The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 9 And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.
Israel’s Stubborn Idolatry
12 But they say, “It is no use! We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will.”
13 Therefore thus says the Lord: Ask among the nations: Who has heard the like of this? The virgin Israel has done a most horrible thing. 14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave the crags of Sirion?[a] Do the mountain[b] waters run dry,[c] the cold flowing streams? 15 But my people have forgotten me, they burn offerings to a delusion; they have stumbled[d] in their ways, in the ancient roads, and have gone into bypaths, not the highway, 16 making their land a horror, a thing to be hissed at forever. All who pass by it are horrified and shake their heads. 17 Like the wind from the east, I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity.
A Plot against Jeremiah
18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him,[e] and let us not heed any of his words.”
19 Give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to what my adversaries say! 20 Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them. 21 Therefore give their children over to famine; hurl them out to the power of the sword, let their wives become childless and widowed. May their men meet death by pestilence, their youths be slain by the sword in battle. 22 May a cry be heard from their houses, when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them! For they have dug a pit to catch me, and laid snares for my feet. 23 Yet you, O Lord, know all their plotting to kill me. Do not forgive their iniquity, do not blot out their sin from your sight. Let them be tripped up before you; deal with them while you are angry.
a. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb of the field
b. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb foreign
c. Jeremiah 18:14 Cn: Heb Are . . . plucked up?
d. Jeremiah 18:15 Gk Syr Vg: Heb they made them stumble
e. Jeremiah 18:18 Heb strike him with the tongue
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.