Jeremiah 1

Verse 25. The wolf and the lamb, &c.] The glorious salvation

which Jesus Christ procures is for men, and for men only: fallen

spirits must still abide under the curse: "He took not on him the

nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham."

Shall feed together] For keechad, as one, an ancient MS.

has yachdav, together; the usual word, to the same sense, but

very different in the letters. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate

seem to agree with the MSS.-L.




Chronological notes relative to the commencement of

Jeremiah's prophesying

-Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, 3375.

-Year from the Deluge, according to the generally received

Hebrew text, conferred with Ac 7:4, 1719.

-Fourth year of the thirty-seventh Olympiad.

-Year from the building of Rome according to the Varronian

account, 125.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 629.

-Twelfth year of Ancus Martius, the fourth king of the Romans:

this was the one hundred and twentieth year before the

expulsion of the Tarquins.

-Nineteenth year of Phraortes, the second king of Media.

-Twenty-third year of Archidamus, king of Lacedaemon, of the

family of the Proclidae.

-Sixteenth year of Eurycrates II., king of Lacedaemon, of the

family of the Eurysthenidae.

-Third year of Sadyattes, king of Lydia, which was the

eighty-second year before the conquest of this kingdom by


-Twelfth year of Philip, the sixth king of Macedon, or the two

hundred and ninety-third before the commencement of the reign

of Alexander the Great.

-Thirteenth year of Josiah, king of Judah.

-Epoch of the building of Cyrene by Battus, according to some



General title to the whole Book, 1-3.

Jeremiah receives a commission to prophesy concerning nations

and kingdoms, a work to which in the Divine purpose he had been

appointed before his birth, 4-10.

The vision of the rod of an almond tree and of the seething

pot, with their signification, 11-16.

Promises of Divine protection to Jeremiah in the discharge of

the arduous duties of his prophetical office, 17-19.


Verse. 1. - 3. The words of Jeremiah] These three verses are the

title of the Book; and were probably added by Ezra when he

collected and arranged the sacred books, and put them in that

order in which they are found in Hebrew Bibles in general. For

particulars relative to this prophet, the times of his

prophesying, and the arrangement of his discourses, see the


Eleventh year of Zedekiah] That is, the last year of his reign;

for he was made prisoner by the Chaldeans in the fourth month of

that year, and the carrying away of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

was in the fifth month of the same year.

Verse 4. The word of the Lord came unto me] Then I first felt

the inspiring influence of the Divine Spirit, not only revealing

to me the subjects which he would have me to declare to the

people, but also the words which I should use in these


Verse 5. Before I formed thee] I had destined thee to the

prophetic office before thou wert born: I had formed my plan, and

appointed thee to be my envoy to his people. St. Paul speaks of

his own call to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in similar

terms, Ga 1:15, 16.

Verse 6. I cannot speak] Being very young, and wholly

inexperienced, I am utterly incapable of conceiving aright, or of

clothing these Divine subjects in suitable language. Those who are

really called of God to the sacred ministry are such as have been

brought to a deep acquaintance with themselves, feel their own

ignorance, and know their own weakness. They know also the awful

responsibility that attaches to the work; and nothing but the

authority of God can induce such to undertake it. They whom God

never called run, because of worldly honour and emolument: the

others hear the call with fear and trembling, and can go only in

the strength of Jehovah.

"How ready is the man to go,

Whom God hath never sent!

How timorous, diffident, and slow,

God's chosen instrument!"

Verse 7. Whatsoever I command thee] It is my words and message,

not thine own, that thou shalt deliver. I shall teach thee;

therefore thy youth and inexperience can be no hinderance.

Verse 8. Be not afraid of their faces] That is, the Jews, whom

he knew would persecute him because of the message which he

brought. To be fore-warned is to be half armed. He knew what he

was to expect from the disobedient and the rebellious, and must

now be prepared to meet it.

Verse 10. I have-set thee over the nations] God represents his

messengers the prophets as doing what he commanded them to declare

should be done. In this sense they rooted up, pulled down, and

destroyed-declared God's judgments, they builded up and

planted-declared the promises of his mercy. Thus God says to

Isaiah, Isa 6:10: "Make the heart of this people fat-and shut

their eyes." Show them that they are stupid and blind; and that,

because they have shut their eyes and hardened their hearts, God

will in his judgments leave them to their hardness and darkness.

Verse 11. A rod of an almond tree.] shaked, from

shakad, "to be ready," "to hasten," "to watch for an opportunity

to do a thing," to awake; because the almond tree is the first to

flower and bring forth fruit. Pliny says, Floret prima omnium

amygdala mense Januario; Martio vero pomum maturat. It blossoms in

January, when other trees are locked up in their winter's repose;

and it bears fruit in March, just at the commencement of spring,

when other trees only begin to bud. It was here the symbol of that

promptitude with which God was about to fulfil his promises and

threatening. As a rod, says Dahler, is an instrument of

punishment, the rod of the almond may be intended here as the

symbol of that punishment which the prophet was about to announce.

Verse 12. I will hasten my word] Here is a paronomasia. What

dost thou see? I see shaked, "an almond," the hastening

tree: that which first awakes. Thou hast well seen, for (

shoked) I will hasten my word. I will awake, or watch over my

word for the first opportunity to inflict the judgments which I

threaten. The judgment shall come speedily; it shall soon

flourish, and come to maturity.

Verse 13. A seething pot-toward the north.] We find, from

Ezekiel, Eze 24:3, &c., that a

boiling pot was an emblem of war, and the desolations it

produces. Some have thought that by the seething pot Judea is

intended, agitated by the invasion of the Chaldeans, whose land

lay north of Judea. But Dr. Blayney contends that

mippeney tsaphonah should be translated, From the face of the

north, as it is in the margin; for, from the next verse, it

appears that the evil was to come from the north; and therefore

the steam, which was designed as an emblem of that evil, must have

arisen from that quarter also. The pot denotes the empire of the

Babylonians and Chaldeans lying to the north of Judea, and pouring

forth its multitudes like a thick vapour, to overspread the land.

Either of these interpretations will suit the text.

Verse 14. Shall break forth] tippathach, shall be opened.

The door shall be thrown abroad, that these calamities may pass

out freely.

Verse 15. Shall set every one his throne at the entering of the

gates] As the gates of the cities were the ordinary places where

justice was administered, so the enemies of Jerusalem are here

represented as conquering the whole land, assuming the reins of

government, and laying the whole country under their own laws; so

that the Jews should no longer possess any political power: they

should be wholly subjugated by their enemies.

Verse 16. I will utter my judgments] God denounced his

judgments: the conquest of their cities, and the destruction of

the realm, were the facts to which these judgments referred; and

these facts prove that the threatening was fulfilled.

Worshipped the works of their own hands.] Idolatry was the

source of all their wickedness, and was the cause of their

desolations. For lemaasey, the works, more than a hundred

MSS. of Kennicott's and De Rossi's, with many editions, have

lemaaseh, the work. Idolatry was their ONE great WORK, the

business of their life, their trade.

Verse 17. Gird up thy loins] Take courage and be ready, lest I

confound thee; take courage and be resolute, pen, lest by their

opposition thou be terrified and confounded. God is often

represented as doing or causing to be done, what he only permits

or suffers to be done. Or, do not fear them, I will not suffer

thee to be confounded. So Dahler, Ne crains pas que je te confonde

a leurs yeux, "Do not fear that I shall confound thee before

them." It is well known that the phrase, gird up thy reins, is a

metaphor taken from the long robes of the Asiatics; which, on

going a journey, or performing their ordinary work, they were

obliged to truss up under their girdles, that the motions of the

body might not be impeded.

Verse 18. I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron

pillar, and, brazen walls] Though thou shalt be exposed to

persecutions and various indignities, they shall not prevail

against thee. To their attacks thou shalt be as an impregnable

city; as unshaken as an iron pillar; and as imperishable as a

wall of brass. None, therefore, can have less cause to apprehend

danger than thou hast. The issue proved the truth of this promise:

he outlived all their insults; and saw Jerusalem destroyed, and

his enemies, and the enemies of his Lord, carried into captivity.

Instead of chomoth, walls, many MSS. and editions read

chomath, a wall, which corresponds with the singular nouns


Verse 19. They shall not prevail against thee] Because I am

determined to defend and support thee against all thy enemies. One

of the ancients has said, θεουθελοντοςκαιεπιριποςπλεησωζη

Thestius, apud Theophil. ad Autolyc. lib. ii. "God protecting

thee, though thou wert at sea upon a twig, thou shouldst be safe."

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