New King James Version
Jeremiah Called to Be a Priest
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were (A)in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 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. 3 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
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
6 Then said I:
(K)“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7 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.
8 (M)Do not be afraid of their faces,
For (N)I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 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.”
Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, [one] of the priests who were in [a]Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came during the thirteenth year (627 b.c.) of the reign of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 It came [to Jeremiah] also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [continuing] until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [and continuing] until the exile of [the people of] Jerusalem in the fifth month (July-August, 586 b.c.).(A)
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument],
And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];
I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(B)
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
For I am [only] a young man.”(C)
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am [only] a young man,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them [or their hostile faces],
For I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold (hear Me), I have put My words in your mouth.
“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To uproot and break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”
The Almond Branch and Boiling Pot
11 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an [b]almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over My word to fulfill it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north [its mouth about to pour out on the south, on Judea].” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil [which the prophets foretold as the result of national sin] will reveal itself and spill out on all the people of the land. 15 For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord; “and they will come and each one will set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its surrounding walls, and against all the cities of Judah [as My judicial act, the consequence of Judah’s deliberate disobedience]. 16 I will speak My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have abandoned (rejected) Me, offered sacrifices or burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the [idolatrous] works of their own hands. 17 But you [Jeremiah], [c]gird up your loins [in preparation]! Get up and tell them all which I command you. Do not be distraught and break down at the sight of their [hostile] faces, or I will bewilder you before them and allow you to be overcome. 18 Now behold, I have made you today like a fortified city and like an iron pillar and like bronze walls against the whole land—against the [successive] kings of Judah, against its leaders, against its priests, and against the people of the land [giving you divine strength which no hostile power can overcome].(D) 19 They will fight against you, but they will not [ultimately] prevail over you, for I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
- Jeremiah 1:1 Jeremiah’s hometown, two or three miles north of Jerusalem.
- Jeremiah 1:11 The almond tree was known as the “awake tree” because it was the first tree to bud in the new year (late January). It was the symbol of watchfulness.
- Jeremiah 1:17 Gird up your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, may be an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or it may be a call to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of a garment (tunic, cloaks, mantle, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather.
Demolish, and Then Start Over
1 1-4 The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin. God’s Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon reigned over Judah. It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile. This is what God said:
5 “Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”
6 But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
7-8 God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
9-10 God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,
“Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do
among nations and governments—a red-letter day!
Your job is to pull up and tear down,
take apart and demolish,
And then start over,
building and planting.”
Stand Up and Say Your Piece
11-12 God’s Message came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I said, “A walking stick—that’s all.”
And God said, “Good eyes! I’m sticking with you.
I’ll make every word I give you come true.”
13-15 God’s Message came again: “So what do you see now?”
I said, “I see a boiling pot, tipped down toward us.”
Then God told me, “Disaster will pour out of the north
on everyone living in this land.
Watch for this: I’m calling all the kings out of the north.”
15-16 “They’ll come and set up headquarters
facing Jerusalem’s gates,
Facing all the city walls,
facing all the villages of Judah.
I’ll pronounce my judgment on the people of Judah
for walking out on me—what a terrible thing to do!—
And courting other gods with their offerings,
worshiping as gods sticks they’d carved, stones they’d painted.
17 “But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work!
Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say.
Don’t pull your punches
or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.
18-19 “Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work.
I’m making you as impregnable as a castle,
Immovable as a steel post,
solid as a concrete block wall.
You’re a one-man defense system
against this culture,
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
against the priests and local leaders.
They’ll fight you, but they won’t
even scratch you.
I’ll back you up every inch of the way.”
New Living Translation
1 These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2 The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.[a] 3 The Lord’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August[b] of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.
Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions
4 The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10 Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”
And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”
12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,[c] and I will certainly carry out all my plans.”
13 Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?”
And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.”
14 “Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15 Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“They will set their thrones
at the gates of the city.
They will attack its walls
and all the other towns of Judah.
16 I will pronounce judgment
on my people for all their evil—
for deserting me and burning incense to other gods.
Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands!
17 “Get up and prepare for action.
Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.
Do not be afraid of them,
or I will make you look foolish in front of them.
18 For see, today I have made you strong
like a fortified city that cannot be captured,
like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.
You will stand against the whole land—
the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.
19 They will fight you, but they will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
- 1:2 The thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign was 627 B.c.
- 1:3 Hebrew In the fifth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. A number of events in Jeremiah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Babylonian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. The fifth month in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign occurred within the months of August and September 586 B.c. Also see 52:12 and the note there.
- 1:12 The Hebrew word for “watching” (shoqed) sounds like the word for “almond tree” (shaqed).