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."
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)