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The Lord Sends Jeremiah to the Potter’s House

18 A message from the Lord came to me. He said, “Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there.” So I went down to the potter’s house. I saw him working at his wheel. His hands were shaping a pot out of clay. But he saw that something was wrong with it. So he formed it into another pot. He shaped it in the way that seemed best to him.

Then the Lord’s message came to me. “People of Israel, I can do with you just as this potter does,” announces the Lord. “The clay is in the potter’s hand. And you are in my hand, people of Israel. Suppose I announce that something will happen to a nation or kingdom. Suppose I announce that it will be pulled up by the roots. And I announce that it will be torn down and destroyed. But suppose the nation I warned turns away from its sins. Then I will not do what I said I would. I will not bring trouble on it as I had planned. But suppose I announce that a nation or kingdom is going to be built up and planted. 10 And then it does what is evil in my eyes. It does not obey me. Then I will think again about the good things I had wanted to do for it.

11 “So speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Tell them, ‘The Lord says, “Look! I am making plans against you. I am going to bring trouble on you. So each one of you must turn from your evil ways. Change the way you live and act.” ’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue to do what we’ve already planned. All of us will do what our stubborn and evil hearts want us to do.’ ”

13 So the Lord says,

“Ask the nations a question. Say to them,
    ‘Who has ever heard anything like this?
The people of Israel have done
    a very horrible thing.
14 Does the snow ever disappear
    from Lebanon’s rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters ever stop
    flowing from places far away?
15 But my people have forgotten me.
    They burn incense to worthless gods.
Their gods made them trip and fall
    as they walked on the old paths.
They made them use side roads
    instead of roads that were built up.
16 So their land will become a horrible thing.
    People will make fun of it again and again.
All those who pass by it will be shocked.
    They will shake their heads.
17 I will sweep over my people like a wind from the east.
    I will use the Babylonians to scatter them.
I will show them my back and not my face.
    I will desert them when their day of trouble comes.’ ”

18 They said, “Come on. Let’s make plans against Jeremiah. We’ll still have priests to teach us the law. We’ll always have wise people to give us advice. We’ll have prophets to bring us messages from the Lord. So come on. Let’s speak out against Jeremiah. We shouldn’t pay any attention to what he says.”

19 Lord, please listen to me!
    Hear what my enemies are saying about me!
20 Should the good things I’ve done be paid back with evil?
    But my enemies have dug a pit for me.
Remember that I stood in front of you
    and spoke up for them.
    I tried to turn your anger away from them.
21 So let their children die of hunger.
    Let my enemies be killed in war.
Let their wives lose their children and husbands.
    Let their men be put to death.
    Let their young men be killed in battle.
22 Bring their enemies against them without warning.
    Let cries be heard from their houses.
They have dug a pit to capture me.
    They have hidden traps for my feet.
23 But Lord, you know
    all about their plans to kill me.
Don’t forgive their crimes.
    Don’t erase their sins from your sight.
Destroy my enemies.
    Punish them when the time to show your anger comes.

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