Jeremiah
Chapter 18

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1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

4 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.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

15 Because my people hath 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;

16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

18 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.

19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

21 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.

22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.

Commentary for Jeremiah 18

God's power over his creatures is represented by the potter. (1-10) The Jews exhorted to repentance, and judgments foretold. (11-17) The prophet appeals to God. (18-23)1-10 While Jeremiah looks upon the potter's work, God darts into his mind two great truths. God has authority, and power, to form and fashion kingdoms and nations as he pleases. He may dispose of us as he thinks fit; and it would be as absurd for us to dispute this, as for the clay to quarrel with the potter. But he always goes by fixed rules of justice and goodness. When God is coming against us in judgments, we may be sure it is for our sins; but sincere conversion from the evil of sin will prevent the evil of punishment, as to persons, and to families, and nations.

11-17 Sinners call it liberty to live at large; whereas for a man to be a slave to his lusts, is the very worst slavery. They forsook God for idols. When men are parched with heat, and meet with cooling, refreshing streams, they use them. In these things men will not leave a certainty for an uncertainty; but Israel left the ancient paths appointed by the Divine law. They walked not in the highway, in which they might travel safely, but in a way in which they must stumble: such was the way of idolatry, and such is the way of iniquity. This made their land desolate, and themselves miserable. Calamities may be borne, if God smile upon us when under them; but if he is displeased, and refuses his help, we are undone. Multitudes forget the Lord and his Christ, and wander from the ancient paths, to walk in ways of their own devising. But what will they do in the day of judgment!

18-23 When the prophet called to repentance, instead of obeying the call, the people devised devices against him. Thus do sinners deal with the great Intercessor, crucifying him afresh, and speaking against him on earth, while his blood is speaking for them in heaven. But the prophet had done his duty to them; and the same will be our rejoicing in a day of evil.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Jeremiah 18

  • Steve morrow
    JEREMIAH 18:18 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 --18:19-- give heed to me O LORD and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me
  • Obbie Beal
    verse 12 "And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart". WOW! God's desire to bless people / nations with His mercy, peace, patience, healing power, blessing ... never-the-less people / nations desire their idols they create through the lust of the flesh, eye, proud of life.
  • A disciple
    "At what instant.." The very moment that the LORD has a thought and expresses it by words; if at that very moment the man either responds by acknowledging the truth honestly, and turns FROM his sins and the evil ways of his life; or if he lets his heart's lusts and vanities deceive him so that he now turns FROM his righteousness; SO QUICKLY LIKEWISE WILL THE LORD REPENT of what He was about to do.
  • BSP
    In verse 11 God let his people know that they could turn around. They had an opportunity to make a change. We can make a change while we still have time but we must not take God's kindness for weakness.
  • Peter Neple
    Fear God because He can do whatever it pleases Him to you when you disobeyed his commandments. As the pot is in the hands of the Potter so we are in God 's hand. It is His mercy that restraints God from dealing with us as He pleases.
  • Greyson
    For those of us that cannot fully understand, please, could someone put this into plain modern day speak? It 's kinda funny from my point of view I 'm a potter and around our crowd there 's an understanding that you won 't control the clay until you become one with it. Fighting it only frustrates you and destroys the piece you are attempting to make. You need to work with the forces to achieve compliance from your medium clay, it 's funny like that.
  • Ella Patterson
    I must be mindful to forever be humble, broken and obedient to God and His Word.
  • Ebinum
    We must know Nothing, be Nothing and Humble ourselves to be used of God. No man can strive with His Maker.

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Bible Trivia

To whose house does the Lord send Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 18?
  • A priest's
  • Jeremiah's brother's
  • A merchant's
  • A potter's