Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what see you? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.…
He who put his word into the prophet's mouth also put a new power of vision into his eyes, and gave him to see signs such as tended to fix permanently in his mind deep convictions with regard to the power and purposes of God. Thus the prophet was assured of his ability to see more than others could see. Both through eye and ear he was fortified in the consciousness that his prophetic office was no empty boast.
I. THE ROD OF THE ALMOND TREE. Probably much such a rod as those which were laid up in the tabernacle overnight in order to certify beyond all question the divinely appointed office of Aaron (Numbers 17.). This narrative, we may be pretty sure, would be transmitted with special care from generation to generation of the priesthood, and to it the mind of Jeremiah may at once have turned. That rod which once helped the priest is now found helping the prophet. It was the sign of how much living and fructifying energy might break forth where there was only the appearance of death. The auditors of Jeremiah's prophecies might say they saw no sign of impending calamities. In all self-confidence they might say, "Peace and prosperity will last out our time." And so Jeremiah goes forth with the remembrance of the almond rod, well assured that by God's power the most unexpected things may happen with the utmost suddenness. The words of prophecy may long lie dormant, and some may treat them as dead and obsolete; but none can toll at what moment the long quiescent may start into the most vigorous activity. Was it not all at once, after a long period of quietude, that Jesus came forth with a sudden outburst of miraculous energy and teaching wisdom? It is precisely those who have been long dead in trespasses and sins who sometimes startle the world by a sudden exuberance of the Divine life within them.
II. THE SEETHING POT. Here again is the exhibition of energy, and a sudden and irresistible change from quiet into furious and threatening movement. A pot boiling over with the vehemence of the fire under it, is an excellent emblem of how God can stir up his destroying wrath against the rebellious. What can be quieter than the water as it lies in the pot? what quieter than the fuel before it is kindled? and yet the light touch of a very small flame sends fuel and water into activity, and that activity soon rises into fury. The water that only a few minutes ago was still and cold is now turbulent and scalding. Just in the same way, God can take these "families of the kingdoms of the north," and make them the instruments of his wrath and chastisement, little conscious as they are of all the use to which they are being put. Everywhere in close proximity to us there are latent forces of destruction, and these with startling rapidity may become patent. Consider how soon the beautiful and cheering heavens may be filled with the elements of deadly storm. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
WEB: Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree."