These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from Anathoth, a town in the land of Benjamin.
The LORD first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of King Josiah's reign in Judah. a3
He continued to give messages throughout the reign of Josiah's son, King Jehoiakim, until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah's reign in Judah. In August of that year, b the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.
The LORD gave me a message. He said,
"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 spokesman to the world."
"O Sovereign LORD," I said, "I can't speak for you! I'm too young!"
"Don't say that," the LORD replied, "for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.
And don't be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Then the LORD touched my mouth and said, "See, I have put my words in your mouth!
Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. You are to uproot some and tear them down, to destroy and overthrow them. You are to build others up and plant them."
Then the LORD said to me, "Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?" And I replied, "I see a branch from an almond tree."
And the LORD said, "That's right, and it means that I am watching, c and I will surely carry out my threats of punishment."
Then the LORD spoke to me again and asked, "What do you see now?" And I replied, "I see a pot of boiling water, tipping from the north."
"Yes," the LORD said, "for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land.
Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah.
I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil -- for deserting me and worshiping other gods. Yes, they worship idols that they themselves have made!"
"Get up and get dressed. Go out, and tell them whatever I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.
For see, today I have made you immune to their attacks. You are strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. None of the kings, officials, priests, or people of Judah will be able to stand against you.
They will try, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)