What the Bible says about Jeremiah
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 in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,
8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,
10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
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 for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’
12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”
13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“Inquire among the nations:
Who has ever heard anything like this?
A most horrible thing has been done
by Virgin Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
ever stop flowing?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me;
they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient paths.
They made them walk in byways,
on roads not built up.
16 Their land will be an object of horror
and of lasting scorn;
all who pass by will be appalled
and will shake their heads.
17 Like a wind from the east,
I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face
in the day of their disaster.”
18 They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.”
8. The parable of the potter (18:1-23)
The potter's house is the most familiar of Jeremiah's figures and is found elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Job 10:9; 33:6; Ps 2:9; Isa 29:16; 45:9; 64:8; Ro 9:20-21; Rev 2:27). In this passage we have a true but mysterious blending of the divine sovereignty and human responsibility. The Lord used the potter to illustrate how he deals with humanity.
3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
33:3 Call … and I will answer. The prayers of God’s people invite— and assure— God’s response (see Ps 3:4; 4:3; 18:6; 27:7; 28:1–2; 30:8; 55:17; 118:5; Mt 7:7; contrast 11:14). unsearchable things you do not know. The Hebrew (with the change of one letter) for this phrase echoes Isa 48:6: “hidden things unknown to you.” As the rest of ch. 33 demonstrates, the Lord will first judge his people (vv. 4–5) and then restore them in ways that will be nothing short of incredible (vv. 6–26).
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