Jeremiah 18:3-6

3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me.
6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Jeremiah 18:3 in Other Translations

KJV
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
ESV
3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel.
NLT
3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel.
MSG
3 So I went to the potter's house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel.
CSB
3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.

Jeremiah 18:3-6 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 18:3-6 In-Context

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”
3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me.
6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,
8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20-21
  • 2. S Genesis 2:7
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