The Prophet Jeremiah
1 ⌊These are⌋ the words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah. He was one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah when King Josiah, son of Amon, was in his thirteenth year as king of Judah. 3 The Lord also spoke when Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, was king of Judah and during the 11 years that Zedekiah, ⌊another⌋ son of Josiah, was king of Judah. The Lord continued to speak to Jeremiah until the people of Jerusalem were taken away into captivity in the fifth month of the year.
The Lord Gives Jeremiah a Message for His People
4 The Lord spoke his word to me,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb,
I knew you.
Before you were born,
I set you apart for my holy purpose.
I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
6 I, Jeremiah, said, “Almighty Lord, I do not know how to speak. I am only a boy!”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say that you are only a boy. You will go wherever I send you. You will say whatever I command you to say. 8 Don’t be afraid of people. I am with you, and I will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord stretched out his hand and touched my mouth. The Lord said to me,
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10 Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms.
You will uproot and tear down.
You will destroy and overthrow.
You will build and plant.”
11 Again the Lord spoke his word to me and asked, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
12 Then the Lord said to me, “Right. I am watching to make sure that my words come true.” #–12 There is a play on words here between Hebrew shaked (almond tree) and shoked (watching).
13 Again the Lord spoke his word to me and asked, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a boiling pot, and its top is tilted away from the north.”
14 Then the Lord said to me,
“Disaster will be poured out from the north
on all those who live in the land.
15 I am going to call every family and kingdom from the north,”
declares the Lord.
“They will come, and they will set up their thrones
at the entrance of Jerusalem’s gates.
They will attack all the walls around the city
and all the cities of Judah.
16 I will pass sentence on my people because of all their wickedness.
They abandoned me,
burned incense to other gods,
and worshiped what their hands have made.
17 Brace yourself, Jeremiah!
Stand up, and say to them whatever I tell you to say.
Don’t be terrified in their presence,
or I will make you ⌊even more⌋ terrified in their presence.
18 Today I have made you like a fortified city,
an iron pillar, and a bronze wall.
You will be able to stand up to the whole land.
You will be able to stand up to Judah’s kings,
its officials, its priests, and ⌊all⌋ the common people.
19 They will fight you, but they will not defeat you.
I am with you, and I will rescue you,” declares the Lord.