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Jeremiah 18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 18

The Potter’s Vessel.[a] This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Arise and go down to the potter’s house; there you will hear my word. I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the vessel of clay he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making another vessel of whatever sort he pleased. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done?—oracle of the Lord. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. At one moment I may decree concerning a nation or kingdom that I will uproot and tear down and destroy it; but if that nation against whom I have decreed turns from its evil, then I will have a change of heart regarding the evil which I have decreed. At another moment, I may decree concerning a nation or kingdom that I will build up and plant it; 10 but if that nation does what is evil in my eyes, refusing to obey my voice, then I will have a change of heart regarding the good with which I planned to bless it.

11 And now, tell this to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am fashioning evil against you and making a plan. Return, all of you, from your evil way; reform your ways and your deeds. 12 But they will say, “No use! We will follow our own devices; each one of us will behave according to the stubbornness of our evil hearts!”

Unnatural Apostasy

13     Therefore thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations—
    who has ever heard the like?
Truly horrible things
    virgin Israel has done!
14 Does the snow of Lebanon[b]
    desert the rocky heights?
Do the gushing waters dry up
    that flow fresh down the mountains?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me:
    they offer incense in vain.
They stumble off their paths,
    the ways of old,
Traveling on bypaths,
    not the beaten track.
16 Their land shall be made a waste,
    an object of endless hissing:[c]
All passersby will be horrified,
    shaking their heads.
17 Like the east wind, I will scatter them
    before their enemies;
I will show them my back, not my face,
    in their day of disaster.

Another Prayer for Vengeance. 18 “Come,” they said, “let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for instruction will not perish from the priests, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. Come, let us destroy him by his own tongue. Let us pay careful attention to his every word.”

19 Pay attention to me, O Lord,
    and listen to what my adversaries say.
20 Must good be repaid with evil
    that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
    to speak on their behalf,
    to turn your wrath away from them.
21 So now, give their children[d] to famine,
    deliver them to the power of the sword.
Let their wives be childless and widows;
    let their husbands die of pestilence,
    their youths be struck down by the sword in battle.
22 May cries be heard from their homes,
    when suddenly you send plunderers against them.
For they have dug a pit to capture me,
    they have hidden snares for my feet;
23 But you, Lord, know
    all their planning for my death.
Do not forgive their crime,
    and their sin do not blot out from your sight!
Let them stumble before you,
    in the time of your anger act against them.

Footnotes:

  1. 18:1–12 The lesson of the potter is that God has the power to destroy or restore, changing his plans accordingly as these nations disobey him or fulfill his will. Cf. Jon 3:10.
  2. 18:14 Lebanon: here apparently including Mount Hermon, whose snow-capped peak can be seen from parts of Palestine all year round. The prophet contrasts the certainties of nature with Israel’s unnatural desertion of the Lord for idols (v. 15).
  3. 18:16 Hissing: in some ancient Near Eastern cultures hissing was not only a sign of derision but a magical means of keeping demons away; people hissed in order to ward off danger, like whistling in a cemetery.
  4. 18:21 Give their children: often an extended family is meant, to be rewarded or punished as a unit.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Jeremiah 18 New International Version (NIV)

At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 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.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. 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. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“Inquire among the nations:
    Who has ever heard anything like this?
A most horrible thing has been done
    by Virgin Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
    ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
    ever stop flowing?[a]
15 Yet my people have forgotten me;
    they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,
    in the ancient paths.
They made them walk in byways,
    on roads not built up.
16 Their land will be an object of horror
    and of lasting scorn;
all who pass by will be appalled
    and will shake their heads.
17 Like a wind from the east,
    I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face
    in the day of their disaster.”

18 They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.”

19 Listen to me, Lord;
    hear what my accusers are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
    Yet they have dug a pit for me.
Remember that I stood before you
    and spoke in their behalf
    to turn your wrath away from them.
21 So give their children over to famine;
    hand them over to the power of the sword.
Let their wives be made childless and widows;
    let their men be put to death,
    their young men slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses
    when you suddenly bring invaders against them,
for they have dug a pit to capture me
    and have hidden snares for my feet.
23 But you, Lord, know
    all their plots to kill me.
Do not forgive their crimes
    or blot out their sins from your sight.
Let them be overthrown before you;
    deal with them in the time of your anger.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 18:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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