Jer 1.1-19 will tell us about the life and times of Jeremiah, his call to be a prophet, and his reluctance to answer that call. Yehovah will not take no for an answer, and we learn of his first lessons in his training.
v 1…The words of Jeremiah (Hebrew “Yiramayahu” meaning Yehovah loosens), the son of Hilkiah of the priests who were in Anathoth (not Hilkiah the high priest in 2 Kings 22.8, but of the priests in Anathoth, of the family of Ithamar. Abiathar was a high priest and had fields in Anathoth in 1 Kings 2.26. Jeremiah was a common priest) in the land of Benjamin.
v 2…to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah (he began then so he prophesied well after Isaiah, Amos and Micah), the son of Amon, the king of Judah in the thirteenth year of his reign (when Josiah was 21; five years later they would find the book the Torah in 2 Kings 22.3).
v 3…It came (the word of Yehovah) also in the days of Yehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile of Jerusalem in the fifth month (no mention is made of Yehoahaz because his reign was three months. So Jeremiah prophesied about forty years, until the month of Av when Jerusalem fell).
v 4…Now the word of the Lord (Yehovah) came to me saying (in the thriteenth year of Josiah),
v 5…”Before I formed you (Psa 139.13-16) in the womb I knew you (not just by omniscience, but a special care and affection for him), and before you were born I consecrated you (set you apart): I have appointed you a prophet to the nations (by Yehovah’s decree, before he was even conceived, he had this calling, so it didn’t start in v 2; and this applies to all believers who are called of God-Eph 1.4).”
v 6…Then I said, “Alas, Lord God (Adonai Yehovah)! Behold (see), I do not know how to speak (this throws Jeremiah into a panic, like Moses in Exo 4.10-17 and Isaiah 6.5. Jeremiah thought he was too young), because I am a youth (“inexpererienced”-1Kings 3.7).”
v 7…But the Lord (Yehovah) said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth (inexperienced)’ because everywhere I send you (as a “shaliach” or agent God will tell him what to say, so his “youth” is just an excuse) you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”
v 8…”Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord (Yehovah will rescue him from every troublesome encounter).”
v 9…Then the Lord (Yehovah) stretched out his hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me (to consecate him, similar to Isaiah in Isa 6.7, and then he explains what he did), “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth (according to the law of agency-Deut 18.18).
v 10…See, I have appointed you this day (as a prophet and a shaliach, or sent one) over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant (notice that four words are used to describe the “destroying’ and only two words are used to describe the “building.” This is to indicate that his primary role is going to be pronouncing judgment on the nations).
Now we are going to deal with what is called “Midrashic Name Derivations” in Hebrew poetry. This is the use of the same word in a different sense, or words if similar root or sound to produce a similar effect, or in other words “puns” as in Mic 1.10-16 for example, but there are many, many other examples in Scripture.
v 11…And the word of the Lord came to me saying (to confirm his calling), “what do you see Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree (Hebrew “shaked” and the almond tree is called the “hastening/awakening tree” because it is the first fruits of spring. This also alludes to Yeshua’s resurrection as the first fruits of spring and his first coming. Aarons rod was almond and it budded in Num 17.8, also alluding to the resurrection).”
v 12…Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching (Hebrew “shoked”) over my word to perform it (Yehovah is about to hasten or awaken his word of judgment against Judah and the nations. There will be no delay-Psa 147.15).”
v 13…And the word of the Lord came to me a second time saying (in the same vision), “What do you see?” and I said, “I see a boiling pot (with fire under it) and its face is from the face of the north (facing from the north (judgment is brewing from the north).”
v 14…Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north (Babylon will attack from the north) the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land (even the innocent are going to suffer-Ezek 20.47).”
v 15…”For behold, I am calling all the families of the north (under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar),” declares the Lord; “And each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah (they will pitch their military tents and camp around Jerusalem in safety);
v 16…And I will pronounce my judgments on them concerning all their wickedness (of Israel), whereby they have forsaken me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands (idols made of gold, silver, wood, etc).
v 17…Now, gird your loins (get ready), and arise, and speak to them all which I command you (go from Anathoth to Jerusalem). Do not be dismayed before them (don’t shrink back in fear), lest I dismay you before them (shame him before them).
v 18…Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city (which cannot be taken; believers are seen as a city-Ecc 9.14; Job 30.14; Isa 60.14) and as a pillar of iron and as a wall of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah (several kings), to its princes (chief people and rulers), to its priests (the religious leaders) and to the people of the land (common people; God will protect him against all levels of society who is is sent to confront).
v 19…And they will fight against you (because of what you are going to tell them) but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord (assuring him that he will be Jeremiah’s strength; the lesson for us is this, if you think God called you, make sure it is God and not yourself wanting to be called. That is because when it gets tough, the word God has put in you will keep you on track and the mission will be accomplished).