The Word Made Fresh
1The LORD said to me, “Go and buy an earthenware jar from the potter. Take some of the elders with you and some of the senior priests. 2Go out to the valley of Ben Hinnom at the Potsherd Gate entrance and make the announcement that I tell you. 3Say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah and you who live in Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such a disaster upon this city that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 4Because the people have turned away from me and have defiled this place by giving offerings to other gods neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known, and because they filled this place with the blood of innocent people, 5and have continued to build altars to Baal and to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not order, nor ever even had such a thing in mind. 6As a result the days are certainly coming when this place shall no longer be called Topheth or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but rather it shall be known as the valley of Slaughter. 7This will be where I will do away with the plans of Judah and Jerusalem and will give them over to the swords of their enemies and others who want to kill them. I will give their dead bodies as food for the birds and the wild animals. 8I will make this a city of horror scorned by all who pass by. They will groan and be horrified because of all the disaster that has fallen upon this city. 9I will make them eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters, and even the flesh of their neighbors during the siege to come, because of their distress which their enemies who seek their lives will bring.
10“Then you will take the jar and break it so that all who are with you will see you do it. 11Then say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will break these people and this city as this jug was broken so that it can never be repaired. 12That is what I will do, says the LORD to the inhabitants of this place, and this city will be like Topheth. 13The houses in Jerusalem, including the palaces of the kings of Judah will be defiled as Topheth has been defiled. All the houses of the people in Jerusalem and the palaces of the kings of Judah will be polluted like Topheth – all the houses on the roofs of which offerings have been made to all the stars of heaven, and drink offerings poured out to the other gods.”
14When Jeremiah returned from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the entry to the LORD’s house and called out to all the people: 15“The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says this: ‘Now I am going to bring upon this city and the towns around it every disaster I have pronounced against it because they have stiffened their necks and refused to listen to me.’”
1-9: The pottery wheel was Jeremiah’s object lesson; now he is to give the priests and elders an object lesson. He is to take a pottery vessel to the gate that leads out into the valley of Hinnom, the city dump. He is to tell them that God is going to bring indescribable horrors — even including cannibalism – to overtake them because they have allowed Baal worship to get completely out of hand, including child sacrifice.
10-13: Then Jeremiah is to shatter the pot in their sight to illustrate how the city will be broken, and he tells them it will be turned into a cemetery (Topheth).
14-15: After Jeremiah carries out the instructions he returns to the temple and announces to all the people that the disaster God is bringing is imminent.
God blesses us every day with life, with air to breathe, with the beauty of the earth. We should guard against falling prey to other “gods.” Wealth, fame, pleasure – you know the list!