The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Arise and (A)go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Am I not able, house of Israel, to deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the (B)clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to (C)uproot it, to tear it down, or to destroy it; (D)if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will (E)relent of the disaster that I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to (F)build up or to plant it; 10 if it does (G)evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will (H)relent of the good with which I said [a]that I would bless it. 11 So now, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Behold, I am (I)forming a disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Now (J)turn back, each of you from his evil way, and [b]correct your ways and your deeds!”’ 12 But (K)they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will [c]persist in the (L)stubbornness of his evil heart.’

13 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
(M)Just ask among the nations,
Who ever heard anything like [d]this?
The (N)virgin of Israel
Has done a most (O)appalling thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave the rock of the open country alone?
Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever dried up?
15 For (P)My people have forgotten Me,
(Q)They burn incense [e]to worthless gods.
And they [f]have stumbled in their ways,
In the (R)ancient roads,
To walk on paths,
Not on a (S)highway,
16 To make their land a (T)desolation,
An object of perpetual (U)hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And (V)shake his head.
17 Like an (W)east wind I will (X)scatter them
Before the enemy;
I will [g]show them (Y)My back and not My face
(Z)In the day of their disaster.’”

18 Then they said, “Come and let’s (AA)devise plans against Jeremiah. Certainly the (AB)Law is not going to be lost by the priest, nor (AC)advice by the wise, nor the divine (AD)word by the prophet! Come, and let’s (AE)strike at him with our tongue, and let’s (AF)pay no attention to any of his words.”

19 Give Your attention to me, Lord,
And listen to [h]what my opponents are saying!
20 (AG)Should good be repaid with evil?
For they have (AH)dug a pit for [i]me.
Remember how I (AI)stood before You
To speak good in their behalf,
So as to turn Your wrath away from them.
21 Therefore, (AJ)give their children over to famine
And turn them over to the [j]power of the sword;
And let their wives become (AK)childless and (AL)widowed.
Let their men also be slaughtered to death,
Their (AM)young men struck and killed by the sword in battle.
22 May a (AN)cry be heard from their houses
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
(AO)For they have dug a pit to capture me
And (AP)hidden snares for my feet.
23 But You, Lord, know
All their [k]deadly schemes against me;
(AQ)Do not [l]forgive their wrongdoing
Or wipe out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be [m](AR)overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the (AS)time of Your anger!


  1. Jeremiah 18:10 Lit to do it good
  2. Jeremiah 18:11 Lit make good
  3. Jeremiah 18:12 Lit do the
  4. Jeremiah 18:13 Lit these
  5. Jeremiah 18:15 Lit to worthlessness
  6. Jeremiah 18:15 As in ancient versions; MT caused them to
  7. Jeremiah 18:17 As in ancient versions; MT look them in the back and not in the face
  8. Jeremiah 18:19 Lit the voice of my opponents
  9. Jeremiah 18:20 Lit my soul
  10. Jeremiah 18:21 Lit hands of
  11. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit unto death
  12. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit cover over, atone for
  13. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit ones made to stumble

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)’”

13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“Inquire among the nations:
    Who has ever heard anything like this?(Q)
A most horrible(R) thing has been done
    by Virgin(S) 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(T) me;
    they burn incense(U) to worthless idols,(V)
which made them stumble(W) in their ways,
    in the ancient paths.(X)
They made them walk in byways,
    on roads not built up.(Y)
16 Their land will be an object of horror(Z)
    and of lasting scorn;(AA)
all who pass by will be appalled(AB)
    and will shake their heads.(AC)
17 Like a wind(AD) from the east,
    I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face(AE)
    in the day of their disaster.”

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

19 Listen to me, Lord;
    hear what my accusers(AK) are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?(AL)
    Yet they have dug a pit(AM) for me.
Remember that I stood(AN) before you
    and spoke in their behalf(AO)
    to turn your wrath away from them.
21 So give their children over to famine;(AP)
    hand them over to the power of the sword.(AQ)
Let their wives be made childless and widows;(AR)
    let their men be put to death,
    their young men(AS) slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry(AT) be heard from their houses
    when you suddenly bring invaders against them,
for they have dug a pit(AU) to capture me
    and have hidden snares(AV) for my feet.
23 But you, Lord, know
    all their plots to kill(AW) me.
Do not forgive(AX) 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.(AY)


  1. Jeremiah 18:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.