1These are the words Jeremiah received from the Lord. He was the son of Hilkiah. Jeremiah was one of the priests at Anathoth. That's a town in the territory of Benjamin. 2A message came to Jeremiah from the Lord. It came in the 13th year that Josiah was king over Judah. Josiah was the son of Amon.
3The Lord's message also came to Jeremiah during the whole time Jehoiakim was king over Judah. Jehoiakim was the son of Josiah. The Lord continued to speak to Jeremiah until the fifth month of the 11th year that Zedekiah was king over Judah. That's when the people of Jerusalem were forced to leave their country. Zedekiah was the son of Josiah. Here is what Jeremiah said.
The Lord Chooses Jeremiah
4A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
5"Before I formed you in your mother's body I chose you.
Before you were born I set you apart to serve me.
I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations."
6"You are my Lord and King," I said. "I don't know how to speak. I'm only a child."
7But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I'm only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to. You must say everything I command you to say. 8Do not be afraid of the people I send you to. I am with you. I will save you," announces the Lord.
9Then the Lord reached out his hand. He touched my mouth and spoke to me. He said, "I have put my words in your mouth. 10Today I am appointing you to speak to nations and kingdoms. I want you to pull them up by the roots and tear them down. I want you to destroy them and crush them. But I also want you to build them up and plant them."
11A message came to me from the Lord. He asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
"The branch of an almond tree," I replied.
12The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly. I am watching to see that my word comes true."
13Another message came to me from the Lord. He asked me, "What do you see?"
"A pot that has boiling water in it," I answered. "It's leaning toward us from the north."
14The Lord said to me, "Something very bad will be poured out on everyone who lives in this land. It will come from the north. 15I am about to send for all of the armies in the northern kingdoms," announces the Lord. "Their kings will come to Jerusalem.
They will set up their thrones at the very gates of the city.
They will attack all of the walls that surround the city.
They will go to war against all of the towns of Judah.
16I will judge my people.
They have done many evil things.
They have deserted me.
They have burned incense to other gods.
They have worshiped the gods
their own hands have made.
17"So get ready! Stand up! Tell them everything I command you to. Do not let them terrify you. If you do, I will terrify you in front of them. 18Today I have made you like a city that has a high wall around it. I have made you like an iron pillar and a bronze wall. Now you can stand up against the whole land. You can stand against the kings and officials of Judah. You can stand against its priests and its people. 19They will fight against you. But they will not overcome you. I am with you. I will save you," announces the Lord.