The LORD said to me, "Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people. Also tell some of the priests to go with you.
Go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom. Stand near the entrance of the gate where broken pieces of pottery are thrown away. "There announce the message I give you.
Tell the people, 'Listen to the LORD's message, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "Listen! I am going to bring trouble on Jerusalem. It will be so horrible that it will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring.
" ' "My people have deserted me. They have made this city a place where other gods are worshiped. They have burned sacrifices to them here. They and their people and the kings of Judah had never had anything to do with those gods before. My people have also filled this place with the blood of those who are not guilty of anything.
They have built the high places where they worship Baal. There they sacrifice their children in the fire as offerings to Baal. That is something I did not command or talk about. It did not even enter my mind.
" ' "So watch out!" announces the Lord. "The days are coming when people will not call this place Topheth anymore. And they will not call it the Valley of Ben Hinnom either. Instead, they will call it the Valley of Death.
" ' "In this place I will make the plans of Judah and Jerusalem as useless as a broken jar. I will use their enemies to kill my people with swords. They will die at the hands of those who want to take their lives. I will give their dead bodies as food to the birds of the air and the wild animals.
" ' "I will destroy this city completely. People will make fun of it. All those who pass by it will be shocked. They will laugh at its people because of all of their wounds.
I will make the people of this city eat the dead bodies of their sons and daughters. And they will eat one another. They will do it because things will be so bad during the attack. The enemies who want to take their lives will bring all of that trouble on them." '
"Jeremiah, break the jar while those who go with you are watching.
Tell them, 'The LORD who rules over all says, "This potter's jar is smashed and can't be repaired. And I will smash this nation and this city. People will bury their dead in Topheth. But they will run out of room.
Here is what I will do to Jerusalem and those who live here," announces the Lord. "I will make this city like Topheth.
The houses in Jerusalem will be made 'unclean' like Topheth. So will the houses of the kings of Judah. All of those people burned incense on their roofs to all of the stars. They poured out drink offerings to other gods." ' "
Then I returned from Topheth. That's where the LORD had sent me to prophesy. I stood in the courtyard of the LORD's temple. I spoke to all of the people. I said,
"The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, 'Listen! I am going to punish this city and the villages that are around it. I am going to bring against them all of the trouble I have announced. That is because my people were stubborn. They would not listen to what I said.' "