19 This is what the Lord says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter.(A) Take along some of the elders(B) of the people and of the priests and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(C) near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings(D) of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster(E) on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.(F) For they have forsaken(G) me and made this a place of foreign gods(H); they have burned incense(I) in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.(J) They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children(K) in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.(L) So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth(M) or the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(N) but the Valley of Slaughter.(O)

“‘In this place I will ruin[a] the plans(P) of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies,(Q) at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses(R) as food(S) to the birds and the wild animals. I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn;(T) all who pass by will be appalled(U) and will scoff because of all its wounds.(V) I will make them eat(W) the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies(X) will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.’

10 “Then break the jar(Y) while those who go with you are watching, 11 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash(Z) this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury(AA) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses(AB) in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled(AC) like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs(AD) to all the starry hosts(AE) and poured out drink offerings(AF) to other gods.’”

14 Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court(AG) of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people, 15 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster(AH) I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked(AI) and would not listen(AJ) to my words.’”

Jeremiah and Pashhur

20 When the priest Pashhur son of Immer,(AK) the official(AL) in charge of the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten(AM) and put in the stocks(AN) at the Upper Gate of Benjamin(AO) at the Lord’s temple. The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name(AP) for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.(AQ) For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes(AR) you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give(AS) all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry(AT) them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will deliver all the wealth(AU) of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away(AV) as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied(AW) lies.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

You deceived[b](AX) me, Lord, and I was deceived[c];
    you overpowered(AY) me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed(AZ) all day long;
    everyone mocks(BA) me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out
    proclaiming violence and destruction.(BB)
So the word of the Lord has brought me
    insult and reproach(BC) all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”(BD)
his word is in my heart like a fire,(BE)
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;(BF)
    indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
    “Terror(BG) on every side!
    Denounce(BH) him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends(BI)
    are waiting for me to slip,(BJ) saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
    then we will prevail(BK) over him
    and take our revenge(BL) on him.”

11 But the Lord(BM) is with me like a mighty warrior;
    so my persecutors(BN) will stumble and not prevail.(BO)
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;(BP)
    their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
    and probe the heart and mind,(BQ)
let me see your vengeance(BR) on them,
    for to you I have committed(BS) my cause.

13 Sing(BT) to the Lord!
    Give praise to the Lord!
He rescues(BU) the life of the needy
    from the hands of the wicked.(BV)

14 Cursed be the day I was born!(BW)
    May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
    who made him very glad, saying,
    “A child is born to you—a son!”
16 May that man be like the towns(BX)
    the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing(BY) in the morning,
    a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb,(BZ)
    with my mother as my grave,
    her womb enlarged forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb(CA)
    to see trouble(CB) and sorrow
    and to end my days in shame?(CC)

God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request

21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah(CD) sent to him Pashhur(CE) son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah(CF) son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire(CG) now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[d](CH) king of Babylon(CI) is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders(CJ) for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn(CK) against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[e] who are outside the wall besieging(CL) you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight(CM) against you with an outstretched hand(CN) and a mighty arm(CO) in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike(CP) down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague.(CQ) After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah(CR) king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague,(CS) sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon(CT) and to their enemies(CU) who want to kill them.(CV) He will put them to the sword;(CW) he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’(CX)

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life(CY) and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague.(CZ) But whoever goes out and surrenders(DA) to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives.(DB) 10 I have determined to do this city harm(DC) and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands(DD) of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’(DE)

11 “Moreover, say to the royal house(DF) of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

“‘Administer justice(DG) every morning;
    rescue from the hand of the oppressor(DH)
    the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire(DI)
    because of the evil(DJ) you have done—
    burn with no one to quench(DK) it.
13 I am against(DL) you, Jerusalem,
    you who live above this valley(DM)
    on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord
you who say, “Who can come against us?
    Who can enter our refuge?”(DN)
14 I will punish you as your deeds(DO) deserve,
    declares the Lord.
I will kindle a fire(DP) in your forests(DQ)
    that will consume everything around you.’”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 19:7 The Hebrew for ruin sounds like the Hebrew for jar (see verses 1 and 10).
  2. Jeremiah 20:7 Or persuaded
  3. Jeremiah 20:7 Or persuaded
  4. Jeremiah 21:2 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
  5. Jeremiah 21:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 9

Bible Gateway Recommends

NIV, Beautiful Word Bible Journal, Romans, Comfort Print
NIV, Beautiful Word Bible Journal, Romans, Comfort Print
Retail: $6.99
Our Price: $4.88
Save: $2.11 (30%)
NIV, Holy Bible, Larger Print, Paperback
NIV, Holy Bible, Larger Print, Paperback
Retail: $5.99
Our Price: $4.19
Save: $1.80 (30%)
NIV, Beautiful Word Bible Journal, Luke, Comfort Print
NIV, Beautiful Word Bible Journal, Luke, Comfort Print
Retail: $6.99
Our Price: $4.88
Save: $2.11 (30%)