An Object Lesson from a Broken Clay Jar
19:1 The Lord> told Jeremiah,1 “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter.2 Take with you3 some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders4 of the priests.
19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate.5 Announce there what I tell you.6
19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord> says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem!7 The Lord> God of Israel who rules over all8 says, “I will bring a disaster on this place9 that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring!10
19:4 I will do so because these people11 have rejected me and have defiled12 this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors13 nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children.14
19:5 They have built places here15 for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices16 are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!
19:6 So I, the Lord>, say:17 “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley18 the Valley of Slaughter!
19:7 In this place I will thwart19 the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword20 at the hands of their enemies.21 I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat.
19:8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn22 because of all the disasters that have happened to it.23
19:9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’”24
19:10 The Lord> continued,25 “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you.
19:11 Tell them the Lord> who rules over all says,26 ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done.27 I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair.28 The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’29
19:12 I, the Lord>, say:30 ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth.
19:13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies31 just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars32 and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”
19:14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord> had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord>’s temple and stood33 in its courtyard and called out to all the people.
19:15 “The Lord> God of Israel who rules over all34 says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it35 all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused36 to pay any attention to what I have said!’”