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18 ¶ The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

Then I went down to the potter’s house; and, behold, he wrought a work upon a wheel.

And the vessel that he made of clay was broken in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel.

In an instant I shall speak against Gentiles and against kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy.

But if these Gentiles shall turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

And in an instant I shall speak concerning the nation and concerning the kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 but if it should do evil in my sight, not hearing my voice, then I will repent of the good that I had determined to do unto them.

11 ¶ Now therefore, speak to every man of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus hath the LORD said: Behold, I ordain evil against you and devise plans against you; return ye now each one from his evil way, and better your ways and your doings.

12 And they said, This is useless, for we must walk after our own devices, and we must each one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus hath the LORD said; Ask now among the Gentiles, who has heard such things: the virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.

14 Will anyone leave the snow of the rock of the field that flows from Lebanon? or shall they forsake the singular, cold, flowing waters?

15 Because my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not trodden;

16 to make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passes thereby shall be astonished and wag his head.

17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their perdition.

18 ¶ Then they said, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not consider any of his words.

19 Consider me, O LORD, and hear the voice of those that contend with me.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have dug a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them and to turn away thy wrath from them.

21 Therefore deliver up their sons to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them; for they have dug a pit to take me and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, LORD, thou dost know all their counsel against me to slay me; do not forgive their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine 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)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 18:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.

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