1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one aof the priests who were in bAnathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of cJosiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in dthe thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of eJehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and funtil the end of the eleventh year of gZedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, huntil the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
The Call of Jeremiah
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 i“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born jI consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet kto the nations.”
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and nwhatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 oDo not be afraid of them,
pfor I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
“Behold, I have put smy words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day kover nations and over kingdoms,
tto pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, u“Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond1 branch.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see va boiling pot, facing away wfrom the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, w“Out of the north disaster2 shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, xI am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, yand they shall come, and every one shall 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 And zI will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil ain forsaking me. bThey have made offerings to other gods and cworshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, ddress yourself for work;3 arise, and esay to them everything that I command you. fDo not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day ga fortified city, han iron pillar, and ibronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 iThey will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for jI am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
Israel Forsakes the Lord
2 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord,
“I remember the devotion of kyour youth,
your love las a bride,
mhow you followed me in the wilderness,
nin a land not sown.
3 oIsrael was holy to the Lord,
pthe firstfruits of his harvest.
qAll who ate of it incurred guilt;
disaster came upon them,
declares the Lord.”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord:
r“What wrong did your fathers find in me
that they went far from me,
6 They did not say, u‘Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us vin the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that none passes through,
where no man dwells?’
7 wAnd I brought you into a plentiful land
to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, xyou defiled my land
and made my heritage an abomination.
8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
yThose who handle the law did not know me;
athe prophets prophesied by Baal
and went after bthings that do not profit.
9 “Therefore cI still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
and dwith your children’s children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of eCyprus and see,
or send to fKedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
11 gHas a nation changed its gods,
heven though they are no gods?
But my people ihave changed their glory
for bthat which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, jO heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
the fountain of mliving waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
14 n“Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
Why then has he become a prey?
15 oThe lions have roared against him;
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, pwithout inhabitant.
17 tHave you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
when uhe led you in the way?
18 vAnd now what do you gain by going to Egypt
to drink the waters of wthe Nile?
xOr what do you gain by going to Assyria
19 zYour evil will chastise you,
and ayour apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bbitter
for cyou to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.
20 “For long ago I dbroke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
but you said, e‘I will not serve.’
Yes, fon every high hill
and under every green tree
you bowed down glike a whore.
21 hYet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
iHow then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?
22 Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
jthe stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23 kHow can you say, ‘I am not unclean,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way lin the valley;
know what you have done—
a restless young camel running here and there,
24 ma wild donkey used to the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
25 Keep nyour feet from going unshod
and oyour throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
pfor I have loved foreigners,
and after them I will go.’
26 “As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
qthey, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.
But rin the time of their trouble they say,
‘Arise and save us!’
28 But swhere are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, tif they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for uas many as your cities
are your gods, O Judah.
29 “Why do you contend with me?
You have all transgressed against me,
declares the Lord.
30 In vain have I vstruck your children;
they took no correction;
wyour own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
31 And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
we will come no more to you’?
32 xCan a virgin forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet ymy people have forgotten me
days without number.
33 “How well you direct your course
to seek love!
So that even to wicked women
you have taught your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found
zthe lifeblood of the guiltless poor;
you did not find them abreaking in.
Yet in spite of all these things
35 you say, ‘I am innocent;
surely his anger has turned from me.’
bBehold, I will bring you to judgment
for csaying, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 dHow much you go about,
changing your way!
You shall be eput to shame by Egypt
as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 From it too you will come away
with fyour hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you will not prosper by them.
Qualifications for Overseers
3 The saying is vtrustworthy: If anyone aspires to wthe office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore xan overseer1 must be above reproach, ythe husband of one wife,2 zsober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, ahospitable, bable to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but cgentle, not quarrelsome, dnot a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity ekeeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for wGod’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may fbecome puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by goutsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into ha snare of the devil.
Qualifications for Deacons
8 iDeacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,3 jnot addicted to much wine, knot greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must lhold the mystery of the faith with ma clear conscience. 10 And nlet them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 oTheir wives likewise4 must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, pfaithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be qthe husband of one wife, qmanaging their children and their own households well. 13 For rthose who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The Mystery of Godliness
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
tseen by angels,
uproclaimed among the nations,
vbelieved on in the world,
wtaken up in glory.