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Jeremiah 1:4-10 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

The Lord’s message came to me,

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb[a] I chose you.[b]
Before you were born I set you apart.
I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

I answered, “Oh, Sovereign Lord,[c] Really[d] I do not know how to speak well enough for that,[e] for I am too young.”[f] The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go[g] to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you,[h] for I will be with you to protect[i] you,” says the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me.[j] 10 Know for certain that[k] I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be[l] uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.”[m]

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 tn Heb “the womb.” The words “your mother’s” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity.
  2. Jeremiah 1:5 tn Heb “I knew you.” The parallelism here with “set you apart” and “appointed you” make clear that Jeremiah is speaking of his foreordination to be a prophet. For this same nuance of the Hebrew verb see Gen 18:19; Amos 3:2.
  3. Jeremiah 1:6 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.”sn In Jewish tradition, instead of pronouncing the Lord’s name (Yahweh), they would substitute the word for “Lord” (אֲדוֹנַי, ʾadonay). But when the word אֲדוֹנַי (ʾadonay) preceded the Lord’s name, for Yahweh they would substitute the pronunciation of the word for “God” (אֱלֹהִים, ʾelohim). One translation convention is to use small caps for the Lord’s name, as in “Lord” or “Lord God.” The convention here is to translate אֲדוֹנַי (ʾadonay, “Lord”) as “Sovereign” and consistently use “Lord” for the Lord’s name. The English word “Jehovah” results from combining the consonants of the divine name and the vowels of the term אֲדוֹנַי (ʾadonay), resulting in Yehovah. The “J” of Jehovah comes from German convention, while the “e” instead of “a” has to do with the nature of the Hebrew consonant.
  4. Jeremiah 1:6 tn The Hebrew particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, commonly rendered “behold” in the KJV) often introduces a speech and calls special attention to a specific word or the statement as a whole (see IBHS 675-78 §40.2.1).
  5. Jeremiah 1:6 tn The words “well enough for that” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity. Jeremiah is not claiming an absolute inability to speak.
  6. Jeremiah 1:6 tn Heb “I am a boy/youth.” The Hebrew word can refer to an infant (Exod 2:6), a young boy (1 Sam 2:11), a teenager (Gen 21:12), or a young man (2 Sam 18:5). The translation is deliberately ambiguous since it is unclear how old Jeremiah was when he was called to begin prophesying.
  7. Jeremiah 1:7 tn Or “For you must go and say.” The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is likely adversative here after a negative statement (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.e). The Lord is probably not giving a rationale for the denial of Jeremiah’s objection but redirecting his focus, i.e., “do not say…but go…and say.”
  8. Jeremiah 1:8 tn Heb “be afraid of them.” The antecedent is the “whomever” in v. 7.
  9. Jeremiah 1:8 tn Heb “rescue.”
  10. Jeremiah 1:9 tn Heb “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” This is an example of the Hebrew “scheduling” perfect or the “prophetic” perfect where a future event is viewed as so certain it is spoken of as past. The Hebrew particle rendered here “assuredly” (Heb הִנֵּה, hinneh) underlines the certitude of the promise for the future. See the translator’s note on v. 6.sn The passage is reminiscent of Deut 18:18, which refers to the Lord’s promise of future revelation through a line of prophets who, like Moses, would speak God’s word.
  11. Jeremiah 1:10 tn Heb “See!” The Hebrew imperative of the verb used here (רָאָה, raʾah) functions the same as the particle in v. 9. See the translator’s note there.
  12. Jeremiah 1:10 tn Heb “I appoint you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot….” The phrase refers to the Lord giving Jeremiah authority as a prophet to declare what he, the Lord, will do; it does not mean that Jeremiah himself will do these things. The expression involves a figure of speech where the subject of a declaration is stated instead of the declaration about it. Compare a similar use of the same figure in Gen 41:13.
  13. Jeremiah 1:10 sn These three pairs represent the twofold nature of Jeremiah’s prophecies, prophecies of judgment and restoration. For the further programmatic use of these pairs for Jeremiah’s ministry see 18:7-10 and 31:27-28.
New English Translation (NET)

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