God said to me, "Go, buy a clay pot. Then get a few leaders from the people and a few of the leading priests
and go out to the Valley of Ben-hinnom, just outside the Potsherd Gate, and preach there what I tell you.
"Say, 'Listen to God's Word, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem! This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel. I'm about to bring doom crashing down on this place. Oh, and will ears ever ring!
Doom - because they've walked off and left me, and made this place strange by worshiping strange gods, gods never heard of by them, their parents, or the old kings of Judah. Doom - because they have massacred innocent people.
Doom - because they've built altars to that no-god Baal, and burned their own children alive in the fire as offerings to Baal, an atrocity I never ordered, never so much as hinted at!
"'And so it's pay day, and soon' - God's Decree! - 'this place will no longer be known as Topheth or Valley of Ben-hinnom, but Massacre Meadows.
I'm canceling all the plans Judah and Jerusalem had for this place, and I'll have them killed by their enemies. I'll stack their dead bodies to be eaten by carrion crows and wild dogs.
I'll turn this city into such a museum of atrocities that anyone coming near will be shocked speechless by the savage brutality.
The people will turn into cannibals. Dehumanized by the pressure of the enemy siege, they'll eat their own children! Yes, they'll eat one another, family and friends alike.'
"Say all this, and then smash the pot in front of the men who have come with you.
Then say, 'This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says: I'll smash this people and this city like a man who smashes a clay pot into so many pieces it can never be put together again. They'll bury bodies here in Topheth until there's no more room.
And the whole city will become a Topheth.
The city will be turned by people and kings alike into a center for worshiping the star gods and goddesses, turned into an open grave, the whole city an open grave, stinking like a sewer, like Topheth.'"
Then Jeremiah left Topheth, where God had sent him to preach the sermon, and took his stand in the court of God's Temple and said to the people,
"This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies to you: 'Warning! Danger! I'm bringing down on this city and all the surrounding towns the doom that I have pronounced. They're set in their ways and won't budge. They refuse to do a thing I say.'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)