The Potter and the Clay

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 2 “Arise and (A)go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the (a)wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the (B)clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to (C)uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 (D)if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will (b)(E)relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9 Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to (F)build up or to plant it; 10 if it does (G)evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will (c)(H)think better of the good with which I had promised to (d)bless it. 11 So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am (I)fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh (J)turn back, each of you from his evil way, and (e)reform your ways and your deeds.”’ 12 But (K)they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the (L)stubbornness of his evil heart.’
“Therefore thus says the Lord,
(M)Ask now among the nations,
Who ever heard the like of (f)this?
The (N)virgin of Israel
Has done a most (O)appalling thing.
‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country?
Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?
‘For (P)My people have forgotten Me,
(Q)They burn incense (g)to worthless gods
And they (h)have stumbled (i)from their ways,
(j)From the (R)ancient paths,
To walk in bypaths,
Not on a (S)highway,
To make their land a (T)desolation,
An object of perpetual (U)hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And (V)shake his head.
‘Like an (W)east wind I will (X)scatter them
Before the enemy;
I will (k)show them (Y)My back and not My face
(Z)In the day of their calamity.’”
18 Then they said, “Come and let us (AA)devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the (AB)law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor (AC)counsel to the sage, nor the divine (AD)word to the prophet! Come on and let us (AE)strike at him with our tongue, and let us (AF)give no heed to any of his words.”
Do give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to (l)what my opponents are saying!
(AG)Should good be repaid with evil?
For they have (AH)dug a pit for (m)me.
Remember how I (AI)stood before You
To speak good on their behalf,
So as to turn away Your wrath from them.
Therefore, (AJ)give their children over to famine
And deliver them up to the (n)power of the sword;
And let their wives become (AK)childless and (AL)widowed.
Let their men also be smitten to death,
Their (AM)young men struck down by the sword in battle.
May an (AN)outcry be heard from their houses,
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
(AO)For they have dug a pit to capture me
And (AP)hidden snares for my feet.
Yet You, O Lord, know
All their (o)deadly designs against me;
(AQ)Do not (p)forgive their iniquity
Or blot out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be (q)(AR)overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the (AS)time of Your anger!


a. Jeremiah 18:3: ['Lit ', pair of stone discs]
b. Jeremiah 18:8: ['Lit ', repent of]
c. Jeremiah 18:10: ['Lit ', repent]
d. Jeremiah 18:10: ['Lit ', do it good]
e. Jeremiah 18:11: ['Lit ', make good]
f. Jeremiah 18:13: ['Lit ', these]
g. Jeremiah 18:15: ['Lit ', to worthlessness]
h. Jeremiah 18:15: ['So ancient versions; Heb ', caused them to]
i. Jeremiah 18:15: ['Or ', in]
j. Jeremiah 18:15: ['Or ', in]
k. Jeremiah 18:17: ['So ancient versions; M.T. reads ', look them in the back and not in the face]
l. Jeremiah 18:19: ['Lit ', the voice of my opponents]
m. Jeremiah 18:20: ['Lit ', my soul]
n. Jeremiah 18:21: ['Lit ', hands of]
o. Jeremiah 18:23: ['Lit ', unto death]
p. Jeremiah 18:23: ['Lit ', cover over, atone for]
q. Jeremiah 18:23: ['Lit ', ones made to stumble]

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