Jeremiah and the clay jar
1The Lord said:
Jeremiah, go to the pottery shop and buy a clay jar. Then take along some of the city officials and leading priests 2#2 King 23.10Jer 7.30–32Jer 32.3435and go to Hinnom Valley, just outside Potsherd#19.2 Potsherd: A piece of broken pottery. Gate. Tell the people that I have said:
3I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, and you kings of Judah and you people of Jerusalem had better pay attention. I am going to bring so much trouble on this valley that everyone who hears about it will be shocked. 4-5#Lev 18.21The people of Judah stopped worshipping me and made this valley into a place of worship for Baal and other gods that have never helped them or their ancestors or their kings. And they have committed murder here, burning their young, innocent children as sacrifices to Baal. I have never even thought of telling you to do that. 6So watch out! Some day this place will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley. It will be called Slaughter Valley!
7You people of Judah and Jerusalem may have big plans, but here in this valley I'll ruin#19.7 ruin: In Hebrew “ruin” sounds like “jar” (see verse 1). those plans. I'll let your enemies kill you, and I'll tell the birds and wild animals to eat your dead bodies. 8I will turn Jerusalem into a pile of rubble, and every passer-by will be shocked and horrified and will make insulting remarks. 9And while your enemies are trying to break through your city walls to kill you, the food supply will run out. You will become so hungry that you will eat the flesh of your friends and even of your own children.
10Jeremiah, as soon as you have said this, smash the jar while the people are watching. 11Then tell them that I have also said:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I warn you that I will shatter Judah and Jerusalem just like this jar that is broken beyond repair. You will bury your dead here in Topheth, but so many of you will die that there won't be enough room.
12-13I will make Jerusalem as unclean as Topheth, by filling the city with your dead bodies. I will do this because you and your kings have gone up to the roofs of your houses and burnt incense to the stars in the sky, as though they were gods. And you have given sacrifices of wine to foreign gods.
Jeremiah speaks in the temple courtyard
14I went to Topheth, where I told the people what the Lord had said. Then I went to the temple courtyard and shouted to the people, 15“Listen, everyone! Some time ago, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, warned you that he would bring disaster on Jerusalem and all nearby villages. But you were stubborn and refused to listen. Now the Lord is going to bring the disaster he promised.”