Judah Is like a Broken Jar
1This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 2Take some of the elders of the people and the priests, and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the front of the Potsherd Gate. There speak the words I tell you. 3Say, ‘Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, listen to this message from the Lord. This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: I will soon bring a disaster on this place that will amaze and frighten everyone who hears about it. 4The people of Judah have quit following me. They have made this a place for foreign gods. They have burned sacrifices to other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had ever known before. They filled this place with the blood of innocent people. 5They have built places on hilltops to worship Baal, where they burn their children in the fire to Baal. That is something I did not command or speak about; it never even entered my mind. 6Now people call this place the Valley of Ben Hinnom or Topheth, but the days are coming, says the Lord, when people will call it the Valley of Killing.
7“ ‘At this place I will ruin the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The enemy will chase them, and I will have them killed with swords. I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild animals. 8I will completely destroy this city. People will make fun of it and shake their heads when they pass by. They will be shocked when they see how the city was destroyed. 9An enemy army will surround the city and will not let anyone go out to get food. I will make the people so hungry that they will eat the bodies of their own sons and daughters, and then they will begin to eat each other.’
10“While the people with you are watching, break that jar. 11Then say this: ‘The Lord All-Powerful says: I will break this nation and this city just as someone breaks a clay jar that cannot be put back together again. The dead people will be buried here in Topheth, because there is no other place for them. 12This is what I will do to these people and to this place, says the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth. 13The houses in Jerusalem and the king’s palaces will become as unclean as this place, Topheth, because the people worshiped gods on the roofs of their houses. They worshiped the stars and burned incense to honor them and gave drink offerings to gods.’ ”
14When Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he went to the Lord’s Temple, stood in the courtyard, and said to all the people: 15“This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will soon bring disaster to Jerusalem and the villages around it, as I said I would. This will happen because the people are very stubborn and do not listen at all to what I say.’ ”