The Potter and the Clay
1The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 2“Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” 3Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4But 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.
5Then 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 clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. 11So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.” ’ 12But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
13“Therefore thus says the Lord,
‘Ask now among the nations,
Who ever heard the like of this?
The virgin of Israel
Has done a most appalling thing.
14Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country?
Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?
15For My people have forgotten Me,
They burn incense to worthless gods
And they have stumbled from their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in bypaths,
Not on a highway,
16To make their land a desolation,
An object of perpetual hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And shake his head.
17Like an east wind I will scatter them
Before the enemy;
I will show them My back and not My face
In the day of their calamity.’ ”
18Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.”
19Do give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to what my opponents are saying!
20Should good be repaid with evil?
For they have dug a pit for me.
Remember how I stood before You
To speak good on their behalf,
So as to turn away Your wrath from them.
21Therefore, give their children over to famine
And deliver them up to the power of the sword;
And let their wives become childless and widowed.
Let their men also be smitten to death,
Their young men struck down by the sword in battle.
22May an outcry be heard from their houses,
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
For they have dug a pit to capture me
And hidden snares for my feet.
23Yet You, O Lord, know
All their deadly designs against me;
Do not forgive their iniquity
Or blot out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the time of Your anger!