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The New King James Version

Jeremiah 1:1–4:31

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1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were ain Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of bJosiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, cin the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of dJehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, euntil the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, funtil the carrying away of Jerusalem captive gin the fifth month.

The Prophet is Called

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

5 “Before I hformed you in the womb iI knew you;

Before you were born I jsanctified 1you;

I 2ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Then said I:

k“Ah, Lord God!

Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

7 But the Lord said to me:

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’

For you shall go to all to whom I send you,

And lwhatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 mDo not be afraid of their faces,

For nI am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

Then the Lord put forth His hand and otouched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have pput My words in your mouth.

10 qSee, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,

To rroot out and to pull down,

To destroy and to throw down,

To build and to plant.”

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”

And I said, “I see a 3branch of an almond tree.”

12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am 4ready to perform My word.”

13 And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, “What do you see?”

And I said, “I see sa boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.”

14 Then the Lord said to me:

“Out of the tnorth calamity shall break forth

On all the inhabitants of the land.

15 For behold, I am ucalling

All the families of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord;

“They shall come and veach one set his throne

At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem,

Against all its walls all around,

And against all the cities of Judah.

16 I will utter My judgments

Against them concerning all their wickedness,

Because wthey have forsaken Me,

Burned xincense to other gods,

And worshiped the works of their own yhands.

17 “Therefore zprepare yourself and arise,

And speak to them all that I command you.

aDo not be dismayed before their faces,

Lest I dismay you before them.

18 For behold, I have made you this day

bA fortified city and an iron pillar,

And bronze walls against the whole land—

Against the kings of Judah,

Against its princes,

Against its priests,

And against the people of the land.

19 They will fight against you,

But they shall not prevail against you.

For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”

God’s Case Against Israel

2 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord:

“I remember you,

The kindness of your ayouth,

The love of your betrothal,

bWhen you 1went after Me in the wilderness,

In a land not sown.

3 cIsrael was holiness to the Lord,

dThe firstfruits of His increase.

eAll that devour him will offend;

Disaster will fcome upon them,” says the Lord.’ ”

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

g“What injustice have your fathers found in Me,

That they have gone far from Me,

hHave followed 2idols,

And have become idolaters?

6 Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord,

Who ibrought us up out of the land of Egypt,

Who led us through jthe wilderness,

Through a land of deserts and pits,

Through a land of drought and the shadow of death,

Through a land that no one crossed

And where no one dwelt?’

7 I brought you into ka bountiful country,

To eat its fruit and its goodness.

But when you entered, you ldefiled My land

And made My heritage an abomination.

8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’

And those who handle the mlaw did not know Me;

The rulers also transgressed against Me;

nThe prophets prophesied by Baal,

And walked after things that do not profit.

9 “Therefore oI will yet 3bring charges against you,” says the Lord,

“And against your children’s children I will bring charges.

10 For pass beyond the coasts of 4Cyprus and see,

Send to 5Kedar and consider diligently,

And see if there has been such a pthing.

11 qHas a nation changed its gods,

Which are rnot gods?

sBut My people have changed their Glory

For what does not profit.

12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this,

And be horribly afraid;

Be very desolate,” says the Lord.

13 “For My people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken Me, the tfountain of living waters,

And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14Is Israel ua servant?

Is he a homeborn slave?

Why is he plundered?

15 vThe young lions roared at him, and growled;

They made his land waste;

His cities are burned, without inhabitant.

16 Also the people of 6Noph and wTahpanhes

Have 7broken the crown of your head.

17 xHave you not brought this on yourself,

In that you have forsaken the Lord your God

When yHe led you in the way?

18 And now why take zthe road to Egypt,

To drink the waters of aSihor?

Or why take the road to bAssyria,

To drink the waters of 8the River?

19 Your own wickedness will ccorrect you,

And your backslidings will rebuke you.

Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing

That you have forsaken the Lord your God,

And the 9fear of Me is not in you,”

Says the Lord God of hosts.

20 “For of old I have dbroken your yoke and burst your bonds;

And eyou said, ‘I will not 1transgress,’

When fon every high hill and under every green tree

You lay down, gplaying the harlot.

21 Yet I had hplanted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality.

How then have you turned before Me

Into ithe degenerate plant of an alien vine?

22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap,

Yet your iniquity is jmarked 2before Me,” says the Lord God.

23 “How kcan you say, ‘I am not 3polluted,

I have not gone after the Baals’?

See your way in the valley;

Know what you have done:

You are a swift dromedary breaking loose in her ways,

24 A wild donkey used to the wilderness,

That sniffs at the wind in her desire;

In her time of mating, who can turn her away?

All those who seek her will not weary themselves;

In her month they will find her.

25 Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst.

But you said, l‘There is no hope.

No! For I have loved maliens, and after them I will go.’

26 “As the thief is ashamed when he is found out,

So is the house of Israel ashamed;

They and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their nprophets,

27 Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’

And to a ostone, ‘You gave birth to me.’

For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.

But in the time of their ptrouble

They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’

28 But qwhere are your gods that you have made for yourselves?

Let them arise,

If they rcan save you in the time of your 4trouble;

For saccording to the number of your cities

Are your gods, O Judah.

29 “Why will you plead with Me?

You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord.

30 “In vain I have tchastened your children;

They ureceived no correction.

Your sword has vdevoured your prophets

Like a destroying lion.

31 “O generation, see the word of the Lord!

Have I been a wilderness to Israel,

Or a land of darkness?

Why do My people say, ‘We 5are lords;

wWe will come no more to You’?

32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments,

Or a bride her attire?

Yet My people xhave forgotten Me days without number.

33 “Why do you beautify your way to seek love?

Therefore you have also taught

The wicked women your ways.

34 Also on your skirts is found

yThe blood of the lives of the poor innocents.

I have not found it by 6secret search,

But plainly on all these things.

35 zYet you say, ‘Because I am innocent,

Surely His anger shall turn from me.’

Behold, aI will plead My case against you,

bBecause you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

36 cWhy do you gad about so much to change your way?

Also dyou shall be ashamed of Egypt eas you were ashamed of Assyria.

37 Indeed you will go forth from him

With your hands on fyour head;

For the Lord has rejected your trusted allies,

And you will gnot prosper by them.

Israel is Shameless

3 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him

And becomes another man’s,

aMay he return to her again?’

Would not that bland be greatly polluted?

But you have cplayed the harlot with many lovers;

dYet return to Me,” says the Lord.

2 “Lift up your eyes to ethe desolate heights and see:

Where have you not 1lain with men?

fBy the road you have sat for them

Like an Arabian in the wilderness;

gAnd you have polluted the land

With your harlotries and your wickedness.

3 Therefore the hshowers have been withheld,

And there has been no latter rain.

You have had a iharlot’s forehead;

You refuse to be ashamed.

4 Will you not from this time cry to Me,

‘My Father, You are jthe guide of kmy youth?

5 lWill He remain angry forever?

Will He keep it to the end?’

Behold, you have spoken and done evil things,

As you were able.”

A Call to Repentance

The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what mbacksliding Israel has done? She has ngone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. oAnd I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous psister Judah saw it. Then I saw that qfor all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had rput her away and given her a certificate of divorce; syet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she tdefiled the land and committed adultery with ustones and trees. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me vwith her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.

11 Then the Lord said to me, w“Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward xthe north, and say:

‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord;

‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.

For I am ymerciful,’ says the Lord;

‘I will not remain angry forever.

13 zOnly …

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set you apart

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appointed

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Lit. rod

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Lit. watching

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followed

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vanities or futilities

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contend with

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Heb. Kittim, representatative of western cultures

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In northern Arabian desert, representative of eastern cultures

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Memphis in ancient Egypt

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Or grazed

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The Euphrates

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dread

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Kt. serve

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stained

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defiled

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Or evil

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have dominion

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digging

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Kt. been violated

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