Jeremiah 17-21 Common English Bible (CEB)
17 Judah’s sin is engraved
3 Because you have committed such sins throughout your country,
5 The Lord proclaims:
9 The most cunning heart—
11 Like a partridge gathering a brood that is not its own,
12 Splendid and exalted throne,
14 Heal me, Lord, and I’ll be healed.
19 The Lord proclaimed to me: Go and stand by the People’s Gate where Judah’s kings go in and out, and then by all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 and say to them: Listen to the Lord’s word, you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah, and anyone living in Jerusalem who passes through these gates. 21 The Lord says: Be on guard not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or conduct business at the gates of Jerusalem. 22 Don’t carry a load from your houses or do any kind of work on the Sabbath day. Rather, keep the Sabbath day holy as I commanded your ancestors, 23 although they didn’t listen or pay attention. They were stubborn and wouldn’t obey or accept correction. 24 If you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and don’t conduct business at the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, if you keep the Sabbath day holy by not working, 25 then through the gates of this city will come kings who occupy the throne of David and their officers, all riding on chariots and horses. They will be accompanied by the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. And this city will always be inhabited. 26 Others will come from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from all around Jerusalem, and from the western foothills, the highlands, and the arid southern plain—they will come bringing entirely burned offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, incense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s temple. 27 But if you don’t obey me by keeping the Sabbath day holy, if you carry your loads and conduct your business at the gates of Jerusalem as usual, then I will set fire to those gates that will completely engulf the fortresses of Jerusalem; it will not be put out.
God the potter
18 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: 2 Go down to the potter’s house, and I’ll give you instructions about what to do there. 3 So I went down to the potter’s house; he was working on the potter’s wheel. 4 But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him. 5 Then the Lord’s word came to me: 6 House of Israel, can’t I deal with you like this potter, declares the Lord? Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel! 7 At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; 8 but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I’ll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. 9 At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; 10 but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I’ll relent and not carry out the good I intended for it. 11 Now say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am a potter preparing a disaster for you; I’m working out a plan against you. So each one of you, turn from your evil ways; reform your ways and your actions. 12 But they said, “What’s the use! We will follow our own plans and act according to our own willful, evil hearts.”
13 Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
18 Then they said, “Come, let’s unite against Jeremiah, for the priest’s instruction won’t fail, nor will the sage’s counsel, nor the prophet’s word. Come, let’s silence him and pay no attention to his words.”
19 Pay attention to me, Lord;
Broken beyond repair
19 The Lord proclaims: Go buy a clay jar from a potter in the presence of the elders of the people and the priests. 2 Then go out to the Ben-hinnom Valley at the entrance of the gate called Broken Pots and proclaim there the words I will tell you. 3 Listen to the Lord’s word, you kings of Judah and those of you living in Jerusalem: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to bring such disaster upon this place that it will shock all who hear of it. 4 They have deserted me and degraded this place into a shrine for other gods, which neither they nor their ancestors nor Judah’s kings have ever known. And they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 Yes, they have built shrines to Baal, to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, although I never commanded or ordered such a thing, nor did it ever cross my mind.
6 So now the time is coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or Ben-hinnom Valley but Carnage Valley. 7 I will foil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place and will have them fall in battle before their enemies, before those who seek their lives. I will give their corpses as food to the birds and the wild animals. 8 I will make this city something that sounds horrible; all who pass by it will be shocked at its pain. 9 And when their enemies lay siege to the city, seeking their lives, they will resort in desperation to eating the flesh of their sons and daughters, and to devouring the flesh of their neighbors.
10 Then you should shatter the clay jar in the sight of the people who are with you, 11 and you should say to them: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: Just as one smashes the potter’s piece beyond repair, so I will smash this people and this city. And they will bury the dead in Topheth until there’s no room left. 12 That is what I will do to this place and its residents, declares the Lord: I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and those of Judah’s kings will become as foul as Topheth—all the houses on whose roofs they made offerings to the heavenly force and poured out drink offerings to other gods.
14 When Jeremiah returned from Topheth where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people: 15 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I am about to bring upon this city and its surrounding towns every disaster that I have pronounced against them, because they have been stubborn and wouldn’t obey my words.
20 When the priest Pashhur, Immer’s son, the officer in charge of the Lord’s temple, heard Jeremiah prophesying these words, 2 he beat the prophet and detained him in confinement at the upper Benjamin Gate in the Lord’s temple. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from confinement, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord has changed your name from Pashhur to Panic Lurks Everywhere. 4 The Lord proclaims: I’m going to strike panic into your heart and into the hearts of your friends. You will watch as they fall in battle to their enemies. I will hand over all Judah to the king of Babylon, who will exile some to Babylon and slaughter others. 5 I will hand over all the wealth of this city, all its goods and valuables, including the treasures of the kings of Judah, to their enemies, who will ransack and pillage and carry it all off to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all those in your household, will go into captivity. You will be deported to Babylon where you will die. There you will be buried with all your friends to whom you prophesied falsely.”
7 Lord, you enticed me, and I was taken in.
Verdict against king and city
21 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur, Malchiah’s son, and the priest Zephaniah, Maaseiah’s son, to him with an appeal: 2 “Speak to the Lord on our behalf because Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar[h] is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform one of his mighty deeds and force him to withdraw from us.”
3 Jeremiah answered them: This is what you should tell Zedekiah: 4 The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to turn your own weapons against you, yes, the weapons you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[i] who have surrounded you! I will round them up in the center of the city. 5 Then I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and strong arm in fierce anger and rage. 6 I will strike down those within this city—both people and animals—and they will die of a terrible plague. 7 Afterward, declares the Lord, I will deliver Judah’s King Zedekiah, his servants, and those in this city who have survived plague, war, and famine to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar[j] and to their enemies who seek to do them harm. He will put them to the sword without pity, mercy, or compassion.
8 This is what you should tell this people: The Lord says: I’m setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in the city will die by the sword, famine, and disease. But whoever leaves the city and surrenders to the Babylonians[k] will live; yes, their lives will be spared. 10 I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the Lord; it will be delivered to the king of Babylon, who will set it on fire.
Judah: Hear the Lord’s word
11 House of Judah! This is what the Lord says: