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The Potter and the Clay

18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was making something on the wheel. Yet the vessel that he made of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? says the Lord. As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to do to it. Or at another moment I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build and to plant it. 10 If it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will relent of the good with which I said I would bless it.

11 Now therefore speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Repent now, everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your deeds good. 12 But they say, “There is no hope! But we will walk after our own devices, and each of us will do according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.”

13 Therefore thus says the Lord:

Ask now among the nations,
    who has heard such things?
The virgin of Israel
    has done a very horrible thing.
14 Shall a man leave the snow of Lebanon,
    which comes from the rock of the field?
Shall the cold flowing water that comes from another place
    be forsaken?
15 Because My people have forgotten Me,
    they have burned incense to vain gods
and they have stumbled in their ways
    from the ancient paths,
to walk in bypaths,
    not on a highway,
16 to make their land desolate,
    and a perpetual hissing;
everyone who passes by shall be astonished
    and shake his head.
17 I will scatter them before the enemy
    as with an east wind;
I will show them the back and not the face
    in the day of their calamity.

Jeremiah Persecuted

18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. For the law will not be lost from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”

19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
    and listen to the voice of those who contend with me.
20 Shall evil be recompensed for good?
    For they have dug a pit for my soul.
Remember that I stood before You
    to speak good for them,
    and to turn away Your wrath from them.
21 Therefore, deliver up their children to the famine
    and pour out their blood by the power of the sword;
and let their wives be bereaved of their children and become widows
    and let their men be put to death;
    let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses,
    when You bring a troop suddenly upon them;
for they have dug a pit to take me
    and hidden snares for my feet.
23 Yet, Lord, You know
    all their counsel against me to slay me.
Do not forgive their iniquity
    nor blot out their sin from Your sight;
but let them be overthrown before You;
    deal thus with them in the time of Your anger.