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Jeremiah 1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jeremiah Called to Be a Priest

The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

The Prophet Is Called

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified[a] you;
I [b]ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Then said I:

“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

But the Lord said to me:

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

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 set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
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 [c]branch of an almond tree.”

12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [d]ready to perform My word.”

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 it is facing away from the north.”

14 Then the Lord said to me:

“Out of the north calamity shall break forth
On all the inhabitants of the land.
15 For behold, I am calling
All the families of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord;
“They shall come and each one set his throne
At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem,
Against all its walls all around,
And against all the cities of Judah.
16 I will utter My judgments
Against them concerning all their wickedness,
Because they have forsaken Me,
Burned incense to other gods,
And worshiped the works of their own hands.

17 “Therefore prepare yourself and arise,
And speak to them all that I command you.
Do not be dismayed before their faces,
Lest I dismay you before them.
18 For behold, I have made you this day
A fortified city and an iron pillar,
And bronze walls against the whole land—
Against the kings of Judah,
Against its princes,
Against its priests,
And against the people of the land.
19 They will fight against you,
But they shall not prevail against you.
For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”

God’s Case Against Israel

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord:

“I remember you,
The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal,
When you [e]went after Me in the wilderness,
In a land not sown.
Israel was holiness to the Lord,
The firstfruits of His increase.
All that devour him will offend;
Disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.’ ”

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

“What injustice have your fathers found in Me,
That they have gone far from Me,
Have followed [f]idols,
And have become idolaters?
Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord,
Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness,
Through a land of deserts and pits,
Through a land of drought and the shadow of death,
Through a land that no one crossed
And where no one dwelt?’
I brought you into a bountiful country,
To eat its fruit and its goodness.
But when you entered, you defiled My land
And made My heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
And those who handle the law did not know Me;
The rulers also transgressed against Me;
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
And walked after things that do not profit.

“Therefore I will yet [g]bring charges against you,” says the Lord,
“And against your children’s children I will bring charges.
10 For pass beyond the coasts of [h]Cyprus and see,
Send to [i]Kedar and consider diligently,
And see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are not gods?
But My people have changed their Glory
For what does not profit.
12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
And be horribly afraid;
Be very desolate,” says the Lord.
13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14 Is Israel a servant?
Is he a homeborn slave?
Why is he plundered?
15 The young lions roared at him, and growled;
They made his land waste;
His cities are burned, without inhabitant.
16 Also the people of [j]Noph and Tahpanhes
Have [k]broken the crown of your head.
17 Have you not brought this on yourself,
In that you have forsaken the Lord your God
When He led you in the way?
18 And now why take the road to Egypt,
To drink the waters of Sihor?
Or why take the road to Assyria,
To drink the waters of [l]the River?
19 Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your backslidings will rebuke you.
Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing
That you have forsaken the Lord your God,
And the [m]fear of Me is not in you,”
Says the Lord God of hosts.

20 “For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds;
And you said, ‘I will not [n]transgress,’
When on every high hill and under every green tree
You lay down, playing the harlot.
21 Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality.
How then have you turned before Me
Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap,
Yet your iniquity is marked[o] before Me,” says the Lord God.

23 “How can you say, ‘I am not [p]polluted,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
See your way in the valley;
Know what you have done:
You are a swift dromedary breaking loose in her ways,
24 A wild donkey used to the wilderness,
That sniffs at the wind in her desire;
In her time of mating, who can turn her away?
All those who seek her will not weary themselves;
In her month they will find her.
25 Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘There is no hope.
No! For I have loved aliens, and after them I will go.’

26 “As the thief is ashamed when he is found out,
So is the house of Israel ashamed;
They and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets,
27 Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’
For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble
They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’
28 But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves?
Let them arise,
If they can save you in the time of your [q]trouble;
For according to the number of your cities
Are your gods, O Judah.

29 “Why will you plead with Me?
You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord.
30 “In vain I have chastened your children;
They received no correction.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
Like a destroying lion.

31 “O generation, see the word of the Lord!
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
Or a land of darkness?
Why do My people say, ‘We [r]are lords;
We will come no more to You’?
32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.

33 “Why do you beautify your way to seek love?
Therefore you have also taught
The wicked women your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found
The blood of the lives of the poor innocents.
I have not found it by [s]secret search,
But plainly on all these things.
35 Yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent,
Surely His anger shall turn from me.’
Behold, I will plead My case against you,
Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you gad about so much to change your way?
Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria.
37 Indeed you will go forth from him
With your hands on your head;
For the Lord has rejected your trusted allies,
And you will not prosper by them.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 set you apart
  2. Jeremiah 1:5 appointed
  3. Jeremiah 1:11 Lit. rod
  4. Jeremiah 1:12 Lit. watching
  5. Jeremiah 2:2 followed
  6. Jeremiah 2:5 vanities or futilities
  7. Jeremiah 2:9 contend with
  8. Jeremiah 2:10 Heb. Kittim, representative of western cultures
  9. Jeremiah 2:10 In northern Arabian desert, representative of eastern cultures
  10. Jeremiah 2:16 Memphis in ancient Egypt
  11. Jeremiah 2:16 Or grazed
  12. Jeremiah 2:18 The Euphrates
  13. Jeremiah 2:19 dread
  14. Jeremiah 2:20 Kt. serve
  15. Jeremiah 2:22 stained
  16. Jeremiah 2:23 defiled
  17. Jeremiah 2:28 Or evil
  18. Jeremiah 2:31 have dominion
  19. Jeremiah 2:34 digging
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 1-2 New International Version (NIV)

The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, and 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

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But 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. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b] to see that my word is fulfilled.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

14 The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I 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.
16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people
    because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
    and in worshiping 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. 18 Today 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. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Israel Forsakes God

The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
    how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
    through a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,
    the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
    and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
    all you clans of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
    that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
    and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
    who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
    through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
    a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land
    to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
    and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask,
    ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
    the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
    following worthless idols.

“Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the Lord.
    “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
    send to Kedar[c] and observe closely;
    see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
    (Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
    for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
    Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared;
    they have growled at him.
They have laid waste his land;
    his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
    have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
    by forsaking the Lord your God
    when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt
    to drink water from the Nile[d]?
And why go to Assyria
    to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
    your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
    how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the Lord your God
    and have no awe of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke
    and tore off your bonds;
    you said, ‘I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
    and under every spreading tree
    you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
    of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
    into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap
    and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
    the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;
    I have not run after the Baals’?
See how you behaved in the valley;
    consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
    running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,
    sniffing the wind in her craving—
    in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
    at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
    and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
    I love foreign gods,
    and I must go after them.’

26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,
    so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
    their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
    and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
    and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
    ‘Come and save us!’
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
    Let them come if they can save you
    when you are in trouble!
For you, Judah, have as many gods
    as you have towns.

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?
    You have all rebelled against me,”
declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I punished your people;
    they did not respond to correction.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
    like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel
    or a land of great darkness?
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
    we will come to you no more’?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
    a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
    days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing love!
    Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
    the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
    though you did not catch them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all this
35     you say, ‘I am innocent;
    he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment on you
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped by them.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Or chose
  2. Jeremiah 1:12 The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree.
  3. Jeremiah 2:10 In the Syro-Arabian desert
  4. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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