Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.’
Israel’s Stubborn Idolatry
12 “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
13 “Therefore thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations,
who has heard the like of this?
The virgin Israel
has done a very horrible thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave
the crags of Sir′ion?[a]
Do the mountain[b] waters run dry,[c]
the cold flowing streams?
15 But my people have forgotten me,
they burn incense to false gods;
they have stumbled[d] in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths,
not the highway,
16 making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at for ever.
Every one who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.
17 Like the east wind I will scatter them
before the enemy.
I will show them my back, not my face,
in the day of their calamity.”
A Plot against Jeremiah
18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words.”
19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
and hearken to my plea.[e]
20 Is evil a recompense for good?
Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before thee
to speak good for them,
to turn away thy wrath from them.
21 Therefore deliver up their children to famine;
give them over to the power of the sword,
let their wives become childless and widowed.
May their men meet death by pestilence,
their youths be slain by the sword in battle.
22 May a cry be heard from their houses,
when thou bringest the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to take me,
and laid snares for my feet.
23 Yet, thou, O Lord, knowest
all their plotting to slay me.
Forgive not their iniquity,
nor blot out their sin from thy sight.
Let them be overthrown before thee;
deal with them in the time of thine anger.
New International Version
At the Potter’s House
18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 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.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 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. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted,(C) torn down and destroyed, 8 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. 9 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)
- Jeremiah 18:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.