The Broken Jar
1The Lord told me to go and buy a clay jar. He also told me to take some of the elders of the people and some of the older priests, 2#2 Kgs 23.10Jer 7.30–32Jer 32.34–35and to go through Potsherd Gate out to the Valley of Hinnom. There I was to proclaim the message that he would give me. 3The Lord told me to say, “Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, have to say. I am going to bring such a disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 4I am going to do this because the people have abandoned me and defiled this place by offering sacrifices here to other gods — gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known anything about. They have filled this place with the blood of innocent people, 5#Lev 18.21and they have built altars for Baal in order to burn their children in the fire as sacrifices. I never commanded them to do this; it never even entered my mind. 6So then, the time will come when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Hinnom. Instead, it will be known as the Valley of Slaughter. 7In this place I will frustrate all the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will let their enemies triumph over them and kill them in battle. I will give their corpses to the birds and the wild animals as food. 8I will bring such terrible destruction on this city that everyone who passes by will be shocked and amazed. 9The enemy will surround the city and try to kill its people. The siege will be so terrible that the people inside the city will eat one another and even their own children.”
10Then the Lord told me to break the jar in front of those who had gone with me 11and to tell them that the Lord Almighty had said, “I will break this people and this city, and it will be like this broken clay jar that cannot be put together again. People will bury their dead even in Topheth because there will be nowhere else to bury them. 12I promise that I will make this city and its inhabitants like Topheth. 13The houses of Jerusalem, the houses of the kings of Judah, and indeed all the houses on whose roofs incense has been burnt to the stars and where wine has been poured out as an offering to other gods — they will all be as unclean as Topheth.”
14Then I left Topheth, where the Lord had sent me to proclaim his message. I went and stood in the court of the Temple and told all the people 15that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said, “I am going to bring on this city and on every nearby town all the punishment that I said I would, because you are stubborn and will not listen to what I say.”
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