Jeremiah 18:1-9

God the potter

1 Jeremiah received the LORD's word:
2 Go down to the potter's house, and I'll give you instructions about what to do there.
3 So I went down to the potter's house; he was working on the potter's wheel.
4 But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him.
5 Then the LORD's word came to me:
6 House of Israel, can't I deal with you like this potter, declares the LORD? Like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel!
7 At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom;
8 but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it.
9 At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom;

Jeremiah 18:1-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 18

This chapter expresses the sovereign power of God ever his creatures, and his usual methods of dealing with them; it threatens destruction to the Jews for their idolatry; and is closed with the prophet's complaint of his persecutors, and with imprecations upon them. The sovereign power of God is expressed under the simile of a potter working in his shop, and making and marring vessels at pleasure, Jer 18:1-4; the application of which to God, and the house of Israel, is in Jer 18:5,6; and is illustrated by his usual dealings with kingdoms and nations; for though he is a sovereign Being, yet he acts both in a kind and equitable way; and as the potter changes his work, so he changes the dispensations of his providence, of which two instances are given; the one is, that having threatened ruin to a nation, upon their repentance and good behaviour he revokes the threatening, Jer 18:7,8; and the other is, that having made a declaration of good to a people, upon their sin and disobedience he recalls it, and punishes them for their wickedness, Jer 18:9,10; then follows a prophecy of the destruction of the Jews in particular, in which they are exhorted to repentance to prevent it; their obstinacy is observed; their folly in departing from God, and worshipping idols, is exposed; and they are threatened with utter ruin, Jer 18:11-17; the conspiracy and evil designs of the Jews against the prophet, their malice and ingratitude, are complained of by him, Jer 18:18-20; his imprecations upon them, and prayers for their destruction, are delivered out in Jer 18:21-23.

Jeremiah 18:1-9 In-Context

1 Jeremiah received the LORD's word:
2 Go down to the potter's house, and I'll give you instructions about what to do there.
3 So I went down to the potter's house; he was working on the potter's wheel.
4 But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him.
5 Then the LORD's word came to me:
6 House of Israel, can't I deal with you like this potter, declares the LORD? Like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel!
7 At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom;
8 but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it.
9 At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom;
10 but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I'll relent and not carry out the good I intended for it.
11 Now say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem: This is what the LORD says: I am a potter preparing a disaster for you; I'm working out a plan against you. So each one of you, turn from your evil ways; reform your ways and your actions.
12 But they said, "What's the use! We will follow our own plans and act according to our own willful, evil hearts."
13 Therefore, the LORD proclaims: Ask among the nations: Have you ever heard anything like this? Virgin Israel has done the most horrible thing.
Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible