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The Potter’s House

18 The word came to Jeremiah from Adonai, saying: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”

So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was making a work on the wheels. Whenever the pot that he was making from the clay became flawed in the hand of the potter, he remade it into another pot, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of Adonai came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares Adonai. “Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may speak about a nation or about a kingdom, to uproot, to pull down or to destroy it. But if that nation turns from their evil, because of what I have spoken against it, I will relent concerning the calamity that I planned to do to it. Or at another time I may speak about a nation or about a kingdom, to build up or to plant it. 10 But if it does evil in My sight, not listening to My voice, then I will relent of the good that I had said I would do to it.”

11 So now, speak to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, thus says Adonai: “I am about to bring calamity against you, and devise disaster against you. Turn back now—everyone from his evil way—and amend your ways and your doings.

12 But they say: ‘It’s hopeless! So we will walk after our own plans, and each of us will act in the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

13 Therefore thus says Adonai:

“Ask now among the nations,
whoever has heard such things?
The virgin of Israel has done
    a most terrible thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
    abandon the rock of the field?
Or is the cold water flowing from afar
    pulled back?
15 Yet My people have forgotten Me.
    They burn incense to a delusion
    and stumble in their ways
    —off the ancient paths—
        to walk on side-tracks,
        rather than a built-up highway.
16 Their land will become a horror,
        a perpetual hissing—
    every one passing by will be stunned
        and shake his head.
17 Like an east wind,
    I will scatter them before the enemy.
    I will see their back, not their face,
        in the day of their calamity.”

Plots Against Jeremiah

18 Then they said: “Come, let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely Torah from the kohen will not be lost, nor will counsel from the wise, nor will the word from the prophet. Come, let’s strike at him with the tongue, and pay no attention to any of his words.”

19 Be attentive to me, Adonai!
Listen to the voice of my opponents.
20 Will good be repaid for evil?
For they dug a pit for my soul.
Remember how I stood before You
    to speak good on their behalf,
    to turn Your wrath from them.
21 Therefore give their children to famine
    and pour out the power of the sword.
    Let their wives be bereaved of children, and widows,
    and let their men be slain to death,
    and their young men struck down by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses
    when suddenly You bring a troop on them.
    For they dug a pit to capture me,
    and hid snares for my feet.
23 Yet You know their whole plot,
        Adonai, against me to slay me.
    Do not forgive their iniquity
    or blot out their sin before You.
    But make them stumble before You.
    Act against them in the time of Your anger.

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.