1 The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah. He was one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
2 Jehovah spoke his word to Jeremiah. This happened when King Josiah, son of Amon, was in his thirteenth year as king of Judah.
3 Jehovah also spoke when Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, was king of Judah. It was during the eleven years that Zedekiah, another son of Josiah, was king of Judah. Jehovah continued to speak to Jeremiah until the people of Jerusalem were taken away into captivity in the fifth month of the year.
4 Jehovah spoke his word to me, Jeremiah, He said:
5 »Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.«
6 I, Jeremiah, said: »Lord Jehovah, I do not know how to speak. I am only a child!«
7 Jehovah said to me: »Do not say, I am only a child. You must go wherever I send you. You must say whatever I command you to say.
8 »Do not be afraid of people. I am with you. I will rescue you,« says Jehovah.
9 Then Jehovah stretched out his hand and touched my mouth. Jehovah said to me: »I have put my words in your mouth.
10 »Today I have appointed you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will uproot and tear down. You will destroy and overthrow. You will build and plant.«
11 Jehovah spoke his word to me again. He asked: »What do you see Jeremiah?« I answered: »I see a branch of an almond tree.«
12 Jehovah said: »You are right. For I watch to make sure that my words come true.«
13 Again Jehovah asked: »What do you see?« I answered: »I see a boiling pot, and its top is tilted away from the north.«
14 Jehovah said to me: »Disaster will be poured out from the north on all those who live in the land.
15 »I am going to call every family and kingdom from the north, says Jehovah. They will come, and they will set up their thrones at the entrance of Jerusalem's gates. They will attack all the walls around the city and all the cities of Judah.
16 »I will pronounce judgment against my people because of all their wickedness. They abandoned me. They burned incense to other gods. They worshiped what their hands have made.
17 »Strengthen yourself, Jeremiah! Stand up, and say to them whatever I tell you to say. Do not be terrified in their presence, or I will make you even more terrified in their presence.
18 »Today I have made you like a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a copper wall. You will be able to stand up to the whole land. You will be able to stand up to Judah's kings, its officials, its priests, and all the common people.
19 »They will fight you but they will not defeat you. I am with you, and I will rescue you,« declares Jehovah.