The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one (A)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 Amon, king of Judah, in (D)the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of (E)Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and (F)until the end of the eleventh year of (G)Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, (H)until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

The Call of Jeremiah

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

(I)“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born (J)I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet (K)to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, (L)I do not know how to speak, (M)for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and (N)whatever I command you, you shall speak.
(O)Do not be afraid of them,
(P)for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

(Q)Then the Lord put out his hand and (R)touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put (S)my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day (T)over nations and over kingdoms,
(U)to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

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

13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see (W)a boiling pot, facing away (X)from the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, (Y)“Out of the north disaster[b] shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, (Z)I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, (AA)and they shall come, and every one shall 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 And (AB)I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil (AC)in forsaking me. (AD)They have made offerings to other gods and (AE)worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, (AF)dress yourself for work;[c] arise, and (AG)say to them everything that I command you. (AH)Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day (AI)a fortified city, (AJ)an iron pillar, and (AK)bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 (AL)They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for (AM)I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”

Israel Forsakes the Lord

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord,

“I remember the devotion of (AN)your youth,
    your love (AO)as a bride,
(AP)how you followed me in the wilderness,
    (AQ)in a land not sown.
(AR)Israel was holy to the Lord,
    (AS)the firstfruits of his harvest.
(AT)All who ate of it incurred guilt;
    disaster came upon them,
declares the Lord.”

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

(AU)“What wrong did your fathers find in me
    that they went far from me,
(AV)and went after (AW)worthlessness, and became worthless?
They did not say, (AX)‘Where is the Lord
    who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us (AY)in the wilderness,
    in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
    in a land that none passes through,
    where no man dwells?’
(AZ)And I brought you into a plentiful land
    to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, (BA)you defiled my land
    and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
    (BB)Those who handle the law did not know me;
(BC)the shepherds[d] transgressed against me;
    (BD)the prophets prophesied by Baal
    and went after (BE)things that do not profit.

“Therefore (BF)I still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
    and (BG)with your children's children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of (BH)Cyprus and see,
    or send to (BI)Kedar and examine with care;
    see if there has been such a thing.
11 (BJ)Has a nation changed its gods,
    (BK)even though they are no gods?
But my people (BL)have changed their glory
    for (BM)that which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, (BN)O heavens, at this;
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
(BO)they have forsaken (BP)me,
    the fountain of (BQ)living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14 (BR)“Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
    Why then has he become a prey?
15 (BS)The lions have roared against him;
    they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
    his cities are in ruins, (BT)without inhabitant.
16 Moreover, the men of (BU)Memphis and (BV)Tahpanhes
    (BW)have shaved[e] the crown of your head.
17 (BX)Have you not brought this upon yourself
    by forsaking the Lord your God,
    when (BY)he led you in the way?
18 (BZ)And now what do you gain by going to Egypt
    to drink the waters of (CA)the Nile?
(CB)Or what do you gain by going to Assyria
    to drink the waters of (CC)the Euphrates?[f]
19 (CD)Your evil will chastise you,
    and (CE)your apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and (CF)bitter
    for (CG)you to forsake the Lord your God;
    the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.

20 “For long ago I (CH)broke your yoke
    and burst your bonds;
    but you said, (CI)‘I will not serve.’
Yes, (CJ)on every high hill
    and under every green tree
    you bowed down (CK)like a whore.
21 (CL)Yet I planted you a choice vine,
    wholly of pure seed.
(CM)How then have you turned degenerate
    and become a wild vine?
22 Though you wash yourself with lye
    and use much soap,
    (CN)the stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23 (CO)How can you say, ‘I am not unclean,
    I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way (CP)in the valley;
    know what you have done—
a restless young camel running here and there,
24     (CQ)a wild donkey used to the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
    Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
    in her month they will find her.
25 Keep (CR)your feet from going unshod
    and (CS)your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
    (CT)for I have loved foreigners,
    and after them I will go.’

26 “As a thief is shamed when caught,
    so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
(CU)they, their kings, their officials,
    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 back to me,
    and not their face.
But (CV)in the time of their trouble they say,
    ‘Arise and save us!’
28 But (CW)where are your gods
    that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, (CX)if they can save you,
    in your time of trouble;
for (CY)as many as your cities
    are your gods, O Judah.


  1. Jeremiah 1:11 Almond sounds like the Hebrew for watching (compare verse 12)
  2. Jeremiah 1:14 The Hebrew word can mean evil, harm, or disaster, depending on the context; so throughout Jeremiah
  3. Jeremiah 1:17 Hebrew gird up your loins
  4. Jeremiah 2:8 Or rulers
  5. Jeremiah 2:16 Hebrew grazed
  6. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew the River

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