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The Potter’s House and the Ruined Vessel

18 The message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I’ll allow you to hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was doing work at the potter’s wheel. But the vessel he was working on with the clay was ruined in the potter’s hand. So he remade it into another vessel that seemed appropriate to him.

Then this message from the Lord came to me: “Israel, can’t I deal with you like this potter?” declares the Lord. “Look, Israel, like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. At one moment I may speak about a nation or a kingdom to uproot it, pull it down, or destroy it. But if that nation about which I spoke turns from its evil way, I’ll change my mind about the disaster that I had planned for it. At another moment I may speak about a nation or kingdom to build it or plant it. 10 But if that nation does evil in my eyes by not obeying me, I’ll change my mind about the good that I said I would bring on it.

11 “Now say to the people of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Look, I’m designing a disaster just for you, and I’m making plans against you. Each one of you must repent from his evil way. Make your ways and deeds right.”’ 12 But they’ll say, ‘It’s useless! We will follow our plans and each of us will pursue his own evil desires.’[a]

13 “Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

‘Ask the nations.
    Who has ever heard of anything like this?
You have done a most horrible thing,
    virgin Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
    ever vanish from its rocky slopes?[b]
Or does the cold water from a foreign land
    ever cease to flow?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me,
    and they burn incense to worthless idols
that make them stumble in their journey
    on the ancient paths.
They walk on trails,
    on a way that is not built up.
16 They make their land into a desolate place,
    an object of lasting scorn.[c]
All who pass by will be appalled
    and will shake their heads.[d]
17 ‘Like the east wind, I’ll scatter them
    before the enemy.
I’ll show them my back and not my face,
    on the day of their downfall.’”

Jeremiah Reacts to the Plot against Him

18 Then they said, “Come, let’s make up a plot against Jeremiah. After all, the priest’s instruction, the wise man’s counsel, and the prophet’s message won’t be destroyed.[e] So let’s verbally attack him. Pay no attention to anything he says!”

19 Lord, pay attention to me.
    Listen to the voice of my accusers!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
    Yet they have dug a pit to take my life.[f]
Remember! I stood before you
    and spoke good on their behalf
        in order to turn your wrath away from them.
21 Therefore, make their children undergo famine,
    and deliver them over to death in time of war.[g]
May their women be childless widows!
    May their men be slaughtered![h]
May their young men be slain
    by the sword in battle!
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses because you
    have brought a raiding party against them suddenly.
For they have dug a pit to capture me
    and have set[i] traps for my feet.
23 But you, Lord, know all their plots to kill me.
    Don’t forgive their iniquity,
    and don’t erase their sin from your sight.
Let them stumble before you.
    When it’s time for you to be angry, act against them!


  1. Jeremiah 18:12 Lit. will do the stubbornness of his evil heart
  2. Jeremiah 18:14 Or Do rocks ever leave the slopes, or the snow from Lebanon?
  3. Jeremiah 18:16 Lit. hissing
  4. Jeremiah 18:16 I.e. in surprise at the magnitude of the destruction
  5. Jeremiah 18:18 Lit. perish
  6. Jeremiah 18:20 Or a pit for me
  7. Jeremiah 18:21 Lit. to the power of the sword.
  8. Jeremiah 18:21 Lit. killed dead
  9. Jeremiah 18:22 Or hidden