Jeremias 18

1 Jehovah spoke his word to Jeremiah:

2 »Go to the potter's house. There I will give you my message.«

3 I went to the potter's house, and he was working there at his wheel.

4 When a clay pot he was working on was ruined, he would rework it into a new clay pot the way he wanted to make it.

5 Jehovah spoke his word to me. Jehovah asked:

6 »Nation of Israel, can I do with you as this potter does with clay?« Nation of Israel, »You are in my hands like the clay in the potter's hands.

7 »At one time I may threaten to tear up, break down, and destroy a nation or a kingdom.

8 »However if the nation that I threatened turns away from doing wrong. Then I will change my plans about the disaster I planned to do to it.

9 »At another time I may promise to build and plant a nation or a kingdom.

10 »If that nation does what I consider evil and does not obey me I will change my mind about the good that I promised to do to it.

11 »Now say to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem, This is what Jehovah says: ‘I am going to prepare a disaster and make a plot against you. Turn from your evil ways, change your lives, and do good.’

12 »But they will answer, It is useless! We will live the way we want to. We will go our own stubborn, evil ways.

13 »This is what Jehovah says: ‘Ask among the nations if anyone has ever heard anything like this. The people of Israel have done a very horrible thing.

14 »‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?

15 »‘My people have forgotten me. They burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways. They stray from the ancient paths to walk in pathways and not on a highway.

16 »‘They make their land desolation. It becomes an object of perpetual hissing. Everyone who passes by it will be astonished and shake his head.

17 »‘Like an east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back and not my face in the day of their calamity.’«

18 Then they said: »Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the wise man, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike him with our tongue, and let us pay no attention to any of his words.«

19 Do pay close attention to me, O Jehovah! Listen to what my opponents are saying!

20 Should good be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before you to speak good on their behalf. I tried to turn away your wrath from them.

21 Therefore, give their children over to famine and deliver them up to the power of the sword. Let their wives become childless and widowed. Let their men also be smitten to death and their young men struck down by the sword in battle.

22 Let an outcry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring raiders upon them. For they have dug a pit to capture me and hidden snares for my feet.

23 Yet You, O Jehovah, know all their deadly designs against me. Do not forgive their iniquity or blot out their sin from your sight. But may they be overthrown before you. Deal with them in the time of your anger!