Jeremiah 1:4
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
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(4) The word of the Lord came unto me.—The words imply obviously a revelation, the introduction of a new element into the human consciousness. In many cases such a revelation implied also the spiritual tension of an ecstatic or trance-like state, a dream, or an open vision. It almost presupposed a previous training, outward or inward, a mind vexed by hot thoughts and mourning over the sins of the people. Here there is no mention of dream or vision, and we must assume, therefore, a distinct consciousness that the voice which he heard in his inmost soul was from Jehovah. For the thought of pre-natal calling, see Isaiah 49:1.

Jeremiah 1:4-5. Then the word of the Lord came unto me — With a satisfying assurance to himself, that it was the word of the Lord, and not a delusion. Before I formed thee in the belly — That is, the womb. Having spoken before on the time of his call, he now speaks of the manner of it. I knew thee — That is, I had thee in my view, or approved thee as a fit minister for this work, in the same sense as it is said, Acts 15:18, Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world; he contemplated the plan of them, and approved it in his mind, before he created and brought them into being. I sanctified thee — I set thee apart in my counsel for executing the office of a prophet. We have examples of a similar designation with that mentioned here, in John the Baptist and St. Paul, as the reader will see if he consult the texts referred to in the margin. And ordained thee a prophet unto the nations — He speaks thus to Jeremiah, not to the other prophets, because he stood in need of greater encouragement than they, both in respect to the tenderness of his years, and the difficulties which he was to encounter. And ordained thee a prophet to the nations — To other nations besides the Jews.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.This history of Jeremiah's call to his office formed a part of his first address to the people. He claimed to act by an external authority, and to speak not his own words but those of Yahweh; and this even when resisting the divine call (see Jeremiah 15:13; Jeremiah 20:7, Jeremiah 20:14-18). 4-10. Jeremiah's call to the prophetical office.

unto me—other manuscripts read "to him"; but English Version probably represents the true Hebrew text; this inscription was doubtless made by Jeremiah himself.

Then, i. e. when he was first called to his office; or, The Lord then began to speak unto me.

Me; a change of the person, a thing very usual with the prophets. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. Not in the days of Jehoiakim, but in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, Jeremiah 1:2. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions read, "unto him". Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
4. Now the word, etc.] This preface to the Book forms at once Jeremiah’s plea and his support, the credentials of his mission to which he might refer the people when hostile and himself in seasons of despondency. We have in this section the declaration of God’s purpose concerning him (Jeremiah 1:5); Jeremiah’s protest (Jeremiah 1:6); God’s reply (Jeremiah 1:7-8); the act of divine consecration (Jeremiah 1:9); the nature of the charge itself (Jeremiah 1:10).

4–10. The Prophet’s call and its nature

4–19. Jeremiah’s call

The passage will fall into four sections.

(i) Jeremiah 1:4-10. The prophet’s call and its nature. (ii) Jeremiah 1:11-12. The symbol of the almond tree, shewing that Jehovah is wakeful to perform his word. (iii) Jeremiah 1:13-16. That of the caldron, indicating a threatened invasion of Judah. (iv) Jeremiah 1:17-19. Words of encouragement.Verses 4-19. - The call of Jeremiah. Verse 4. - Unto me. For the change of person, comp. Ezekiel 1:4. "For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I am about to make, continue before me, saith Jehovah, so will your family and your name continue." The great mass of the world of nations and of Israel also perish; but the seed and name of Israel, i.e., Israel as a people with the same ancestors and an independent name, continues for ever, like the new heaven and the new earth; and because the calling of Israel towards the world of nations is now fulfilled and everything has become new, the former fencing off of Israel from other nations comes to an end, and the qualification for priesthood and Levitical office in the temple of God is no longer merely natural descent, but inward nobility. The new heaven and the new earth, God's approaching creation (quae facturus sum), continue eternally before Him (lephânai as in Isaiah 49:16), for the old ones pass away because they do not please God; but these are pleasing to Him, and are eternally like His love, whose work and image they are. The prophet here thinks of the church of the future as being upon a new earth and under a new heaven. But he cannot conceive of the eternal in the form of eternity; all that he can do is to conceive of it as the endless continuance of the history of time.
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