The Potter and the Clay
1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2"Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words." 3So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. 9And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it. 11Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 'Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.'
Israel's Stubborn Idolatry
12"But they say, 'That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'
13"Therefore thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations,
who has heard the like of this?
The virgin Israel
has done a very horrible thing.
14Does the snow of Lebanon leave
the crags of Sir'ion?a
the cold flowing streams?
15But my people have forgotten me,
they burn incense to false gods;
they have stumbledd in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths,
not the highway,
16making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at for ever.
Every one who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.
17Like the east wind I will scatter them
before the enemy.
I will show them my back, not my face,
in the day of their calamity."
A Plot against Jeremiah
18Then they said, "Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words."
19Give heed to me, O Lord,
and hearken to my plea.e
20Is evil a recompense for good?
Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before thee
to speak good for them,
to turn away thy wrath from them.
21Therefore deliver up their children to famine;
give them over to the power of the sword,
let their wives become childless and widowed.
May their men meet death by pestilence,
their youths be slain by the sword in battle.
22May a cry be heard from their houses,
when thou bringest the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to take me,
and laid snares for my feet.
23Yet, thou, O Lord, knowest
all their plotting to slay me.
Forgive not their iniquity,
nor blot out their sin from thy sight.
Let them be overthrown before thee;
deal with them in the time of thine anger.