The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
Anathoth — Was a city three miles from Jerusalem, allotted out of the tribe of Benjamin for the priests.
 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.
The word — That commission from God that authorized him to his prophetic work, for the space of forty-one years successively in Judea, viz. from the 13th year of Josiah to the 11th year of Zedekiah, besides the time that he prophesied in Egypt.
In the days — During his reign.
Thirteenth — 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.
 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.
It — The word of the Lord.
Jehoiakim — Called at first by Josiah, Eliakim. Jehoahaz and Jehoiakin, whereof the former reigned before him, the latter succeeded, are conceived not to be mentioned, because they reigned each of them but three months, and therefore not considerable.
Of Jerusalem — The inhabitants of Jerusalem, under Zedekiah, during all which time Jeremiah prophesied.
Captive — This does 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 to be added as a supplement.
Fifth month — Of that present year; for, tho' 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.
 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Then — When he was first called to his office.
 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
I sanctified — I ordained thee for this public service. He speaks thus to Jeremiah, not to the other prophets, because he stood in need of greater encouragement than they, both in respect of the tenderness of his years, and the difficulties which he was to encounter with.
The nations — To other nations besides the Jews.
 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Thou shalt speak — Fear not, I will make thee eloquent and courageous.
 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Then — God having excited the prophet by command and promise, now in a vision confirms him, either by the hand of an angel, or by himself in some visible shape.
 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
The kingdoms — Having now received his commission, he is directed to whom he is to go; to the greatest, not only single persons, but whole nations, as the Babylonians, Persians, and Egyptians.
To pull down — That is, to prophecy that I will pull down; which I will as certainly effect, as if thou hadst done it thyself: for, according to scripture-usage, the prophets are said to do that which they foretell shall come to pass.
To plant — Metaphors taken from architects and gardeners: either the former words relate to the enemies of God, and the latter to his friends; or rather to both conditionally: if they repent, he will build them up, he will increase their families, and settle them in the land; if they do not, he will root them up, and pull them down.
 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.
Came unto me — This and the boiling caldron, verse 13, is thought to be at the same time, and in the same vision, when he was first appointed to the work.
Almond-tree — That had leaves, and probably blossoms on it like Aaron's. This is a tree that blossoms early, and speedily, and so it may point at either God's readiness, to smite, verse 12, or Israel's ripeness to be smitten; this rod being like a portentous comet, shewing to Jeremiah the miseries that were at hand, at the death of Josiah, which soon followed this vision, the taxing them by Pharaoh Necho, presently after the breaking in of the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, and then the Babylonian captivity.
 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
Well seen — Or thou hast seen and judged right.
Hasten — Word for word, I will almond-tree it, that is, I will be upon them speedily, in a short time.
My word — My threatening against Judah and its inhabitants.
 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
Seething-Pot — I see a pot coming, meaning the Babylonian army, who would besiege Jerusalem as a fire plays round the pot, when it is to be made boil; and reduce the inhabitants to miserable extremities.
Face — Or front of the pot, or furnace, the place where the fire was put in, or blowed up to make it boil.
North — Indicating from whence their misery should come, namely, from Chaldea, which lay north from Jerusalem.
 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
North — From Babylon.
 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
The families — Those nations that were under one lord.
Kingdoms — The Babylonians, and their assistants; the Medes also being in confederacy with them, whose king's daughter Nebuchadnezzar married.
His throne — Their seats, pavilions or tents shall be pitched, which shall be as so many thrones.
Entering — Of the gates, or way leading to them.
 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
Gird up — It is a speech taken from the custom of the countries where they wore long garments; and therefore they girt them up about them, that they might not hinder them in any work that required expedition.
Consume thee — Lest I destroy thee even in their sight, to become their reproach.
 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
This whole land — All its inhabitants in general; intimating, that though men of all degrees should set themselves against him, yet God would support him against their all, and would carry him thro' his work, tho' his troubles would not be only great, but long; passing thro' several king's reigns.