1 These are the messages of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the son of a man named Hilkiah. Jeremiah belonged to the family of priests that lived in the city of Anathoth. That city is in the land that belongs to the family group of Benjamin. 2 The Lord began to speak to Jeremiah during the days when Josiah was king of the nation of Judah. Josiah was the son of a man named Amon. The Lord began to speak to Jeremiah in the 13th year that Josiah was king. 3 The Lord continued to speak to Jeremiah while Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Jehoiakim was the son of Josiah. The Lord continued to speak to Jeremiah during the eleven years and five months that Zedekiah was king of Judah. Zedekiah was also a son of Josiah. In the fifth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year as king, the people that lived in Jerusalem were taken away into exile. 4 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah. This message was from the Lord: 5 “Before I made you in your mother’s body, I knew you. Before you were born, I chose you for a special work. I chose you to be a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then Jeremiah said, “But Lord All-Powerful, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say, 'I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you. You must say everything I tell you to say. 8 Don’t be afraid of anyone. I am with you, and I will protect you.” This message is from the Lord. 9 Then the Lord reached out with his hand and touched my mouth. The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, 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. You will destroy and overthrow. You will build up and plant.” 11 The Lord’s message came to me. This message was from the Lord: “Jeremiah, what do you see?” I answered the Lord and said, “I see a stick made from almond wood.” 12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen very well. And I am watching to make sure that my message to you comes true.” 13 The Lord’s message came to me again. This was the Lord’s message: “Jeremiah, what do you see?” I answered the Lord and said, “I see a pot of boiling water. That pot is tipping over from the north.” 14 The Lord said to me, “Something terrible will come from the north. It will happen to all the people that live in this country. 15 In a short time I will call all of the people in the northern kingdoms.” The Lord said those things. “The kings of those countries will come and set up their thrones near the gates of Jerusalem. They will attack the city walls of Jerusalem. They will attack all the cities in Judah. 16 And I will announce my judgment against my people. I will do this because they are bad people and they have turned against me. My people left me. They offered sacrifices to other gods. They worshiped idols that they had made with their own hands. 17 “As for you, Jeremiah, get ready. Stand up and speak to the people. Tell them everything that I tell you to say. Don’t be afraid of the people. If you are afraid of the people, then I will give you good reason to be afraid of them. 18 As for me, today I will make you like a strong city, an iron column, a bronze wall. You will be able to stand against everyone in the land, against the kings of the land of Judah, against the leaders of Judah, against the priests of Judah, and against the people of the land of Judah. 19 All those people will fight against you, but they will not defeat you. Why? Because I am with you, and I will save you.” This message is from the Lord.