1The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The call of Jeremiah
4The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew1:5 Or chose you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’
6‘Alas, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’
7But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am too young.” You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.
9Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth. 10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.’
11The word of the Lord came to me: ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’
‘I see the branch of an almond tree,’ I replied.
12The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching1:12 The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree. to see that my word is fulfilled.’
13The word of the Lord came to me again: ‘What do you see?’
‘I see a pot that is boiling,’ I answered. ‘It is tilting towards us from the north.’
14The Lord said to me, ‘From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,’ declares the Lord.
‘Their kings will come and set up their thrones
in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
and against all the towns of Judah.
16I will pronounce my judgments on my people
because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshipping what their hands have made.
17‘Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land – against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.