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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 19: The Clay Jar Prophecy


[Preliminary Comment: This is a particularly horrendous chapter in that it first reveals the awfulness of what had been going on just outside Jerusalem and then, second, declares this will pale by comparison to the slaughter that will come there soon.

Outside the Potsherd Gate [otherwise known as the Dung Gate] it opened out into the Valley of Ben Hinnom, used as the city dump. There worshippers of Baal [and also possibly the god of the Ammonites, Molech], offered child sacrifices in fire. So abhorrent was this that God declares that when He brings the disaster He has been talking about so much, the slaughter will fill this valley with bodies of the people of Jerusalem. The descriptions in this chapter leave nothing to the imagination and one wonders how Jeremiah's listeners were not utterly convicted by his words, but such is the blindness of superstitious occult worship.]



v.1,2 Jeremiah is to take a clay jar, with the elders, outside one of the city gates

v.1  This is what the Lord says: ‘Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests

v.2  and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,


v.3 He is to declare a disaster on this city

v.3  and say, “Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.


v.4,5 He is to make clear why that will happen – their multi-faceted sin

v.4  For they [i] have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they [ii] have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they [iii] have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

v.5  They [iv] have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.


v.6-9 Jeremiah is to elaborately explain the awfulness of what will happen here

v.6  So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

v.7  ‘“In this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals.

v.8   I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.

v.9   I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.”


v.10 He is then to smash the jar before them

v.10  ‘Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching,


v.11-13 This is to demonstrate what will happen there [see Introduction above]

v.11  and say to them, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room.

v.12  This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth.

v.13  The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth – all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.”'


v.14,15 Before the Temple Jeremiah reiterates the Lord's coming destruction

v.14  Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the Lord's temple and said to all the people,

v.15  ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.”'



Continue to Chapter 20