1
God chooses Jeremiah to speak for him
1My name is Jeremiah. I am a priest, and my father Hilkiah and everyone else in my family are from Anathoth in the territory of the Benjamin tribe. This book contains the things that the Lord told me to say. 2#2 King 22.3—23.272 Chron 34.8—35.19The Lord first spoke to me in the thirteenth year that Josiah#1.2 Josiah: Ruled 640–609 bc. was king of Judah, 3#2 King 23.36—24.72 Chron 36.5–82 King 24.18—25.212 Chron 36.11–21and he continued to speak to me during the rule of Josiah's son Jehoiakim.#1.3 Jehoiakim: Ruled 609–598 bc. The last time the Lord spoke to me was in the fifth month#1.3 fifth month: Ab, the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-July to mid-August. of the eleventh year that Josiah's son Zedekiah#1.3 Zedekiah: Ruled 598–586 bc. was king. That was also when the people of Jerusalem were taken away as prisoners.
The Lord chooses Jeremiah
4The Lord said:
5“Jeremiah, I am your Creator,
and before you were born,
I chose you to speak for me
to the nations.”
6I replied, “I'm not a good speaker, Lord, and I'm too young.”
7“Don't say you're too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go! And when I tell you what to say, don't leave out a word! 8I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don't be afraid.”
9The Lord reached out his hand, then he touched my mouth and said, “I am giving you the words to say, 10and I am sending you with authority to speak to the nations for me. You will tell them of doom and destruction, and of rising and rebuilding again.”
11The Lord showed me something in a vision. Then he asked, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I answered, “A branch of almonds that ripen early.”
12“That's right,” the Lord replied, “and I always rise early#1.11,12 almonds … rise early: In Hebrew “almonds that ripen early” sounds like “always rise early”. to keep a promise.”
13Then the Lord showed me something else and asked, “What do you see now?”
I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water in the north, and it's about to spill out towards us.”
14The Lord said:
I will pour out destruction
all over the land.
15Just watch while I send
for the kings of the north.
They will attack and capture
Jerusalem and other towns,
then set up their thrones
at the gates of Jerusalem.
16I will punish my people,
because they are guilty
of turning from me
to worship idols.
17Jeremiah, get ready!
Go and tell the people
what I command you to say.
Don't be frightened by them,
or I will make you terrified
while they watch.
18My power will make you strong
like a fortress
or a column of iron
or a wall of bronze.
You will oppose all of Judah,
including its kings and leaders,
its priests and people.
19They will fight back,
but they won't win.
I, the Lord, give my word—
I won't let them harm you.
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