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Jeremiah 18; Jeremiah 19; Jeremiah 20; Jeremiah 21; Jeremiah 22 (Holman Christian Standard)

Parable of the Potter

1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 "Go down at once to the potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. 4 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. 5 The word of the Lord came to me: 6 "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. 7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it]. 8 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. 9 At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom. 10 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. 11 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. 12 But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart."

Deluded Israel

13 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. 14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags? Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail? 15 Yet My people have forgotten Me. They burn incense to false [idols] that make them stumble in their ways- in the ancient roads- to walk on [new] paths, not the highway. 16 They have made their land a horror, a perpetual object of scorn; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and shake his head. 17 I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind. I will show them [My] back and not [My] face on the day of their calamity.

Plot against Jeremiah

18 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 him and pay no attention to all his words." 19 Pay attention to me, Lord. Hear what my opponents are saying! 20 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. 21 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, their young men struck down by the sword in battle. 22 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. 23 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.

The Clay Jug

1 This is what the Lord says: "Go, buy a potter's clay jug. Take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests 2 and go out to the Valley of Hinnom near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Proclaim there the words I speak to you. 3 Say: Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder 4 because they have abandoned Me and made this a foreign place. They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers, and the kings of Judah have never known. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought. 6 "Therefore, take note! The days are coming"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"when this place will no longer be called Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 I will spoil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those who want to take their life. I will provide their corpses as food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land. 8 I will make this city desolate, an object of scorn. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and scoff because of all its wounds. 9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they will eat each other's flesh in the siege and distress that their enemies, those who want to take their life, inflict on them. 10 "Then you are to shatter the jug in the presence of the people traveling with you, 11 and you are to proclaim to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter's jar that can never again be mended. They will bury in Topheth until there is no place left to bury. 12 I will do so to this place"-[this is] the declaration of the Lord-"and to its residents, making this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become impure like that place Topheth-all the houses on whose rooftops they have burned incense to the whole heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods." 14 Jeremiah came back from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, stood in the courtyard of the Lord's temple, and proclaimed to all the people, 15 "This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 'I am about to bring on this city-and on all its [dependent] villages-all the disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying My words.' "

Jeremiah Beaten by Pashhur

1 Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer and chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 So Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks at the Upper Benjamin Gate in the Lord's temple. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, "The Lord does not call you Pashhur, but Magor-missabib, 4 for this is what the Lord says, 'I am about to make you a terror to both yourself and those you love. They will fall by the sword of their enemies before your very eyes. I will hand Judah over to the king of Babylon, and he will deport them to Babylon and put them to the sword. 5 I will give away all the wealth of this city, all its products and valuables. Indeed, I will hand all the treasures of the kings of Judah over to their enemies. They will plunder them, seize them, and carry them off to Babylon. 6 As for you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, you will go into captivity. You will go to Babylon. There you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all your friends that you prophesied falsely to.' "

Jeremiah Compelled to Preach

7 You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived. You seized me and prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the time; everyone ridicules me. 8 For whenever I speak, I cry out- I proclaim: Violence and destruction! because the word of the Lord has become for me constant disgrace and derision. 9 If I say: I won't mention Him or speak any longer in His name, His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail. 10 For I have heard the gossip of the multitudes, "Terror is on every side! Report [him]; let's report him!" Everyone I trusted watches for my fall. "Perhaps he will be deceived so that we might prevail against him and take our vengeance on him." 11 But the Lord is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten. 12 Lord of Hosts, testing the righteous and seeing the heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance on them, for I have presented my case to You. 13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord, for He rescues the life of the needy from the hand of evil people.

Jeremiah's Lament

14 Cursed be the day on which I was born. The day my mother bore me- let it never be blessed. 15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, "A male child is born to you," bringing him great joy. 16 Let that man be like the cities the Lord overthrew without compassion. Let him hear an outcry in the morning and a war cry at noontime 17 because he didn't kill me in the womb so that my mother might have been my grave, her womb eternally pregnant. 18 Why did I come out of the womb to see [only] struggle and sorrow, to end my life in shame?

Zedekiah's Request Denied

1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malchijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah, asking, 2 "Ask the Lord on our behalf, since Nebuchadnezzarking of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will perform for us something like all His [past] wonderful works so that [Nebuchadnezzar] will withdraw from us." 3 But Jeremiah answered, "This is what you are to say to Zedekiah: 4 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will repel the weapons of war in your hands, those you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the wall, and I will bring them into the center of this city. 5 I will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger, rage, and great wrath. 6 I will strike the residents of this city, both man and beast. They will die in a great plague. 7 Afterwards'"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"'King Zedekiah of Judah, his officers, and the people-those in this city who survive the plague, the sword, and the famine-I will hand over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, to their enemies, yes, to those who want to take their lives. He will put them to the sword; he won't spare them or show pity or compassion.'

A Warning for the People

8 "But you must say to this people, 'This is what the Lord says: Look, I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils [of war]. 10 For I have turned against this city to [bring] disaster and not good""-[this is] the Lord's declaration. "'It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it down.' 11 "And to the house of the king of Judah [say this]: 'Hear the word of the Lord! 12 House of David, this is what the Lord says: Administer justice every morning, and rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor, or My anger will flare up like fire and burn unquenchably because of their evil deeds. 13 Beware! I am against you, you who sit above the valley, [you atop] the rocky plateau- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration- you who say: Who can come down against us? Who can enter our hiding places? 14 I will punish you according to what you have done- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. I will kindle a fire in its forest that will consume everything around it.' "

Judgment against Sinful Kings

1 This is what the Lord says: "Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and announce this word there. 2 You are to say: Hear the word of the Lord, king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David-you, your officers, and your people who enter these gates. 3 This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor. Don't exploit or brutalize the alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don't shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you conscientiously carry out this word, then kings sitting on David's throne will enter through the gates of this palace riding on chariots and horses-they, their officers, and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these words, then I swear by Myself"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"that this house will become a ruin." 6 For this is what the Lord says concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are like Gilead to Me, [or] the summit of Lebanon, but I will certainly turn you into a wilderness, uninhabited cities. 7 I will appoint destroyers against you, each with his weapons. They will cut down the choicest of your cedars and throw them into the fire. 8 "Many nations will pass by this city and ask one another: Why did the Lord do such a thing to this great city? 9 They will answer: Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped and served other gods."

A Message concerning Shallum

10 Do not weep for the dead; do not mourn for him. Weep bitterly for the one who has gone away, for he will never return again and see his native land. 11 For this is what the Lord says concerning Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who succeeded Josiah his father as king: "He has left this place-he will never return here again, 12 but he will die in the place where they deported him, never seeing this land again."

A Message concerning Jehoiakim

13 Woe for the one who builds his palace through unrighteousness, his upper rooms through injustice, who makes his fellow man serve without pay and will not give him his wages, 14 who says: I will build myself a massive palace, with spacious upper rooms. He will cut windows in it, and it will be paneled with cedar and painted with vermilion. 15 Are you a king because you excel in cedar? Your own father, did he not eat and drink? He administered justice and righteousness, then it went well with him. 16 He took up the case of the poor and needy, then it went well. Is this not what it means to know Me? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. 17 But you have eyes and heart for nothing except your own unjust gain, shedding innocent blood and committing extortion and oppression. 18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: They will not mourn for him, [saying,] Woe, my brother! or Woe, [my] sister! They will not mourn for him, saying, Woe, lord! Woe, his majesty! 19 He will be buried [like] a donkey, dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Go up to Lebanon and cry out; raise your voice in Bashan; cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers have been crushed. 21 I spoke to you when you were secure. You said: I will not listen. This has been your way since youth; indeed, you have never listened to Me. 22 The wind will take charge of all your shepherds, and your lovers will go into captivity. Then you will be ashamed and humiliated because of all your evil. 23 You residents of Lebanon, nestled among the cedars, how you will groan when labor pains come on you, agony like a woman in labor.

A Message concerning Coniah

24 "As I live," says the Lord, "though you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet ring on My right hand, I would tear you from it. 25 In fact, I will hand you over to those you dread, who want to take your life, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave birth to you into another land, where neither of you were born, and there you will both die. 27 They will never return to the land they long to return to." 28 Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered pot, a jar no one wants? Why are he and his descendants hurled out and cast into a land they have not known? 29 Earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord! 30 This is what the Lord says: Record this man as childless, a man who will not be successful in his lifetime. None of his descendants will succeed in sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.
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