Jeremiah 18
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  The word which came to Yirmiyahu from Hashem, saying:

א  הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהוָה לֵאמֹר.

2  ‘Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words.’

ב  קוּם וְיָרַדְתָּ בֵּית הַיּוֹצֵר וְשָׁמָּה אַשְׁמִיעֲךָ אֶת דְּבָרָי.

3  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he was at his work on the wheels.

ג  וָאֵרֵד בֵּית הַיּוֹצֵר והנהו (וְהִנֵּה הוּא) עֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה עַל הָאָבְנָיִם.

4  And whensoever 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.

ד  וְנִשְׁחַת הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר הוּא עֹשֶׂה בַּחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר וְשָׁב וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּלִי אַחֵר כַּאֲשֶׁר יָשַׁר בְּעֵינֵי הַיּוֹצֵר לַעֲשׂוֹת.

5  Then the word of Hashem came to me, saying:

ה  וַיְהִי דְבַר יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמוֹר.

6  ‘O house of Yisrael, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Hashem. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are ye in My hand, O house of Yisrael.

ו  הֲכַיּוֹצֵר הַזֶּה לֹא אוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת לָכֶם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם יְהוָה הִנֵּה כַחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר כֵּן אַתֶּם בְּיָדִי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל.

7  At one instant I may speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;

ז  רֶגַע אֲדַבֵּר עַל גּוֹי וְעַל מַמְלָכָה לִנְתוֹשׁ וְלִנְתוֹץ וּלְהַאֲבִיד.

8  but if that nation turn from their evil, because of which I have spoken against it, I repent of the evil that I thought to do unto it.

ח  וְשָׁב הַגּוֹי הַהוּא מֵרָעָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי עָלָיו וְנִחַמְתִּי עַל הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר חָשַׁבְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ.

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

ט  וְרֶגַע אֲדַבֵּר עַל גּוֹי וְעַל מַמְלָכָה לִבְנוֹת וְלִנְטוֹעַ.

10  but if it do evil in My sight, that it hearken not to My voice, then I repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit it.

י  וְעָשָׂה הרעה (הָרַע) בְּעֵינַי לְבִלְתִּי שְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹלִי וְנִחַמְתִּי עַל הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי לְהֵיטִיב אוֹתוֹ.

11  Now therefore do thou speak to the men of Yehudah, and to the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, saying: Thus saith Hashem: Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you; return ye now every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

יא  וְעַתָּה אֱמָר נָא אֶל אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְעַל יוֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יוֹצֵר עֲלֵיכֶם רָעָה וְחֹשֵׁב עֲלֵיכֶם מַחֲשָׁבָה שׁוּבוּ נָא אִישׁ מִדַּרְכּוֹ הָרָעָה וְהֵיטִיבוּ דַרְכֵיכֶם וּמַעַלְלֵיכֶם.

12  But they say: There is no hope; but we will walk after our own devices, and we will do every one after the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

יב  וְאָמְרוּ נוֹאָשׁ כִּי אַחֲרֵי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵינוּ נֵלֵךְ וְאִישׁ שְׁרִרוּת לִבּוֹ הָרָע נַעֲשֶׂה.

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

יג  לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה שַׁאֲלוּ נָא בַּגּוֹיִם מִי שָׁמַע כָּאֵלֶּה שַׁעֲרֻרִת עָשְׂתָה מְאֹד בְּתוּלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל.

14  Doth the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field? or are the strange cold flowing waters plucked up?

ha-ya-a-ZOV mi-TZUR sha-DAI SHE-leg l’-va-NON im yi-na-t’-SHU MA-yim za-REEM ka-REEM no-z’-LEEM

יד  הֲיַעֲזֹב מִצּוּר שָׂדַי שֶׁלֶג לְבָנוֹן אִם יִנָּתְשׁוּ מַיִם זָרִים קָרִים נוֹזְלִים.

18:14   Doth the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field?

The prophet contrasts the steadfastness of nature with the fickleness of the Israelites. They change their ways and stumble from one failure to another, astonishing everyone who sees them. This is unlike the snows in Lebanon to Israel’s north. There, the summits consistently remain white. Indeed, the snow would disappear if found anywhere else. So too, the natural place of the Jewish people is with God in the Land of Israel, but they refuse to remain with Him, and will therefore be scattered.

Comment

15  For My people hath forgotten Me, they offer unto vanity; and they have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, in a way not cast up;

טו  כִּי שְׁכֵחֻנִי עַמִּי לַשָּׁוְא יְקַטֵּרוּ וַיַּכְשִׁלוּם בְּדַרְכֵיהֶם שְׁבִילֵי עוֹלָם לָלֶכֶת נְתִיבוֹת דֶּרֶךְ לֹא סְלוּלָה.

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

טז  לָשׂוּם אַרְצָם לְשַׁמָּה שרוקת (שְׁרִיקֹת) עוֹלָם כֹּל עוֹבֵר עָלֶיהָ יִשֹּׁם וְיָנִיד בְּרֹאשׁוֹ.

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

יז  כְּרוּחַ קָדִים אֲפִיצֵם לִפְנֵי אוֹיֵב עֹרֶף וְלֹא פָנִים אֶרְאֵם בְּיוֹם אֵידָם.

18  Then said they: ‘Come, and let us devise devices against Yirmiyahu; for instruction shall not perish from the Kohen, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the navi. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.’

יח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַחְשְׁבָה עַל יִרְמְיָהוּ מַחֲשָׁבוֹת כִּי לֹא תֹאבַד תּוֹרָה מִכֹּהֵן וְעֵצָה מֵחָכָם וְדָבָר מִנָּבִיא לְכוּ וְנַכֵּהוּ בַלָּשׁוֹן וְאַל נַקְשִׁיבָה אֶל כָּל דְּבָרָיו.

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

יט  הַקְשִׁיבָה יְהוָה אֵלָי וּשְׁמַע לְקוֹל יְרִיבָי.

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

כ  הַיְשֻׁלַּם תַּחַת טוֹבָה רָעָה כִּי כָרוּ שׁוּחָה לְנַפְשִׁי זְכֹר עָמְדִי לְפָנֶיךָ לְדַבֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם טוֹבָה לְהָשִׁיב אֶת חֲמָתְךָ מֵהֶם.

21  Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and hurl them to the power of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and widows; and let their men be slain of death, and their young men smitten of the sword in battle.

כא  לָכֵן תֵּן אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם לָרָעָב וְהַגִּרֵם עַל יְדֵי חֶרֶב וְתִהְיֶנָה נְשֵׁיהֶם שַׁכֻּלוֹת וְאַלְמָנוֹת וְאַנְשֵׁיהֶם יִהְיוּ הֲרֻגֵי מָוֶת בַּחוּרֵיהֶם מֻכֵּי חֶרֶב בַּמִּלְחָמָה.

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.

כב  תִּשָּׁמַע זְעָקָה מִבָּתֵּיהֶם כִּי תָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם גְּדוּד פִּתְאֹם כִּי כָרוּ שיחה (שׁוּחָה) לְלָכְדֵנִי וּפַחִים טָמְנוּ לְרַגְלָי.

23  Yet, Hashem, 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 made to stumble before Thee; deal Thou with them in the time of Thine anger.

כג  וְאַתָּה יְהוָה יָדַעְתָּ אֶת כָּל עֲצָתָם עָלַי לַמָּוֶת אַל תְּכַפֵּר עַל עֲוֹנָם וְחַטָּאתָם מִלְּפָנֶיךָ אַל תֶּמְחִי והיו (וְיִהְיוּ) מֻכְשָׁלִים לְפָנֶיךָ בְּעֵת אַפְּךָ עֲשֵׂה בָהֶם.

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Jeremiah 17
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Jeremiah 18