Jeremiah 18

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 you to hear my words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was making a work on the wheels. 4 When the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the LORD’s word came to me, saying, 6 “House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it; 8 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. 9 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them. 11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘the LORD says: “Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you. Everyone return from his evil way now, and amend your ways and your doings.”’ 12 But they say, ‘It is in vain; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will do everyone after the stubbornness of his evil heart.’” 13 Therefore the LORD says: “Ask now amongst the nations, who has heard such things. The virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing. 14 Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field? Shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up? 15 For my people have forgotten me. They have burnt incense to false gods. They have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in byways, in a way not built up; 16 to make their land an astonishment, and a perpetual hissing. Everyone who passes thereby shall be astonished, and shake 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 strike him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.” 19 Give heed to me, 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 how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them. 21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and give them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives become childless, and widows; and let their men be slain of death, and their young men struck by the sword in battle. 22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them; for they have dug a pit to take me, and hidden snares for my feet. 23 Yet, LORD, you know all their counsel against me to kill me. Don’t forgive their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from your sight; but let them be overthrown before you. Deal you with them in the time of your anger.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 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.

Verses 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!

Verses 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.

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