Chapter 8

  1. The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter, so he made it again, another vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? — says the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At what moment I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will withhold the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what moment I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will withhold the good with which I said I would benefit them.
  2. Now therefore go to speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I frame evil against you and devise a device against you. Return now, everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope, but we will walk after our own devices and we will everyone do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore, thus says the Lord: Ask now among the heathen, Who has heard such things? The virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing. Will you not leave the snow of the fields of Lebanon? Shall not the cold, flowing waters that come from another place, from the rock, be forsaken? Because my people has forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths — to walk in paths, in a way not cast up — to make their land desolate and a perpetual hissing. Everyone that passes thereby shall be astonished and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy, I will show them the back and not the face in the day of their calamity.
  3. Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. Give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? For they have dug a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before you to speak good for them, and to turn away your wrath from them. Therefore, deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword, and let their wives be bereaved of their children and be widows, and let their men be put to death. Let their young men be slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses when you shall bring a troop suddenly upon them. For they have dug a pit to take me, and hidden snares for my feet. Yet, Lord, you know all their counsel against me to slay me; forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from your sight, but let them be overthrown before you; deal thus with them in the time of your anger.
  4. Thus says the Lord: Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and take of the elders of the people and of the elders of the priests, and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell you; and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, which whoever hears, his ears shall tingle because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents. They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into my mind. Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of them that seek their lives. And their carcasses will I give to be food for the fowls of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate and a hissing, everyone that passes thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend in the siege and confinement with which their enemies and they that seek their lives shall oppress them. Then shall you break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with you, and shall say unto them, Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel that cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Topheth until there be no place to bury. Thus will I do unto this place, says the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Topheth. And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled as the place of Topheth, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
  5. Then came Jeremiah from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people, Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks that they might not hear my words.
  6. Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. And it came to pass on the next day that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord has not called your name Pashur, but Magormissabib, for thus says the Lord: Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends, and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall behold it. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon and shall slay them with the sword. Moreover, I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labors thereof, and all the precious things thereof; and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, who shall spoil them and take them and carry them to Babylon. And you, Pashur, and all that dwell in your house, shall go into captivity; and you shall come to Babylon, and there you shall die and shall be buried there, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.
  7. O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I and have prevailed. I am in derision daily, everyone mocks me, for since I spoke, I cried out, I cried, Violence and spoil! — because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me and a derision daily, then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name. But his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with restraining, and I could not withhold. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my close friends watched for my halting, saying, Perhaps he will be enticed and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one; therefore, my persecutors shall stumble and they shall not prevail. They shall be greatly ashamed for they shall not prosper, their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. But, O Lord of Hosts that tries the righteous and sees the reins and the heart, let me see your vengeance on them; for unto you have I opened my cause. Sing unto the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
  8. Cursed be the day wherein I was born, let not the day wherein my mother bore me be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A son is born unto you — making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew and repented not, and let him hear the cry in the morning and the shouting at noontime, because he slew me not from the womb, or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Why came I forth out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
  9. The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, Inquire, I pray, of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us, if it so be that the Lord will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall you say to Zedekiah: Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who besiege you outside the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast — they shall die of a great pestilence. And afterward, says the Lord, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city — from the pestilence, from the sword and from the famine — into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life. And he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity nor have mercy.
  10. And unto this people you shall say, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He that abides in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goes out and falls to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. For I have set my face against this city for evil and not for good, says the Lord; it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.
  11. And touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear the word of the Lord, O house of David, thus says the Lord: Execute judgment in the morning and deliver him who is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire and burn, that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley and rock of the plain, says the Lord, who say, Who shall come down against us? Or who shall enter into our habitations? But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, says the Lord, and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.
  12. Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah who sits upon the throne of David — you, and your servants, and your people that enter in by these gates. Thus says the Lord: Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, and do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses — he, and his servants, and his people. But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. For thus says the Lord unto the king’s house of Judah: You are Gilead unto me and the head of Lebanon, yet surely I will make you a wilderness and cities which are uninhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against you, everyone with his weapons, and they shall cut down your choice cedars and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Why has the Lord done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods and served them.
  13. Weep not for the dead, neither bemoan him, but weep bitterly for him that goes away, for he shall return no more nor see his native country. For thus says the Lord touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went forth out of this place: He shall not return there anymore, but he shall die in the place to which they have led him captive and shall see this land no more.
  14. Woe unto him that builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by wrong; that uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him not for his work; that says, I will build myself a wide house and large chambers — and cuts himself out windows, and it is paneled with cedar and painted with vermilion. Shall you reign because you close yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy, then it was well with him. Was not this to know me? — says the Lord. But your eyes and your heart are not but for your covetousness, and to shed innocent blood, and for oppression and for violence, to do it. Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! — or, Ah sister! They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! — or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem. Go up to Lebanon and cry, and lift up your voice in Bashan and cry from the passages, for all your lovers are destroyed. I spoke unto you in your prosperity, but you said, I will not hear. This has been your manner from your youth: that you obeyed not my voice. The wind shall eat up all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity; surely then shall you be ashamed and confounded for all your wickedness. O inhabitant of Lebanon that make your nest in the cedars, how gracious shall you be when pangs come upon you, the pain as of a woman in travail.
  15. As I live, says the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, was the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck you from there; and I will give you into the hand of them that seek your life and into the hand of them whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast you out, and your mother that bore you, into another country where you were not born, and there shall you die. But to the land unto which they desire to return, there shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: Write this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David and ruling anymore in Judah.
  16. Woe be unto the shepherds that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds that feed my people: You have scattered my flock and driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, says the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries to which I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds, and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them who shall feed them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, says the Lord.
  17. Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt — but, The Lord lives who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries to which I had driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land.
  18. My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake, I am like a drunk man and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing, the land mourns, the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up; and their course is evil and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are corrupt, yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, says the Lord. Wherefore, their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness, they shall be driven on and fall therein; for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, says the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied in Baal and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies, they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none does return from his wickedness. They are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
  19. Therefore, thus says the Lord of Hosts concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with wormwood and make them drink the water of gall, for from the prophets of Jerusalem is pollution gone forth into all the land. Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Listen not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain, they speak a vision of their own heart and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord has said you shall have peace — and they say unto everyone that walks after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return until he has executed and until he has performed the thoughts of his heart; in the latter days you shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? — says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? — says the Lord. I have heard what the prophets said that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell, every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream, and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? — says the Lord. Is not my word like a fire? — says the Lord. And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who steal my words, every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their tongues and say, He says. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, says the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and by their lightness. Yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore, they shall not profit this people at all, says the Lord.
  20. And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest shall ask you, saying, What is the burden of the Lord? — you shall then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, says the Lord. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people who shall say, The burden of the Lord — I will even punish that man and his house. Thus shall you say, everyone to his neighbor and everyone to his brother: What has the Lord answered? — and, What has the Lord spoken? And the burden of the Lord shall you mention no more, for every man’s word shall be his burden; for you have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of Hosts, our God. Thus shall you say to the prophet: What has the Lord answered you? — and, What has the Lord spoken? But since you say, The burden of the Lord, therefore thus says the Lord: Because you say this word — The burden of the Lord — and I have sent unto you, saying, You shall not say, The burden of the Lord, therefore behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence. And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you and a perpetual shame which shall not be forgotten.
  21. The Lord showed me, and behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe, and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the Lord unto me, What do you see, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs, the good figs very good, and the evil very evil, that cannot be eaten they are so evil. Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land, and I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. And as the evil figs which cannot be eaten they are so evil, surely thus says the Lord: So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt. And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places to which I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, until they are consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.