Jeremiah 1 Commentary


The call of Jeremiah (1:1-10)

Jeremiah belonged to a priestly family that lived not far from Jerusalem. However, he may never have practised as a priest, for God’s will was that he be a prophet. His prophetic ministry lasted at least forty years. It began in 627 BC (the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign) and continued into the era that followed the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC (1:1-3).

God had chosen Jeremiah to be a prophet before he was born. He was to be God’s messenger to Judah and the surrounding nations (4-5). At the time God called him to be a prophet, Jeremiah was probably no more than twenty years of age. When he objected that he was too young and inexperienced


for such a task, God replied that he would be with him and give him the message to speak. Jeremiah had no cause to be afraid (6-8).

Much of Jeremiah’s message would not be popular and at times would appear to be pessimistic because of its repeated announcements of God’s judgment. Nevertheless, judgment was necessary, because proud self-confidence must be broken down and the corruption of sin removed before new spiritual life can grow up (9-10).

Two visions (1:11-19)

To encourage Jeremiah in the work that lay ahead of him, God gave him two visions. The almond, first tree to bloom in spring, symbolized God’s watchfulness and constant readiness to keep his promises (11-12. The Hebrew word for ‘almond’ sounds like the Hebrew word for ‘watching’). The giant boiling pot, tilted from the north so as to pour its contents over Judah, symbolized a foreign army entering Judah from the north and overrunning the country. This was a judgment brought about by God because of Judah’s idolatry (13-16).

God told Jeremiah he was not to be afraid in announcing Judah’s doom, for God cannot use a coward. He warned that Jeremiah had a lifetime of opposition ahead of him, but at the same time he promised to specially strengthen his servant. All the attacks on Jeremiah, whether from political leaders, religious leaders or the people at large, would not overcome him, because God would strengthen and defend him (17-19).

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