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Jeremiah 18 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

Israel’s Stubborn Idolatry

12 But they say, ‘It is no use! We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will.’

13 Therefore, thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations:
    Who has heard the like of this?
The virgin Israel has done
    a most horrible thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave
    the crags of Sirion?[a]
Do the mountain[b] waters run dry,[c]
    the cold flowing streams?
15 But my people have forgotten me,
    they burn offerings to a delusion;
they have stumbled[d] in their ways,
    in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths,
    not the highway,
16 making their land a horror,
    a thing to be hissed at for ever.
All who pass by it are horrified
    and shake their heads.
17 Like the wind from the east,
    I will scatter them before the enemy.
I will show them my back, not my face,
    on the day of their calamity.

A Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then they said, ‘Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him,[e] and let us not heed any of his words.’

19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
    and listen to what my adversaries say!
20 Is evil a recompense for good?
    Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before you
    to speak good for them,
    to turn away your wrath from them.
21 Therefore give their children over to famine;
    hurl them out to the power of the sword,
let their wives become childless and widowed.
    May their men meet death by pestilence,
    their youths be slain by the sword in battle.
22 May a cry be heard from their houses,
    when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to catch me,
    and laid snares for my feet.
23 Yet you, O Lord, know
    all their plotting to kill me.
Do not forgive their iniquity,
    do not blot out their sin from your sight.
Let them be tripped up before you;
    deal with them while you are angry.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb of the field
  2. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb foreign
  3. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb Are . . . plucked up?
  4. Jeremiah 18:15 Gk Syr Vg: Heb they made them stumble
  5. Jeremiah 18:18 Heb strike him with the tongue
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 18 New International Version (NIV)

At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“Inquire among the nations:
    Who has ever heard anything like this?
A most horrible thing has been done
    by Virgin Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
    ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
    ever stop flowing?[a]
15 Yet my people have forgotten me;
    they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,
    in the ancient paths.
They made them walk in byways,
    on roads not built up.
16 Their land will be an object of horror
    and of lasting scorn;
all who pass by will be appalled
    and will shake their heads.
17 Like a wind from the east,
    I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face
    in the day of their disaster.”

18 They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.”

19 Listen to me, Lord;
    hear what my accusers are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
    Yet they have dug a pit for me.
Remember that I stood before you
    and spoke in their behalf
    to turn your wrath away from them.
21 So give their children over to famine;
    hand them over to the power of the sword.
Let their wives be made childless and widows;
    let their men be put to death,
    their young men slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses
    when you suddenly bring invaders against them,
for they have dug a pit to capture me
    and have hidden snares for my feet.
23 But you, Lord, know
    all their plots to kill me.
Do not forgive their crimes
    or blot out their sins from your sight.
Let them be overthrown before you;
    deal with them in the time of your anger.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 18:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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