The words of Jeremiah,(A) the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests living in Anathoth(B) in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah(C) son of Amon, king of Judah. It also came throughout the days of Jehoiakim(D) son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah(E) 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:

I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.(F)
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.(G)

But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak(H) since I am only a youth.”(I)

Then the Lord said to me:

Do not say, “I am only a youth,”(J)
for you will go to everyone I send you to
and speak whatever I tell you.(K)
Do not be afraid of anyone,(L)
for I will be with you to rescue you.(M)
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Then the Lord reached out his hand, touched my mouth,(N) and told me:

I have now filled your mouth with my words.(O)
10 See, I have appointed you today
over nations and kingdoms
to uproot and tear down,
to destroy and demolish,(P)
to build and plant.(Q)

Two Visions

11 Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” (R)

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

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over[a] my word to accomplish it.”(S) 13 Again the word of the Lord came to me asking, “What do you see?”

And I replied, “I see a boiling pot,(T) its lip tilted from the north to the south.”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “Disaster will be poured out[b] from the north(U) on all who live in the land. 15 Indeed, I am about to summon all the clans and kingdoms of the north.”(V)

This is the Lord’s declaration.

They will come, and each king will set up his throne
at the entrance to Jerusalem’s gates.
They will attack all her surrounding walls
and all the other cities of Judah.

16 “I will pronounce my judgments against them for all the evil they did when they abandoned me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands.(W)

17 “Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them(X) or I will cause you to cower before them. 18 Today, I am the one who has made you a fortified city,(Y) an iron pillar, and bronze walls(Z) against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population. 19 They will fight against you but never prevail over you,(AA) since I am with you to rescue you.”(AB)

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Israel Accused of Apostasy

The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and announce directly to Jerusalem that this is what the Lord says:

I remember the loyalty of your youth,(AC)
your love as a bride—
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,(AD)
the firstfruits of his harvest.(AE)
All who ate of it found themselves guilty;(AF)
disaster came on them.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob
and all families of the house of Israel.
This is what the Lord says:
What fault did your ancestors find in me(AG)
that they went so far from me,
followed worthless idols,(AH)
and became worthless themselves?(AI)
They stopped asking, “Where is the Lord(AJ)
who brought us from the land of Egypt,
who led us through the wilderness,(AK)
through a land of deserts and ravines,
through a land of drought and darkness,[c]
a land no one traveled through
and where no one lived?”
I brought you to a fertile land(AL)
to eat its fruit and bounty,
but after you entered, you defiled my land;(AM)
you made my inheritance(AN) detestable.
The priests quit asking, “Where is the Lord?”
The experts in the law no longer knew me,(AO)
and the rulers(AP) rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by[d] Baal(AQ)
and followed useless idols.(AR)

Therefore, I will bring a case against you again.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
I will bring a case against your children’s children.(AS)
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus[e](AT) and take a look.
Send someone to Kedar(AU) and consider carefully;
see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods?(AV)
(But they were not gods!(AW))
Yet my people have exchanged their[f] Glory
for useless idols.(AX)
12 Be appalled at this, heavens;(AY)
be shocked and utterly desolated!
This is the Lord’s declaration.

13 For my people have committed a double evil:
They have abandoned me,(AZ)
the fountain of living water,(BA)
and dug cisterns for themselves—
cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.(BB)

Consequences of Apostasy

14 Is Israel a slave?
Was he born into slavery?[g]
Why else has he become a prey?
15 The young lions have roared at him;(BC)
they have roared loudly.
They have laid waste his land.(BD)
His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants.
16 The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes(BE)
have also broken your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourself(BF)
by abandoning the Lord your God
while he was leading you along the way?
18 Now what will you gain
by traveling along the way to Egypt(BG)
to drink the water of the Nile?[h]
What will you gain
by traveling along the way to Assyria(BH)
to drink the water of the Euphrates?(BI)
19 Your own evil will discipline you;(BJ)
your own apostasies will reprimand you.
Recognize[i] how evil and bitter(BK) it is
for you to abandon the Lord your God
and to have no fear of me.
This is the declaration of the Lord God of Armies.

20 For long ago I[j] broke your yoke;(BL)
I[k] tore off your chains.
You insisted, “I will not serve!”
On every high hill
and under every green tree(BM)
you lay down like a prostitute.(BN)

21 I planted you, a choice vine(BO)
from the very best seed.
How then could you turn into
a degenerate, foreign vine?(BP)

22 Even if you wash with lye
and use a great amount of bleach,[l](BQ)
the stain of your iniquity is still in front of me.(BR)
This is the Lord God’s declaration.
23 How can you protest, “I am not defiled;
I have not followed the Baals”?(BS)
Look at your behavior in the valley;
acknowledge what you have done.(BT)
You are a swift young camel
twisting and turning on her way,
24 a wild donkey(BU) at home[m] in the wilderness.
She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire.
Who can control her passion?
All who look for her will not become weary;
they will find her in her mating season.[n]
25 Keep your feet from going bare
and your throat from thirst.
But you say, “It’s hopeless;(BV)
I love strangers,(BW)
and I will continue to follow them.”

26 Like the shame of a thief when he is caught,
so the house of Israel has been put to shame.(BX)
They, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets(BY)
27 say 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,(BZ)
yet in their time of disaster(CA) they beg,
“Rise up and save us!”
28 But where are your gods you made for yourself?
Let them rise up and save you(CB)
in your time of disaster if they can,
for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.

Judgment Deserved

29 Why do you bring a case against me?(CC)
All of you have rebelled against me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
30 I have struck down your children in vain;
they would not accept discipline.(CD)
Your own sword has devoured your prophets(CE)
like a ravaging lion.
31 Evil generation,(CF)
pay attention to the word of the Lord!
Have I been a wilderness to Israel
or a land of dense darkness?(CG)
Why do my people claim,
“We will go where we want;[o]
we will no longer come to you”?
32 Can a young woman forget her jewelry(CH)
or a bride her wedding sash?
Yet my people have forgotten me(CI)
for countless days.
33 How skillfully you pursue love;
you also teach evil women your ways.
34 Moreover, your skirts are stained
with the blood of the innocent poor.(CJ)
You did not catch them breaking and entering.(CK)
But in spite of all these things
35 you claim, “I am innocent.(CL)
His anger is sure to turn away from me.”
But I will certainly judge you
because you have said, “I have not sinned.”(CM)
36 How unstable you are,(CN)
constantly changing your ways!
You will be put to shame by Egypt(CO)
just as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 Moreover, you will be led out from here
with your hands on your head(CP)
since the Lord has rejected those you trust;(CQ)
you will not succeed even with their help.[p]

Footnotes

  1. 1:12 In Hb, the word for almond tree sounds like the word for watch over
  2. 1:14 LXX reads will boil
  3. 2:6 Or shadow of death
  4. 2:8 = in the name of
  5. 2:10 Lit to the islands of Kittim
  6. 2:11 Alt Hb tradition reads my
  7. 2:14 Lit born of a house
  8. 2:18 Lit of Shihor
  9. 2:19 Lit Know and see
  10. 2:20 LXX reads you
  11. 2:20 LXX reads you
  12. 2:22 Lit cleansing agent
  13. 2:24 Lit donkey taught
  14. 2:24 Lit her month
  15. 2:31 Or “We have taken control, or “We can roam
  16. 2:37 Lit with them

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