Jeremiah 18 – “Yahweh the Potter; Crime and Punishment; Jeremiah’s Petition/Imprecation”

Potter Crafting Pot on Potter's WheelHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Yahweh shows Jeremiah that he can build or destroy a nation like a potter can build or destroy a vessel. The people will be exiled because they abandoned Yahweh. Jeremiah calls on Yahweh to kill his enemies.

II. Photo

Yahweh control’s Israel’s fate: “Just like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in my hands, O House of Israel!” (v. 6)

III. Select Verses

1-10: The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the house of a potter, and there I will impart My words to you.” So I went down to the house of a potter, and found him working at the wheel. And if the vessel he was making was spoiled, as happens to clay in the potter’s hands, he would make it into another vessel, such as the potter saw fit to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me: O House of Israel, can I not deal with you like this potter? — says the LORD. Just like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in My hands, O House of Israel! At one moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be uprooted and pulled down and destroyed; but if that nation against which I made the decree turns back from its wickedness, I change My mind concerning the punishment I planned to bring on it. At another moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be built and planted; but if it does what is displeasing to Me and does not obey Me, then I change My mind concerning the good I planned to bestow upon it.

18-21: They said, “Come let us devise a plot against Jeremiah — for instruction shall not fail from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor oracle from the prophet. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and we shall no longer have to listen to all those words of his.” Listen to me, O LORD — And take note of what my enemies say! Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before You To plead in their behalf, To turn Your anger away from them! Oh, give their children over to famine, Mow them down by the sword. Let their wives be bereaved Of children and husbands, Let their men be struck down by the plague, And their young men be slain in battle by the sword.

IV. Outline

1-10. Visual analogy
    1-2. Command to go to a potter
    3. Jeremiah goes
    4. The potter’s method
    5-10. Yahweh can build and destroy a nation like a potter to a pot
11. Call for repentance
12. The people will not repent
13-15. Israel had abandoned Yahweh in an unnatural way
16-17. Punishment: desolation and exile
18-. Jeremiah’s petition/imprecation
    18. Complaint about enemies
    19. Petition
    20. Affirmation of commitment
    21-23. Imprecation of enemies

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nt-MhJYDAtk/T8TEMJdgXSI/AAAAAAAABYA/TGknZRooU8k/s1600/potters_wheel_13120550.jpg

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