1:4 The Lord said to me,
Before you were born I set you apart.
I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
1:6 I answered, “Oh, Lord God, 3 I really 4 do not know how to speak well enough for that, 5 for I am too young.” 6 1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go 7 to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, 8 for I will be with you to protect 9 you,” says the Lord. 1:9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. 10 1:10 Know for certain that 11 I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be 12 uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.” 13
1 tn Heb “the womb.” The words “your mother’s” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity.
2 tn Heb “I knew you.” The parallelism here with “set you apart” and “appointed you” make clear that Jeremiah is speaking of his foreordination to be a prophet. For this same nuance of the Hebrew verb see Gen 18:19; Amos 3:2.
3 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.”
sn The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for “God” for the proper name Yahweh in this compound name. See the study note on v. 2 for the substitution of “Lord” in a similar kind of situation.
4 tn Heb “Behold, I do not know how to speak.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, commonly rendered “behold”) often introduces a speech and calls special attention to a specific word or the statement as a whole (see IBHS 675-78 §40.2.1).
5 tn The words “well enough for that” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity. Jeremiah is not claiming an absolute inability to speak.
6 tn Heb “I am a boy/youth.” The Hebrew word can refer to an infant (Exod 2:6), a young boy (1 Sam 2:11), a teenager (Gen 21:12), or a young man (2 Sam 18:5). The translation is deliberately ambiguous since it is unclear how old Jeremiah was when he was called to begin prophesying.
7 tn Or “For you must go and say.” The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is likely adversative here after a negative statement (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.e). The
9 tn Heb “rescue.”
10 tn Heb “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” This is an example of the Hebrew “scheduling” perfect or the “prophetic” perfect where a future event is viewed as so certain it is spoken of as past. The Hebrew particle rendered here “assuredly” (Heb הִנֵּה, hinneh) underlines the certitude of the promise for the future. See the translator’s note on v. 6.
sn The passage is reminiscent of Deut 18:18 which refers to the
12 tn Heb “I appoint you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot….” The phrase refers to the
13 sn These three pairs represent the twofold nature of Jeremiah’s prophecies, prophecies of judgment and restoration. For the further programmatic use of these pairs for Jeremiah’s ministry see 18:7-10 and 31:27-28.