The Lesson from the Potter Working the Clay
18 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, 2 Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 And I went down to the potter's house; and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made was marred, as clay, in the hand of the potter; and he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make. 5 And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, 6 House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel. 7 At the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy, 8 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, then I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant, 10 if it do evil in my sight, that it hearken not unto my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 And now, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I prepare evil against you, and devise a device against you: turn ye then every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings. 12 But they say, There is no hope; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will each one do [according to] the stubbornness of his evil heart. 13 Therefore thus saith Jehovah: Ask ye now among the nations, Who hath heard such things? The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. 14 Shall the snow of Lebanon cease from the rock of the field? Shall the cool flowing waters coming from afar be dried up? 15 For my people hath forgotten me: they burn incense to vanity; and they have caused them to stumble in their ways, the ancient paths, to walk in by-paths of a way not cast up; 16 to make their land an astonishment, a perpetual hissing: every one that passeth by shall be astonished, and shake his head. 17 As with an east wind will I scatter them before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
The People's Plots and Jeremiah's Prayer
18 And they said, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor 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 Jehovah, give heed to me, and listen to the voice of those that contend with me. 20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? For they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them. 21 Therefore give up their children to the famine, and deliver them over to the power of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of children and be widows; and let their men be swept off by death, their young men be smitten 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 have hidden snares for my feet. 23 And thou, Jehovah, 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 with them in the time of thine anger.
The Lesson from the Broken Vessel
19 1 Thus saith Jehovah: Go and buy a potter's earthen flagon, and [take] of the elders of the people, and of the elders of the priests; 2 and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the pottery-gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, 3 and say, Hear the word of Jehovah, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle; 4 because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place [from me], and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah; and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; 5 and they have built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire as burnt-offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it up into my mind: 6 therefore behold, days come, saith Jehovah, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor Valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter. 7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of them that seek their life, and their carcases will I give as food to the fowl of the heavens and to the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city an astonishment and a hissing; every one that passeth by shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. 9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend, in the siege and in the straitness wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.
10 And thou shalt break the flagon in the sight of the men that go with thee, 11 and shalt say unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again. And they shall bury in Topheth, till there be no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith Jehovah, and to the inhabitants thereof, and make this city as Topheth. 13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be as the place of Topheth, defiled, all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of the heavens, and have poured out drink-offerings unto other gods. 14 And Jeremiah came from Topheth, whither Jehovah had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of Jehovah's house, and said to all the people, 15 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her cities all the evil that I have spoken against it; for they have hardened their necks, not to hear my words.
The Curse on Pashur for Imprisoning Jeremiah
20 1 And Pashur the son of Immer, the priest—and he was chief officer in the house of Jehovah—heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. 2 And Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin, which was in the house of Jehovah. 3 And it came to pass the next day, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks; and Jeremiah said unto him, Jehovah hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib. 4 For thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall see [it]; and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall smite them with the sword. 5 And, I will give all the wealth of this city, and all its gains, and all its precious things, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah, will I give into the hand of their enemies; and they shall make them a prey, and take them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thy house shall go into captivity; and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and there thou shalt be buried, thou and all thy friends to whom thou hast prophesied falsehood.
7 Jehovah, thou hast enticed me, and I was enticed; thou hast laid hold of me, and hast prevailed; I am become a derision the whole day: every one mocketh me. 8 For as oft as I speak, I cry out; I proclaim violence and spoil; for the word of Jehovah is become unto me a reproach and a derision all the day. 9 And I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name: but it was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I became wearied with holding in, and I could not. 10 For I have heard the defaming of many, terror on every side: Report, and we will report it. All my familiars are watching for my stumbling: Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him; and we shall take our revenge on him. 11 But Jehovah is with me as a mighty terrible one; therefore my persecutors shall stumble and shall not prevail; they shall be greatly ashamed, for they have not prospered: it shall be an everlasting confusion that shall not be forgotten. 12 And thou, Jehovah of hosts, who triest the righteous, who seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them; for unto thee have I revealed my cause. 13 Sing ye unto Jehovah, praise Jehovah, for he hath delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day wherein I was born; let not the day wherein my mother bore me be blessed! 15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad! 16 And let that man be as the cities which Jehovah overthrew, and repented not; and let him hear a cry in the morning, and a shouting at noonday, 17 because he slew me not from the womb. Or would that my mother had been my grave, and her womb always great [with me]! 18 Wherefore came I forth from the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed in shame?
The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold
21 1 The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying, 2 Inquire, I pray thee, of Jehovah for us; for Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that Jehovah will deal with us according to all his marvellous works, that he may go up from us. 3 And Jeremiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: 4 Thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans who besiege you, outside the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. 5 And I myself will fight against you with a stretched-out hand, and with a strong arm, and in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. 6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. 7 And afterwards, saith Jehovah, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life, and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword: he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.
8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. 9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out, and deserteth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. 10 For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith Jehovah: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 11 And touching the house of the king of Judah, hear ye the word of Jehovah. 12 House of David, thus saith Jehovah: Judge with justice in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go forth like fire and burn, and there be none to quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 13 Behold, I am against thee, inhabitress of the valley, the rock of the plain, saith Jehovah; ye that say, Who shall come down against us, or who shall enter into our dwellings? 14 And I will visit you according to the fruit of your doings, saith Jehovah; and I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is round about her.
Prophecies against the Kings of Judah
22 1 Thus saith Jehovah: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 and say, Hear the word of Jehovah, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people who enter in through these gates. 3 Thus saith Jehovah: Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place. 4 For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in through the gates of this house kings sitting in the place of David upon his throne, riding in chariots and on horses,—he, and his servants, and his people. 5 But if ye will not hear these words, I have sworn by myself, saith Jehovah, that this house shall become a waste. 6 For thus saith Jehovah concerning the house of the king of Judah: Thou art a Gilead unto me, the summit of Lebanon: verily I will make thee a wilderness, cities not inhabited. 7 And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons; and they shall cut down the choice of thy cedars, and cast [them] into the fire. 8 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this great city? 9 And they shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jehovah their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
10 Weep not for the dead, neither bemoan him; [but] weep sore for him that goeth away, for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. 11 For thus saith Jehovah concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went forth out of this place: He shall not return thither any more; 12 for he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more. 13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his upper chambers by injustice; that taketh his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not his earning; 14 that saith, I will build me a wide house, and spacious upper chambers; and he cutteth out for himself windows; and it is wainscoted with cedar, and painted with vermilion. 15 Shalt thou reign, because thou viest with the cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice? Then it was well with him. 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this to know me? saith Jehovah. 17 But thine eyes and thy heart are only on thine extortion, and on the blood of the innocent, to shed it, and on oppression and on violence, to do it. 18 Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah: They shall not lament for him, Ah, my brother! or, Ah, sister! They shall not lament for him, Ah, lord! or Ah, his glory! 19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, dragged along and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and give forth thy voice in Bashan, and cry from [the heights of] Abarim: for all thy lovers are destroyed. 21 I spoke unto thee in thy prosperity; [but] thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy way from thy youth, that thou hearkenedst not unto my voice. 22 The wind shall feed on all thy shepherds, and thy lovers shall go into captivity; surely, then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. 23 Thou inhabitress of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how pitiful shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, pain as of a woman in travail! 24 [As] I live, saith Jehovah, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet upon my right hand, yet will I pluck thee thence; 25 and I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them before whom thou art afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. 27 And into the land whereunto they lift up their souls to return, thither shall they not return. 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken vase? a vessel wherein is no delight? Wherefore are they thrown out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Jehovah! 30 Thus saith Jehovah: Write this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.