19 The Lord told Jeremiah, 1 “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 2 Take with you 3 some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 4 of the priests. 2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 5 Announce there what I tell you. 6 3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 7 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 8 says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 9 that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 10 4 I will do so because these people 11 have rejected me and have defiled 12 this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 13 nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 14 5 They have built places here 15 for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 16 are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 6 So I, the Lord, say: 17 “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 18 the Valley of Slaughter! 7 In this place I will thwart 19 the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 20 at the hands of their enemies. 21 I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 22 because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 23 9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’” 24
10 The Lord continued, 25 “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 26 ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 27 I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 28 The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 29 12 I, the Lord, say: 30 ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 31 just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 32 and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”
14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 33 in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 34 says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 35 all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 36 to pay any attention to what I have said!’”
20 Now Pashhur son of Immer heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. He was the priest who was chief of security 1 in the Lord’s temple. 2 When he heard Jeremiah’s prophecy, he had the prophet flogged. 2 Then he put him in the stocks 3 which were at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the Lord’s temple. 4 3 But the next day Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks. When he did, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not ‘Pashhur’ but ‘Terror is Everywhere.’ 5 4 For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 6 You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 7 I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword. 5 I will hand over all the wealth of this city to their enemies. I will hand over to them all the fruits of the labor of the people of this city and all their prized possessions, as well as all the treasures of the kings of Judah. Their enemies will seize it all as plunder 8 and carry it off to Babylon. 6 You, Pashhur, and all your household 9 will go into exile in Babylon. You will die there and you will be buried there. The same thing will happen to all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’” 10
7 Lord, you coerced me into being a prophet,
and I allowed you to do it.
You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. 11
Now I have become a constant laughingstock.
Everyone ridicules me.
8 For whenever I prophesy, 12 I must cry out, 13
“Violence and destruction are coming!” 14
This message from the Lord 15 has made me
an object of continual insults and derision.
9 Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message.
I will not speak as his messenger 16 any more.”
But then 17 his message becomes like a fire
locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. 18
I grow weary of trying to hold it in;
I cannot contain it.
10 I 19 hear many whispering words of intrigue against me.
Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! 20
They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” 21
All my so-called friends 22 are just watching for
something that would lead to my downfall. 23
They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up,
so we can prevail over 24 him and get our revenge on him.
11 But the Lord is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior. 25
Therefore those who persecute me will fail and will not prevail over me.
They will be thoroughly disgraced because they did not succeed.
Their disgrace will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord who rules over all, 26 you test and prove the righteous.
You see into people’s hearts and minds. 27
Pay them back for what they have done
because I trust you to vindicate my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
For he rescues the oppressed from the clutches of evildoers. 28
14 Cursed be the day I was born!
May that day not be blessed when my mother gave birth to me. 29
15 Cursed be the man
who made my father very glad
when he brought him the news
that a baby boy had been born to him! 30
16 May that man be like the cities 31
that the Lord destroyed without showing any mercy.
May he hear a cry of distress in the morning
and a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me before I came from the womb,
making my pregnant mother’s womb my grave forever. 32
18 Why did I ever come forth from my mother’s womb?
All I experience is trouble and grief,
and I spend my days in shame. 33
21 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1 when King Zedekiah 2 sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. 3 Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask, 4 2 “Please ask the Lord to come and help us, 5 because King Nebuchadnezzar 6 of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles as in times past and make him stop attacking us and leave.” 7 3 Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah 4 that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 8 ‘The forces at your disposal 9 are now outside the walls fighting against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians 10 who have you under siege. I will gather those forces back inside the city. 11 5 In anger, in fury, and in wrath I myself will fight against you with my mighty power and great strength! 12 6 I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, 13 people and animals alike! They will die from terrible diseases. 7 Then 14 I, the Lord, promise that 15 I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’
8 “But 16 tell the people of Jerusalem 17 that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death. 18 9 Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives. 19 10 For I, the Lord, say that 20 I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it. 21 It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’” 22
11 The Lord told me to say 23 to the royal court 24 of Judah,
“Listen to what the Lord says,
12 O royal family descended from David. 25
The Lord says:
‘See to it that people each day 26 are judged fairly. 27
Deliver those who have been robbed from those 28 who oppress them.
Otherwise, my wrath will blaze out against you.
It will burn like a fire that cannot be put out
because of the evil that you have done. 29
13 Listen, you 30 who sit enthroned above the valley on a rocky plateau.
I am opposed to you,’ 31 says the Lord. 32
‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.
No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.” 33
14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’
says the Lord. 34
‘I will set fire to your palace;
it will burn up everything around it.’” 35