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(A) in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand,(B) Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted,(C) torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent(D) and not inflict on it the disaster(E) I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built(F) up and planted, 10 and if it does evil(G) in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider(H) the good I had intended to do for it.(I)

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(J) for you and devising a plan(K) against you. So turn(L) from your evil ways,(M) each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’(N) 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use.(O) We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.(P)’”

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19 This is what the Lord says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter.(A) Take along some of the elders(B) of the people and of the priests and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(C) near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings(D) of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster(E) on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.(F) For they have forsaken(G) me and made this a place of foreign gods(H); they have burned incense(I) in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.(J) They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children(K) in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.(L) So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth(M) or the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(N) but the Valley of Slaughter.(O)

“‘In this place I will ruin[a] the plans(P) of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies,(Q) at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses(R) as food(S) to the birds and the wild animals. I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn;(T) all who pass by will be appalled(U) and will scoff because of all its wounds.(V) I will make them eat(W) the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies(X) will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.’

10 “Then break the jar(Y) while those who go with you are watching, 11 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash(Z) this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury(AA) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses(AB) in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled(AC) like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs(AD) to all the starry hosts(AE) and poured out drink offerings(AF) to other gods.’”

14 Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court(AG) of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people, 15 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster(AH) I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked(AI) and would not listen(AJ) to my words.’”

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Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 19:7 The Hebrew for ruin sounds like the Hebrew for jar (see verses 1 and 10).

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