Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
- When God fashions pottery it becomes a man. When man fashions pottery it becomes an idol.
The Potter and the Clay
Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:
Jeremiah 18:2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”
- Clay is used to make pottery and is spoken of throughout scripture as the weakness (hence lawlessness) of men.
- It has references to Judas and his 30 pieces of silver which was used to buy a potter’s field where a potter throws out his ruined pieces of pottery.
- It the material from which Adam was made.
- It has references to its redness and Edom.
- The feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is made of iron and clay which would not adhere to each other.
Jeremiah 18:3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making (was making) something at the wheel (Potter’s wheel).
Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made (was making) of clay was marred (ruined) in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
- The word “sincere” comes from the making of pottery where “sine” means “without” and “cere” is “wax”. A sincere pot is free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; and earnest. It means the pot doesn’t leak because it hasn’t been doctored with wax to make it look good.
~Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms, pg 17 by Donald J. Borror, Ohio State University, Mayfield Publishing, First Edition 1960.
- Biblically, wax would be compared to pride in a man. Sin leaves a “whole” in the heart and pride tries to cover it up.
Jeremiah 18:5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Jeremiah 18:6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
Jeremiah 18:7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,
Jeremiah 18:8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
Jeremiah 18:9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,
Jeremiah 18:10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
Jeremiah 18:11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ’ ”
God’s Warning Rejected
Jeremiah 18:12 And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey (Lit. do) the dictates (stubbornness or imagination) of his evil heart.”
- A man’s imagination is evil only if the man is evil. A pure heart will have a pure imagination. It is like a match; it can be used to warm a house or burn it down.
Jeremiah 18:13 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Ask now among the Gentiles,
Who has heard such things?
The virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.
Jeremiah 18:14 Will a man leave (forsake) the snow water of Lebanon,
Which comes from the rock of the field?
Will the cold flowing waters be forsaken for strange waters?
- Strange waters are foreigners. The snow water of Lebanon is clean and pure, their Messiah and their God.
Jeremiah 18:15 “Because My people have forgotten Me,
They have burned incense to worthless idols.
And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways and not on a highway,
- They have gone their own “way”. Their ways are evil.
Jeremiah 18:16 To make their land desolate and a perpetual hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished and shake his head.
Jeremiah 18:17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them (look them in) the back and not the face
In the day of their calamity.”
Jeremiah 18:18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans 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 attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”
Jeremiah 18:19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to the voice of those who contend with me!
Jeremiah 18:20 Shall evil be repaid for good?
For they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember that I stood before You
To speak good (concerning) for them,
To turn away Your wrath from them.
Jeremiah 18:21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine,
And pour out their blood by the force of the sword;
Let their wives become widows and bereaved of their children.
Let their men be put to death, their young men be slain
By the sword in battle.
Jeremiah 18:22 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 hidden snares for my feet.
- As Jeremiah also Jesus. The Pharisees sought to trap Him in his teachings.
- As Joseph also Jeremiah. His brothers put him in a pit and planned to kill him.
- As King David also Jeremiah. Saul sought to kill David by trickery.
Jeremiah 18:23 Yet, Lord, You know all their counsel
Which is against me, to slay me.
- As Jeremiah also Jesus. The counsel of the leaders during Jeremiah’s time sought to kill him.