Jeremiah's Call and Commission
1 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkijah, 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 And 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 hallowed thee, I appointed thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 And I said, Alas, Lord Jehovah! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child. 7 But Jehovah said unto me, Say not, I am a child; for thou shalt go to whomsoever I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith Jehovah. 9 And 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 And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree. 12 And Jehovah said unto me, Thou hast well seen; for I am watchful over my word to perform it. 13 And the word of Jehovah came to me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething-pot, and its face is from the north. 14 And Jehovah said unto me, Out of the north shall evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, I am calling 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 entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah: 16 and I will pronounce my judgments against them for 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 shall command thee: be not dismayed at them, lest I cause thee to be dismayed before them. 18 And I, behold, I appoint thee this day as a strong city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls, against the whole land; against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, 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, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. 3 Israel was holiness unto Jehovah, the first-fruits of his increase: all that devour him are guilty; evil shall come upon them, saith Jehovah. 4 Hear the word of Jehovah, house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus saith Jehovah: What injustice have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and become vain? 6 And they said not, Where is Jehovah, that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and of pits, in a land of drought and of the shadow of death, in a land that no one passeth through, and where no man dwelleth? 7 And I brought you into a fruitful land, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; and ye entered and defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not, Where is Jehovah? and they that handled the law knew me not; and the shepherds transgressed against me; and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after [things that] do not profit.
9 Therefore will I yet plead with you, saith Jehovah, and with your children's children will I plead. 10 For pass over to the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there have been such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed [its] gods? and they are no gods;—but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, ye heavens, at this, and shudder; be amazed very much, saith Jehovah. 13 For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew them out cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water.
14 Is Israel a bondman? Is he a home-born [slave]? Why is he become a spoil? 15 The young lions roared against him, they gave forth their voice, and they made his land desolate: his cities are burned, without inhabitant. 16 Even the children of Noph and Tahapanes have fed on the crown of thy head. 17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, at the time he was leading thee in the way? 18 And now, what hast thou to do with the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor? And what hast thou to do with the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? 19 Thine own wickedness chastiseth thee, and thy backslidings reprove thee: know then and see that it is an evil thing and 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 thou hast broken thy yoke, [and] burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not serve. For upon every high hill, and under every green tree, thou bowest down, playing the harlot. 21 And I,—I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then art thou turned into the degenerate shoots of a strange vine unto me? 22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much potash, thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord Jehovah. 23 How sayest thou, I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals? See thy way in the valley, acknowledge what thou hast done—a swift dromedary traversing her ways! 24 —a wild ass, used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind in her desire! In her ardour, who shall 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, There is no hope; no, for I love strangers, and after them will I go. 26 As a thief is ashamed when he is found, so shall the house of Israel be ashamed—they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets— 27 saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth; for they have turned the back unto me, and not the face; and in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us! 28 Where then are thy gods that thou hast made for thyself? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for as the number of thy cities, are thy gods, O Judah.
29 Wherefore would 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, mark ye the word of Jehovah. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Wherefore say my people, We have dominion; we will come no more unto thee? 32 Doth a virgin forget her ornaments, a bride her attire? But my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 How dost thou trim thy way to seek love! Therefore hast thou also accustomed thy ways to wickedness. 34 Yea, in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor, whom thou didst not encounter breaking in, but [it is found] upon all these. 35 And thou sayest, Indeed I am innocent; his anger will turn from me. Behold, I will enter into judgment with thee because thou sayest, I have not sinned. 36 Why dost thou gad about so much, and change thy way? Thou shalt also be brought to shame by Egypt, as thou wast brought to shame by Assyria. 37 Thou shalt indeed go forth from her with thy hands upon thy head; for Jehovah hath rejected those thou confidest in, and thou shalt not prosper by them.
3 1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Would not that land be utterly polluted? But thou hast committed fornication with many lovers; yet return to me, saith Jehovah. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the heights and see, where hast thou not been lain with? In the ways hast thou sat for them, as an Arab in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy fornications and with thy wickedness. 3 And the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; but thou hast a harlot's forehead, thou refusest 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 keep [his anger] for ever? Will he preserve it perpetually? Behold, thou hast spoken and hast done evil things, and thou art [so] determined.
Israel and Judah Entreated to Repent
6 And Jehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen what backsliding Israel hath done? She hath gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath committed fornication. 7 And I said, After she hath done all these [things], she will return unto me; but she returned not. And her sister Judah, the treacherous, saw [it]. 8 And I saw that when for all the causes wherein backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce, yet the treacherous Judah, her sister, feared not, but went and committed fornication also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her fornication that she polluted the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And even for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto me with her whole heart, but with falsehood, saith Jehovah. 11 And Jehovah said unto me, Backsliding Israel hath shewn herself more just than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith Jehovah: I will not make my face dark 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 turned thy ways hither and thither to the strangers under every green tree; and ye have not hearkened to my voice, saith Jehovah. 14 Return, 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, and they shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied in the land and become fruitful, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, Ark of the covenant of Jehovah! neither shall it come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit [it]; neither shall it be done 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; and they shall no more walk 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 which I caused your fathers to inherit. 19 And as for me, I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee the pleasant land, the goodly inheritance of the hosts of the nations? And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from following me.
20 Surely [as] a woman treacherously departeth from her companion, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah. 21 A voice is heard upon the heights, the weeping supplications of the children of Israel; for they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Jehovah their God. 22 —Return, backsliding children; I will heal your backslidings. ... Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art Jehovah our God. 23 Truly in vain [is salvation looked for] from the hills, [and] the multitude of mountains; truly in Jehovah our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 But shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us; for we have sinned against Jehovah our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah our God.