Commentary on Jeremiah

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Nebuchadrezzar was forced to lift the siege temporarily to meet a threat from Egypt, giving the people of Jerusalem false hope that they would be saved. However, Nebuchadrezzar returned after dealing with the Egyptians, laid siege to Jerusalem once more, and in B.

I have appointed Hebrew: nathan you a prophet to the nations.

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These verses tell of the call of Jeremiah, which is similar in several ways to the calls of Moses Exodus , 17 , Gideon Judges , Isaiah Isaiah , and Ezekiel Ezekiel It is easy to underestimate the power of a word. Words have the power to encourage or discourage—to heal or to wound. The words of a great visionary or orator have the power to stir crowds to build or mobs to destroy.

They understood that words lead to actions —produce results—have consequences. This was particularly true with regard to a word from Yahweh. Their earliest scriptures gave witness to the power of a word from God. The word of Yahweh, therefore, has the power to create or to destroy and is not to be taken lightly. We should note that in the original text the name of God is Yahweh in this verse. It is also related to the Hebrew word for potter. The Hebrew word, yada , suggests an intimate kind of knowing.

It is the deep relationship that comes with commitment. The Israelites are familiar with things that have been consecrated or set apart for religious purposes. The tabernacle and temple were places set apart for worshiping God, and such were holy. In this case, Yahweh set Jeremiah apart for prophetic work, a holy calling. To disregard such a calling would be as serious as failing to observe the Sabbath or to maintain the sanctity of the temple. The Hebrew word nathan means to give, to put or place, or to make.

The use of this word in this context suggests something more than the bestowal of a title or the appointment to an office. Yahweh has given Jeremiah the gift of prophecy. He has put in him that which makes Jeremiah a prophet. Prophecy is the specific task to which Yahweh has set Jeremiah apart. He is to be a prophet, not only to Judah, but also to the nations. Chapters are oracles of judgment on foreign nations. While his writing includes concern for people in need ; ; ; ; , ; , this is simply one example of the righteousness that God expects of his people and for which God will hold them accountable.

First and foremost, God expects them to repent of their sins and to become faithful to him once again. Jeremiah responds by protesting his inadequacy for the task. Second, he is too young for the task to which Yahweh has called him. Yahweh often prefers working with the least obvious person as a way of avoiding confusion.

We see the same principle at work in the New Testament. The response of the prophet Isaiah to his call was both similar and different—not so much a protest but more a lament. For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies! God calls whom God calls! It is no wonder that people protest their inadequacy at the time of their call. Who is adequate to speak for the Lord? The key to understanding vocation is the realization that the fulfillment of the call is dependent, not on our ability, but on God.

Jeremiah 1 Bible Commentary - Matthew Henry (concise)

God enables those whom God calls. The only question is not whether we are capable or worthy which we are not but whether we will answer the call—whether we will step out in faith and allow God to work through us. The person whom God chooses can expect to stand toe-to-toe with kings and giants—powerful people who are quite capable of crushing their opposition. Some people such as David accepted the judgment spoken by the prophet, but others such as Herod ended up killing the messenger.

God promises to protect Jeremiah. This is not a promise that God routinely makes to prophets. Prophets were routinely persecuted Matthew , and sometimes were killed. When God promises to deliver Jeremiah, he is not promising Jeremiah an easy life. People will curse him He will find himself cut off from happy celebrations He will be placed in stocks overnight and become a laughingstock He will be beaten and thrown in a muddy cistern He will grieve over the fate of the people who fail to listen to his warnings ; ; He will not be allowed to marry, and will be lonely.

Did Jeremiah think of himself as the promised prophet? There are reasons to believe that Jesus is the promised prophet. He will speak more words of judgment than words of mercy, and will be remembered as a prophet of doom. The order is intentional. Israel must experience judgment before it can experience mercy. Only after the people of Israel experience judgment will they turn to God and seek his mercy.

We see this same tearing down and building up cycle at work in the life of Jesus. He died on a cross so that he might experience the resurrection and, in the process, defeat death once and for all. For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! The purpose is to free the person from the constraints of tight clothing—to enable the person to move freely, to work or to fight without stricture.


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His standing up will announce that he is ready for action—that he has something to say—that they should listen. First, Jeremiah is to tell the people what the Lord tells him to say. Instead, they were exiles. How then were they to live? Should they resist being exiled? Should they rebel against the Babylonian conquerors? What about the false prophets that said this exile would be short-lived? It was under this very scenario that God spoke to the people through the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah answered these questions for the people of exile then and by extension, answers these very same questions for us today. It was a type of Paradise, a picture of Paradise, but not Paradise itself. So while the people longed for home, for the Promised Land, their longing was for something temporary. Jerusalem was not their eternal home. Yet even in the social rebellion, Christian morals were still deemed as the norm.

Christmas programs included the Luke 2 narrative while kids portrayed Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men. Prayer before football games was standard. Not so much anymore. The new normal has taken tolerance and moved it toward court-ordered acceptance and support of lifestyles that not too long ago were deemed to be deviant.

And so we long for what once was. The United States of America is not our eternal home. It never was. How then are we to live? For what God told the exiles then is still true for us today. There are three points in this passage. In verse 4 we first learn why the Jews were in exile. Second, we learn in vv. And third we learn in vv. Why the Jews were in exile So why were the Jews from Jerusalem in exile?

Read verse 4 again. Take a closer look. The prophet Jeremiah is telling the people that this message is coming directly from God. The God who made a covenant with the people of Israel is the same God making this decree.

Or in other words, God is all powerful. Thus, this statement through Jeremiah was made by the all-powerful God who made a covenant with Israel that He would be their God and they would be His people. God caused them to be carried away captive. But why? Why did the Promised Land fall under the authority of foreign and ungodly kingdoms? How does this apply to us today? Our first parents, Adam and Eve, lived in Paradise.

There was no sin and they were in perfect fellowship with God.

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Jeremiah: Prophet of Judgment and of Hope

Then came the fall. Having been born with the sin of our first parents, we are likewise exiled from Paradise.

We live in this land as exiles. The exile out of Paradise was caused by sin. The exile to Babylon was caused by sin. Regardless of where we live on this earth, those of us who profess the Name of Christ are exiles longing for our real Home. How the Jews were to live as exiles So how then are we exiles to live?

Jeremiah 1

That is what Jeremiah answers in vv. The Jewish exiles were to live normal lives. Specifically, they were given four instructions. First, they were to build houses and plant gardens. With a sense of semi-permanency, they were told to live and work in Babylon. To build houses and to live in them is to establish themselves as members of the community. While transplanted to Babylon as captives, they were to nevertheless become citizens.

And as citizens, they were to work there. By planting gardens and eating the fruit thereof, they were instructed to be laborers, earn wages, start businesses and contribute to the commerce of the land. Second, they were told to marry, have children and give their children in marriage. They were to carry on and grow as a people and not diminish. Now notice here, these first two instructions were nothing more than the command to carry out the cultural mandate given in Genesis 1, to subdue the earth and be fruitful and multiply.

Before sin entered the world Adam and Eve were given the mandate to subdue the earth and be fruitful and multiply. Sure, the curse of sin from Genesis 3 certainly made this more difficult through thorns and thistles, the pain of childbearing and marital strife. But we are still called to carry out this mandate.

In doing so, Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew that we are salt and light. We are to carry out our work, practice our marriages, and raise up children in such a way as to preserve and enlighten society to the glory of God. Furthermore, they were called to pray peace for Babylon. In fact, King Cyrus asked in Ezra that priests in this newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem would pray for the king and his family. As exiles today, we are likewise called upon to pray for and work toward the peace of our nation.