Jeremiah's Call and Commission
1 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: 2 to whom the word of Jehovah came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
4 Now the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee; I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord Jehovah! behold, I know not how to speak; for I am a child. 7 But Jehovah said unto me, Say not, I am a child; for to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid because of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith Jehovah. 9 Then Jehovah put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Jehovah said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth: 10 see, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.
11 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree. 12 Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch over my word to perform it. 13 And the word of Jehovah came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a boiling caldron; and the face thereof is from the north. 14 Then Jehovah said unto me, Out of the north evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith Jehovah; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. 17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at them, lest I dismay thee before them. 18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. 19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee, saith Jehovah, to deliver thee.
The LORD Pleads with Backsliding Israel
2 1 And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, 2 Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, I remember for thee the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals; how thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel [was] holiness unto Jehovah, the first-fruits of his increase: all that devour him shall be held guilty; evil shall come upon them, saith Jehovah. 4 Hear ye the word of Jehovah, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: 5 thus saith Jehovah, What unrighteousness have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6 Neither said they, Where is Jehovah that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that none passed through, and where no man dwelt? 7 And I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not, Where is Jehovah? and they that handle the law knew me not: the rulers also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 Wherefore I will yet contend with you, saith Jehovah, and with your children's children will I contend. 10 For pass over to the isles of Kittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently; and see if there hath been such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed [its] gods, which yet are no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith Jehovah. 13 For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
14 Is Israel a servant? is he a home-born [slave]? why is he become a prey? 15 The young lions have roared upon him, and yelled; and they have made his land waste: his cities are burned up, without inhabitant. 16 The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of thy head. 17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, when he led thee by the way? 18 And now what hast thou to do in the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of the Shihor? or what hast thou to do in the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? 19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter, that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts.
20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bonds; and thou saidst, I will not serve; for upon every high hill and under every green tree thou didst bow thyself, playing the harlot. 21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine unto me? 22 For though thou wash thee with lye, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord Jehovah. 23 How canst thou say, I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: [thou art] a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24 a wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind in her desire; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. 25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, It is in vain; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. 26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; 27 who say to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. 28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
29 Wherefore will ye contend with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith Jehovah. 30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 O generation, see ye the word of Jehovah. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? or a land of thick darkness? wherefore say my people, We are broken loose; we will come no more unto thee? 32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 How trimmest thou thy way to seek love! therefore even the wicked women hast thou taught thy ways. 34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor: thou didst not find them breaking in; but it is because of all these things. 35 Yet thou saidst, I am innocent; surely his anger is turned away from me. Behold, I will enter into judgment with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned. 36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou shalt be ashamed of Egypt also, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. 37 From thence also shalt thou go forth, with thy hands upon thy head: for Jehovah hath rejected those in whom thou trustest, and thou shalt not prosper with them.
3 1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, will he return unto her again? will not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith Jehovah. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the bare heights, and see; where hast thou not been lain with? By the ways hast thou sat for them, as an Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; yet thou hast a harlot's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. 4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth? 5 Will he retain [his anger] for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and hast done evil things, and hast had thy way.
Israel and Judah Entreated to Repent
6 Moreover Jehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, She will return unto me; but she returned not: and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah her sister feared not; but she also went and played the harlot. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith Jehovah. 11 And Jehovah said unto me, Backsliding Israel hath showed herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith Jehovah; I will not look in anger upon you; for I am merciful, saith Jehovah, I will not keep [anger] for ever. 13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Jehovah thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith Jehovah. 14 Return, O backsliding children, saith Jehovah; for I am a husband unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 and I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers. 19 But I said, How I will put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of the nations! and I said, Ye shall call me My Father, and shall not turn away from following me.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah. 21 A voice is heard upon the bare heights, the weeping [and] the supplications of the children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Jehovah their God. 22 Return, ye backsliding children, I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we are come unto thee; for thou art Jehovah our God. 23 Truly in vain is [the help that is looked for] from the hills, the tumult on the mountains: truly in Jehovah our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 But the shameful thing hath devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Jehovah our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day; and we have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah our God.