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©Laura Haverkamp

Chapter 1:1-5 (ESV)

Posted on June 07, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 1:1-5 (ESV) - The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 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. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Question to consider: Why did the LORD need to let Jeremiah know that he was chosen to be a prophet?

Jeremiah was a contemporary of Habakkuk and Zephaniah. These three prophets were able to be an influence to King Josiah who began to reform Judah after the wicked rule of his father, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh. Upon the death of King Josiah, his wicked son, Jehoahaz, ruled for three months, followed by his other son, Eliakim, whom Pharaoh Neco (who killed Josiah) renamed Jehoiakim.

It was Jehoiakim who made a treaty with Pharaoh Neco against Nebuchadnezzar, and Neco left Jehoiakim to battle Nebuchadnezzar alone which allowed for the destruction of Jerusalem. This entire battle and treachery of Pharaoh Neco was prophesied by an exiled prophet from the countryside of Judah— Ezekiel.

Jeremiah lived in a city set aside for priests in the land of Benjamin. Those Levites who descended from Aaron lived in areas within a Sabbath day’s walk of Jerusalem so that they could serve in the temple when their time came. Careful genealogies were kept to make sure that the priesthood remained pure, and it would have been an honor for Jeremiah to serve as did his father.

Another prophet in scripture whose father was a priest was John the Baptist. John’s father, Zechariah, received a prophetic word about the birth of his son from the angel Gabriel in the Holy Place of the temple by the altar of incense in front of the curtain into the Holy of Holies. Gabriel was the angel who stood in the presence of God and was sent to Daniel to deliver the promise of redemption for Israel by an anointed king. In coming to Zechariah, Gabriel was announcing that his son would be the forerunner of this anointed one and so his promise to Daniel would come to pass.

I don’t know in what manner the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah (whether by angel or vision), but this word was to let him know that instead of becoming a priest like his father, Jeremiah was set aside before he was even born to be the LORD’s prophet to the nations.

Scripture does not say anything about John the Baptist as a boy other than he leapt in his mother’s womb at the mention of Christ so there was never a time in which he was unsure about his vocation as the forerunner of Christ. However, Jeremiah, we’ll learn, will need a little more encouragement to serve as God’s prophet instead of His priest.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for assigning us vocations in which to serve You and help bring about Your kingdom in the world. May we cherish the life You have given us and seek to fulfill this vocation in our families and communities in the name of Jesus. Amen.