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18 Here is another message to Jeremiah from the Lord:

Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made, and I will talk to you there. I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar that he was forming didn’t turn out as he wished, so he kneaded it into a lump and started again.

Then the Lord said: O Israel, can’t I do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. Whenever I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be taken up and destroyed, then if that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will make a certain nation strong and great, 10 but then that nation changes its mind, turns to evil, and refuses to obey me, then I, too, will change my mind and not bless that nation as I had said I would.

11 Therefore, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem, saying: Hear the word of the Lord. I am planning evil against you now instead of good; turn back from your evil paths and do what is right.

12 But they replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We have no intention whatever of doing what God says. We will continue to live as we want to, free from any restraint, full of stubbornness and wickedness!”

13 Then the Lord said: Even among the heathen, no one has ever heard of such a thing! My people have done something too horrible to understand. 14 The snow never melts high up in the Lebanon mountains. The cold, flowing streams from the crags of Mount Hermon never run dry. 15 These can be counted on. But not my people! For they have deserted me and turned to foolish idols. They have turned away from the ancient highways of good and walk the muddy paths of sin. 16 Therefore, their land shall become desolate, so that all who pass by will gasp and shake their heads in amazement at its utter desolation. 17 I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust; and in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress.

18 Then the people said, “Come, let’s get rid of Jeremiah. We have our own priests and wise men and prophets—we don’t need his advice. Let’s silence him that he may speak no more against us, nor bother us again.”

19 O Lord, help me! See what they are planning to do to me! 20 Should they repay evil for good? They have set a trap to kill me, yet I spoke well of them to you and tried to defend them from your anger. 21 Now, Lord, let their children starve to death and let the sword pour out their blood! Let their wives be widows and be bereft of all their children! Let their men die in epidemics and their youths die in battle! 22 Let screaming be heard from their homes as troops of soldiers come suddenly upon them, for they have dug a pit for me to fall in, and they have hidden traps along my path. 23 Lord, you know all their murderous plots against me. Don’t forgive them, don’t blot out their sin, but let them perish before you; deal with them in your anger.

Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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 on the wheels.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred 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, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

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

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

18 Then said they, 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 give heed to any of his words.

19 Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged 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 children 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 digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, Lord, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not 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.

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