Jeremiah 1

Prophecies in the Days of Josiah[a]

Chapter 1

1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, a member of the priestly family in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him during the thirteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 Then it continued through the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the eleventh year of Zedekiah, son of Josiah, king of Judah, when in the fifth month the inhabitants of Jerusalem were carried off into exile.

Jeremiah’s Call from God. 4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you.
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then I replied, “Ah, Lord God! You must be aware that I am not skilled in the art of speaking. I am only a young boy.” 7 But the Lord said:

Do not say, “I am only a young boy.”
You will go to whomever I send you,
and you will speak whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched my mouth, and he said to me:

Behold, I have placed my words into your mouth.
10 This day I have established you
over nations and kingdoms,
to uproot and to pull down,
to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.

11 [b]The word of the Lord came to me, inquiring, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have answered well, for I am watching to ensure that my word is fulfilled.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, asking, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a boiling cauldron that is tilting away from the north.” 14 Then the Lord said:

From the north disaster will boil over
upon all the inhabitants of the land.
15 For now I am summoning all the tribes
of the kingdoms of the north, says the Lord.
Their kings will advance,
and each will establish his throne
in front of the gates of Jerusalem,
against all its surrounding walls
and against all the cities of Judah.
16 I will issue my judgments against them
for all their wickedness in abandoning me,
in offering sacrifices to other gods
and worshiping what their hands have fashioned.
17 As for you, be prepared for action;
stand up and tell them
everything that I command you.
Do not have any fear of them
or I will make you cringe in terror before them.
18 For this very day
I have made you into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze,
to overcome the entire country—
the kings and the princes of Judah,
its priests and its people.
19 They will fight against you
but they will not be victorious,
for I will be at your side to deliver you,
says the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 1:1 This lengthy section, which occupies half of the Book and begins with the call of Jeremiah, contains mainly prophecies addressed to the kingdom of Judah. They occur throughout the career of the prophet, although it is not possible to show a clear reductional plan.
  2. Jeremiah 1:11 In Hebrew, the word for almond tree means “watchful.” Because of its early blooming, the tree seems, as it were, to be waiting for spring in order to proclaim its presence. The boiling cauldron of verse 13 refers to misfortune, which, for Palestine, usually came from the north. Hard trials await Jeremiah (v. 17ff), but God will be with him.

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