1 THE WORDS of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin [two or three miles north of Jerusalem],
2 To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah in the thirteenth year of his reign.
3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem into captivity in the fifth month. [II Kings 25:8-11.]
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying,
5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. [Exod. 33:12; Isa. 49:1, 5; Rom. 8:29.]
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. [Exod. 4:10; 6:12, 30; I Kings 3:7.]
7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter].
12 Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
13 And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, What do you see? And I said, I see a boiling pot, and the face of it is [tipped away] from the north [its mouth about to pour forth on the south, on Judea].
14 Then the Lord said to me, Out of the north the evil [which the prophets had foretold as the result of national sin] shall disclose itself and break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
15 For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, says the Lord; and they will come and set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah [as God's judicial act, a consequence of Judah's wickedness].
16 And I will utter My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands [idols].
17 But you [Jeremiah], gird up your loins! Arise and tell them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed and break down at the sight of their faces, lest I confound you before them and permit you to be overcome.
18 For I, behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar and bronze walls against the whole land–against the [successive] kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land [giving you divine strength which no hostile power can overcome]. [Isa. 50:7; 54:17; Jer. 6:27; 15:20; Luke 21:15; Acts 6:10.]
19 And they shall fight against you, but they shall not [finally] prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.