New English Translation
An Object Lesson from the Making of Pottery
1 The LORD said to Jeremiah: 2 "Go down at once to the potter's house. I will speak to you further there." 3 So I went down to the potter's house and found him working at his wheel. 4 Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.
5 Then the LORD said to me, 6 "I, the LORD, say: 'O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter's hand.' 7 There are times, Jeremiah, when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, I will cancel the destruction I intended to do to it. 9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish a nation or kingdom. 10 But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it. 11 So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem this: The LORD says, 'I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.' 12 But they just keep saying, 'We do not care what you say! We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!'"
13 Therefore, the LORD says, "Ask the people of other nations whether they have heard of anything like this. Israel should have been like a virgin. But she has done something utterly revolting!
14 Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon? Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me and offered sacrifices to worthless idols! This makes them stumble along in the way they live and leave the old reliable path of their fathers. They have left them to walk in bypaths, in roads that are not smooth and level.
16 So their land will become an object of horror. People will forever hiss out their scorn over it. All who pass that way will be filled with horror and will shake their heads in derision.
17 I will scatter them before their enemies like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind. I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them when disaster strikes them."
Jeremiah Petitions the LORD to Punish Those Who Attack Him
18 Then some people said, "Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God's word. Come on! Let's bring charges against him and get rid of him! Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says."
19 Then I said, "LORD, pay attention to me. Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 Should good be paid back with evil? Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me. Just remember how I stood before you pleading on their behalf to keep you from venting your anger on them.
21 So let their children die of starvation. Let them be cut down by the sword. Let their wives lose their husbands and children. Let the older men die of disease and the younger men die by the sword in battle.
22 Let cries of terror be heard in their houses when you send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them. For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me and have hidden traps for me to step into.
23 But you, LORD, know all their plots to kill me. Do not pardon their crimes! Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! Let them be brought down in defeat before you! Deal with them while you are still angry!
King James Version
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 ¶ Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.
14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?
15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;
16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.
17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
18 ¶ Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.
20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.
23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.