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Jeremiah Goes to the Pottery Shop

18 The Lord told me, “Go to the pottery shop, and when you get there, I will tell you what to say to the people.”

I went there and saw the potter making clay pots on his pottery wheel. And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.

Then the Lord told me to say:

People of Israel, I, the Lord, have power over you, just as a potter has power over clay. If I threaten to uproot and shatter an evil nation and that nation turns from its evil, I will change my mind.

If I promise to make a nation strong, 10 but its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all.

11 So listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem! I have decided to strike you with disaster, and I won’t change my mind unless you stop sinning and start living right.

12 But I know you won’t listen. You might as well answer, “We don’t care what you say. We have made plans to sin, and we are going to be stubborn and do what we want!”

13 So I, the Lord, command you to ask the nations, and find out if they have ever heard of such a horrible sin as what you have done.

14 The snow
on Lebanon’s mountains
    never melts away,
and the streams there
    never run dry.[a]
15 But you, my people,
    have turned from me
to burn incense
    to worthless idols.
You have left the ancient road
to follow an unknown path
    where you stumble over idols.

16 Your land will be ruined,
    and every passerby
will look at it with horror
    and make insulting remarks.
17 When your enemies attack,
I will scatter you like dust
    blown by an eastern wind.
Then, on that day of disaster,
    I will turn my back on you.

The Plot against Jeremiah

18 Some of the people said, “Let’s get rid of Jeremiah! We will always have priests to teach us God’s laws, as well as wise people to give us advice, and prophets to speak the Lord’s messages. So, instead of listening to Jeremiah any longer, let’s accuse him of a crime.”

Jeremiah Prays about His Enemies

19 Please, Lord, answer my prayer.
Make my enemies stop
    accusing me of evil.
20 I tried to help them,
but they are paying me back
    by digging a pit to trap me.
I even begged you
    not to punish them.
21 But now I am asking you
to let their children starve
    or be killed in war.
Let women lose
their husbands and sons
    to disease and violence.
22 These people have dug pits
    and set traps for me, Lord.
Make them scream in fear
when you send enemy troops
    to attack their homes.
23 You know they plan to kill me.
    So get angry and punish them!
Don’t ever forgive
    their terrible crimes.

Footnotes

  1. 18.14 dry: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.

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