King James Version
Words are the tools of a prophet. The word of God comes asking the prophet what he sees. He responds that he sees something rather ordinary: an almond tree. God uses this ordinary sight to give him an extraordinary message. There is a play on words here between the Hebrew words for “almond” and “watching,” which sound alike in that language. Jeremiah sees an almond, which is shaped like a person’s eye, and God says He is watching. This playful and clever use of words gets Jeremiah’s attention; it stirs his prophetic imagination so that he will similarly use poetry, wordplay, and object lessons to get the attention of his listeners. Just as the almond tree is usually the first sign of spring, soon the first signs of God’s approaching judgment will appear.
13 Then the word of the Eternal came to me a second time.
Eternal One: What do you see this time?
Jeremiah: I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north, ready to spill out toward the south.