Prophet Pearls #42 – Matot (Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

Almond branch in the Valley of Elah. Photo by Nehemia Gordon. In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Matot, covering Jeremiah 1:1-2:3. Gordon and Johnson provide copious context for the life and times of Jeremiah and the heart-wrenching message he delivered to Jerusalem. The word-of-the-week is “shoked” (shin, qoof, dalet). Its expressions of “almond branch” and “diligence” provide a lesson in creative destruction and an example of a classic Hebrew word pun. Gordon closes with a prayer based on the last verse of the portion—thanking Yehovah for protecting the first fruits of his harvest in Jerusalem, in Israel, and throughout the world.

Photo by Nehemia Gordon.

"The word of Yehovah came to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree." Jeremiah 1:11

I look forward to reading your comments!

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15 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #42 – Matot (Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

  1. Jeremiah 1:18 is interesting in that Yehovah says he will make Jeremiah “an iron pillar and brasen walls” against Judah. In Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image, brass is associated with Greece and subsequent history seems to associate the iron legs with Rome. And these two empires did ultimately inflict great suffering upon Judah.

    So I wouldn’t write a prophecy off because it has been fulfilled once. Biblical prophecies seem to be more like patterns that can recur throughout history. As an example, consider Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great tree in Daniel 4. Daniel interprets it as a prediction of Nebuchadnezzar’s temporary madness as a judgement for his pride. And the prophecy was fulfilled just as Daniel said. But I think there is much more to the prophecy than that. Nebuchadnezzar seems to be a type of Satan and the tree seems to be a type of Satan’s kingdom. It seems to be predicting that Satan’s kingdom will suffer a major setback and then recover. And Satan’s kingdom is protected by a band of iron and brass which seems to be another reference to Greece and Rome.

    It is interesting that after Babylon fell, the Babylonian priesthood had a falling out with the Persians and fled to the city Greek city of Pergamos. Later in 133 BCE, the ruler Attalus III died without an heir and willed the country to Rome and the Babylonian priesthood eventually moved to Rome. The prophecy seems to predict that Satan’s kingdom will be protected by Greece and Rome. Dan 4:11 says: “The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:”, indicating Satan’s empire will become immensely powerful. Then it will be cut down and Satan’s influence will be checked “till seven times pass over him” and then he will be let loose again. So it seems to be a prophecy of the millennial reign of Yeshua where Satan is bound for 1000 years.

    The Daniel 4 prophecy also seems connected to the mustard seed parable of Matthew 13:31-32 (which is also related in Mark 4:31-32 and Luke 13:19). But these passages relate to the Church, so this suggests that Satan’s kingdom may be connected with the apostate Church.

    • .. and with the rise of antisemitism. Rev 2,13-14 says: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges, I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is..

      Altar devoted to Zeus, the chief god of Greeks, was built on the hilltop in Pergamon by a friend of Antiochus who desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, short after its renovation. Burnt offerings (holokautoma) were brought in there, also human.. Exacavations of this altar started in the same year (1878) when Josif Stalin, then called Josif Jughashvilli, was born. Its reconstruction begun in Berlin, Germany, when Adolph Hitler was born. It was shown to public in Berlin´s Pergamon Museum when the Nazi party took over the power in Germany. The platform for Hitler´s rallies in Nuremberg, wherefrom he addressed the world with his antisemitic propaganda, was built according to the Pergamon´s altar. Nuremberg laws started holocaust of 6 million of Jews and 60 million of others.. one of the last burnt offering was that of Hitler who ordered removal of his body by cremation. German officials were then judged in Nuremberg trials.. Due to the enormous loss of Jewish people, many of which returned to YHWH in their last days, the independent jewish state of Israel came into existence and many end-time biblical prophecies became fulfilled. Jehovah is always in control, the final judgement and victory is His, halelujah!

  2. Love your videos and am learning to appreciate Keith Johnson’s videos too. As a Jehovah’s Witness I so enjoy how you love God’s name. I look forward to the time in the future when the knowledge of Yehovah will cover the earth like the waters of the seas one thing I am confused about Steve Katsaras says that Hebrew scholars say that God’s name means He was, he is , he is to come but you say it means He is, he was, he is to be. Which one is it?

  3. There is a movie with Patrick Dempsey as Jeremiah by Lux films, I like it but there it shows his father passing on the prophet “position” to him in the Temple which makes no sense if they were exiled in Anathoth and Hilkiah (Hilkyahu?) was banned from the Temple right? Or did I misunderstand?

  4. It is less offensive and yet still honest to say “I have been taught in error and ignorance rather than lies” Lies is legal accusation, that must be accompanied by 2-3 witnesses in court of law.

    Young Jeremiah’s experience when Yehovah calls him is like Moses.

    • Jeremiah 16:19 would disagree, Yehovah is not concerned with offending anyone when the truth goes forth from His mouth.

      “O Yehovah, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.”

      The Hebrew word used for lies is “sheqer” and means lie, deception or falsehood. The fact that they are inherited from the fathers means that they have been taught or passed down through example. So yes according to Yehovah we have been lied to. Sanitizing the word of God is a lie in itself.

  5. Thank you, thank you! My life has been filled with lies…from school history books to Sunday School doctrine. Your broadcasts are like water to my soul and my daily bread. Everyday when I wake up I grab my coffee and search for His truths that were meant for all of us. My eyes have been open and I can’t get enough truth fast enough into brain. I feel like a starved child being led to a smorgasbord. Praise Yahova for gathering His people…Jew and Gentile…bringing truth to us all. My life has been forever changed.

  6. I am earnestly seeking the truth and it is earnestly being given. I thank Him with all I am and ask Him to continue with His glorious blessings. His Love gives Life! Hallelujah! Thank you Keith and Nehemia!

  7. When we hear “the word of God” coming to speak to His prophets, is it possible this is Messiah coming and speaking with the prophets? I’ve heard this in various circles. Then in New Testament, John 1:1 addresses the Word becoming flesh and coming to live with man. That’s definitely Messiah!

  8. I love the Hebrew language. I took one course in the synagogue I was attending, and I found it made more sense to me than the english language. To me all the letters are clean. It’s a clear and clean language. I’m going to check out BFA Keith about your courses. I haven’t been able to attend synagogue in years and I really miss learning. I have a question about the meaning of “gird up your loins” this always made me giggle when I read this. Thank you for your time. Blessings to you. Shalom Shalom

  9. Let me add my voice in encouraging people to learn Hebrew. It is a lot of work, but the rewards are tremendous! In every chapter, I find something that would be difficult or (more often) impossible to understand from the English.
    I started learning it about 4 years ago. After about a year, friends from my church kept asking me to teach them, so I started a class. As long as I was a few chapters ahead of them, I had something of value to offer them, and it forced me to learn it better too. Last fall I set a goal to read through the Torah in Hebrew. I’ve met that goal and am continuing through the rest of the Tanach.
    People learn in different ways. If you find a textbook more suitable for you than Keith’s online course, I recommend The First Hebrew Primer from EKS Publishing. It is more methodical and less overwhelming than others I have seen.

  10. If Hilkiah (Jeremiah’s father) was part of the family rejected/banned from temple service, would that not have precluded him from serving King Josiah in the temple during the renovation?

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