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1These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.#1:2 The thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign was 627 b.c. 3The Lord’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August#1:3 Hebrew In the fifth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. A number of events in Jeremiah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Babylonian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. The fifth month in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign occurred within the months of August and September 586 b.c. Also see 52:12 and the note there. of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.
Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions
4The Lord gave me this message:
5“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
and plant.”
11Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”
And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”
12And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,#1:12 The Hebrew word for “watching” (shoqed) sounds like the word for “almond tree” (shaqed). and I will certainly carry out all my plans.”
13Then 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.”
14“Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“They will set their thrones
at the gates of the city.
They will attack its walls
and all the other towns of Judah.
16I will pronounce judgment
on my people for all their evil—
for deserting me and burning incense to other gods.
Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands!
17“Get up and prepare for action.
Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.
Do not be afraid of them,
or I will make you look foolish in front of them.
18For see, today I have made you strong
like a fortified city that cannot be captured,
like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.
You will stand against the whole land—
the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.
19They will fight you, but they will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
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1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.
2 The word of the Lord, which came to him in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign,
3 and which came to him in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, even until the completion of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, even until the transmigration of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
4 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
5 "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you went forth from the womb, I sanctified you. And I made you a prophet to the nations."
6 And I said: "Alas, alas, alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am a boy."
7 And the Lord said to me: "Do not choose to say, 'I am a boy.' For you shall go forth to everyone to whom I will send you. And you shall speak all that I will command you.
8 You should not be afraid before their face. For I am with you, so that I may deliver you," says the Lord.
9 And the Lord put forth his hand, and he touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me: "Behold, I have placed my words in your mouth.
10 Behold, today I have appointed you over nations and over kingdoms, so that you may root up, and pull down, and destroy, and scatter, and so that you may build and plant."
11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" And I said, "I see a staff, keeping watch."
12 And the Lord said to me: "You have seen well. For I will keep watch over my word, so that I may accomplish it."
13 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see a cooking pot upon a fire, and its face is before the face of the north."
14 And the Lord said to me: "From the north, an evil will spread over all the inhabitants of the earth.
15 For behold, I will call together all the close associates of the kingdoms of the north, says the Lord. And they will arrive, and each one of them will place his throne at the entrance to the gates of Jerusalem, and over all its surrounding walls, and over all the cities of Judah.
16 And I will speak my judgments with them, concerning all the wickedness of those who have forsaken me, and who have offered libations to strange gods, and who have adored the work of their own hands.
17 Therefore, you should gird your waist, and rise up, and speak to them everything that I instruct you. You should not have dread before their face. For I will cause you to be unafraid of their countenance.
18 For certainly, this day, I have made you like a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and a brass wall, over all the land, to the kings of Judah, to its leaders, and to the priests, and to the people of the land.
19 And they will make war against you, but they will not prevail. For I am with you, says the Lord, so that I may free you."