Jeremiah 1:2
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) In the thirteenth year of his reign.—If we take the data of 2 Kings 22, Josiah was at that time in his twentieth or twenty-first year, having grown up under the training of Hilkiah. His active work of reformation began five years later. The images of Baal and Asherah (the groves) were thrown down, and the high places desecrated. The near coincidence of the commencement of Jeremiah’s work as prophet with that of the king must not be forgotten. As Josiah reigned for thirty-one years, we have to place eighteen years of the prophet’s ministry as under his rule.

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.Came - literally, was (and in Jeremiah 1:4); the phrase implies that Jeremiah possessed God's word from that time onward, not fitfully as coming and going, but constantly.

The thirteenth year of his reign - According to the ordinary reckoning, this would be 629 b.c., but if the Ptolemaic canon be right in putting the capture of Jerusalem at 586 b.c., it would be two years later, namely 627 b.c. However, according to the Assyrian chronology, it would be 608 b.c. It was the year after that in which Josiah began his reforms.

2, 3. Jehoiakim … Josiah … Zedekiah—Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are omitted for they reigned only three months each. The first and last of the kings under whom each prophet prophesied are often thus specified in the general title. See on these kings, and Jeremiah's life, my [891]Introduction.

thirteenth … of his reign—(Jer 25:3).

fifth month—(2Ki 25:8).

The word of the Lord; either that commission from God that did authorize him to his prophetical work, as it may probably be taken, John 10:35, was actually given unto him, Jeremiah 1:10; or, command of God, as it is used, 1 Kings 12:24; or rather, the materials of which his prophecies were to consist, for the space of forty-one years successively, in Judea, viz. from the thirteenth year of Josiah to the eleventh year of Zedekiah, besides the time that he prophesied in Egypt. See Jeremiah 43 Jer 44, as Isaiah 2:1.

In the days of Josiah, i.e. during his reign and reformed state of religion.

Amon; who corrupted again that religion by those idolatries that his father Manasseh had in the latter part of his reign so well reformed by rooting of them out, 2 Chronicles 33:21-23. In the thirteenth year; by which it appears that Jeremiah prophesied the last eighteen years of Josiah’s reign; for he reigned thirty-one years, 2 Kings 22:1. To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah,.... This was the beginning of the prophecy of Jeremiah, so that he prophesied long after Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah; for this king was

the son of Amon king of Judah, which Amon was the son of Manasseh; the Septuagint and Arabic versions wrongly call him Amos; and Jeremiah began to prophesy

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, 2 Kings 22:3.

To whom the {d} word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.

(d) This is spoken to confirm his calling and office, as he did not presume of himself to preach and prophecy, but was called to it by God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. in the days of, etc.] See introductory note.

in the thirteenth year of his reign] c. b.c. 626. The period included in these two verses is one of 40 years, viz. the latter part of Josiah’s reign = 18 years; that of Jehoahaz = 3 months; that of Jehoiakim = 11 years; that of Jehoiachin = 3 months; that of Zedekiah = 11 years. The omission of the names of Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin is probably due to the shortness of their reigns.But a remnant escapes; and this remnant is employed by Jehovah to promote the conversion of the Gentile world and the restoration of Israel. "And I set a sign upon them, and send away those that have escaped from them to the Gentiles to Tarshiish, Phl, and Ld, to the stretchers of the bow, Tbal and Javan - the distant islands that have not heard my fame and have not seen my glory, and they will proclaim my glory among the Gentiles. And they will bring your brethren out of all heathen nations, a sacrifice for Jehovah, upon horses and upon chariots, and upon litters and upon mules and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain, to Jerusalem, saith Jehovah, as the children of Israel bring the meat-offering in a clear vessel to the house of Jehovah." The majority of commentators understand vesamtı̄ bâhem 'ōth (and I set a sign upon them) as signifying, according to Exodus 10:2, that Jehovah will perform such a miraculous sign upon the assembled nations as He formerly performed upon Egypt (Hofmann), and one which will outweigh the ten Egyptian 'ōthōth and complete the destruction commenced by them. Hitzig supposes the 'ōth to refer directly to the horrible wonder connected with the battle, in which Jehovah fights against them with fire and sword (compare the parallels so far as the substance is concerned in Joel 3:14-16, Zephaniah 3:8, Ezekiel 38:18., Zechariah 14:12.). But since, according to the foregoing threat, the expression "they shall see my glory" signifies that they will be brought to experience the judicial revelation of the glory of Jehovah, if vesamtı̄ bâhem 'ōth (and I set a sign upon them) were to be understood in this judicial sense, it would be more appropriate for it to precede than to follow. Moreover, this vesamtı̄ bâhem 'ōth would be a very colourless description of what takes place in connection with the assembled army of nations. It is like a frame without a picture; and consequently Ewald and Umbreit are right in maintaining that what follows directly after is to be taken as the picture for this framework. The 'ōth (or sign) consists in the unexpected and, with this universal slaughter, the surprising fact, that a remnant is still spared, and survives this judicial revelation of glory. This marvellous rescue of individuals out of the mass is made subservient in the midst of judgment to the divine plan of salvation. those who have escaped are to bring to the far distant heathen world the tidings of Jehovah, the God who has been manifested in judgment and grace, tidings founded upon their own experience. It is evident from this, that notwithstanding the expression "all nations and tongues," the nations that crowd together against Jerusalem and are overthrown in the attempt, are not to be understood as embracing all nations without exception, since the prophet is able to mention the names of many nations which were beyond the circle of these great events, and had been hitherto quite unaffected by the positive historical revelation, which was concentrated in Israel. By Tarshish Knobel understand the nation of the Tyrsenes, Tuscans, or Etruscans; but there is far greater propriety in looking for Tarshish, as the opposite point to 'Ophir, in the extreme west, where the name of the Spanish colony Tartessus resembles it in sound. In the middle ages Tunis was combined with this. Instead of ולוּד פּוּל we should probably read with the lxx ולוּד פּוּט, as in Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5. Stier decides in favour of this, whilst Hitzig and Ewald regard פול as another form of פוט. The epithet קשׁת משׁכי (drawers of the bow) is admirably adapted to the inhabitants of Pūt, since this people of the early Egyptian Phet (Phaiat) is represented ideographically upon the monuments by nine bows. According to Josephus, Ant. i. 6, 2, a river of Mauritania was called Phout, and the adjoining country Phoute; and this is confirmed by other testimonies. As Lud is by no means to be understood as referring to the Lydians of Asia Minor here, if only because they could not well be included among the nations of the farthest historico-geographical horizon in a book which traces prophetically the victorious career of Cyrus, but signifies rather the undoubtedly African tribe, the לוד which Ezekiel mentions in Isaiah 30:5 among the nations under Egyptian rule, and in Isaiah 27:10 among the auxiliaries of the Tyrians, and which Jeremiah notices in Jeremiah 46:9 along with Put as armed with bows; Put and Lud form a fitting pair in this relation also, whereas Pul is never met with again. The Targum renders it by פּוּלאי, i.e., (according to Bochart) inhabitants of Φιλαί, a Nile island of Upper Egypt, which Strabo (xvii. 1, 49) calls "a common abode of Ethiopians and Egyptians" (see Parthey's work, De Philis insula); and this is at any rate better than Knobel's supposition, that either Apulia (which was certainly called Pul by the Jews of the middle ages) or Lower Italy is intended here. Tubal stands for the Tibarenes on the south-east coast of the Black Sea, the neighbours of the Moschi (משׁך), with whom they are frequently associated by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 39:1); according to Josephus (Ant. i. 6, 1), the (Caucasian) Iberians. Javan is a name given to the Greeks, from the aboriginal tribe of the Bawones. The eye is now directed towards the west: the "isles afar off" are the islands standing out of the great western sea (the Mediterranean), and the coastlands that project into it. To all these nations, which have hitherto known nothing of the God of revelation, either through the hearing of the word or through their own experience, Jehovah sends those who have escaped; and they make known His glory there, that glory the judicial manifestation of which they have just seen for themselves.

The prophet is speaking here of the ultimate completion of the conversion of the Gentiles; for elsewhere this appeared to him as the work of the Servant of Jehovah, for which Cyrus the oppressor of the nations prepared the soil. His standpoint here resembles that of the apostle in Romans 11:25, who describes the conversion of the heathen world and the rescue of all Israel as facts belonging to the future; although at the time when he wrote this, the evangelization of the heathen foretold by our prophet in Isaiah 42:1. was already progressing most rapidly. A direct judicial act of God Himself will ultimately determine the entrance of the Pleroma of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God, and this entrance of the fulness of the Gentiles will then lead to the recovery of the diaspora of Israel, since the heathen, when won by the testimony borne to Jehovah by those who have been saved, "bring your brethren out of all nations." On the means employed to carry this into effect, including kirkârōth, a species of camels (female camels), which derives its name from its rapid swaying motion, see the Lexicons.

(Note: The lxx render it σκιαδίων, i.e., probably palanquins. Jerome observes on this, quae nos dormitoria interpretari possumus vel basternas. (On this word, with which the name of the Bastarnians as ̔Αμαξόβιοι is connected, see Hahnel's Bedeutung der Bastarner fr das german. Alterthum, 1865, p. 34.))

The words are addressed, as in Isaiah 66:5, to the exiles of Babylonia. The prophet presupposes that his countrymen are dispersed among all nations to the farthest extremity of the geographical horizon. In fact, the commerce of the Israelites, which had extended as far as India and Spain ever since the time of Solomon, the sale of Jewish prisoners as slaves to Phoenicians, Edomites, and Greeks in the time of king Joram (Obadiah 1:20; Joel 3:6; Amos 1:6), the Assyrian captivities, the free emigrations - for example, of those who stayed behind in the land after the destruction of Jerusalem and then went down to Egypt - had already scattered the Israelites over the whole of the known world (see at Isaiah 49:12). Umbreit is of opinion that the prophet calls all the nations who had turned to Jehovah "brethren of Israel," and represents them as marching in the most motley grouping to the holy city. In that case those who were brought upon horses, chariots, etc., would be proselytes; but who would bring them? This explanation is opposed not only to numerous parallels in Isaiah, such as Isaiah 60:4, but also to the abridgment of the passage in Zephaniah 3:10 : "From the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia (taken from Isaiah 18:1-7) will they offer my worshippers, the daughters of my dispersed ones, to me for a holy offering." It is the diaspora of Israel to which the significant name "my worshippers, the daughters of my dispersed ones," is there applied. The figure hinted at in minchâtı̄ (my holy offering) is given more elaborately here in the book of Isaiah, viz., "as the children of Israel are accustomed (fut. as in Isaiah 6:2) to offer the meat-offering" (i.e., that which was to be placed upon the altar as such, viz., wheaten flour, incense, oil, the grains of the first-fruits of wheat, etc.) "in a pure vessel to the house of Jehovah," not in the house of Jehovah, for the point of comparison is not the presentation in the temple, but the bringing to the temple. The minchah is the diaspora of Israel, and the heathen who have become vessels of honour correspond to the clean vessels.

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