Jeremiah 18

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Am I not able, house of Israel, to deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot it, to tear it down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will relent of the good with which I said [a]that I would bless it. 11 So now, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Behold, I am forming a disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Now turn back, each of you from his evil way, and [b]correct your ways and your deeds!”’ 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will [c]persist in the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

13 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Just ask among the nations,
Who ever heard anything like [d]this?
The virgin of Israel
Has done a most appalling thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave the rock of the open country alone?
Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever dried up?
15 For My people have forgotten Me,
They burn incense [e]to worthless gods.
And they [f]have stumbled in their ways,
In the ancient roads,
To walk on paths,
Not on a highway,
16 To make their land a desolation,
An object of perpetual hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And shake his head.
17 Like an east wind I will scatter them
Before the enemy;
I will [g]show them My back and not My face
In the day of their disaster.’”

18 Then they said, “Come and let’s devise plans against Jeremiah. Certainly the Law is not going to be lost by the priest, nor advice by the wise, nor the divine word by the prophet! Come, and let’s strike at him with our tongue, and let’s pay no attention to any of his words.”

19 Give Your attention to me, Lord,
And listen to [h]what my opponents are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
For they have dug a pit for [i]me.
Remember how I stood before You
To speak good in their behalf,
So as to turn Your wrath away from them.
21 Therefore, give their children over to famine
And turn them over to the [j]power of the sword;
And let their wives become childless and widowed.
Let their men also be slaughtered to death,
Their young men struck and killed by the sword in battle.
22 May a cry be heard from their houses
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
For they have dug a pit to capture me
And hidden snares for my feet.
23 But You, Lord, know
All their [k]deadly schemes against me;
Do not [l]forgive their wrongdoing
Or wipe out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be [m]overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the time of Your anger!


  1. Jeremiah 18:10 Lit to do it good
  2. Jeremiah 18:11 Lit make good
  3. Jeremiah 18:12 Lit do the
  4. Jeremiah 18:13 Lit these
  5. Jeremiah 18:15 Lit to worthlessness
  6. Jeremiah 18:15 As in ancient versions; MT caused them to
  7. Jeremiah 18:17 As in ancient versions; MT look them in the back and not in the face
  8. Jeremiah 18:19 Lit the voice of my opponents
  9. Jeremiah 18:20 Lit my soul
  10. Jeremiah 18:21 Lit hands of
  11. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit unto death
  12. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit cover over, atone for
  13. Jeremiah 18:23 Lit ones made to stumble