Jeremiah 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jeremiah 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:

2 To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.

3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Christians often cite this verse as biblical proof that a fetus is a person. Their rationale is if God knows us in the womb, then we must be a person. Of course, they often overlook the verses that illustrate God's willingness to kill both the born and unborn. (What the Bible says about abortion and pregnancy)
God has no willingness to kill born nor the unborn. That there is sin and death in this world is not of God. That due to our actions, our unborn perish, is not God's fault, but our fault. This verse in just one among the many where it indicates that a person in the belly of his mother is a person, not a clump of cells, who suddenly becomes a person by leaving his mother's belly.
But see the other veres where the author of the SAB reads the text to support his assertion that God kills. God never kills. He might punish where punishment is due.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.

12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

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.

14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.

(1:14-15) "Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land."
God plans to send enemy nations against his "chosen people."
But why did this evil break forth? Because his chosen people had chosen good above evil? As verse 16 says: they forsook God, chosing evil. This is God's righteous punishment. The author of the SAB would like to live in a world where his moral choices would not be judged either in this life or the life after, but thank God we do not live in a world where people can get away with evil.

15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

Those who worship "other gods" are wicked. How many gods are there?
Of course God doesn't say there are other gods. They were gods in the estimation of the people who burned insense to them. That's all this verse says.

17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.