The LORD said to me, "Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you.
Go out into the valley of the son of Hinnom by the entrance to the Potsherd Gate, and repeat to them the words that I give you.
Say to them, 'Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such a terrible disaster on this place that the ears of those who hear about it will ring!
"'For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods -- idols never before worshiped by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children.
They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!
So beware, for the time is coming, says the LORD, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
For I will upset the battle plans of Judah and Jerusalem and let invading armies slaughter them. The enemy will leave the dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals.
I will wipe Jerusalem from the face of the earth, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be appalled and will gasp at the destruction they see there.
I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will have to eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.'
"As these men watch, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought with you.
Then say to them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room.
This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the LORD. I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth.
Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah's kings, will become like Topheth -- all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where drink offerings were poured out to your idols.'"
Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the LORD. He said to the people there,
"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns just as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me."