The Clay Jar

19 This is what the Lord says: “Go, buy a potter’s clay(A) jar. Take[a] some of the elders of the people and some of the leading priests(B) and go out to Ben Hinnom Valley(C) near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Proclaim there the words I speak to you. Say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah and residents of Jerusalem.(D) This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such a disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder[b](E) because they have abandoned me(F) and made this a foreign place. They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their ancestors, and the kings of Judah have never known. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.(G) They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought.[c](H)

“‘Therefore, look, the days are coming(I)—this is the Lord’s declaration—when this place will no longer be called Topheth and Ben Hinnom Valley, but Slaughter Valley.(J) I will spoil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those who intend to take their life. I will provide their corpses as food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land.(K) I will make this city desolate, an object of scorn. Everyone who passes by it will be appalled and scoff because of all its wounds.(L) I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they will eat each other’s flesh in the distressing siege inflicted on them by their enemies who intend to take their life.’(M)

10 “Then you are to shatter the jar in the presence of the people going with you, 11 and you are to proclaim to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter’s jar that can never again be mended. They will bury the dead in Topheth because there is no other place for burials.(N) 12 That is what I will do to this place—this is the declaration of the Lord—and to its residents, making this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become impure like that place Topheth—all the houses on whose rooftops they have burned incense to all the stars in the sky(O) and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’”

14 Jeremiah returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, stood in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple,(P) and proclaimed to all the people, 15 “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city—and on all its cities—every disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying my words.’”(Q)

Jeremiah Beaten by Pashhur

20 Pashhur the priest,(R) the son of Immer(S) and chief official in the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. So Pashhur had the prophet Jeremiah beaten and put him in the stocks(T) at the Upper Benjamin Gate(U) in the Lord’s temple. The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord does not call you Pashhur, but Terror Is on Every Side,[d] for this is what the Lord says, ‘I am about to make you a terror to both yourself and those you love.(V) They will fall by the sword of their enemies before your very eyes.(W) I will hand Judah over to the king of Babylon, and he will deport them to Babylon and put them to the sword. I will give away all the wealth(X) of this city, all its products(Y) and valuables. Indeed, I will hand all the treasures of the kings of Judah over to their enemies. They will plunder them, seize them, and carry them off to Babylon.(Z) As for you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, you will go into captivity. You will go to Babylon.(AA) There you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied lies.’”(AB)

Jeremiah Compelled to Preach

You deceived(AC) me, Lord, and I was deceived.
You seized me and prevailed.
I am a laughingstock all the time;(AD)
everyone ridicules me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I proclaim, “Violence and destruction!” (AE)
so the word of the Lord has become my
constant disgrace and derision.
I say, “I won’t mention him
or speak any longer in his name.”(AF)
But his message becomes a fire burning in my heart,(AG)
shut up in my bones.
I become tired of holding it in,(AH)
and I cannot prevail.
10 For I have heard the gossip of many people,
“Terror is on every side!(AI)
Report him; let’s report him!”
Everyone I trusted[e] watches for my fall.(AJ)
“Perhaps he will be deceived
so that we might prevail against him
and take our vengeance on him.”

11 But the Lord is with me like a violent warrior.(AK)
Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed,
an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten.(AL)
12 Lord of Armies, testing the righteous
and seeing the heart[f] and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for I have presented my case to you.(AM)
13 Sing to the Lord!
Praise the Lord,
for he rescues the life of the needy
from evil people.

Jeremiah’s Lament

14 May the day I was born
be cursed.(AN)
May the day my mother bore me
never be blessed.
15 May the man be cursed
who brought the news to my father, saying,
“A male child is born to you,”
bringing him great joy.
16 Let that man be like the cities
the Lord demolished without compassion.(AO)
Let him hear an outcry in the morning(AP)
and a war cry at noontime
17 because he didn’t kill me in the womb(AQ)
so that my mother might have been my grave,
her womb eternally pregnant.

18 Why did I come out of the womb
to see only struggle and sorrow,(AR)
to end my life in shame?


  1. 19:1 Syr, Tg; MT omits Take
  2. 19:3 Lit about it, his ears will tingle; Hb obscure
  3. 19:5 Lit mentioned, and it did not arise on my heart
  4. 20:3 = Magor-missabib
  5. 20:10 Lit Every man of my peace
  6. 20:12 Lit kidneys

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