Jeremiah 18-22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jeremiah Goes to the Pottery Shop
18 The Lord told me, 2 “Go to the pottery shop, and when you get there, I will tell you what to say to the people.”
3 I went there and saw the potter making clay pots on his pottery wheel. 4 And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.
5 Then the Lord told me to say:
6 People of Israel, I, the Lord, have power over you, just as a potter has power over clay. 7 If I threaten to uproot and shatter an evil nation 8 and that nation turns from its evil, I will change my mind.
9 If I promise to make a nation strong, 10 but its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all.
11 So listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem! I have decided to strike you with disaster, and I won’t change my mind unless you stop sinning and start living right.
12 But I know you won’t listen. You might as well answer, “We don’t care what you say. We have made plans to sin, and we are going to be stubborn and do what we want!”
13 So I, the Lord, command you to ask the nations, and find out if they have ever heard of such a horrible sin as what you have done.
14 The snow
16 Your land will be ruined,
The Plot against Jeremiah
18 Some of the people said, “Let’s get rid of Jeremiah! We will always have priests to teach us God’s laws, as well as wise people to give us advice, and prophets to speak the Lord’s messages. So, instead of listening to Jeremiah any longer, let’s accuse him of a crime.”
Jeremiah Prays about His Enemies
19 Please, Lord, answer my prayer.
Jeremiah and the Clay Jar
19 The Lord said:
Jeremiah, go to the pottery shop and buy a clay jar. Then take along some of the city officials and leading priests 2 and go to Hinnom Valley, just outside Potsherd[b] Gate. Tell the people that I have said:
3 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, and you kings of Judah and you people of Jerusalem had better pay attention. I am going to bring so much trouble on this valley that everyone who hears about it will be shocked. 4-5 The people of Judah stopped worshiping me and made this valley into a place of worship for Baal and other gods that have never helped them or their ancestors or their kings. And they have committed murder here, burning their young, innocent children as sacrifices to Baal. I have never even thought of telling you to do that. 6 So watch out! Someday this place will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley. It will be called Slaughter Valley!
7 You people of Judah and Jerusalem may have big plans, but here in this valley I’ll ruin[c] those plans. I’ll let your enemies kill you, and I’ll tell the birds and wild animals to eat your dead bodies. 8 I will turn Jerusalem into a pile of rubble, and every passerby will be shocked and horrified and will make insulting remarks. 9 And while your enemies are trying to break through your city walls to kill you, the food supply will run out. You will become so hungry that you will eat the flesh of your friends and even of your own children.
10 Jeremiah, as soon as you have said this, smash the jar while the people are watching. 11 Then tell them that I have also said:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I warn you that I will shatter Judah and Jerusalem just like this jar that is broken beyond repair. You will bury your dead here in Topheth, but so many of you will die that there won’t be enough room.
12-13 I will make Jerusalem as unclean as Topheth, by filling the city with your dead bodies. I will do this because you and your kings have gone up to the roofs of your houses and burned incense to the stars in the sky, as though they were gods. And you have given sacrifices of wine to foreign gods.
Jeremiah Speaks in the Temple Courtyard
14 I went to Topheth, where I told the people what the Lord had said. Then I went to the temple courtyard and shouted to the people, 15 “Listen, everyone! Some time ago, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, warned you that he would bring disaster on Jerusalem and all nearby villages. But you were stubborn and refused to listen. Now the Lord is going to bring the disaster he promised.”
Pashhur Arrests Jeremiah
20 Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the chief of temple security. He heard what I had said, 2 and so he hit me.[d] Then he had me arrested and put in chains[e] at the Benjamin Gate in the Lord’s temple.[f] 3 The next day, when Pashhur let me go free, I told him that the Lord had said:
No longer will I call you Pashhur. Instead, I will call you Afraid-of-Everything.[g] 4 You will be afraid, and you will bring fear to your friends as well. You will see enemies kill them in battle. Then I will have the king of Babylonia take everyone in Judah prisoner, killing some and dragging the rest away to Babylonia. 5 He will clean out the royal treasury and take everything else of value from Jerusalem.
6 Pashhur, you are guilty of telling lies and claiming they were messages from me. That’s why I will have the Babylonians take you, your family, and your friends as prisoners to Babylonia, where you will all die and be buried.
Jeremiah Complains to the Lord
7 You tricked me, Lord,
10 I heard the crowds whisper,
11 But you, Lord,
12 Lord All-Powerful,
14 Put a curse on the day I was born!
The Lord Will Fight against Jerusalem
21 King Zedekiah[h] of Judah sent for Pashhur son of Malchiah and for a priest named Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. Then he told them,”Talk with Jeremiah for me.”
So they came to me and said, 2 “King Nebuchadnezzar[i] of Babylonia has attacked Judah. Please ask the Lord to work miracles for our people, as he has done in the past, so that Nebuchadnezzar will leave us alone.”
3-7 I told them that the Lord God of Israel had told me to say to King Zedekiah:
The Babylonians have surrounded Jerusalem and want to kill you and your people. You are asking me to save you, but you have made me furious. So I will stretch out my mighty arm and fight against you myself. Your army is using spears and swords to fight the Babylonians, but I will make your own weapons turn and attack you. I will send a horrible disease to kill many of the people and animals in Jerusalem, and there will be nothing left to eat. Finally, I will let King Nebuchadnezzar and his army fight their way to the center of Jerusalem and capture everyone who is left alive, including you and your officials. But Nebuchadnezzar won’t be kind or show any mercy—he will have you killed! I, the Lord, have spoken.
8 Then I told them that the Lord had said:
People of Jerusalem, I, the Lord, give you the choice of life or death. 9 The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem, so if you want to live, you must go out and surrender to them. But if you want to die because of hunger, disease, or war, then stay here in the city. 10 I have decided not to rescue Jerusalem. Instead, I am going to let the king of Babylonia burn it to the ground. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Warns the King of Judah
11 Pay attention, you that belong
The Lord Will Punish the King of Judah
22 1-3 The Lord sent me to the palace of the king of Judah to speak to the king, his officials, and everyone else who was there. The Lord told me to say:
I am the Lord, so pay attention! You have been allowing people to cheat, rob, and take advantage of widows, orphans, and foreigners who live here. Innocent people have become victims of violence, and some of them have even been killed. But now I command you to do what is right and see that justice is done. Rescue everyone who has suffered from injustice.
4 If you obey me, the kings from David’s family will continue to rule Judah from this palace. They and their officials will ride in and out on their horses or in their chariots. 5 But if you ignore me, I promise in my own name that this palace will lie in ruins. 6 Listen to what I think about it:
The palace of Judah’s king
8 People from different nations will pass by and ask, “Why did the Lord do this to such a great city as Jerusalem?” 9 Others will answer, “It’s because the people worshiped foreign gods and broke the agreement that the Lord their God had made with them.”
The Lord said:
11-12 Jehoahaz[n] became king of Judah after his father King Josiah died. But Jehoahaz was taken as a prisoner to a foreign country. Now I, the Lord, promise that he will die there without ever seeing his own land again.
The Lord told me to say:
13 King Jehoiakim,[o] you are doomed!
15 More cedar in your palace
17 But all you think about
King Jehoiachin and the People of Jerusalem
The Lord told me to say:
20 People of Jerusalem,
24 King Jehoiachin,[r] son of Jehoiakim,[s] even if you were the ring I wear as the sign of my royal power, I would still pull you from my finger. 25 I would hand you over to the enemy you fear, to King Nebuchadnezzar[t] and his army, who want to kill you. 26 You and your mother[u] were born in Judah, but I will throw both of you into a foreign country, where you will die, 27 longing to return home.
28 Jehoiachin, you are unwanted
29 Land of Judah, I am the Lord.
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