Jeremiah Called to Be a Priest

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

The Prophet Is Called

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

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

Then said I:

(K)“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 (L)whatever I command you, you shall speak.
(M)Do not be afraid of their faces,
For (N)I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

Then the Lord put forth His hand and (O)touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have (P)put My words in your mouth.
10 (Q)See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To (R)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 (S)a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.”

14 Then the Lord said to me:

“Out of the (T)north calamity shall break forth
On all the inhabitants of the land.
15 For behold, I am (U)calling
All the families of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord;
“They shall come and (V)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 (W)they have forsaken Me,
Burned (X)incense to other gods,
And worshiped the works of their own (Y)hands.

17 “Therefore (Z)prepare yourself and arise,
And speak to them all that I command you.
(AA)Do not be dismayed before their faces,
Lest I dismay you before them.
18 For behold, I have made you this day
(AB)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 (AC)youth,
The love of your betrothal,
(AD)When you [e]went after Me in the wilderness,
In a land not sown.
(AE)Israel was holiness to the Lord,
(AF)The firstfruits of His increase.
(AG)All that devour him will offend;
Disaster will (AH)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:

(AI)“What injustice have your fathers found in Me,
That they have gone far from Me,
(AJ)Have followed [f]idols,
And have become idolaters?
Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord,
Who (AK)brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through (AL)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 (AM)a bountiful country,
To eat its fruit and its goodness.
But when you entered, you (AN)defiled My land
And made My heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
And those who handle the (AO)law did not know Me;
The rulers also transgressed against Me;
(AP)The prophets prophesied by Baal,
And walked after things that do not profit.

“Therefore (AQ)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 (AR)thing.
11 (AS)Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are (AT)not gods?
(AU)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 (AV)fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14 Is Israel (AW)a servant?
Is he a homeborn slave?
Why is he plundered?
15 (AX)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 (AY)Tahpanhes
Have [k]broken the crown of your head.
17 (AZ)Have you not brought this on yourself,
In that you have forsaken the Lord your God
When (BA)He led you in the way?
18 And now why take (BB)the road to Egypt,
To drink the waters of (BC)Sihor?
Or why take the road to (BD)Assyria,
To drink the waters of [l]the River?
19 Your own wickedness will (BE)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 (BF)broken your yoke and burst your bonds;
And (BG)you said, ‘I will not [n]transgress,’
When (BH)on every high hill and under every green tree
You lay down, (BI)playing the harlot.
21 Yet I had (BJ)planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality.
How then have you turned before Me
Into (BK)the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap,
Yet your iniquity is (BL)marked[o] before Me,” says the Lord God.

23 “How(BM) 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, (BN)‘There is no hope.
No! For I have loved (BO)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 (BP)prophets,
27 Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a (BQ)stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’
For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.
But in the time of their (BR)trouble
They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’
28 But (BS)where are your gods that you have made for yourselves?
Let them arise,
If they (BT)can save you in the time of your [q]trouble;
For (BU)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 (BV)chastened your children;
They (BW)received no correction.
Your sword has (BX)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;
(BY)We will come no more to You’?
32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people (BZ)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
(CA)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 (CB)Yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent,
Surely His anger shall turn from me.’
Behold, (CC)I will plead My case against you,
(CD)Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 (CE)Why do you gad about so much to change your way?
Also (CF)you shall be ashamed of Egypt (CG)as you were ashamed of Assyria.
37 Indeed you will go forth from him
With your hands on (CH)your head;
For the Lord has rejected your trusted allies,
And you will (CI)not prosper by them.

Israel Is Shameless

“They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife,
And she goes from him
And becomes another man’s,
(CJ)May he return to her again?’
Would not that (CK)land be greatly polluted?
But you have (CL)played the harlot with many lovers;
(CM)Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.

“Lift up your eyes to (CN)the desolate heights and see:
Where have you not [t]lain with men?
(CO)By the road you have sat for them
Like an Arabian in the wilderness;
(CP)And you have polluted the land
With your harlotries and your wickedness.
Therefore the (CQ)showers have been withheld,
And there has been no latter rain.
You have had a (CR)harlot’s forehead;
You refuse to be ashamed.
Will you not from this time cry to Me,
‘My Father, You are (CS)the guide of (CT)my youth?
(CU)Will He remain angry forever?
Will He keep it to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken and done evil things,
As you were able.”

A Call to Repentance

The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what (CV)backsliding Israel has done? She has (CW)gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. (CX)And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous (CY)sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that (CZ)for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had (DA)put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; (DB)yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she (DC)defiled the land and committed adultery with (DD)stones and trees. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me (DE)with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.

11 Then the Lord said to me, (DF)“Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward (DG)the north, and say:

‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am (DH)merciful,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 (DI)Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God,
And have (DJ)scattered your [u]charms
To (DK)alien deities (DL)under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.

14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; (DM)“for I am married to you. I will take you, (DN)one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to (DO)Zion. 15 And I will give you (DP)shepherds according to My heart, who will (DQ)feed you with knowledge and understanding.

16 “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and (DR)increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ (DS)It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.

17 “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, (DT)to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they (DU)follow[v] the dictates of their evil hearts.

18 “In those days (DV)the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of (DW)the north to (DX)the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.

19 “But I said:

‘How can I put you among the children
And give you (DY)a pleasant land,
A beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?’

“And I said:

‘You shall call Me, (DZ)“My Father,”
And not turn away from Me.’
20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her [w]husband,
So (EA)have you dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” says the Lord.

21 A voice was heard on (EB)the desolate heights,
Weeping and supplications of the children of Israel.
For they have perverted their way;
They have forgotten the Lord their God.

22 “Return, you backsliding children,
And I will (EC)heal your backslidings.”

“Indeed we do come to You,
For You are the Lord our God.
23 (ED)Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills,
And from the multitude of mountains;
(EE)Truly, in the Lord our God
Is the salvation of Israel.
24 (EF)For shame has devoured
The labor of our fathers from our youth—
Their flocks and their herds,
Their sons and their daughters.
25 We lie down in our shame,
And our [x]reproach covers us.
(EG)For we have sinned against the Lord our God,
We and our fathers,
From our youth even to this day,
And (EH)have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”


  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
  20. Jeremiah 3:2 Kt. been violated
  21. Jeremiah 3:13 Lit. ways
  22. Jeremiah 3:17 walk after the stubbornness or imagination
  23. Jeremiah 3:20 Lit. companion
  24. Jeremiah 3:25 disgrace

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