Jeremiah was miraculously visited and ordained by God Almighty (Jer. 1:4-10), the primary message of the Prophet was revealed (Jer. 1:11-16), the primary people to whom he would speak, and the conflicts and trials which would thereby transpire (Jer. 1:17-19): This, we know, took place during the 13th year of the reign of Josiah, as Jeremiah 1:2 gave reference. Furthermore, seeing that this event and these prophecies were uttered at the beginning of Jeremiah’s ordination, and necessarily so, the Prophet was made to reckon with the inevitable future that awaited him in the Lord’s service. Albeit, is this at all in reference to the days of Josiah?
This question must be answered correctly lest we think that Jeremiah 1:19 (“they shall fight against thee”) and Jeremiah 2:1-3:5 were spoken to and descriptive of the leadership of Josiah’s generation. Furthermore, this much we know, the Lord did indeed raise up “all the families of the Kingdoms of the North”, as God did here say at the onset of Jeremiah’s ministry (Jer. 1:15-16), but this took place in the 2nd Captivity of Judah that transpired at the 11th year of the reign of Jehioakim. This was approx. 29 years later! One Captivity took place before this and four Captivities after it, but none of them were in the reign of Josiah because he was a righteous King! Remember?
Surely, it cannot be said that Josiah fought against Jeremiah (“they shall fight against thee”), right? Quite the contrary! Hence, Josiah and those in leadership with him were not the primary objects of Jeremiah’s prophesying. Jeremiah and Josiah were no doubt seeking God together and facilitating the reformations of the revival. Jeremiah spent the next 18 years of his ministry with Josiah, 5 years of purging the Lands and 13 years of unprecedented REVIVAL!
With all things considered and in such circumstances, let us consider the ministry of Jeremiah in its beginnings. Being ordained by God, the Lord was careful to unveil the essence of the message entrusted to Jeremiah’s stewardship: namely, Babylon’s eventual coming to destroy Judah and Jerusalem (Jer. 1:11-16). This was likely given to Jeremiah in the same blowing of the Spirit as that which befell him at his ordination as a Prophet by God. Furthermore, the Lord was careful to depict the people to whom this message was primarily sent: a stout-faced people who would rebelliously fight against Jeremiah (Jer. 1:8, 17-19). Certainly, these people do not meet the character of Josiah the King of Judah, nor does it describe the Princes, Priests, and the people of the Land during the reign of Josiah (“they departed not from following the LORD” – 2 Chron. 34:33). Thus, when God said to Jeremiah, “arise” and “speak”, he was not referring to the people of Josiah’s reign in particular (Jer. 1:17).