The Potter's Vessel. * 1This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you my message. 3I went down to the potter's house and there he was, working at the wheel. 4Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. u Rom 9, 20f . 5Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. v Wis 15, 7; Is 45, 9 . 7 w Jer 1, 10 . Sometimes I threaten to uproot and tear down and destroy a nation or a kingdom. 8But if that nation which I have threatened turns from its evil, I also repent of the evil which I threatened to do. x Jer 26, 3; Is 55, 7; Ez 18, 21. 27 . 9Sometimes, again, I promise to build up and plant a nation or a kingdom. 10But if that nation does what is evil in my eyes, refusing to obey my voice, I repent of the good with which I promised to bless it. y Nm 14, 22f .
11And now, tell this to the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD: Take care! I am fashioning evil against you and making a plan. Return, each of you, from his evil way; reform your ways and your deeds. z Jer 7, 3; 25, 5; 35, 15 . 12But they will say, “No use! We will follow our own devices; each one of us will behave according to the stubbornness of his evil heart!” a Jer 2, 25; 7, 24 .
Judah's Apostasy Unnatural 13Therefore thus says the LORD:
Ask among the nations— who has ever heard the like? Truly horrible things has virgin Israel done! b Jer 2, 10f; 5, 30 . 14Does the snow of Lebanon* desert the rocky heights? Do the gushing waters dry up that flow fresh down the mountains? 15Yet my people have forgotten me: they burn incense to a thing that does not exist. They stumble out of their ways, the paths of old, To travel on bypaths, not the beaten track. c Jer 2, 13. 32 . 16Their land shall be turned into a desert, an object of lasting ridicule: All passers-by will be amazed, will shake their heads. d Jer 19, 8; Lv 26, 32; 1 Kgs 9, 8 . 17Like the east wind, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back, not my face, in their day of disaster. e Prv 1, 24–31 .
Another Prayer for Vengeance. 18“Come,” they said, “let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.” f Jer 11, 19; Ps 35, 15f .
19Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. 20Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them. g Ps 35, 12 . 21So now, deliver their children to famine, h Ps 109, 9f . do away with them by the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men die of pestilence, their young men be slain by the sword in battle.* 22May cries be heard from their homes, when suddenly you send plunderers against them. For they have dug a pit to capture me, they have hid snares for my feet; 23But you, O LORD, know all their plans to slay me. Forgive not their crime, blot not out their sin in your sight! Let them go down before you, proceed against them in the time of your anger. i Neh 4, 5; Pss 35, 4; 37, 32f .