King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 18

God’s power over his creatures is represented by the potter. (1-10) The Jews exhorted to repentance, and judgments foretold. (11-17) The prophet appeals to God. (18-23)

Jeremiah 18 Audio:

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God’s power over his creatures is represented by the potter

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 thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

The Jews exhorted to repentance, and judgments foretold

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

The prophet appeals to God

18 Then said they, 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 smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Potter’s. Thus God would shew his dominion over all. Rom. ix. 21.

Ver. 3. Wheel. Heb. “stones.” Sept. “seats;” or “wheel.” Chal. Ex. i. 16. See Eccle. xxxviii. 32. C.

Ver. 4. Broken. So Providence ordered it. S. Jer. — How should this idea humble man! C. — A potter may mould afresh the clay as long as it is soft, but God can change the hardest heart. W.

Ver. 8. Shall repent, having free-will, though prevented by grace. S. Jer.

Ver. 12. Hopes. C. ii. 25. Sept. “we are valiant men.” H.

Ver. 13. Virgin. The disorders of Israel are thus enhanced. C.

Ver. 14. Snow. It continues on Libanus seven or eight months, (La Roque quoted. Univ. Hist. ii. p. 363) or all the year; (Tacit. Hist. v. 6.) and hence the mountain is justly denominated “white,” as the Alps and Albion are from albon. Bochart. Parkhurst, p. 155. H. — Away. Yet my people abandon me, to serve idols! Heb. may have many other senses to the same purpose. Sept. “Shall the mountain springs fail, or snow from Libanus? Shall a stream forcibly driven by the wind, turn aside?” H. — The laws of nature are observed by inanimate things, and shall my people be so foolish as to follow mere vanity.

Ver. 15. Ancient; followed by the patriarchs. C. vi. 16.

Ver. 16. Head, through contempt (C.) and pity. Lam. ii. 15.

Ver. 17. Burning. Heb. kadim, “eastern,” (H.) coming from Desert Arabia. Ex. x. 13. C. — Back. Thus the Lord now treats the synagogue. S. Jer.

Ver. 18. Prophet. Jeremias will not cease to upbraid us with our transgressions; or we have guides as good as him, and we shall not be left destitute, as he would intimate. — Tongue, detraction; or make him suffer for what he says. In all the transactions of this prophet, Christ was foreshewn; (C.) and here, particularly, the Jews demand the crucifixion. S. Jer. W.

Ver. 20. Remember, &c. This is spoken in the person of Christ, persecuted by the Jews, and prophetically denouncing the evils that should fall upon them in punishment for their crimes. Ch. — Jeremias had prayed earnestly for the people. C. xiv. 17. H.

Ver. 21. Therefore. He foretells of the event, and approves of the chastisement of the impenitent, (C.) whose “impurity might be a bad precedent for others. S. Jer. See C. xvii. 18.

Ver. 22. For. Prot. “when.” H. — Robber. So Nabuchodonosor and all professional conquerors are styled. C.

Ver. 23. Destroy. Heb. “with them.” use them as vessels of ignominy: abutere. H.