Jeremiah 1

1The words of Yirmiyahu son of Chilkiyahu, one of the Kohanim at Anatot in the territory of Binyamin.

אדִּבְרֵי יִרְמְיָהוּ בֶּן־חִלְקִיָּהוּ מִן־הַכֹּהֲנִים אֲשֶׁר בַּעֲנָתוֹת בְּאֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן׃

2The word of Hashem came to him in the days of King Yoshiyahu son of Amon of Yehuda, in the thirteenth year of his reign,

באֲשֶׁר הָיָה דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלָיו בִּימֵי יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ בֶן־אָמוֹן מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה בִּשְׁלֹשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה לְמָלְכוֹ׃

3and throughout the days of King Yehoyakim son of Yoshiyahu of Yehuda, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Tzidkiyahu son of Yoshiyahu of Yehuda, when Yerushalayim went into exile in the fifth month.

גוַיְהִי בִּימֵי יְהוֹיָקִים בֶּן־יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה עַד־תֹּם עַשְׁתֵּי עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה לְצִדְקִיָּהוּ בֶן־יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה עַד־גְּלוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי׃

4The word of Hashem came to me:

דוַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

5Before I created you in the womb, I selected you; Before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a Navi concerning the nations.

הבְּטֶרֶם אצורך [אֶצָּרְךָ] בַבֶּטֶן יְדַעְתִּיךָ וּבְטֶרֶם תֵּצֵא מֵרֶחֶם הִקְדַּשְׁתִּיךָ נָבִיא לַגּוֹיִם נְתַתִּיךָ׃

6I replied: Ah, Hashem! I don't know how to speak, For I am still a boy.

ווָאֹמַר אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה הִנֵּה לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי דַּבֵּר כִּי־נַעַר אָנֹכִי׃

7And Hashem said to me: Do not say, “I am still a boy,” But go wherever I send you And speak whatever I command you.

זוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אַל־תֹּאמַר נַעַר אָנֹכִי כִּי עַל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֶשְׁלָחֲךָ תֵּלֵךְ וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוְּךָ תְּדַבֵּר׃

8Have no fear of them, For I am with you to deliver you —declares Hashem.

חאַל־תִּירָא מִפְּנֵיהֶם כִּי־אִתְּךָ אֲנִי לְהַצִּלֶךָ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה׃

9Hashem put out His hand and touched my mouth, and Hashem said to me: Herewith I put My words into your mouth.

טוַיִּשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיַּגַּע עַל־פִּי וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיךָ׃

10See, I appoint you this day Over nations and kingdoms: To uproot and to pull down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.

ירְאֵה הִפְקַדְתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה עַל־הַגּוֹיִם וְעַל־הַמַּמְלָכוֹת לִנְתוֹשׁ וְלִנְתוֹץ וּלְהַאֲבִיד וְלַהֲרוֹס לִבְנוֹת וְלִנְטוֹעַ׃

11The word of Hashem came to me: What do you see, Yirmiyahu? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree.

vai-HEE d'-var a-do-NAI ay-LAI lay-MOR mah a-TAH ro-EH yir-m'-YA-hu va-o-MAR ma-KAYL sha-KAYD a-NEE ro-EH

יאוַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר מָה־אַתָּה רֹאֶה יִרְמְיָהוּ וָאֹמַר מַקֵּל שָׁקֵד אֲנִי רֹאֶה׃

 1:11   I see a branch of an almond-tree 

In his first vision, Yirmiyahu is shown an almond branch, makel shaked (מקל שקד) in Hebrew. Hashem explains that the branch symbolizes His watching over His word to perform it. The Hebrew word he chooses for ‘watch,’ shoked (שֹׁקֵד), also means ‘to hasten.’ Yirmiyahu deli­berately chose this word since it is similar to the word for ‘almond,’ shaked (שָׁקֵד). Commentators give two explanations for this wordplay. First, just as the almond tree blossoms quickly, so too Hashem will hasten to punish Israel. Furthermore, the almond tree is the first to blossom in Eretz Yisrael. When all else is dead, the almond trees awaken the countryside from its winter slumber. So too, although the people are spiritually dead, God’s word, like the almond blossoms, will awaken the nation.

Almond trees blossoming in Kibbutz Nachshon.

Blossoming almond tree in Jerusalem

12Hashem said to me: You have seen right, For I am watchful to bring My word to pass.

יבוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי הֵיטַבְתָּ לִרְאוֹת כִּי־שֹׁקֵד אֲנִי עַל־דְּבָרִי לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ׃

13And the word of Hashem came to me a second time: What do you see? I replied: I see a steaming pot, Tipped away from the north.

יגוַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי שֵׁנִית לֵאמֹר מָה אַתָּה רֹאֶה וָאֹמַר סִיר נָפוּחַ אֲנִי רֹאֶה וּפָנָיו מִפְּנֵי צָפוֹנָה׃

14And Hashem said to me: From the north shall disaster break loose Upon all the inhabitants of the land!

ידוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלָי מִצָּפוֹן תִּפָּתַח הָרָעָה עַל כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ׃

15For I am summoning all the peoples Of the kingdoms of the north—declares Hashem. They shall come, and shall each set up a throne Before the gates of Yerushalayim, Against its walls roundabout, And against all the towns of Yehuda.

טוכִּי הִנְנִי קֹרֵא לְכָל־מִשְׁפְּחוֹת מַמְלְכוֹת צָפוֹנָה נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה וּבָאוּ וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כִּסְאוֹ פֶּתַח שַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם וְעַל כָּל־חוֹמֹתֶיהָ סָבִיב וְעַל כָּל־עָרֵי יְהוּדָה׃

16And I will argue My case against them For all their wickedness: They have forsaken Me And sacrificed to other gods And worshiped the works of their hands.

טזוְדִבַּרְתִּי מִשְׁפָּטַי אוֹתָם עַל כָּל־רָעָתָם אֲשֶׁר עֲזָבוּנִי וַיְקַטְּרוּ לֵאלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְמַעֲשֵׂי יְדֵיהֶם׃

17So you, gird up your loins, Arise and speak to them All that I command you. Do not break down before them, Lest I break you before them.

יזוְאַתָּה תֶּאְזֹר מָתְנֶיךָ וְקַמְתָּ וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי אֲצַוֶּךָּ אַל־תֵּחַת מִפְּנֵיהֶם פֶּן־אֲחִתְּךָ לִפְנֵיהֶם׃

18I make you this day A fortified city, And an iron pillar, And bronze walls Against the whole land— Against Yehuda's kings and officers, And against its Kohanim and citizens.

יחוַאֲנִי הִנֵּה נְתַתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם לְעִיר מִבְצָר וּלְעַמּוּד בַּרְזֶל וּלְחֹמוֹת נְחֹשֶׁת עַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ לְמַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה לְשָׂרֶיהָ לְכֹהֲנֶיהָ וּלְעַם הָאָרֶץ׃

19They will attack you, But they shall not overcome you; For I am with you—declares Hashem—to save you.

יטוְנִלְחֲמוּ אֵלֶיךָ וְלֹא־יוּכְלוּ לָךְ כִּי־אִתְּךָ אֲנִי נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה לְהַצִּילֶךָ׃