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19 1-2 The Lord said, Buy a clay jar and take it out into the valley of Ben-hinnom by the east gate of the city. Take some of the elders of the people and some of the older priests with you, and speak to them whatever words I give you.

Then the Lord spoke to them and said: Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring terrible evil upon this place, so terrible that the ears of those who hear it will prickle. For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of shame and wickedness. The people burn incense to idols—idols that neither this generation nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah have worshiped before—and they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. They have built high altars to Baal, and there they burn their sons in sacrifice—a thing I never commanded them nor even thought of !

The day is coming, says the Lord, when this valley shall no longer be called Topheth or Ben-hinnom Valley, but the Valley of Slaughter. For I will upset the battle plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and I will let invading armies kill you here and leave your dead bodies for vultures and wild animals to feed upon. And I will wipe Jerusalem off the earth, so that everyone going by will gasp with astonishment at all that I have done to her. I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all food is gone and those trapped inside begin to eat their own children and friends.

10 And now, Jeremiah, as these men watch, smash the jar you brought with you, 11 and say to them, This is the message to you from the Lord Almighty: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Jerusalem; and as this jar cannot be mended, neither can they. The slaughter shall be so great that there won’t be room enough for decent burial anywhere, and their bodies shall be heaped in this valley. 12 And as it will be in this valley, so it will be in Jerusalem. For I will fill Jerusalem with dead bodies too. 13 And I will defile all the homes in Jerusalem, including the palace of the kings of Judah—wherever incense has been burned upon the roofs to your star gods, and libations poured out to them.

14 As Jeremiah returned from Topheth where he had delivered this message, he stopped in front of the Temple of the Lord and said to all the people, 15 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring upon this city and her surrounding towns all the evil I have promised because you have stubbornly refused to listen to the Lord.

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.

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