: (1) They had deserted the true God and were thus guilty of infidelity; (2) they had burned incense to false gods; and (3) they had worshiped graven images. The Hebrew word translated “offered incense” has a general sense (“to make sacrifices smoke”) and a specific sense (“to offer incense”). It is difficult to know in many passages which sense is intended. Bright has proposed that the word be rendered “sending up offerings.” The phrase “other gods” refers of course to false gods and does not imply that Jeremiah recognized the actual existence of other deities beside God. Jeremiah’s own strict monotheism is proved by such passages as Jeremiah 2:27; Jeremiah 8:19; Jeremiah 10:1-16 and Jeremiah 16:20.

Jeremiah 1:16

"And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands."

The boiling caldron was poised to spill all of its devastating consequences upon the Once Chosen People, but such drastic action was not due to caprice or accident on the part of the Lord. The people of Judah deserved the frightful punishment which fell upon them. When the wickedness of any people or nation has reached a certain point, God will no longer tolerate it. That fact lies behind the fact that the ancient peoples of Canaan were conquered and destroyed by Israel under Joshua. Let anyone read the record of the ruthless destruction by which Israel, under the blessing of God, wrested Palestine away from those who once lived there; and why? Their wickedness had gone beyond the suffering limits of the grace of God. Now, when Israel herself had become even worse than Sodom and Gomorrah (Ezekiel 16), it was righteous and just that the same punishment should fall upon them.

When Israel entered Canaan, they had been commanded to destroy all of the shrines, pillars, and images erected to the honor of pagan gods and to exterminate their evil worship; but Israel had not done this. Instead, they had revived all of the old pagan debaucheries and even expanded them; and under such circumstances, judgment, of necessity, fell upon the apostate people, only a `righteous remnant,’ continuing in the worship of the true God.

Verses 17-19

Jer 1:17-19

Jeremiah 1:17-19

"Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at them, lest I dismay thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee, saith Jehovah, to deliver thee."

"Gird up thy loins ..." (Jeremiah 1:16). This is the equivalent to the modern admonition for one to "roll up his sleeves" and go to work. The loose robe-type garment generally worn was shortened and made less cumbersome by tightening the thong usually tied around the middle.

Although Jeremiah 1:5 had made the fact of predestination a sure factor in Jeremiah’s life, Jeremiah 1:17 "Enunciates the requirement of obedience. The prophet who is ashamed to stand forth with the word will soon have no word to proclaim; but the Lord of the word can make his servant impregnable, unlike the disloyal state of Judah.”

"Against the people of the land." (Jeremiah 1:18). The Anchor Bible renders this "`The landed gentry’; because this is a technical term for the important landholders.”

The manner in which God did indeed protect and bless Jeremiah is truly amazing. In spite of being sentenced to death, the king of Judah was powerless to execute the sentence. "The astonishing thing is that Jeremiah lived as long as he did. How long he lived is an unexplained miracle of history.”

It happened to Jeremiah, exactly like it happened to God’s "Two Witnesses" in the Apocalypse. God said. "I will give power unto my ... witnesses. These have power ... to smite the earth as often as they will ... and when they have finished their testimony ... the beast ... shall overcome them and kill them" (Revelation 11:3; Revelation 11:6; Revelation 11:11). So it was with Jeremiah who was immune to every danger until his work was done; and then "the beast" (Apostate Judah) put him to death by stoning; but Jerusalem nevertheless continued in captivity until her sentence ended.

Exhortation and Encouragement Jeremiah 1:17-19

After a brief preview of the fate of Jerusalem the divine eye again focuses on the key man for the hour. First comes the exhortation (Jeremiah 1:17) and then the encouragement (Jeremiah 1:18-19).

1. Words of excoriation

The verbs in Jeremiah 1:17 are most instructive. Three positive commands are followed by one prohibition. The first command, “gird up your loins,” implies preparation. Before beginning a journey, starting a race or engaging in conflict an oriental would bind up his loose flowing robes so as not to be hindered in his movement. Cf. Gehazi on an urgent mission (2 Kings 4:29); Elijah racing from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:46). Jesus also advised his disciples in Luke 12:35 : “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps be burning.” “Gird up the loins” then implies (1) readiness for action and (2) energy in action. God is saying to the prophet “Prepare yourself for a strenuous ministry.” In modern idiom God might say to a preacher, “Roll up your sleeves!”

The second command, “Stand up,” implies action! He is to begin his prophetic ministry immediately. The king’s business is urgent and there is no time for loitering. The third command, “speak,” points to the primary task of the prophet viz., the communication of the word of God. As in Jeremiah 1:7, the prophet is directed to preach nothing more and nothing less than what the Lord has commanded.

The fourth command, a negative one, is accompanied by a word of warning. God knew that during his ministry Jeremiah would on numerous occasions face hostile crowds, angry shouts, mocking, taunting, jeering, insolent opponents. The message of divine judgment always stirs such reactions among godless sinners. True preachers of the word must constantly battle the temptation to be intimidated by their audience and to compromise their message. Thus the Lord commands His prophet, “Do not be dismayed because of them.” He must not permit himself to break down before his audience nor show any signs of fear nor let his fear cause him to alter the message. A stern warning accompanies this commandment, “lest I shatter your nerve before them.” If Jeremiah shows the least bit of fear for his enemies they will be able to get the best of him. One moment of weakness will finish him as God’s messenger. Only fear of the Lord will save a man of God from the fear of his congregation.

2. Words of encouragement

The challenging “as for you” to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:17) is balanced by the assuring “as for Me” of the Lord (Jeremiah 1:18). God does not make demands without supplying needs. When God gives the prophet a message to deliver he also gives him the courage to deliver it and the strength to withstand the reaction it provokes. Jeremiah would be fortified by divine strength. Three metaphors are used to portray the protection which Jeremiah would experience: (1) He would be as invincible as a fortified city which might withstand enemy bombardment for years. (2) He would be as indestructible as an iron gate which could withstand the heaviest attack. (3) He would be as impregnable as a wall of bronze, the toughest metal known to the ancients. Walls of wood might be destroyed by fire and walls of stone might ultimately be battered down; but all the weapons of ancient warfare would be ineffective against walls of brass. Though all segments of the population—the kings, princes, priests and people of the land—might oppose him, yet God would give him the strength to endure.

Metaphorical language gives way to literal warning and promise in the last verse of chapter 1. Jeremiah would be famous but he would not be popular. All the powerful figures of the nation will fight against him but they will not prevail. God will come to his rescue. His adversaries might win the skirmishes but they will not win the war. Jeremiah is not promised deliverance from persecution and suffering but from being defeated by persecution and suffering. Here then is the contrasting picture presented by this verse: Jeremiah hated and attacked by men but loved and protected by his God. The invincible Lord will stand with him; he cannot be defeated. On this positive note the call narrative concludes.

The Call of Jeremiah - Jeremiah 1:1-19

Open It

1. What does it feel like to bring news that you know will be unpopular?

2. When have you been chosen for a task for which you felt totally unqualified?

Explore It

3. How is Jeremiah identified at the beginning of the book bearing his name? (Jeremiah 1:1)

4. How long did Jeremiah serve as a prophet to Judah? (Jeremiah 1:2-3)

5. How did God announce to Jeremiah that he was chosen as a prophet? (Jeremiah 1:5)

6. What was Jeremiah’s assessment of his own abilities in relation to God’s call? (Jeremiah 1:6)

7. How did God respond to Jeremiah’s reservations? (Jeremiah 1:7)

8. What promise did God make to Jeremiah from the outset of his ministry? (Jeremiah 1:8)

9. By what action did God transform Jeremiah into His mouthpiece? (Jeremiah 1:9)

10. How did God describe Jeremiah’s mission as prophet? (Jeremiah 1:10)

11. By what symbol did God show Jeremiah that He was watching both Jeremiah and the people of Judah? (Jeremiah 1:11-12)

12. What did the boiling pot tilting away from the north symbolize? (Jeremiah 1:13-15)

13. What sins had caused God to execute judgment on Judah by means of the peoples from the north? (Jeremiah 1:16)

14. What consequences did God promise if Jeremiah did not say what He commanded? (Jeremiah 1:17)

15. Although He predicted that the people would oppose Jeremiah, what did God promise His prophet? (Jeremiah 1:19)

Get It

16. What difference can it make to know that God knew us and set us apart even before our birth?

17. What reservations do you have about your ability to serve God according to His call?

18. When we tell people about Christ, whose words do we speak?

19. How did God make it clear to Jeremiah that there was nothing to fear?

20. Why do you think God sent Jeremiah to Judah, knowing that they would fight against him?

21. What is the source of our strength to preach God’s Word?

Apply It

22. When can you make a list of the ways you have seen God work in your life throughout your life?

23. What regular practice of prayer, meditation, or Bible study can you use to enhance your fear of the Lord and put your fear of people into perspective?

Questions on Jeremiah Chapter One

By Brent Kercheville

1. Describe God’s call to Jeremiah. What do we learn about God? What do we learn about God’s plan?

2. What is Jeremiah’s response to God’s calling? Can you relate to Jeremiah?

3. Explain God’s response to Jeremiah’s response. How does God deal with Jeremiah’s objections? What lessons do we learn?

4. What is Jeremiah’s mission given by God (Jeremiah 1:9-10)? Explain.

5. Explain the two visions Jeremiah sees and their meanings (Jeremiah 1:11-16).

6. What are God’s fnal words to commission Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:17-19)? What is Jeremiah told to do?

TRANSFORMATION: How does this relationship change your relationship with God? What did you learn about him? What will you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-1.html.
 
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