These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah. He belonged to the family of priests who lived in the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. The Lord also spoke to Jeremiah while Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah and during the eleven years that Zedekiah son of Josiah was king of Judah. In the fifth month of his last year, the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.

The Lord Calls Jeremiah

The Lord spoke his word to me, saying:

“Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you.

Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy.”

But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say. Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you,” says the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth. He said to me, “See, I am putting my words in your mouth. 10 Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant.”

Jeremiah Sees Two Visions

11 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “Jeremiah, what do you see?”

I answered, “I see a stick of almond wood.”

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, because I am watching to make sure my words come true.”

13 The Lord spoke his word to me again: “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water, tipping over from the north.”

14 The Lord said to me, “Disaster will come from the north and strike all the people who live in this country. 15 In a short time I will call all of the people in the northern kingdoms,” said the Lord.

“Those kings will come and set up their thrones

near the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem.

They will attack all the city walls around Jerusalem

and all the cities in Judah.

16 And I will announce my judgments against my people

because of their evil in turning away from me.

They offered sacrifices to other gods

and worshiped idols they had made with their own hands.

17 “Jeremiah, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything I command you to say. Don’t be afraid of the people, or I will give you good reason to be afraid of them. 18 Today I am going to make you a strong city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall. You will be able to stand against everyone in the land: Judah’s kings, officers, priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you, because I am with you to protect you!” says the Lord.