18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
2 Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was working at the wheel.
4 And the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it over, reworking it into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me:
6 O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
7 At one time I will suddenly speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it;
8 And if [the people of] that nation concerning which I have spoken turn from their evil, I will relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil that I thought to do to them.
9 At another time I will suddenly speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will build up and plant it;
10 And if they do evil in My sight, obeying not My voice, then I will regret and reverse My decision concerning the good with which I said I would benefit them.
11 Now therefore say to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return now each one from his evil way; reform your [accustomed] ways and make your [individual] actions good and right.
12 But they will say, That is in vain! For we will walk after our own devices, and we will each do as the stubbornness of his own evil heart dictates.
13 Therefore thus says the Lord: Ask now among the nations: Who has heard such things? Virgin Israel has done a very vile and horrible thing.
14 Will the snow of Mount Lebanon fail and vanish from its rocks [which tower above the land of Israel]? Will the cold, rushing waters of strange lands [that dash down from afar] be dried up?
15 Yet My people have forgotten Me; they burn incense to false gods, they have been caused to stumble in their ways and in the ancient roads, to walk in bypaths, in a way not graded and built up [not on a highway],
16 Making their land a desolation and a horror, a thing to be hissed at perpetually; everyone who passes by shall be astounded and horrified and shake his head.
17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them My back and not My face in the day of their calamity [says the Lord].
18 Then [my enemies] said, Come and let us devise schemes against Jeremiah; for the law [of Moses] shall not perish from the priest [as this false prophet Jeremiah predicts], nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue [making a charge against him to the king], and let us not pay any attention to his words.
19 Give heed to me, Lord; listen to [what] my adversaries [are plotting to do to me—and intercede].
20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. [Earnestly] remember that I stood before You to speak good for them, to turn away Your anger from them.
21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine; give them over to the power of the sword. And let their wives become childless and widows; let their men meet death by pestilence, their young men be slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses when You suddenly bring a troop upon them, for they have dug a pit to take me and have hidden snares for my feet.
23 Yet, Lord, You know all their plotting against me to slay me. Forgive not their iniquity, nor blot out their sin from Your sight. But let them be overthrown before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger.