Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

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

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I (H)formed you in the womb I knew you,
And (I)before you were born I consecrated you;
I have (J)appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Then (K)I said, “Oh, Lord [a]God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because (L)I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
(M)Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And (N)all that I command you, you shall speak.
(O)Do not be afraid of them,
For (P)I am with you to save you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and (Q)touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have (R)put My words in your mouth.
10 See, (S)I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
(T)To root out and to tear down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
(U)To build and to plant.”

The Almond Branch and Boiling Pot

11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “What do you see, (V)Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a branch of an [b]almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for (W)I am [c]watching over My word to perform it.”

13 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “(X)What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling (Y)pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “(Z)Out of the north the evil [d]will be unleashed on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, behold, I am calling (AA)all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the Lord; “and they will come and (AB)place, each one of them, his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls around, and against all the (AC)cities of Judah. 16 And I will [e]pronounce My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, since they have (AD)abandoned Me and have [f](AE)offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the (AF)works of their own hands. 17 Now, (AG)belt your garment around your waist and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. (AH)Do not be dismayed before them, or I will make you dismayed before them. 18 Now behold, I have made you today like a fortified city and like a pillar of iron and walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its leaders, to its priests, and to the people of the land. 19 And they will fight against you but they will not overcome you, for (AI)I am with you to save you,” declares the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 1:6 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  2. Jeremiah 1:11 Heb shaqed, see note v 12
  3. Jeremiah 1:12 Heb shoqed, a wordplay on almond in v 11 (see note v 11)
  4. Jeremiah 1:14 Lit opened
  5. Jeremiah 1:16 Lit speak
  6. Jeremiah 1:16 Or burned incense

Judah’s Apostasy

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and (A)proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“I remember regarding you the [a](B)devotion of your youth,
Your love when you were a bride,
(C)Your following after Me in the wilderness,
Through a land not sown.
Israel was (D)holy to the Lord,
The (E)first of His harvest.
(F)All who ate of it became guilty;
Evil came upon them,” declares the Lord.’”

Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. This is what the Lord says:

(G)What injustice did your fathers find in Me,
That they went far from Me,
And walked after (H)emptiness and became empty?
They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
Who (I)brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who (J)led us through the wilderness,
Through a land of deserts and of pits,
Through a land of drought and of [b]deep darkness,
Through a land that no one crossed
And where no person lived?’
I brought you into the (K)fruitful land
To eat its fruit and its good things.
But you came and (L)defiled My land,
And you made My inheritance an abomination.
The (M)priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
And those who handle the Law (N)did not know Me;
The [c]rulers also revolted against Me,
And the (O)prophets prophesied by Baal
And walked after (P)things that were of no benefit.

“Therefore I will still (Q)contend with you,” declares the Lord,
“And I will contend with your sons’ sons.
10 For (R)cross to the coastlands of [d]Kittim and see,
And send to (S)Kedar and observe closely,
And see if there has been anything like this!
11 Has a nation changed gods,
When (T)they were not gods?
But My people have (U)exchanged their glory
For that which is of no benefit.
12 Be appalled at this, (V)you heavens,
And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.
13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have abandoned Me,
The (W)fountain of living waters,
To carve out for themselves (X)cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That do not hold water.

14 “Is Israel (Y)a slave? Or is he a servant born in the home?
Why has he become plunder?
15 The young (Z)lions have roared at him,
They have [e]roared loudly.
And they have (AA)made his land a waste;
His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant.
16 Also the [f]men of (AB)Memphis and Tahpanhes
Have [g]shaved (AC)your head.
17 Have you not (AD)done this to yourself
By your abandoning the Lord your God
When He (AE)led you in the way?
18 But now what are you doing (AF)on the road to Egypt,
Except to drink the waters of the [h](AG)Nile?
Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria,
Except to drink the waters of the Euphrates River?
19 (AH)Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your (AI)apostasies will punish you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and (AJ)bitter
For you to abandon the Lord your God,
And (AK)the fear of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord [i]God of armies.

20 “For long ago [j](AL)I broke your yoke
And tore off your restraints;
But you said, ‘I will not serve!’
For on every (AM)high hill
And under every leafy tree
You have lain down as a prostitute.
21 Yet I (AN)planted you as a choice vine,
A completely faithful seed.
How then have you turned yourself before Me
Into the (AO)degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?
22 Although you (AP)wash yourself with lye
And [k]use much soap,
The (AQ)stain of your guilt is before Me,” declares the Lord [l]God.
23 (AR)How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the (AS)Baals’?
Look at your way in the (AT)valley!
Know what you have done!
You are a swift young camel (AU)running about senselessly on her ways,
24 A (AV)wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness,
That sniffs the wind in her passion.
Who can turn her away in her mating season?
None who seek her will grow weary;
In her month they will find her.
25 Keep your feet from being bare,
And your throat from thirst;
But you said, ‘(AW)It is [m]hopeless!
No! For I have (AX)loved strangers,
And I will walk after them.’

26 “Like the shame of a (AY)thief when he is discovered,
So the house of Israel is shamed;
They, their kings, their leaders,
Their priests, and their prophets,
27 Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their (AZ)backs to Me,
And not their faces;
But in the (BA)time of their [n]trouble they will say,
‘Arise and save us!’
28 But where are your (BB)gods
Which you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can (BC)save you
In the time of your [o]trouble!
For (BD)as many as the number of your cities
Are your gods, Judah.

29 “Why do you contend with Me?
You have (BE)all revolted against Me,” declares the Lord.
30 (BF)In vain I have struck your sons;
They did not accept discipline.
Your (BG)sword has devoured your prophets
Like a destroying lion.
31 You generation, look to the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
Or a (BH)land of thick darkness?
Why do My people say, ‘(BI)We are free to roam;
We will no longer come to You’?
32 Can a virgin forget her jewelry,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have (BJ)forgotten Me
For days without number.
33 How well you prepare your way
To seek love!
Therefore even to the wicked women
You have taught your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found
The (BK)lifeblood of the innocent poor;
You did not find them (BL)breaking in.
But in spite of all these things,
35 You said, ‘I am innocent;
Surely His anger is turned away from me.’
Behold, I will (BM)enter into judgment with you
Because you (BN)say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you (BO)go around so much
Changing your way?
Also, (BP)you will be put to shame by Egypt,
Just as you were put to shame by (BQ)Assyria.
37 From this place as well you will go out
With (BR)your hands on your head;
For the Lord has rejected (BS)those in whom you trust,
And you will not prosper with them.”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 2:2 Or faithfulness
  2. Jeremiah 2:6 Or the shadow of death
  3. Jeremiah 2:8 Lit shepherds
  4. Jeremiah 2:10 I.e., Cyprus and other islands
  5. Jeremiah 2:15 Lit given their voice
  6. Jeremiah 2:16 Lit sons
  7. Jeremiah 2:16 Lit grazed
  8. Jeremiah 2:18 Heb Shihor
  9. Jeremiah 2:19 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  10. Jeremiah 2:20 Or you
  11. Jeremiah 2:22 Lit acquire much soap for yourself
  12. Jeremiah 2:22 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  13. Jeremiah 2:25 Or desperate
  14. Jeremiah 2:27 Or evil
  15. Jeremiah 2:28 Or evil

The Defiled Land

God [a]says, “(A)If a husband divorces his wife
And she leaves him
And becomes another man’s wife,
Will he return to her again?
Would that land not be completely defiled?
But you (B)are a prostitute with many [b]lovers;
Yet you (C)turn to Me,” declares the Lord.
“Raise your eyes to the (D)bare heights and see;
Where have you not been violated?
You have (E)sat for them by the roads
Like an Arab in the desert,
And you have (F)defiled a land
With your prostitution and your wickedness.
Therefore the (G)showers have been withheld,
And there has been no spring rain.
Yet you had a (H)prostitute’s [c]forehead;
You refused to be ashamed.
Have you not just now called to Me,
(I)My Father, You are the (J)friend of my (K)youth?
(L)Will He be angry forever,
Or keep His anger to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken
And have done evil things,
And you have [d]had your own way.”

Faithless Israel

Then the Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She (M)went up on every high hill and under every leafy tree, and she prostituted herself there. Yet (N)I [e]thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her (O)treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the [f]adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and (P)given her a certificate of divorce, yet her (Q)treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and prostituted herself also. And because of the thoughtlessness of her prostitution, she (R)defiled the land and committed [g]adultery with (S)stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in (T)deception,” declares the Lord.

God Invites Repentance

11 And the Lord said to me, “(U)Faithless Israel has proved herself to be more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,

(V)Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord;
(W)I will not [h]look at you in anger.
For I am (X)gracious,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only [i](Y)acknowledge your wrongdoing,
That you have revolted against the Lord your God,
And have (Z)scattered your [j]favors to the strangers (AA)under every leafy tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord.
14 ‘Return, you faithless sons,’ declares the Lord;
‘For I am a (AB)master to you,
And I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
And (AC)bring you to Zion.’

15 “Then I will give you (AD)shepherds [k]after My own heart, who will (AE)feed you knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall be in those days when you become numerous and are fruitful in the land,” declares the Lord, “they will (AF)no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The (AG)Throne of the Lord,’ and (AH)all the nations will assemble at it, at Jerusalem, for the (AI)name of the Lord; and they will no longer (AJ)follow the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 (AK)In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together (AL)from the land of the north to the (AM)land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.

19 “Then I said,

‘How I would set you among [l]My sons
And give you a pleasant land,
The most (AN)beautiful inheritance of the nations!’
And I said, ‘You shall call Me, (AO)My Father,
And not turn away from following Me.’
20 However, as a woman treacherously leaves her lover,
So you have (AP)dealt treacherously with Me,
House of Israel,” declares the Lord.

21 A voice is heard on the (AQ)bare heights,
The weeping, the pleading of the sons of Israel.
Because they have perverted their way,
They have (AR)forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “Return, you faithless sons,
(AS)I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to You;
For You are the Lord our God.
23 Certainly (AT)the hills are a deception,
[m]Commotion on the mountains.
Certainly in the (AU)Lord our God
Is the salvation of Israel.

24 “But (AV)the shame has consumed the product of our fathers’ labor since our youth—their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our (AW)shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, (AX)from our youth even to this day. And we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 3:1 Lit saying
  2. Jeremiah 3:1 Lit companions
  3. Jeremiah 3:3 I.e., calloused appearance
  4. Jeremiah 3:5 Lit been able
  5. Jeremiah 3:7 Lit said
  6. Jeremiah 3:8 I.e., idolatry
  7. Jeremiah 3:9 I.e., idolatry
  8. Jeremiah 3:12 Lit make My face fall
  9. Jeremiah 3:13 Lit know
  10. Jeremiah 3:13 Lit ways
  11. Jeremiah 3:15 I.e., with hearts like Mine
  12. Jeremiah 3:19 Lit the
  13. Jeremiah 3:23 I.e., from idolatrous rituals