Anathoth: a village about three miles northeast of Jerusalem, where Solomon exiled Abiathar (1 Kgs 2, 26f
); it is probable that Jeremiah belonged to the priestly family of Abiathar.
Until the downfall: these words were originally prefixed as a title to a collection of Jeremiah's prophecies which lacked
. The new title in Jer 40, 1
and the oracles that follow clearly show that Jeremiah continued to prophesy after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.
Jeremiah was destined to the office of prophet before his birth; cf Is 49, 1. 5; Lk 1, 15; Gal 1, 15f
. I knew you: I loved you and chose you. I dedicated you: I set you apart to be a prophet. Some Fathers and later theologians
understand this to mean that Jeremiah was freed from original sin before his birth. The context does not justify this conclusion.
The nations: the pagan neighbors of Judah, besides the great world powers—Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt—intimately associated
with Judah's destiny.
I am too young: Jeremiah's youth (he was less than thirty years old) must not be an obstacle to the responsibilities of the
prophetic office; God will supply for his human defects (cf vv 7f
The watching-tree: the almond tree, which is the first to blossom in the springtime as though it had not slept. The Hebrew
name contains a play on words with “I am watching.”
Boiling cauldron … the north: symbol of an invasion from the north; cf vv 14f
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