Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide

Jeremiah

What Do an Almond Tree and a Watching God Have In Common?

In Jeremiah 1:4-10 we saw Jeremiah’s commissioning to the nations. But God’s not done with his commissioning of Jeremiah at that point. Because Jeremiah 1:11-16 seems to focus on Jeremiah’s ministry to his own people – the Jews.

Jeremiah Commissioned to Judah

God commissions Jeremiah to the people of Judah in the form of two object lessons.

It’s hard to tell if these object lessons are visions that are outside of the bounds of normal reality or if God just somehow points out to Jeremiah two common ordinary objects and makes a statement about each one.

But whether in a vision or in the realm of reality, God shows these things to Jeremiah to communicate a message.

The Almond Tree & the Watching God

Let’s look at the first object lesson — the lesson of the almond tree and the watching God in Jeremiah 1:11-12.

Why does God show Jeremiah an almond tree of all things? You won’t be able to make sense of this if all you have access to is an English Bible – unless it has good study notes.

What’s happening here is this. God makes a play on words here. He shows Jeremiah an almond tree (shaqed in Hebrew). Then he says that he will hasten or watch over (shoqed in Hebrew) his word to perform it.

In other words, God shows Jeremiah a shaqed and then follows that up with a promise to shoqed his word to do it.

So, God tells Jeremiah that he is watching over and hastening his word or his threats against his rebellious people, Judah.

This is indeed an ominous start to Jeremiah’s commissioning to the nation of Judah.

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