Jeremiah 20

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Arise, and go down to qthe potter's house, and there I will let you hear1 my words. So I went down to rthe potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was sspoiled in the potter's hand, and the reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: O house of Israel, ucan I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. vBehold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will wpluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, xturns from its evil, yI will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will wbuild and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. zReturn, every one from his evil way, and aamend your ways and your deeds.

12 But they say, bThat is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to cthe stubbornness of his evil heart.

13  Therefore thus says the Lord:

dAsk among the nations,

Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel

has done ea very horrible thing.

14  Does the snow of Lebanon leave

the crags of Sirion?2

Do the mountain waters run dry,3

the cold flowing streams?

15  fBut my people have forgotten me;

they make offerings to gfalse gods;

they made them stumble in their ways,

hin the ancient roads,

and to walk into side roads,

inot the highway,

16  making their land ja horror,

a thing jto be hissed at forever.

kEveryone who passes by it is horrified

land shakes his head.

17  mLike the east wind nI will scatter them

before the enemy.

oI will show them my back, not my face,

in the day of their calamity.

18 Then they said, pCome, let us make plots against Jeremiah, qfor the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. rCome, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words.

19  Hear me, O Lord,

and slisten to the voice of my adversaries.

20  tShould good be repaid with evil?

Yet uthey have dug a pit for my life.

vRemember how I stood before you

to speak good for them,

to turn away your wrath from them.

21  Therefore wdeliver up their children to famine;

give them over to the power of the sword;

let their wives become childless xand widowed.

May their men meet death by pestilence,

their youths be struck down by the sword in battle.

22  yMay a cry be heard from their houses,

when you bring the plunderer suddenly upon them!

For uthey have dug a pit to take me

zand laid snares for my feet.

23  Yet ayou, O Lord, know

all their plotting to kill me.

bForgive not their iniquity,

nor blot out their sin from your sight.

Let them be overthrown before you;

deal with them in the time of your anger.

The Broken Flask

19 Thus says the Lord, Go, buy ca potter's earthenware dflask, and take some of ethe elders of the people and some of ethe elders of the priests, and go out fto the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. You shall say, gHear the word of the Lord, hO kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that ithe ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. jBecause the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; kand because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, land have built the high places of Baal lto burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, mwhich I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind therefore, nbehold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or othe Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. And in this place pI will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, qand will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. rI will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city sa horror, sa thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. tAnd I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor uin the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.

10 Then vyou shall break wthe flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and shall say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, xas one breaks a potter's vessel, yso that it can never be mended. zMen shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury. 12 Thus will I do to this place, declares the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city alike Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judahball the houses on whose croofs offerings have been offered dto all the host of heaven, and edrink offerings have been poured out to other godsshall be defiled alike the place of Topheth.

14 Then Jeremiah came from fTopheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, gand he stood in the court of the Lord's house and said to all the people: 15 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, hbecause they have stiffened their neck, irefusing to hear my words.

Jeremiah Persecuted by Pashhur

20 Now jPashhur the priest, the son of kImmer, who was lchief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. Then jPashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him min the stocks that were in the upper nBenjamin Gate of the house of the Lord. The next day, when jPashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, The Lord does not call your name jPashhur, but Terror on Every Side. For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will make you oa terror to yourself and to all your friends. They shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall strike them down with the sword. Moreover, pI will give all the wealth of the city, all its gains, all its qprized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon. And you, rPashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. To Babylon you shall go, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, sto whom you have prophesied falsely.

O Lord, tyou have deceived me,

and I was deceived;

uyou are stronger than I,

and you have prevailed.

vI have become a laughingstock all the day;

everyone mocks me.

For whenever I speak, I cry out,

I shout, wViolence and destruction!

For xthe word of the Lord has become for me

ya reproach and yderision all day long.

If I say, I will not mention him,

or speak any more in his name,

zthere is in my heart as it were a burning fire

shut up in my bones,

and aI am weary with holding it in,

and I cannot.

10  bFor I hear many whispering.

cTerror is on every side!

Denounce him! dLet us denounce him!

say all my eclose friends,

fwatching for gmy fall.

Perhaps he will be deceived;

then hwe can overcome him

and take our revenge on him.

11  But ithe Lord is with me as a dread warrior;

therefore my persecutors will stumble;

ithey will not overcome me.

jThey will be greatly shamed,

for they will not succeed.

Their keternal dishonor

will never be forgotten.

12  O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,

lwho sees the heart and the mind,1

let me see your vengeance upon them,

for to you have I committed my cause.

13  mSing to the Lord;

praise the Lord!

For he has delivered the life of the needy

from the hand of evildoers.

14  nCursed be the day

on which I was born!

The day when my mother bore me,

let it not be blessed!

15  Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father,

A son is born to you,

omaking him very glad.

16  Let that man be like pthe cities

that the Lord overthrew without pity;

qlet him hear a cry in the morning

and an alarm at noon,

17  rbecause he did not kill me in the womb;

so my mother would have been my grave,

and her womb forever great.

18  sWhy did I come out from the womb

tto see toil and sorrow,

and spend my days in shame?

Jerusalem Will Fall to Nebuchadnezzar

21 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when King Zedekiah sent to him uPashhur the son of Malchiah and vZephaniah the priest, the son of wMaaseiah, saying, xInquire of the Lord for us, yfor Nebuchadnezzar1 king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to zall his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.

Then Jeremiah said to them: Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: aBehold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands and with which you are fighting against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls. bAnd I will bring them together into the midst of this city. I myself will fight against you cwith outstretched hand and strong arm, din anger and in fury and in great wrath. And I will strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great pestilence. Afterward, declares the Lord, eI will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the pestilence, sword, and famine into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their lives. He shall strike them down with the edge of the sword. fHe shall not pity them or spare them or have compassion.

And to this people you shall say: gThus says the Lord: Behold, hI set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in this city shall die iby the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and jsurrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live kand shall have his life as a prize of war. 10 For lI have set my face against this city for harm and mnot for good, declares the Lord: nit shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.

Message to the House of David

11 And to the house of the king of Judah say, Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David! Thus says the Lord:

oExecute justice pin the morning,

and deliver from the hand of the oppressor

him who has been robbed,

qlest my wrath go forth like fire,

and burn with none to quench it,

because of your evil deeds.

13  rBehold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,

O rock of the plain,

declares the Lord;

you who say, sWho shall come down against us,

or who shall enter our habitations?

14  tI will punish you according to uthe fruit of your deeds,

declares the Lord;

vI will kindle a fire in her forest,

vand it shall devour all that is around her.

22 Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, and say, wHear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the Lord: xDo justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And ydo no wrong or violence zto the resident alien, xthe fatherless, and the widow, nor ashed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, bthen there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I cswear by myself, declares the Lord, that dthis house shall become a desolation. For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah:

You are like Gilead to me,

like the summit of eLebanon,

yet surely I will make you a desert,

fan uninhabited city.1

gI will prepare destroyers against you,

each with his weapons,

hand they shall cut down your choicest cedars

and cast them into the fire.

And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, iWhy has the Lord dealt thus with this great city? jAnd they will answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.

10  kWeep not for him who is dead,

nor grieve for him,

lbut weep bitterly for him who goes away,

for he shall return no more

to see his native land.

Message to the Sons of Josiah

11 For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and mwho went away from this place: He shall return here no more, 12 but min the place where they have carried him captive, there shall he die, and he shall never see this land again.

13  nWoe to him who builds his house by ounrighteousness,

and his upper rooms by injustice,

pwho makes his neighbor serve him for nothing

and does not give him his wages,

14  who says, I will build myself a great house

with spacious upper rooms,

who cuts out windows for it,

paneling it with cedar

and qpainting it with vermilion.

15  Do you think you are a king

because you compete in cedar?

Did not your father eat and drink

and rdo justice and righteousness?

sThen it was well with him.

16  tHe judged the cause of the poor and needy;

sthen it was well.

Is not this uto know me?

declares the Lord.

17  But you have eyes and heart

only for your dishonest gain,

vfor shedding innocent blood,

and for practicing oppression and violence.

18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

wThey shall not lament for him, saying,

xAh, my brother! or Ah, sister!

They shall not lament for him, saying,

yAh, lord! or Ah, his majesty!

19  With the burial of a donkey zhe shall be buried,

dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

20  Go up to Lebanon, and cry out,

and lift up your voice in Bashan;

cry out from aAbarim,

for all byour lovers are destroyed.

21  I spoke to you in your prosperity,

but you said, I will not listen.

cThis has been your way from dyour youth,

that you have not obeyed my voice.

22  eThe wind shall shepherd all your shepherds,

and byour lovers shall go into captivity;

fthen you will be ashamed and confounded

because of all your evil.

23  O inhabitant of gLebanon,

nested among the cedars,

how you will be pitied when pangs come upon you,

hpain as of a woman in labor!

24 iAs I live, declares the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were jthe signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25 and kgive you linto the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 mI will hurl you and nthe mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return.

28  Is this man oConiah a despised, broken pot,

a pvessel no one cares for?

Why are he and his children hurled and cast

into a qland that they do not know?

29  rO land, land, land,

hear the word of the Lord!

30  Thus says the Lord:

Write this man down as schildless,

a man who shall not succeed in his days,

tfor none of his offspring shall succeed

tin sitting on the throne of David

and ruling again in Judah.