The Lord sends Jeremiah to a valley
1 The Lord said to me, ‘Go. And buy a pot from a potter that he has made from clay. Take some of the leaders of the people and some priests with you. 2 Go out into Ben-Hinnom Valley, near to the Piece of Pot gate. There you must speak the words that I will give to you.
3 Say, “Hear the Lord's message, you kings of Judah and people in Jerusalem. The great and powerful Lord says: Listen! I will bring very great trouble to this place. It will be very bad. It will hurt the ears of everyone who hears about it. 4 I will do that because you have brought foreign gods to this place. People have burnt animals here to offer to these gods. Neither their ancestors nor the kings of Judah knew those gods. People have killed those who had not done any wrong thing. 5 People burned their own sons in fires on the high hills. They offered them to the false god, Baal. That is something that I never asked you to do. I would never have thought to ask it. 6 That is why this valley will have a new name. At a future time, it will not be called Topheth or Ben-Hinnom Valley. No, it will be called Death Valley.
7 Judah and Jerusalem will not grow in the way that they want. In this place, I will cause their enemies to destroy them. They will kill those who live here. I will give their dead bodies to the birds and to the wild animals for food. 8 I will completely destroy this city so that people will be ashamed. Anyone who walks past it will see it. They will see that I have destroyed it. They will think that it did not have any value. That will be because of all its troubles. 9 Enemies who want to kill its people will be all round the city. And its people will not have any food. They will be so hungry that they will eat the dead bodies of their children and of each other.”
10 Then, Jeremiah, take the pot that you bought. Break it in front of all those people who are watching you.
11 Tell them that the great and powerful Lord says, “I will break this country. I will break this city as someone breaks a pot. Nobody will be able to mend it. Topheth will not be able to hold all the dead bodies. 12 I will make this city like Topheth. That is what I will do to this city. And I will do it to those who live here. 13 I will make the houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah full of dead bones like Topheth. I will do that to all the places where they burned nice oils. And I will do that to all the places where they poured drinks. That is because they offered them to the stars in the sky and to other gods.” ’
14 Jeremiah returned from Topheth where he had given the Lord's message to the rulers. Then he went and he stood in the outside part of the Lord's temple. He spoke to the people. He said:
15 ‘The great and powerful Lord is saying to you, “Listen! I will do all the really bad things that I promised to do. I will destroy this city and the villages near to it. I will do it because the people in them did not listen to me. I will do it because they would not obey my words.”’
19:15Topheth was a high place on a hill. There people burnt animals or children to offer them to false gods. The Lord had said that the Jews must not burn their children as gifts to the gods. (See Leviticus 18:21.) Ben-Hinnom Valley was a place outside the city. People put things there that they did not want. People put food that was bad there too. The Lord is telling the rulers of Judah that their dead bodies would join these bad things in that place.