1 These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests living in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
2 The Lord's message came to Jeremiah beginning in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah, 3 and on through the time of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, up to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, son of Josiah, king of Judah, which was when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
4 The Lord came and told me, 5 “I knew exactly who you would be before I created you in your mother's womb; I chose you before you were born to be a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Oh no, Lord God!” I replied. “I really don't know how to speak in public because I'm still too young!”
7 “Don't say you're too young,” the Lord told me. “Go to everyone I send you to. Tell them everything I order you to say. 8 Don't be afraid of them because I'll go with you and I'll look after you. This is the Lord's promise.”
9 The Lord stretched out his hand, touched my mouth, and told me: “Look, I've put my words in your mouth. 10 Today I've placed you over nations and kingdoms to pull up and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.”
11 The Lord's message came to me, asking, “Jeremiah, what can you see?”
“I see a twig from an almond tree,” I answered.
12 “That's right, because I am watching* In Hebrew, the almond tree is called “wakeful” because it is the first tree to bloom in spring. to make sure what I say happens,” the Lord said.
13 The Lord's message came to me again, asking, “What can you see?”
“I see a pot that's boiling,” I answered, “and it's tipping in this direction from the north.”
14 Then the Lord told me, “Trouble brewing from the north will sweep out over everyone living in the country. 15 Watch out! I'm going to summon all the nations and kings of the north,” declares the Lord. “Each of these kings will come and set up their thrones right at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and attack all its fortifications and all the towns in Judah. 16 I will carry out my sentence against the inhabitants for all their wickedness, because they abandoned me to burn incense to pagan gods, to worship idols they themselves made.
17 You need to get yourself ready. You are going to stand before the people and tell them everything that I order you to say. Don't be scared by them, or I will scare you in front of them. 18 Look! Today I have made you like a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze to stand against the whole country—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the country. 19 They will fight against you but they won't defeat you, because I'll be there to rescue you,” declares the Lord.
*1:12 In Hebrew, the almond tree is called “wakeful” because it is the first tree to bloom in spring.