Jeremiah 1:13
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.
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(13) A seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.—More correctly, from the north. The next symbol was one that set forth the darker side of the prophet’s work: a large cauldron (probably of metal) placed (as in Ezekiel’s vision, Ezekiel 24:3-11) on a great pile of burning wood, boiling and steaming, with its face turned from the north, and so on the point of emptying out its scalding contents towards the south. This was as strong a contrast as possible to the vernal beauty of the almond-bough, and told too plainly the terrors which were to be expected from the regions that lay to the north of the land of Israel, Assyria and Chaldæa. The flood of water at the boiling point went beyond the “waters of the great river” of Israel’s symbolism (Isaiah 8:7).

Jeremiah 1:13. I see a seething-pot — Or, a pot boiling. The steam of this boiling pot represented God’s judgments, which are often compared to a fire, as the afflictions of Israel were to a smoking furnace. Genesis 15:17. And the face thereof was toward the north — The steam was represented to the prophet as raised by a fire, or driven by a wind coming from the north. Thus interpreted, the pot or caldron denoted Judea or Jerusalem, expressed by the same figure, Ezekiel 11:3; Ezekiel 11:7; Ezekiel 24:3. But the Hebrew פניו מפני צפונה, seems to be more exactly rendered by Blaney; The face thereof is turned from the north, or, as it is expressed in the margin, from the face of the north. For it appears from the next verse, that the evil was to come from the north; and therefore the steam, which was designed for an emblem of that evil, must have issued from that quarter. According to this interpretation, the pot denoted the empire of the Chaldeans, lying to the north of Judea, and pouring forth its multitudes like a thick vapour.

1:11-19 God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.The first vision was for the support of the prophet's own faith during his long struggle with his countrymen: the second explains to him the general nature of his mission. He was to be the bearer of tidings of a great national calamity about to break forth item the north. He sees a caldron. It was a vessel of metal Ezekiel 24:11, large enough to prepare the meal of a numerous community 2 Kings 4:38, and broad at the top, as it was also used for washing purposes Psalm 60:8. This caldron was boiling furiously.

The face ... - More correctly the margin, i. e toward the south. We must suppose this caldron set upon a pile of inflammable materials. As they consume it settles down unevenly, with the highest side toward the north, so that its face is turned the other way and looks southward. Should it still continue so to settle, the time must finally come when it will be overturned, and will pour the whole mass of its boiling contents upon the south.

13. Another vision, signifying what is the "word" about to be "performed," and by what instrumentality.

seething—literally, "blown under"; so boiling by reason of the flame under it kept brisk by blowing. An Oriental symbol of a raging war.

toward—rather, "from the north." Literally, "from the face of the region situated towards the north" (compare Jer 1:14, 15) [Maurer]. The pot in the north rested on one side, its mouth being about to pour forth its contents southwards, namely, on Judea. Babylon, though east of Judea, was regarded by the Hebrews as north, because they appropriated the term "east" to Arabia-Deserta, stretching from Palestine to the Euphrates; or rather [Bochart], the reference here is not to the site, but to the route of the Babylonians; not being able to cross the desert, they must enter the Holy Land by the northern frontier, through Riblah in Hamath (Jer 39:5; 52:9).

After the smaller punishment from the Lord follows this of the boiling pot, by which understand Judea and Jerusalem, as may appear by the application that they themselves make of it in a way of scorn and derision, Ezekiel 11:3,7. Some put the

face of the pot for the pot itself; as the face of the cold, the face of his anger, for cold and anger itself: q.d. I see a pot coming, meaning the Babylonian army flowing in upon them, like boiling or scalding water, as some interpret it: but this seems not to be so congruous to the vision; but rather thus, the Babylonians should besiege; as a fire plays round the furnace when it is to be made boil, so should these Chaldeans begirt it, as Jeremiah 1:15, and reduce the inhabitants to most miserable extremities, with unspeakable cruelty, as if they were like flesh roasting by the fire, or boiling in a pot, as their sufferings are described, Micah 3:3.

The face, or front of the pot, or furnace, the place where the fire was put in or blowed up to make it boil; as a pot, hanged in the form of a furnace, seems to be all but one and the same pot or vessel, the face of which may be easily conceived to stand toward the north, not the mouth of the pot, for that looks directly upward, unless we conceive it to be represented in the vision leaning, of which conceit there is no need.

Is toward the north; indicating from whence their misery should come, Jeremiah 1:14, viz. from Chaldea, which lay north from Jerusalem.

And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time,.... In the same vision:

saying, what seest thou? besides the almond tree rod; which perhaps was now removed out of sight, and another object appears:

and I said, I see a seething pot; a pot with fire under it, boiling and bubbling up:

and the face thereof was towards the north; either the mouth of the pot where it boiled up, which might be turned to the north in the vision; or that side of the pot, as Kimchi thinks, on which the liquor was poured out; it may be that side of it on which the fire was put to cause it to boil; and so denotes from what quarter the fire came, and was put under it, and the wind that blew it up. 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.''

The explanation follows:

And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a boiling {n} pot; and its face is toward the north.

(n) Signifying that the Chaldeans and Assyrians would be as a pot to seethe the Jews who boiled in their pleasures and lust.

13–16. The symbol of the caldron

13. a seething caldron] An ordinary sight in daily life conveys a message to the prophet. In this second symbol the character of the future in store for the nation is more clearly brought out. The word sîr, here rendered caldron, denotes a large vessel, as it could be used in preparing pottage for a considerable number (2 Kings 4:38). It was also used for washing (Psalm 60:8). The word rendered “seething” (boiling) is lit. blown, i.e. well heated, and so boiling.

the face thereof is from the north] The expression is an awkward one, and the symbol has been explained in two ways. Either (a) the spectator in the south sees the contents of the caldron ready to boil over in his direction, or, perhaps better (with a slight change in the Hebrew), (b) the caldron is thought of as supported by stones on three of its sides, while the fourth, i.e. the north side, is open and is being fed with fuel from that side. If we accept (a), the people in Judaea will receive the boiling contents, if (b), the point will be that the fuel is supplied from the north and employed with hostile intent against the Jews, now themselves figuring as the contents of the vessel. Whichever view we take, an attack from the north is plainly indicated. For the application, as referring to a threatened invasion of Scythian hordes, see Intr. i. § 3. Later, the danger from the north came to be the Empire of Babylon and the symbol would be equally suggestive. In earlier days, Assyrians had come from the north and carried the ten tribes captive. It was thus a region whose associations inspired dread.

Verse 13. - A seething pot. There is a variety of Hebrew words for "pot." The word here used suggests a vessel of large size, since pottage for a whole company of prophets could be cooked in such. a pot or caldron (2 Kings 4:38). From Ezekiel 24:11 we may infer that it was of metal. A "seething pot" in ancient Arabic poetry is a figure for war. The same symbol occurs in Ezekiel 24:3-12, but with a different application. The face thereof is toward the north; rather, toward the south; literally, from the face of the north. The "face" of the pet is the side turned to the prophet. We may suppose the contents to be on the point of boiling over. Jeremiah 1:13The Seething Pot. - Jeremiah 1:13. "And there came to me the word of Jahveh for the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I:said: I see a seething-pot; and it looketh hither from the north. Jeremiah 1:14. Then said Jahveh to me: From the north will trouble break forth upon all inhabitants of the land. Jeremiah 1:15. For, behold, I call to all families of the kingdoms towards the north, saith Jahveh; that they come and set each his throne before the gates of Jerusalem, and against all her walls round about, and against all cities of Judah. Jeremiah 1:16. And I will pronounce judgment against them for all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken me, and have offered odours to other gods, and worshipped the work of their hands." סיר is a large pot or caldron in which can be cooked vegetables or meat for many persons at once; cf. 2 Kings 4:38., Ezekiel 24:3. נפוּח, fanned, blown upon, used of fire, Ezekiel 21:36; Ezekiel 22:20.; then by transference, seething, steaming, since the caldron under which fire is fanned steams, its contents boil; cf. Job 41:12. The פּנים of the pot is the side turned to the spectator (the prophet), the side towards the front. This is turned from the north this way, i.e., set so that its contents will run thence this way. צפונה, properly: towards the north; then, that which lies towards the north, or the northerly direction. In the interpretation of this symbol in Jeremiah 1:14, תּפּתח, assonant to נפוּח, is introduced, just as in Amos 8:2 קיץ is explained by קץ; so that there was no occasion for the conjecture of Houbig. and Graf: תּפּח, it is fanned up; and against this we have Hitzig's objection that the Hophal of נפח never occurs. Equally uncalled for is Hitzig's own conjecture, xaw%pt@f, it will steam, fume, be kindled; while against this we have the fact, that as to xpanf no evidence can be given for the meaning be kindled, and that we have no cases of such a mode of speaking as: the trouble is fuming, steaming up. The Arabian poetical saying: their pot steams or boils, i.e., a war is being prepared by them, is not sufficient to justify such a figure. We hold then תּפּתח for the correct reading, and decline to be led astray by the paraphrastic ἐκκαυθήσεται of the lxx, since תּפּתח gives a suitable sense. It is true, indeed, that פּתח usually means open; but an opening of the caldron by the removal of the lid is not (with Graf) to be thought of. But, again, פּתח has the derived sig. let loose, let off (cf. ,פּתח בּי Isaiah 14:17), from which there can be no difficulty in inferring for the Niph. the sig. be let loose, and in the case of trouble, calamity: break forth. That which is in the pot runs over as the heat increases, and pours itself on the hearth or ground. If the seething contents of the pot represent disaster, their running over will point to its being let loose, its breaking out. are the inhabitants of the land of Judah, as the interpretation in Jeremiah 1:15 shows. In Jeremiah 1:15 reference to the figure is given up, and the further meaning is given in direct statement. The Lord will call to all families of the kingdoms of the north, and they will come ( equals that they are to come). The kingdoms of the north are not merely the kingdoms of Syria, but in general those of Upper Asia; since all armies marching from the Euphrates towards Palestine entered the land from the north. משׁפּחות, families, are the separate races of nations, hence often used in parallelism with גּוים; cf. Jeremiah 10:25; Nahum 3:4. We must not conclude from this explanation of the vision seen that the seething pot symbolizes the Chaldeans themselves or the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; such a figure would be too unnatural. The seething pot, whose contents boil over, symbolizes the disaster and ruin which the families of the kingdoms of the north will pour out on Judah.
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