Jeremiah 1:1
These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
A Protracted MinistryA.F. Muir Jeremiah 1:1-3
Introductory Statements Concerning Jeremiah's Parentage and Period of His MinistryS. Conway Jeremiah 1:1-3

I. HIS PARENTAGE. He was the son of Hilkiah, not that Hilkiah who was high priest during the reign of Josiah, but of some similarly named priest. Even amid the terrible corruptions of that period, there appear to have been a few faithful souls who held fast to the fear of the Lord. We have their names, Huldah, Shallum, Baruch, etc. From amidst these Jeremiah sprang. The Lord can call and convert and consecrate to his work whom he will; but his more common way is to come to the habitations of his people, when he would find some whom he destines for special and honored service. The homes of the godly are the hope of the Church. Amidst the children of the believing are to be found those whom God will generally employ to carry on his work. This is one way in which the promise is fulfilled, "Them that honor me I will honor."

II. HIS PROFESSION. He belonged to the priesthood. Terrible are the charges which are brought against the priests and prophets of that day. They had reached the limit of utmost degradation. They are said to "deal falsely," to be "profane;" and their conduct is described as "a wonderful and horrible thing." Yet Jeremiah belonged to this deeply fallen class. How difficult must have been his position! how constant his resistance to the contagion of their example and influence! When from amongst those who are of the same order, who have common interests, common duties, and who are thrown together in so many and close relationships, one stands aloof and turns upon his companions in severe and solemn rebuke as Jeremiah did, such a one needs to be strong as "a defensed city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls" (ver. 18) Jeremiah stands before us as a noble proof that the tide of evil, however strongly it may run, may yet be resisted; none are of necessity borne down by it but, by the same grace which was given to Jeremiah, they may stem the fierce current and defy its power. Ten thousand of the saints of God have done this; why should not we?

III. THE REASON OF ALL MEN COUNTING HIM AS A PROPHET. "The word of the Lord came unto him." He did not say, "I am a prophet;" but all men felt he was. For his words had power; they were mighty to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin. It was not simply that he announced that there should be a "rooting out and pulling down" (cf. ver. 10), but the words which he spoke so wrought in men's minds that these results followed. Hence men, conscious of the power of his words, confessed that it was "the word of the Lord" which had come to him. This is the old prophetic word which, whenever spoken, constrains men to confess the presence of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:25). And St. Peter (2 Peter 1:19) says concerning it, "We have, surer still, the prophetic word." "More sure," he meant, than even the wondrous voice and vision of "the holy mount," for that was but a transient testimony given once and to the three favored apostles of the Lord alone; but the prophetic word, that which woke up the response in men's hearts, and by which the secrets of each soul were disclosed - that was a more constant, more universal, more powerful, and therefore a more sure testimony than aught beside. And the occasions when this "word of the Lord" comes to any of his servants are well known. See how particular and definite the dates are here. "In the thirteenth year of the reign of King Josiah. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim," etc. The coming of the word of the Lord to any soul is a marked and memorable period. He through whom that word is spoken is conscious of an unusual power, he realizes the Divine presence in an altogether unusual manner. He is more passive than active. It is said of the holy men of old, that they "spake as they were moved [borne along] of the Holy Ghost," and this, St. Peter declares (2 Peter 1:21), is ever a characteristic of the prophetic word. And those who hear the word know that the Lord is speaking through his servant. Listlessness and unconcern give way to serious concern. Some can tell the very day and hour when they first heard the "word of the Lord." They had listened to sermons and read the Scriptures again and again, but one day they felt that the Lord himself was speaking to them, and they could not but give heed. Like as the people of Judah and Jerusalem knew when the voice of God, though they despised it to their ruin, was speaking to them, so do men now. And if we have heard it for our salvation, the time, the place, the speaker, will often be vividly remembered in connection with it, like as those who heard Jeremiah knew the very year when the "word of the Lord came" to him. It is ill for both hearers and speakers alike if they be unable to point to periods when they were conscious that "the word of the Lord" came to them. For a preacher never to realize the sacred glow and the uplifting of soul which accompany the utterance of the prophetic word; or for a hearer to have so dulled his conscience, so destroyed his spiritual ear, that though the word of the Lord be spoken his heart never responds, his soul never realizes the presence of God; - from the sin and sorrow of either may God mercifully save us.

IV. THE DATE AND DURATION OF JEREMIAH'S MINISTRY. We are told when it began, and how long it lasted. It began when the evil days for Judah and Jerusalem were drawing very near. It was in vain that the devout King Josiah endeavored to turn back the hearts of the people to the Lord God of their fathers. But though the long-suffering of God had been so tried and was now almost ceasing, yet, ere they were given up to the punishment which was their due, God raises up his servant Jeremiah and the band of faithful men who stood by him (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:15-21). For forty years - for that is the period covered by the reigns of the several kings spoken of - Jeremiah exhorted, warned, entreated, threatened, prayed, wept; but all in vain. Therefore God's wrath at length rose against them, and there was no remedy. "Behold the goodness and the severity of God!" How reluctantly will he abandon any to the results of their own ways! how slow is he to let come upon them that which they have long deserved! Yea, he is the long-suffering God. But whilst we fail not to remember and to rejoice in this, let us not fail either to remember and to dread the other equally sure fact, that "God is a consuming fire" to those who set at naught all his counsel, and will have none of his reproof (Proverbs 1:24-33). Those to whom Jeremiah prophesied found it so, and so will all who sin in like manner now. - C.

Grudge not one against another.

1. The exhortation implies that we are apt to be secretly discontented with our condition and circumstances in the present life; that we are prone to become fretful when things do not correspond with our wishes.

2. It is implied that we are prone to envy, or to look upon the prosperity of others, either real or imaginary, with a spirit of secret discontent.

3. We are in danger of cherishing a spirit of resentment towards those who have injured us, whether intentionally or not, and so of having a "grudge one against another."


1. The disposition here forbidden is intrinsically evil, and is one of the corruptions of the human heart.

2. It is expressly contrary to Divine command, which requires us to esteem others better than ourselves, to rejoice in their prosperity, to participate of their sorrows, and to make their interest our own.

3. An envious and rancorous disposition is marked with folly, as well as stained. with guilt. It argues an unacquaintedness with ourselves, who in every condition of life deserve to be in worse circumstances than we are; nor does such a disposition contribute in the least to our comfort and happiness. It cures not the wound, but makes it more painful and dangerous; does not lighten the burden, but renders it still more intolerable.

4. It is both injurious to ourselves and others, as well as sinful and unwise. Envy makes us our own tormentors; it robs us of that peace and satisfaction which we might otherwise enjoy. "Wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one." It embitters his enjoyments and gives a keener edge to his afflictions. It is a sin which often leads to cruelty and injustice, and is seldom found to exist alone.

5. It is a sin which, if not repented of, will subject us to final condemnation.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Murmuring is not here generally taken for every grudging, either against God or man, as whereof in other places of Scripture is spoken, but particularly for that murmuring which is against men, therefore saith he, "Grudge not one against another." This grudging and murmuring is either when we grieve that wicked rich men should so highly be exalted, and the poor, yet righteous, should by poverty be pressed down in the world; or else it is that murmuring whereby we take it in evil part that ourselves should be so tossed and turmoiled, and others should be dealt with more gently; thinking that we bear a greater burden and heavier cross from God than we have deserved, and that other men (as yet not touched) have deserved more. Or, finally, it is that grudging which is in our afflictions, whereby we are discontented that we should sigh so long under our afflictions, and the wicked which afflict us should so long escape unpunished, and so in our hearts, through impatience, complain hereof to God. This ought not to be in the saints of God, who ought to be renowned for their unspeakable patience; whose bounden duty it is to pray even for their enemies, to wish well to them which have done them injury, and to commit their cause to Him that judgeth righteously, which is God. And if this moderation and equity of our minds is to be showed towards our enemies, how much less ought we, then, to grudge against another Christian brother? If every one give some offence unto another, shall we complain to God in the bitterness of our hearts, shall we desire revenge from God against them? and shall we not all then perish? for no man liveth without some offence-giving. This grudging proceedeth from impatience, argueth discontentment of the mind, causeth mutual complaining unto God, and desireth revenge against such as have done us injury; which thing is far from the excellency or dignity of a Christian, whose patience should be such, as where others through impatience accuse one another, either to God or men, yet they should not so much as murmur in their minds, grudge to themselves, fret or grieve in their inward parts, much less complain indeed through discontentment and impatience, howbeit they had sustained injury. Finally, it bringeth condemnation upon us, who have lost patience, according to the denouncing of the Scripture: "Woe be unto them that have lost patience." The reason why we should not murmur one against another is drawn from the presence of the Lord, who is at hand, as a just judge, to avenge us of our enemies, and to crown us for our patience or punish our murmuring. The Lord our God beholdeth our injuries with open eye, and seeth our oppressions by the wicked; He is pressed and at hand to rescue and deliver u s, as it shall seem best to His Divine Majesty; He marketh all our behaviour under the cross; let us not, therefore, be impatient, neither murmur, but therein show all Christian moderation as becometh saints.

(R. Turnbull.)

Do Christian people quite sufficiently consider the sin of grumbling, the sin of being discontented with the allotment of Providence, as to the time and place of their birth; as to the family in which they were born; as to their environment, as well as their heredity? What a strange sight a grumbling Christian is! He is a man who believes that God hath forgiven his sins, that Christ hath borne them all away, that his Lord has gone to prepare a place for him, that in a short time he will be where neither pain nor persecution can reach him, where the load of life will be laid down, where the wicked shall cease from troubling, and the weary shall be for ever at rest. And yet he allows small and transient things to keep him awake in the night, to worry him and make him peevish and fretful and cross through the day. He makes his own burdens more distressing by fretting under them, and thus increases the burdens which his friends have to bear. How many Christians fail to put their grumblings into the category of their sins. But James's admonition, that we should not grumble lest we be condemned, ought to arouse us to the duty of being patient, and to the fact that all really true Christian faith increases a man's manliness.

(C. F. Deems, D. D.)

A carping spirit rarely goes with a working spirit. It is easier to find fault with what some one else does than it is to do something oneself; hence a man who enjoys doing the easier thing is disinclined to do the harder one. As a rule men are divided into two classes, of those who growl and those who work; and each class is alike devoted to its own mission. But, when it comes to the relative worth in the community of the two classes, everybody can see the difference.

"Murmur not" (R.V.). The literal meaning of the Greek is "Groan not"; i.e. "Grumble not."

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

The Judge standeth before the door.
This explains why conscience is always gloomy after sin; it is because He who is the eternal righteousness casts His shadow across the threshold of the soul. In some Eastern houses there are no windows, the doorway serving for lighting as well as for passage. A party of us lunching by invitation in a Druze house in the Lebanons had to drive away the curious villagers who looked in at us through the door, the only opening, because they made it so dark that we could not see the food. God fills the whole light-way of the soul when He looks in at us, and unless He shines on us with the light of His countenance, His stern righteousness makes the soul all dark within.

(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)

If the magistrate be present we may not offend another to defend ourselves.

(J. Trapp.)

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