18
Jeremiah goes to the pottery shop
1The Lord told me, 2“Go to the pottery shop, and when you get there, I will tell you what to say to the people.”
3I went there and saw the potter making clay pots on his pottery wheel. 4And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.
5Then the Lord told me to say:
6People of Israel, I, the Lord, have power over you, just as a potter has power over clay. 7If I threaten to uproot and shatter an evil nation 8and that nation turns from its evil, I will change my mind.
9If I promise to make a nation strong, 10but its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all.
11So listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem! I have decided to strike you with disaster, and I won't change my mind unless you stop sinning and start living right.
12But I know you won't listen. You might as well answer, “We don't care what you say. We have made plans to sin, and we are going to be stubborn and do what we want!”
13So I, the Lord, command you to ask the nations, and find out if they have ever heard of such a horrible sin as what you have done.
14The snow
on Lebanon's mountains
never melts away,
and the streams there
never run dry.#18.14 dry: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.
15But you, my people,
have turned from me
to burn incense
to worthless idols.
You have left the ancient road
to follow an unknown path
where you stumble over idols.
16Your land will be ruined,
and every passer-by
will look at it with horror
and make insulting remarks.
17When your enemies attack,
I will scatter you like dust
blown by an eastern wind.
Then, on that day of disaster,
I will turn my back on you.
The plot against Jeremiah
18Some of the people said, “Let's get rid of Jeremiah! We will always have priests to teach us God's laws, as well as wise people to give us advice, and prophets to speak the Lord's messages. So, instead of listening to Jeremiah any longer, let's accuse him of a crime.”
Jeremiah prays about his enemies
19Please, Lord, answer my prayer.
Make my enemies stop
accusing me of evil.
20I tried to help them,
but they are paying me back
by digging a pit to trap me.
I even begged you
not to punish them.
21But now I am asking you
to let their children starve
or be killed in war.
Let women lose
their husbands and sons
to disease and violence.
22These people have dug pits
and set traps for me, Lord.
Make them scream in fear
when you send enemy troops
to attack their homes.
23You know they plan to kill me.
So get angry and punish them!
Don't ever forgive
their terrible crimes.
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