Jack Lundbom’s magisterial commentary on Jeremiah is living up to its promise.
On God’s call and Jeremiah’s response in Chapter 1:
Yahweh begins the present dialogue in grand hyperbole. He says he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the belly of his mother; that a consecration took place before he was born; and at this very early time — known only to himself — Jeremiah was designated a prophet to the nations. A stunning word to a young boy, who, when he makes his response, declares that he may be as far behind in the march of divine events as Yahweh is ahead.
Jeremiah’s demur is brief. He says only that he does not know how to speak He is but a boy. Very well, but Jeremiah cannot refuse the call for this or any other reason. He is to be Yahweh’s messenger, going on whatever errands Yahweh sends him and speaking whatever Yahweh commands him to speak. That should make things a bit easier. But will it? Something remains unexpressed. Jeremiah is afraid. Yahweh perceives this and tells him not to be afraid, giving him what may be at the original oracle’s end reassurance and the promise of rescue.
Jack Lundbom, Jeremiah 1-20, Anchor Yale Bible / Yale University Press, 1999/2009, pg 236.