[This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
"Go down at once to the potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you."
So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.a4
But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter's hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.b5
The word of the Lord came to me:
"House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter [treats his clay]?"-[this is] the Lord's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.c7
At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it].d8
However, if that nation I have made an announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had planned.e9
At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom.f10
However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will not bring the good I had said I would do to it.g11
So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.h12
But they will say: It's hopeless.i We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart."
Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Ask among the nations, Who has heard [things] like these? Virgin Israel has done a most terrible thing.j14
Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags? Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail?
Yet My people have forgotten Me.k They burn incense to false [idols] that make them stumble in their ways- in the ancient roadsl- to walk on [new] paths, not the highway.
They have made their land a horror, a perpetual object of scorn;m everyone who passes by it will be horrified and shake his head.
I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind.n I will show themo [My] back and not [My] face on the day of their calamity.
Then certain ones said, "Come, let's make plans against Jeremiah, for the law will never be lost from the priest, or counsel from the wise, or an oracle from the prophet. Come, let's denounce himp and pay no attention to all his words."
Pay attention to me, Lord. Hear what my opponents are saying!q20
Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before You to speak good on their behalf, to turn Your anger from them.
Therefore, hand their children over to famine, and pour the sword's power on them. Let their wives become childless and widowed, their husbands slain by deadly disease,r their young men struck down by the sword in battle.
Let a cry be heard from their houses when You suddenly bring raiders against them, for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet.s23
But You, Lord, know all their deadly plots against me. Do not wipe out their guilt; do not blot out their sin before You. Let them be forced to stumble before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger.