1. The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin:
1. Verba Jercmiae filii Helkiae, ex sacerdotibus qui erant in Anathoth, in terra Benjamin,
2. 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.
2. Nempe (
3. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh ear of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
3. Et fuit (hoc est, perrexit in, cursum vocationis suae) diebus Joakim, filii Josiae, regis Jehudah, usque ad complementum undecimi anni Zedechiae, filii Josiae, regis Jehudah, ad transmigrationem Jerusalem, mense quinto.
I Have said that the time, when Jeremiah began to discharge his office of a Prophet in God's Church, is not stated here without reason, and that it was when the state of the people was extremely corrupt, the whole of Religion having become vitiated, because the Book of the Law was lost: for nowhere else can be found the rule according to which God is to be worshipped; nor can right knowledge be obtained from any other source. It was then, at the time when impiety had by a long custom prevailed among the Jews, that Jeremiah suddenly came forth. There was then laid on his shoulders the heaviest burden; for many enemies must have risen to oppose him, when he attempted to bring back the people to the pure doctrine of the law, which the greater part were then treading under their feet.
He calls himself the
With regard to his father, it is nothing strange that the Rabbins have regarded him as the high priest; for we know that they are always prone to vain boastings. Ambition possessed them, and hence they have said that Jeremiah was the son of the high priest, in order to add to the splendor of his character. But what does the Prophet himself say? He declares indeed that he was the son of Hilkiah, but does not say that this was the high priest; on the contrary he adds, that he was
"What," he says, "is your security? Ye can hear the noise of your enemies and the groans of your brethren from your very gates; for Anathoth is not far from you, being only three miles distant."
Since then Jeremiah only says, that he came from Anathoth, why should we suppose him to be the sort of the high priest? And frivolous is what the Chaldee paraphraser adds here, that Hilkiah had possessions in the town of Anathoth, as though it was allowed the priests to possess land: God allowed them only what was necessary to feed their flocks. We may then take it as certain, and what the Prophet indeed expressly declares, that he came from the village of Anathoth.2
He further says, that he was of the
He begins in the second verse to speak of his calling.3 It would have, indeed, been to little purpose, had he said that he came forth and brought a message; but he explains, in the second verse, that he brought nothing but what had been delivered to him by God, as though he had said, that he faithfully declared what God had commanded him. For we know that the whole authority belongs entirely to God, with regard to the doctrine of religion, and that it is not in the power of men to blend this or that, and to make the faithful subject to themselves. As God, then, is the only true teacher of the Church, whosoever demands to be heard, must prove that he is God's minister. This is, then, what Jeremiah is now carefully doing, for he says that the
He had before said,
As to the beginning of his time and its termination, it has been briefly shewn, why he says that he had been chosen a prophet in the thirteenth year of Josiah, and that he discharged his office till
1 The word does not properly mean a " child, " as in our version, or " puer, " as rendered by Calvin, but a youth, or rather a young man. Abraham's trained servants were thus called, Genesis 14:24, and his servant who dressed the calf for the angels, Genesis 18:7, and his " young men" who accompanied him to Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:5. Joshua had this name given him, when he was attending Moses at the tabernacle, Exodus 33:11. It is rendered " (
There are two remarkable resemblances between Jeremiah and Moses. They both made an excuse for declining the office to which God called them, and made a similar excuse. The other resemblance is what Lightfoot has noticed, that Moses was a teacher of the people for forty years before they entered the land of Canaan, and that Jeremiah was their teacher for forty years before they were banished from it and driven into exile.-Ed.
2 The reasons alleged against Jeremiah being the son of the high priest are by no means conclusive: indeed, all the circumstances being considered, the probability is in favor of that supposition. The family of the high priest resided no doubt at Anathoth; what is said in 1 Kings 2:26, respecting Abiathar, is a proof of this. That the high priest resided at Jerusalem during the term of his office forms no objection; nor is the genealogy of the high priests as given in 1 Chronicles 6:1-17, any objection; for though in verse 13, Azariah is said to be the son of Hilkiah, yet Jeremiah might have been one of his younger sons. Most commentators agree indeed with Calvin, -Gataker, Henry, Scott, Blayney, etc.; but they adduce no satisfactory reasons, sufficient to invalidate the opinion of the Rabbins and the intimation contained in the Targum: and this opinion is what the translators of the Geneva Bible have adopted. Ed.
3 The second verse begins with
Yr hwn y daeth gair Jehova atto.
The verb too, as in the Hebrew, precedes its nominative; " came" is before " the word of Jehovah." It is rather singular that the Septuagint have rendered this relative by "
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