Jeremiah (Ch 1-2)

Around 629 BC, which is about a hundred years after the house of Israel had been exiled to Assyria, the words of the Lord came to Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah; hence Jeremiah is the general title of this prophecy, and includes all his discourses and sermons; and designs not in Jeremiah’s 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”; the Targum says, “the words of the prophecy of Jeremiah;” who is described by his descent and parentage, “the son of Hilkiah.” This Hilkiah could be the same high priest, who in the days of king Josiah, of the southern house of Judah, found the book of the law.

The Targum is another source of the Bible, much like the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The Targum was started by Ezra for those returning from the Babylon exile and for these returnees they could only understand the Scriptures in Aramaic. Hence the Targum is as if Ezra is speaking to us from the Hebrew Bible quoted.

Jeremiah 1

1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, — Jeremiah was of a priestly family; also a Levite, but he lived in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin; Jerusalem was designated to Benjamin, not Judah, which is further south, centred around Bethlehem;

— to be more specific, Anathoth was a city about three miles north of Jerusalem in the tribe of Benjamin, but designated and belonged to the priests, Joshua 21:18.

to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. — in the thirteenth year of his reign: in the twenty first of Josiah’s age, for he began to reign when he was eight years old, and he reigned eighteen years after, for he reigned in all thirty one years; and it was five years after this that the book of the law was found by Hilkiah the high priest;

— king Josiah was said to have reigned 640–609 BC; so the thirteenth year of his reign would be around 628 BC.

It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. — and it came also in the days of Jehoiakim (reign: 609–598 BC), the son of Josiah king of Judah… in the beginning of his reign, and in the fourth year of his reign; see Jeremiah 25:1.

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” — before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee not merely by his omniscience, but knows Jeremiah before his conception and birth; in the sense the Lord knows those that are his.

Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child.” — then said I, Ah, Lord God!…. the word אהה, “Ah” is used in distress and grief, showing that the prophet was troubled and uneasy at his call, and would gladly have been excused on the following account;

— behold, I cannot speak; or, “I know not how to speak” properly, politely and eloquently, especially before great personages, kings and princes, and the citizens of Jerusalem; a similar excuse Moses made, Exodus 4:10;

— the Targum says, “I know not to prophesy: for I am a child”; meaning either in knowledge and understanding, or in years; not a mere child, but a “junior” as the Septuagint version renders it: a “young man.”

— the Targum is an indispensable source of understanding the Bible. Started by Ezra for those returning Jews from Babylon and for these returnees they could only understand the Sacred Text in Aramaic; hence the Targum is as if Ezra is speaking to them in ancient times and to us from the Sacred Text.

But the Lord said unto me, “Say not, ‘I am a child,’ for thou shalt go to all whom I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. — for thou shall go to all that I shall send thee; either to “every place”, as the Targum paraphrases: “to all persons to whom” he should be sent;

— or as the Septuagint renders the words; or “to all things for which” he should send him. The sense is, that he should go everywhere, and to every person, and on every errand and message he should be sent unto and with.

Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee,” saith the Lord. — be not afraid of their faces… their stern looks, their frowning brows, and angry countenances, which would threaten him with destruction and death;

— for I am with thee, to deliver thee, saith the Lord; out of their hands, when in the most imminent danger. 

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, “Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth. — behold, I have put my words in thy mouth; by the seeing of this symbolical action in his vision, and the hearing of these words, Jeremiah could not but be assured that he should be able to speak in the proper language of a prophet.

10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” — to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down; that is, to foretell that such a kingdom and nation should be rooted out;

— as a tree or plant that is plucked up by the roots; and that such an one should be pulled, and thrown down, and destroyed, as may be understood of the destruction of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar, of their temple, city, and nation;

— to build, and to plant, the royal family of the house of David; which applied to the planting of Jewish princesses to Ireland;

— the destruction of Zedekiah’s Pharez line; to the planting of the Zarah line ruling in the British Isles! (for more see “Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright” by J.H. Allen).

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, “Jeremiah, what seest thou?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” — and I said, I see a rod of an almond tree; a dry stick, without leaves or fruit upon it, and yet he knew it to be an almond tree stick; though some think it had leaves and fruit on it, by which it was known;

— the Targum says, “and I said, a king hastening to do evil I see;” meaning Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, hastening to bring destruction upon the house of Judah.

12 Then said the Lord unto me, “Thou hast well seen, for I will hasten My word to perform it.” — for l will hasten my word to perform it; the name of the almond tree in Hebrew; which is so called because it is quick and early, and hastens to bring forth its flowers, leaves, and fruit; in like manner the Lord says he would hasten to perform what he had said or should say by him concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people.

13 And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, “What seest thou?” And I said, “I see a seething pot, and the face thereof is toward the north.” — the Targum paraphrases the words thus, “and I said, I see a king boiling as a pot, and the banner of his army, which was brought and came from the north;”

— a boiling pot or a boiling cauldron denoting Judea or Jerusalem, expressed by the same figure, Ezekiel 11:3Ezekiel 11:7Ezekiel 24:3.

— much like the four angel asked to let loose the river of Euphrates, for the 200 million on horseback to ride over in Revelation 9:15-16 to slay a third part of men.

14 Then the Lord said unto me, “Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. — out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land; that is, out of Babylon, which lay north, and so the Talmud says: northeast to the land of Israel; from hence came Nebuchadnezzar and his army, which are meant by “the evil” that should break forth, or be opened and let loosed, which before were bound and hindered by the providence of God;

— here in Jeremiah, the house of Judah had been constantly warned of an enemy coming out from the NORTH, but in Ezekiel 20-21, the house of Israel had been warned of a yet ‘unknown’ enemy of the future coming from the SOUTH (more at the end).

15 For lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” saith the Lord; “and they shall come and they shall set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. — and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah; not only besiege Jerusalem, and take that, but also all the rest of the cities of the land.

16 And I will utter My judgements against them concerning all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. — and I will utter my judgements against them… not against the kingdoms of the north, but against the people of the house of Judah. The sense is, that God would enter into judgement with this people, and pass sentence upon them, and execute it;

— for they worshipped the works of their own hands: idols of gold, silver, brass, and wood, which their own hands formed and carved, and which argued great stupidity and ignorance.

17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee. Be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. — and arise; and go from Anathoth to Jerusalem; and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee, the fact of his being the Lord’s messenger and envoy once more being stressed;

— be not dismayed at their faces, shrinking back before them, lest I confound thee before them, so that he would be rejected, crushed, and overcome before them.

18 For behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land — against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. — against the whole land of Judea, against all its inhabitants and the kings of Judah; in successive reigns, as Jehoahaz (reign 609), Jehoiakim (reign 609–598), Jehoiachin or Jechonias (reign 598–597), and Zedekiah (reign 597–586);

— against the priests who all of them dealt falsely, and were given to covetousness, Jeremiah 8:10; and against the people of the land; who were grievously addicted to idolatry, and all manner of wickedness.

19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee,” saith the Lord, “to deliver thee.” — and they shall fight against thee… the Targum adds, “that they may hide the words of thy prophecy;”

— for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee; as he did; he hid him when they sought for him, and delivered him out of the dungeon and bonds into which he was cast by them.


More on a prophecy of an “enemy” coming from the SOUTH:

Ezekiel 20:45 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
46 “Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the southland.
47 And say to the forest of the south: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee and every dry tree. The flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
48 And all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.’”
49 Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! They say of me, ‘Doth he not speak parables?’”
Ezekiel 21: And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 “Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel;
3 and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth My sword out of his sheath and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.
4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall My sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north,
5 that all flesh may know that I, the Lord, have drawn forth My sword out of his sheath. It shall not return any more.’

Q: Who is this enemy from the SOUTH, and how would such scenarios be played out?

Jeremiah 2

1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, — the Targum calls it, “the word of the prophecy from the Lord.”

“Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord: “‘I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. — in the wilderness, in a land that had not been cultivated; where they passed through many difficulties;

— the Targum says, “and they walked after my two messengers, after Moses and Aaron, in the wilderness forty years without food, in a land that was not sown;”

— and lived upon the providence of God, which, in a wonderful manner, supported them with the necessaries of life, which otherwise they could not have had.

Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them,’” saith the Lord. — evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord; His punishment descended upon the Amalekites, the Amorites, and upon all other nations that interfered with His plans for His chosen people. Such were the manifestations of God’s mercy and kindness to Israel, and therefore His rebuke certainly came with good reason.

Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. — this in respects the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the ten tribes had long been carried away captives to Assyria.

Thus saith the Lord: “What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and have become vain? — the Targum says, “what falsehood have your fathers found in my word?” None at all; God is a covenant keeping God.

Neither said they, ‘Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through and where no man dwelt?’ — the Lord that brought them out through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death; where there were scorpions, fiery serpents, drought,

— and no water, and so very dangerous as well as uncomfortable travelling; and yet through all these obstacles they were led and wonderfully supplied and preserved.

And I brought you into a plentiful country to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land and made Mine heritage an abomination. — the Targum paraphrases it; with wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates and olives; a land flowing with milk and honey, Deuteronomy 8:8;

— but when ye entered ye defiled my land; which the Lord had chosen above all lands, where he would have a temple built for his worship, and where he would cause his Shekinah to dwell; but this they defiled by their sins, and particularly by their idolatry.

The priests said not, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And they that handle the law knew Me not; the pastors also transgressed against Me; and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. — and they that handle the law knew me not; and according to Rashi, the Sanhedrin, the lawyers and scribes, the rabbis and doctors of the law, whose business it was to read and explain it; these they did not understand;

— and the prophets prophesied by Baal; in his name; pretending to be inspired by that idol, and to receive the spirit of prophecy from him.

“Therefore I will yet plead with you,” saith the Lord, “and with your children’s children will I plead. — wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord… either verbally, by reasoning with them, and reproving them for their ignorance, stupidity, and idolatry; or by deeds, inflicting punishment upon them;

— so the Targum, “therefore I will take vengeance on you, or punish you, saith the Lord.”

10 For pass over to the isles of Chittim and see; and send unto Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. — and send unto Kedar; which was in Arabia, and lay to the east, as Chittim to the west; and so the Targum paraphrases it, “send to the provinces of the Arabians.”

11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But My people have changed their Glory for that which doth not profit. — hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? In spite of the fact that their idols were false gods, the heathen at least had the pride and the decency of clinging to their gods; 

— but My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit, exchanging their possession of their true God, for vain idols, with less consistency than that shown by the ignorant and despised heathen.

12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be ye very desolate,” saith the Lord. — in astonishment and horror the Lord cries out: Be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate,” saith the Lord; all which may be signified by storms and tempests, by thunder and lightning, and by the sun’s withdrawing its light.

13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. — for My people have committed two evils, thus exceeding even the heathen with their one transgression of foolish idolatry: (1) they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, the only true and living God, 

— and (2) hewed them out cisterns, whose waters lack the freshness and the sparkle of spring- or well-water, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Putting aside the one and only Source of spiritual life and power, they placed their trust in gods which belied even the outward appearance that men had given them.

14 “Is Israel a servant? Is he a home born slave? Why is he despoiled? — is Israel a servant?… that he does not abide in the house, in his own land, but is carried captive, becomes subject to others, and is used as a slave.

15 The young lions roared at him and yelled, and they made his land waste; his cities are burned without inhabitant. — the young lions roared upon him, and yelled… or, “gave out their voice”; meaning the kings of the nations, as the Targum explains it; and are to be understood of the kings of Assyria and Babylon, and particularly of Nebuchadnezzar; see Jeremiah 50:17.

16 Also the children of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of thy head.

17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God when He led thee by the way? — hast thou not procured this unto thyself, the Israelites having brought this calamity upon themselves, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord, thy God, when He led thee by the way? on the good path of His will, on the road of righteousness.

18 And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? — Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria; to send to them for help; for this was the usual method of first the house of Israel and later the house of Judah;

when the Assyrians oppressed them, then they sent to Egypt for help; and when the Egyptians were upon them, then they applied to the Assyrians; and in both cases acted wrong, for they ought to have sought the Lord their God only.

19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee. Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that the fear of Me is not in thee,” saith the Lord God of hosts. — thine own wickedness shall correct thee… that is, either their wickedness in going to Egypt and Assyria, and the ill success they had in so doing might be an instruction to them to act otherwise, and a correction of their sin and folly; or that their wickedness was a reason, and a very just one, why they were chastened and corrected by the Lord.

20 “For of olden time I have broken thy yoke and burst thy bonds; and thou saidst, ‘I will not transgress,’ when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. — upon every high hill, and under every green tree, thou wanderest, playing the harlot; that is, committing spiritual whoredom or idolatry with idols, set on high hills and mountains, and under green trees, groves, and shady places; going from one idol to another, as harlots go from one stew to another; or as whoremongers go from harlot to harlot.

21 Yet I had planted thee, a noble vine, wholly a right seed. How then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me? — yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed… it is usual to compare the children of Israel to a vineyard, and to vines; and their settlement in the land of Canaan to the planting of vines in a vineyard; see Isaiah 5:1.

22 For though thou wash thee with soda and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me,” saith the Lord God. — the sense is, let this backsliding and degenerate people take whatever methods they need to cleanse themselves from their sins, as by their ceremonial ablutions and sacrifices, which was the usual method they had recourse to, to purify themselves, and in which they rested:

— yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God; or, “will retain its spots” these remain; the filth are not washed away; their iniquities are not hidden and covered; they appears very plain and manifest;

— the Targum says, “for if you think to be cleansed from your sins, as they cleanse with nitre, or make white with “borith”, or soap; lo, as the mark of a spot which is not clean, so are your sins multiplied before me, saith the Lord God.”

23 “How canst thou say, ‘I am not polluted; I have not gone after the Baalim’? See thy way in the valley; know what thou hast done. Thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways, — I have not gone after Baalim? or, “the Baalim”; the idols of the people, as the Targum interprets it; for there were many Baals, as Baalzephon, Baalpeor, Baalzebub, and others.

24 a wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure. In her need who can turn her away? All they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.

25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst. But thou saidst, ‘There is no hope; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.’

26 “As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed—they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets, — as the thief is ashamed when he is found, put to shame by the evidences of his guilt, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, leaders and people in the same condemnation.

27 saying to a stock, ‘Thou art my father,’ and to a stone, ‘Thou hast brought me forth.’ For they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us!’

28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble; for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. — but where are thy gods that thou hast made? Let them save thee in times of thy troubles, O Judah! Idolaters of all times and places have the same experience, namely, that idols of any kind cannot deliver them from trouble, no matter how great their numbers.

29 “Why will ye plead with Me? Ye all have transgressed against Me,” saith the Lord. — ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord; high and low, rich and poor, great and small; men of all ranks, degrees, and character; kings, priests and prophets; and therefore ought not to contend with God, and charge him with injustice or unkindness, but themselves with folly and wickedness.

30 “In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction. Your own sword hath devoured your prophets like a destroying lion. — the rod of chastisement was used in vain; the afflictions that came upon them had no effect on them to amend and reform them; they were never the better for them:

— your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like Isaiah, who were sent to them to reprove and correct them, but they were so far from receiving their correction, that they put them to death.

31 O generation, see ye the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? A land of darkness? Why say My people, ‘We are lords; we will come no more unto Thee’?

32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. — yet my people have forgotten me; which shows great stupidity and ingratitude; the Lord not being so much to them, from whom they had received so many favours, as the ornaments of a maid, and the attire of a bride, are to them.

33 Why readiest thou thy way to seek love? Therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways. — the Targum says: “why dost thou make thy way beautiful, to procure loves (or lovers) to be joined to the people?”

— or the sense is, why art thou so diligent and industrious to make thy way, which is exceeding bad, look a good one, by sacrifices and ceremonies, oblations and ablutions, in order to seek and obtain my love and favour, which is all in vain? it is not to be gained by such methods.

34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents; I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. — in thy skirts is found the blood of poor innocents, of holy men and prophets who dared to reprove Israel for her sins. I have not found it by secret search, such a careful scrutiny was not necessary in this case, but upon all these, on account of the sin of idolatry, which finally led to the murder of the Lord’s servants.

35 Yet thou sayest, ‘Because I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead with thee because thou sayest, ‘I have not sinned.’ — surely his anger shall turn from me; the anger of God, since innocent; or, “let his anger be turned from me”, or as the Septuagint says; pleading for the removing of judgements upon the foot of innocency, which is pretended.

36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? Thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. — sometimes going one way, and sometimes another; sometimes to Egypt, and then to Assyria; seeking sometimes to the one for help, and sometimes to the other;

why change thy way? in forming alliances with her heathen neighbors. Thou also shall be ashamed of Egypt, whose vassal Israel was for a while, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria, after King Ahaz had sent there for help, but ultimately ended up being their captives.

37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him with thine hands upon thine head; for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them. — and thine hands upon thine head; plucking and dishevelling the hair, as women in distress; so Tamar, when abused by her brother, laid her hand on her head, and went out crying, 2 Samuel 13:19.

~ by Joel Huan on November 1, 2021.

One Response to “Jeremiah (Ch 1-2)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 1 and 2 HERE ~ —— […]

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