Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with you to deliver you, said the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Be not afraid.—The words imply, as in those spoken to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:6), to St. Peter (Luke 5:10), and St. Paul (Acts 18:9), the fear that sprang from the sense of personal weakness and unfitness to cope with the dangers to which his work exposed him. The “faces” of his adversaries would be a source of terror to him. The consciousness that Jehovah was with him was to raise him from that timidity.
I am with thee—(Ex 3:12; Jos 1:5).Be not afraid of their faces; their fierce looks, Ezekiel 3:9, the indication of their enraged minds, Daniel 3:19; neither when thou deliverest my message to them, nor when thou mayst be cited before them, Matthew 10:18,19. This is God’s answer to Jeremiah’s fears in respect of the persons he was to deal with, as the other was in respect of his own consciousness of insufficiency; and he mentions their faces, because the majestic countenance of princes and magistrates is apt to strike a great awe and terror upon children.
I am with thee; I will not only send thee as other kings do their ambassadors, but I will go with thee. This God promises to Moses, Exodus 3:12 Deu 31:6,8.
To deliver thee: here God promises his protection for encouragement.
for I am with thee, to deliver thee, saith the Lord; out of their hands, when in the most imminent danger. The Targum paraphrases the words thus,
"my Word shall be thine help to deliver thee:''Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. Be not afraid] Jeremiah had pleaded his youth, but, as the Lord saw, another cause for his shrinking from the task was his natural timidity.Jeremiah 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,...in 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,...to 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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