Jeremiah 1:1

(1-3) The first three verses contain the title prefixed to the collection of prophecies by some later editor. This title would seem, from its unusual fulness, to have received one or more additions--Jeremiah 1:1 giving the general title, Jeremiah 1:2 the commencement of Jeremiah's prophetic work, Jeremiah 1:3 the period of his chief activity and its conclusion. Strictly speaking, indeed, we see from the book itself that his work continued after the beginning of the captivity.

The words of Jeremiah.--The more usual title of prophetic books is "the word of the Lord by the prophet," but the title of Amos (Amos 1:1) is in the same form as this. The Hebrew for "words" has a somewhat wider connotation than the English, and is translated "acts" in 1Kings 11:41; 2Chronicles 33:18.

Hilkiah.--Possibly the high priest of that name (2Kings 22:4; 2Kings 23:4). See Introduction.

Anathoth.--In the tribe of Benjamin, one of the cities assigned to the priests, apparently to the house of Ithamar, to which Abiathar belonged (1Kings 2:26; Joshua 21:18; 1Chronicles 6:60).

That were in Anathoth.--There is no verb in the Hebrew, and the description belongs to Jeremiah individually, not to the priests.

Verse 1. - The words of Jeremiah. This introductory formula only occurs here and in Amos 1:1. The editor of Jeremiah and of Amos deserts the usual phrase ("burden" or , "utterance," "vision," "the word of the LORD which came," etc.) in order to give fuller information concerning the origin of the prophetic writers (but see on ver. 2). On the name Jeremiah, and on the position occupied by Hilkiah, see Introduction. That were in Anathoth. So Vulgate; Septuagint, however (followed by Payne Smith), makes the relative refer to Jeremiah (ὅς κατῴκει). But in this case would not the phrase have been "Jeremiah the priest," etc. (comp. Ezekiel 1:1)? Anathoth was one of the priestly cities (Joshua 21:18); it lay on or near the great northern road (Isaiah 10:30), and has been identified by Dr. Robinson (so also by Lieutenant Conder) with 'Anata, situated on a ridge, an hour and a quarter north-northeast from Jerusalem.

1:1-10 Jeremiah's early call to the work and office of a prophet is stated. He was to be a prophet, not to the Jews only, but to the neighbouring nations. He is still a prophet to the whole world, and it would be well if they would attend to these warnings. The Lord who formed us, knows for what particular services and purposes he intended us. But unless he sanctify us by his new-creating Spirit, we shall neither be fit for his holy service on earth, nor his holy happiness in heaven. It becomes us to have low thoughts of ourselves. Those who are young, should consider that they are so, and not venture beyond their powers. But though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our work, it should not make us draw back when God calls us. Those who have messages to deliver from God, must not fear the face of man. The Lord, by a sign, gave Jeremiah such a gift as was necessary. God's message should be delivered in his own words. Whatever wordly wise men or politicians may think, the safety of kingdoms is decided according to the purpose and word of God.The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah,.... This is the general title of the whole book, and includes all his discourses, sermons, and prophecies; and designs not his own words, but the words of the Lord, which were put into his mouth, and he delivered under divine inspiration. The Septuagint version renders it, "the word of God": and the Arabic version, "the word of the Lord": the Targum,

"the words of the prophecy of Jeremiah;''

who is described by his descent and parentage, "the son of Hilkiah". The Arabic version calls him Selkiah. This was not Hilkiah the high priest, who in the days of Josiah found the book of the law, 2 Kings 22:8 as Kimchi's father and Abarbinel think, and so Clemens of Alexandria (n); since he is not said to be a high priest, or of the high priests, but

of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin; though the Targum paraphrases the words to the other sense,

"of the heads of the ward of priests, of the amarcalin, or governors which were in Jerusalem, a man that took his inheritance in Anathoth, in the land of the tribe of Benjamin;''

nor is Jeremiah mentioned among the posterity of Hilkiah the high priest in 1 Chronicles 6:13, besides, Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth, must be of the family of Ithamar; the last of which family that was high priest was Abiathar, who had fields in Anathoth, 1 Kings 2:26, and so could be no other than a common priest; for Hilkiah the high priest was of the family of Phinehas; for, from the times of that Abiathar to the Babylonish captivity, there was no high priest but of that family. The Jews say that Jeremiah descended by his mother's side from Rahab the harlot (o). Anathoth was a city in the tribe of Benjamin, as is here said, and belonged to the priests, Joshua 21:18, it lay north of Jerusalem about three miles from it, according to Jerom (p) and others; but, according to Josephus (q), it was but twenty furlongs from it, that is, two and a half miles.

(n) Stromat. l. 1. p. 328. (o) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 14. 2. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 59. 3. Jarchi in loc. (p) Comment. in Hieremiam, I. 1. fol. 121. H. tom. 5. & I. 2. fol. 135. F. & I. 6. fol. 161. C. Isidor. Hispalens. de Vit. & Mort. Sanct. c. 38. (q) Antiqu. I. 10. c. 7. sect. 3. Ed. Hudson.

Isaiah 66:24
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