Jeremiah 18:1-23

Jeremiah at the potter's house

1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 2 ‘Go down to the potter's house, and there I will tell you my message,’ he said. 3 So I went down to the potter's house. There I saw him when he was working at his wheel. 4 He was working with clay to make a pot with his hands. But, as he worked, it became the wrong shape. So he made it into a pot of another shape, as he chose.

5 Then the Lord spoke to me. ‘You know that I can change the Jewish people. I can change them as the potter changes the shape of the clay,’ he said.

6 ‘You Jewish people are in my hands. I hold you as the potter holds the clay in his hands. 7 I may say at any time that I will break down a country. I may say that I will destroy it. 8 But the people in that country might hear my words. And they might stop doing the things that made me angry. Then I would change my mind. I would not cause the trouble that I had promised. 9 Or I might say that I will build up a country. I might say that I will make it strong. 10 But the people in that country might do wrong things, and they might not obey my rules. Then I would think again about the good things that I had said. I might not do them.’

11 ‘So now you must speak to the people who live in Judah and in Jerusalem. Tell them that the Lord says, “Look! I will cause great trouble for you. I have decided to come against you. So each person must stop doing bad things and he must start to do good things. You must live in the way that gives pleasure to me.” 12 But they will say to you, “We do not want to do that. We will continue to do what we want to do. We will do every bad thing that we choose to do.” ’

13 So the Lord said to Jeremiah,

‘The people in other countries have never heard about anything like this.

My people, Israel, have done a very wrong thing.

14 The snow stays on the rocky sides of Mount Lebanon.

Cold water never stops falling from its high rocks.

15 But my people have forgotten me.

They burn oils with a nice smell

to give pleasure to gods that do not have any value.

Those gods cause them to become lost.

They go away from the right paths.

They walk along side paths and poor roads.

16 I will send their enemies to get power over their country.

They will destroy everything in it.

My people will be ashamed.

Men who pass the country will be very surprised.

They will show how sad they are.

17 I will come to my people like the east wind.

I will blow them like sand in front of their enemies.

I will not show my face to them.

I will turn my back to them when that day comes.’

18 The people said, ‘Let us attack Jeremiah. We do not need him. The priests will still teach the law, and wise men will still lead us. We will still have the words of the prophets. So we will speak against Jeremiah with our tongues. We will not listen to anything that he says.’

18:18Jeremiah had made the people angry. So they wanted to attack him.

19 Listen to me, Lord.

Hear what people are saying against me.

20 I have tried to teach them well,

but they will do bad things to me.

Remember that I stood in front of you. And I spoke to you.

I asked you not to be angry with them.

21 So now cause them not to have any food.

Let their enemies kill them with sharp knives.

I want their wives to lose their husbands and their children.

Let their enemies kill the men.

And let the young men die while they are fighting.

22 They will shout from their houses

when you bring enemies to surprise them.

They are trying to catch me in a hole

or to tie me like an animal.

23 But you, Lord, know

the bad things that they want to do to me.

Please do not forgive them.

And do not forget the bad things that they have done.

Watch as their enemies win the fight against them.

Punish them while you are angry.