Broken beyond repair
1The Lord proclaims: Go buy a clay jar from a potter in the presence of the elders of the people and the priests. 2Then go out to the Ben-hinnom Valley at the entrance of the gate called Broken Pots and proclaim there the words I will tell you. 3Listen to the Lord’s word, you kings of Judah and those of you living in Jerusalem: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to bring such disaster upon this place that it will shock all who hear of it. 4They have deserted me and degraded this place into a shrine for other gods, which neither they nor their ancestors nor Judah’s kings have ever known. And they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5Yes, they have built shrines to Baal, to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, although I never commanded or ordered such a thing, nor did it ever cross my mind.
6So now the time is coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or Ben-hinnom Valley but Carnage Valley. 7I will foil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place and will have them fall in battle before their enemies, before those who seek their lives. I will give their corpses as food to the birds and the wild animals. 8I will make this city something that sounds horrible; all who pass by it will be shocked at its pain. 9And when their enemies lay siege to the city, seeking their lives, they will resort in desperation to eating the flesh of their sons and daughters, and to devouring the flesh of their neighbors.
10Then you should shatter the clay jar in the sight of the people who are with you, 11and you should say to them: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: Just as one smashes the potter’s piece beyond repair, so I will smash this people and this city. And they will bury the dead in Topheth until there’s no room left. 12That is what I will do to this place and its residents, declares the Lord: I will make this city like Topheth. 13The houses of Jerusalem and those of Judah’s kings will become as foul as Topheth—all the houses on whose roofs they made offerings to the heavenly force and poured out drink offerings to other gods.
14When Jeremiah returned from Topheth where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people: 15The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I am about to bring upon this city and its surrounding towns every disaster that I have pronounced against them, because they have been stubborn and wouldn’t obey my words.
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