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The Call of Jeremiah

The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the kohanim who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The word of Adonai came to him during the days of King Josiah of Judah, son of Amon, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It continued during the days of King Jehoiakim of Judah, son of Josiah, until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah of Judah, son of Josiah—until the exile from Jerusalem in the fifth month.

The word of Adonai came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,
    and before you were born, I set you apart—
    I appointed you prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Alas, Adonai Elohim!
    Look, I don’t know how to speak!
    For I’m still a boy!”
But Adonai answered me,
    “Do not say ‘I’m only a boy!’
    For to everyone I send you, you will go,
    and all I command you, you will speak.
Do not be afraid of them!
    For I am with you to deliver you.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.

Then Adonai stretched out His hand and touched my mouth and Adonai said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, today I have appointed you over nations and over kingdoms:
    to uproot and to tear down,
    to destroy and to overthrow,
    to build and to plant.”

11 Moreover, the word of Adonai came to me, saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

I answered, “I see an almond branch.”

12 Then Adonai said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching over[a] My word to perform it.”

13 The word of Adonai came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?”

I replied, “I see a boiling pot that is tilting away from the north.”

14 Then Adonai said to me:

“From the north, disaster will be poured out
    on all the inhabitants of the land.
15 Behold! I am calling all the families
    of the kingdoms of the north.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.
    “So they will come and each will set up his throne
        at the entry of the gates of Jerusalem,
        against all her surrounding walls
        and against all the cities of Judah.
16 I will pronounce My judgments on them for all their wickedness—
    they have forsaken Me,
        offering incense to other gods,
        worshipping the works of their hands.
17 Now, you, gird up your loins!
    Get up and tell them everything that I order you!
    Do not be terrified by them,
        or else I will terrify you before them.
18 Look, today I have set you up
    as a fortified city—
    an iron pillar and bronze walls—
    against the whole land,
    against the kings of Judah, its princes
    against its kohanim,
    and against the people of the land.
19 Though they will fight against you,
    they will not win,
        for I am with you, to deliver you.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.


  1. Jeremiah 1:12 The Heb. words for almond and watching over are similar.