A pot that breaks
1 The Lord said to me, ‘Go to a potter. Buy from him a pot that he has made from clay. Take with you some leaders of the people and some leaders of the priests. 2 Go out into Ben-Hinnom Valley, which is near to the “Broken Pots” gate. There you must speak the words that I will tell you.
3 Say, “Hear the Lord's message, you kings of Judah and people who live in Jerusalem. The Lord Almighty, Israel's God says this: Listen to me! I will bring very great trouble to this place. It will be very bad. Everyone who hears about it will be very surprised. 4 That will happen because Judah's people have turned away from me. They worship foreign gods in this place. They have offered sacrifices to those gods. They are gods that their ancestors did not know about. The kings of Judah never knew about them either. In this place, Judah's people have killed people who did not deserve to die. 5 They have built altars here to give honour to Baal. They light fires to give their children to Baal as burnt offerings. I never even thought about it. I never commanded my people to offer those kinds of sacrifices. I never even thought about it. 6 So I tell you this: A time will soon come when people do not call this place Topheth or Ben-Hinnom Valley. Instead, they will call it Death Valley.
19:6See Jeremiah 7:31-32. The Lord had said that his people must not burn their children as offerings to the gods. See Leviticus 18:21. Ben-Hinnom Valley was a place outside the walls of Jerusalem. People put their rubbish there. The Lord was saying that people's dead bodies would also lie there on the ground.
7 I will spoil all the ideas that the people of Judah and Jerusalem have. In this place I will put them under the power of their enemies. Their enemies will kill them in war. I will give their dead bodies as food to the birds and the wild animals. 8 I will make this city a heap of stones. People will see how disgusting my people are. Everybody who goes near there will be very surprised. They will see all the terrible trouble that has happened to the city and they will insult it. 9 Enemies will make their camp all around the city, so that they can kill the people who live there. The people will not have any food to eat. They will be so hungry that they will eat their own children and they will eat each other.”
10 Then, Jeremiah, take the pot that you bought. Break it in front of all those people who are there with you. 11 Tell them that the Lord Almighty says, “I will destroy this nation and this city. They will be like this broken pot that nobody is able to mend. They will bury lots of dead people here in Topheth. There will be no space left to bury any more people. 12 I tell you this: I will cause this city and its people to become like Topheth. 13 The houses in Jerusalem will be full of dead bodies like Topheth. The palaces of the kings of Judah will be the same. I will do that because people went up on the roofs of their houses to offer sacrifices to the stars. They poured out drink offerings to other gods.” ’
14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to speak his message. He went to the Lord's temple in the city. He stood in the yard of the temple. He spoke aloud to the people. 15 He said, ‘The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says this: “Listen to me! I will soon punish this city and all the towns around it, as I have promised that I will do. I will do it because the people have refused to listen to my message.” ’