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13 The Lord’s message came to me a second time, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water; it is tipped away from the north.”[a]

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  1. Jeremiah 1:13 tn Heb “its face is away from the north.”

13 And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.

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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.

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13 Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?”

And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.”

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13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see (A)a boiling pot, facing away (B)from the north.”

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