The Word of the Lord to Jeremiah

Chapter 18

Under the type of a potter is shown God's absolute power in disposing of nations, 1-10. Judgments threatened to Judah for her strange revolt, 11-17. Jeremiah prays against his conspirators, 18-23.

1 A word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you 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 it seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" says the LORD. "Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so you are in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 If that nation against which I have pronounced turns from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build and to plant it, 10 If it does evil in my sight so that it does not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good with which I said I would benefit them. 11 Now therefore, come, 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. Now each of you return 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 will each do the imagination of his evil heart.'

13 "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.

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

15 For my people have forgotten me/
and they have burned incense to vanity./
And they have been made to stumble in their ways,/
in the ancient paths,/
to walk in tracks,/
in a way not cast up,

16 To make their land desolate/
and a perpetual hissing./
Everyone who passes by it shall be astonished/
and wag his head.

17 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.'"

18 Then they said,

"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 not give heed to any of his words."

19 Give heed to me, O LORD,/
and listen to the voice of those who contend with me.

20 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.

21 Therefore, deliver their children to the famine/
and pour out their blood by the force of the sword,/
let their wives be bereaved of their children and be widows,/
and let their men be put to death/
and their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

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

23 Yet, LORD, you know/
all their counsel against me to slay me./
Do not forgive 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.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Jeremiah, Chapter 18[➚]


[v.15] - "to walk in tracks, in a way not cast up" - From John Gill's Exposition: "A new way, unknown in former times; an unbeaten track, which the saints had never walked in; a rough path, unsafe and dangerous; and hence they stumbled, and fell, and came to ruin; as follows."