Jeremiah 1:3
It came also 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, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
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(3) It came also . . .—The short reigns of Jehoahaz (three months) and Jehoiachin or Jeconiah (three months also) are passed over, and mention made of the more conspicuous reigns of Jehoiakim (eleven years) and Zedekiah (also eleven). Assuming Jeremiah to have been about twenty when the prophetic call came to him, he was sixty or sixty-one at the time of the captivity.

Jeremiah 1:3. It came also — Namely, the word of the Lord, as Jeremiah 1:2; in the days of Jehoiakim — Called at first by Josiah, Eliakim, 2 Kings 23:34. It must be observed, that Jehoahaz, who reigned before him, (2 Kings 28:8,) and Jehoiakim, who succeeded him, are not mentioned here, because each of them reigned only three months, and could hardly be said to be established in the government. Unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah — The meaning is, that he prophesied not only during the reigns of Josiah and Jehoiakim, but also during the whole reign of Zedekiah, which was eleven years: unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive — That great event of which he had so often prophesied. He continued, indeed, to prophesy after that, (Jeremiah 40:1,) but the computation of the time is here made to end with that event, because it was the accomplishment of many of his predictions: and from the thirteenth year of Josiah to the captivity was just forty years. It is observed from Dr. Lightfoot, that as Moses was forty years a teacher of the Israelites in the wilderness, till they entered into their own land; Jeremiah was so long a teacher in their own land before they were sent into the wilderness of the heathen: and he thinks that therefore a special mark is set upon the last forty years of the iniquity of Judah, which Ezekiel bore forty days, a day for a year, because, during all that time, they had Jeremiah prophesying among them, which was a great aggravation of their impenitency.

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.The whole period contained in this verse is no less than 40 years and 6 months, namely, 18 years under Josiah, two periods of 11 years each under Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, and 3 months under each of the omitted kings, Jehoahaz and Jeconiah.

In the fifth month - The capture of Jerusalem took place in the fourth month, but its destruction was in the fifth month (see the marginal references), the ninth day of which was subsequently kept as a fast-day Zechariah 7:3.

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).

It, viz. the word of the Lord, as Jeremiah 1:2,

came also in the days of Jehoiakim; called at first by Josiah, Eliakim, 2 Kings 23:34. Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin, whereof the former reigned before him, 2 Kings 23:31, the latter succeeded, 2 Kings 24:8, are conceived not to be mentioned, because they reigned but each of them three months, and therefore not considerable, the Scripture often taking little notice of a small time, as of six months: compare 2 Samuel 5:5, with 1 Kings 2:11: see Jeremiah 1:2.

Zedekiah; of whom read 1 Chronicles 3:15,16.

Unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive, i.e. the inhabitants of Jerusalem, namely, under Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:11, during all which time, things standing in that state and condition, Jeremiah prophesied. This doth not terminate the time of his prophecies, for he prophesied also both in Judea, and in Egypt afterwards; but only relates to what he prophesied while the city and temple were standing, the rest seeming rather to be added as a supplement, than to be reduced unto this general title of his prophecies.

In the fifth month, viz. of that present year; for though the year end not at the fifth month, yet it might end the year of Zedekiah’s reign, because he might begin his reign at the fifth month of the year.

And it came also in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah king of Judah,.... In the beginning of his reign, and in the fourth year of his reign; see Jeremiah 25:1, no mention is made of Jehoahaz, who reigned between Josiah and Jehoiakim, because his reign was short, but three months, 2 Kings 23:31, and perhaps no word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in his time, though it did before and after:

unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah; so that Jeremiah must prophesy in the land of Judea upwards of forty years; eighteen under Josiah, 2 Kings 22:11, three months under Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:31 eleven years under Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 23:36, three months under Jeconiah, 2 Kings 24:8, and eleven years under Zedekiah, when the city was besieged and taken, 2 Kings 25:2. Josiah had three sons as kings of Judah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, under all whom Jeremiah prophesied:

even unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month: the month Ab, which answers to part of July and part of August; and it was on the ninth or tenth day of this month that the city of Jerusalem was burnt, and the people carried captive, 2 Kings 25:8 the ninth of the said month is now kept by the Jews as a fast on that account.

It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the {e} son of Josiah king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth {f} month.

(e) Meaning the nephew of Josiah: for Jehoahaz was his father, who reigned but three months, and therefore is not mentioned, nor is Jehoiakim that reigned no longer.

(f) Of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, who was also called Mattaniah, and at this time the Jews were carried away into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

3. in the fifth month] See ch. Jeremiah 52:12 ff. The city had been captured in the preceding month (2 Kings 25:4; 2 Kings 25:8-10).

Verse 3. - Unto the end of the eleventh year, etc. The limit is accurate with regard to Jeremiah 1-39. The later prophecies have a superscription of their own (see Jeremiah 40:1.). In the fifth month (comp. Jeremiah lit. 12, 27). Jeremiah 1:3Jeremiah 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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