The Potter’s House.[a] 1 This is the message delivered by the Lord to Jeremiah. 2 “Arise and go forth to the potter’s house, and then I will tell you what I have to say.” 3 Therefore, I proceeded to the potter’s house, where I found him working at his wheel. 4 Whenever the vessel he was making of clay turned out badly in his hands, he would use that clay to remold it into another vessel as he saw fit.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do to you what this potter does, O house of Israel? Like the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 On occasion I may threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a particular nation or kingdom. 8 However, should that nation which I have threatened turn away from its evil ways, I will then relent and not inflict the disaster I had devised. 9 On another occasion I may promise to build up and plant a nation or kingdom. 10 However, if that nation follows an evil path and refuses to obey me, then I will cease to bestow upon it the blessings that I had promised.
11 Therefore, now deliver this message to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Be forewarned! I am preparing a disaster for you and designing a plan against you. So now, each one of you, turn away from your evil pursuits and amend your conduct and your actions. 12 However, they will reply, “It is no use. We intend to continue our ways and follow the wicked inclinations of our heart.”
13 Therefore, thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations:
Who has ever heard anything like this?
The virgin Israel has done
a truly horrible thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
ever disappear from its rocky slopes?
Do the torrents of gushing waters
ever cease to flow?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me;
they burn incense to worthless idols,
causing them to stumble
as they forsake ancient roads
to travel along unfamiliar paths.
16 Their land will be laid waste,
an object of unending scorn.
Those who pass by will be appalled on beholding it
and shake their heads.
17 Like the east wind,
I will scatter them before their enemies.
On the day of their downfall
I will show them my back, not my face.
18 Another Prayer for Vengeance. They then raised a cry, “Let us devise a plot against Jeremiah. We will still receive instruction from the priests. Wise men will still offer us counsel, and prophets will still proclaim the word. Therefore, let us bring charges against him and refuse to pay attention to anything he says.”
19 Pay heed to me, O Lord,
and listen to what my adversaries are saying.
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
Now they are digging a pit for me.
Remember how I stood before you,
interceding on their behalf
and begging you to turn away your wrath from them.
21 Therefore, give their children over to famine
and abandon them to the power of the sword.
Let their wives become childless and widowed;
let their men die of pestilence
and their young men be slain by the sword in battle.
22 May screams be heard from their houses
when you bring marauders upon them suddenly.
For they have dug a pit to catch me
and laid snares for my feet.
23 Yet you, O Lord, are fully aware
of all their murderous plots to slay me.
Do not pardon their guilt
or blot out their sin from your sight.
Let them be thrown down before you;
deal with them at the height of your anger.
- Jeremiah 18:1 A visit to a potter suggests to the prophet Jeremiah the idea that God manipulates history as a potter does the clay: he softens and shapes it with the motion of the wheel, and he casts aside the waste.