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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(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.

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.

Jeremiah 1:2Jeremiah 1:1-3 contain the heading to the whole book of the prophecies of Jeremiah. The heading runs thus: "Sayings of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests at Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin, to whom befell the word of Jahveh in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign, and 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, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month." The period mentioned in these verses includes the time of Jeremiah's principal labours, while no reference is here made to the work he at a later time wrought amidst the ruins of Judah and in Egypt; this being held to be of but subordinate importance for the theocracy. Similarly, when the names of the kings under whom he laboured are given, the brief reigns of Jehoahaz and of Jehoiachin are omitted, neither reign having lasted over three months. His prophecies are called דברים, words or speeches, as in Jeremiah 36:10; so with the prophecies of Amos, Amos 1:1. More complete information as to the person of the prophet is given by the mention made of his father and of his extraction. The name ירמיהוּ, "Jahveh throws," was in very common use, and is found as the name of many persons; cf. 1 Chronicles 5:24; 1 Chronicles 12:4, 1 Chronicles 12:10, 1 Chronicles 12:13; 2 Kings 23:31; Jeremiah 35:3; Nehemiah 10:3; Nehemiah 12:1. Hence we are hardly entitled to explain the name with Hengstb. by Exodus 15:1, to the effect that whoever bore it was consecrated to the God who with almighty hand dashes to the ground all His foes, so that in his name the nature of our prophet's mission would be held to be set forth. His father Hilkiah is taken by Clem. Alex., Jerome, and some Rabbins, for the high priest of that name who is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 22:4; but without sufficient grounds. For Hilkiah, too, is a name that often occurs; and the high priest is sure to have had his home not in Anathoth, but in Jerusalem. But Jeremiah and his father belonged to the priests who lived in Anathoth, now called Anta, a town of the priests, lying 1 1/4 hours north of Jerusalem (see on Joshua 21:18), in the land, i.e., the tribal territory, of Benjamin. In Jeremiah 1:2 אליו belongs to אשׁר: "to whom befell (to whom came) the word of Jahveh in the days of Josiah, the thirteenth year of his reign." This same year is named by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:3 as the beginning of his prophetic labours. ויהי in Jeremiah 1:3 is the continuation of היה in Jeremiah 1:2, and its subject is דבר יהוה: and then (further) it came (to him) in the days of Jehoiakim, the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, etc. In the fifth month of the year named, the eleventh of the reign of Zedekiah, Jerusalem was reduced to ashes by Nebuzar-adan, and its inhabitants carried away to Babylon; cf. Jeremiah 52:12., 2 Kings 25:8. Shortly before, King Zedekiah, captured when in flight from the Chaldeans during the siege of Jerusalem, had been deprived of eyesight at Riblah and carried to Babylon in chains. And thus his kingship was at an end, thought the eleventh year of his reign might not be yet quite completed.
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