Jeremiah goes to the potter’s house (Jer 18:1-18:4)

“The word came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

‘Come!

Go down to the potter’s house!

There I will let you hear my words.’

So I went down to the potter’s house.

There he was working at his wheel.

The vessel he was making of clay

Was spoiled

In the potter’s hand.

He reworked it into another vessel.

As it seemed good to him to do.”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house, probably in the southern section of Jerusalem. Jeremiah did just as Yahweh wanted him to do, as he went to the potter’s house. There he saw the potter working with clay at his pottery wheel. However, the potter spoiled the first jug that he was making, so he made it into another kind of vessel instead of throwing it away. So far, this is a pretty straight forward story.

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The guilt of the idol makers (Wis 15:9-15:13)

“But the workers are not concerned

That mortals are destined to die.

Their life is brief.

But they compete with workers

In gold.

They compete with workers

In silver.

They imitate workers

In copper.

They count it as a glorious thing

To mold counterfeit gods.

Their heart is ashes.

Their hope is cheaper than dirt.

Their lives are of less worth than clay.

Because they failed to know

The one who formed them.

They failed to know

Who inspired them with active souls.

They failed to know

Who breathed a living spirit into them.

They considered our existence an idle game.

They considered our life a festival held for profit.

They say one must get money

However one can,

Even by base means.

For these persons,

More than all others,

Know that they sin

When they make from earthy matter fragile vessels,

When they make graven images.”

These idol makers do not care about their short lives. They are competing with other artisans making gold, silver, and copper molded items. They are making counterfeit gods. They have hearts (καρδία αὐτοῦ) like ashes and hope cheaper than dirt (γῆς). Their lives are less worthy than their own clay images. They do not know the one who formed them. They do not know the one who inspired them with a living soul (ψυχὴν). They do not know that their living spirit (πνεῦμα ζωτικόν) came from God. They consider life to be an idle game or a festival played for profit. They maintain that they need money, so that even a low base means (πορίζειν) is okay. More than others, they know that they are sinning. They make these vessels and carved images from mere earth.