Jer. 19:1 ¶ Thus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and take

of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests;

Jer. 19:2 And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the

entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,

Jer. 19:3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and

inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his

ears shall tingle.

 

This chapter begins with the LORD instructing Jeremiah in yet another object

lesson. He is to go and get a piece of pottery, a clay jar, and then get some of the

older leaders of the people and the priests to go with him to the valley of the son

of Hinnom that is outside one of the eastern gates. This valley is notorious as the

place of child sacrifices to the god Molech. The following quotes are in reference

to wicked King Manasseh and good King Josiah respectively.

 

2 Chronicles 33:6 “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the

son of Hinnom….”

 

2 Kings 23:10 “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom,

that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.”

 

Once they arrive at that location he is to declare his message from the LORD of

hosts, the God of Israel.

 

It was interesting to note that the Hebrew for “bottle” stated, “a bottle (from the

gurgling in emptying).” It could be that the reference is to a filled bottle that will

create a more vivid visual reference when the bottle is broken and he makes

application to the intended message.

 

I believe the title “the LORD of hosts” is meant to draw attention to God’s power

and authority. The reference to “the God of Israel” is meant to remind them of

their distinct position among the nations as God’s chosen people. The message is

addressed to the “kings of Judah” and the people living in Jerusalem.

 

The message—God is going to bring evil upon Jerusalem, an evil that should

terrify those to whom it is delivered. The Hebrew for “tingle” also makes

reference to causing the ears to redden with shame; in other words, the hearers

should be ashamed that their actions had resulted in such a declaration from

their God.

 

Jer. 19:4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and

have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers

have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood

of innocents;

Jer. 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with

fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it,

neither came it into my mind:

Jer. 19:6 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall

no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley

of slaughter.

 

These verses detail the reason for God’s message of judgment.

The people have forsaken Him; they had deliberately chosen to disobey

the God of Israel.

They no longer honored the God of Israel with their actions; they had

estranged the land by changing its original use as a place to honor God to a

place where they burned incense in honor of false gods.

They had filled this valley with the blood of innocents—a reference to the

child sacrifices mentioned in the verses above and detailed in verse 5.

 

The LORD is emphatic in declaring that the sacrifice of children was never even a

thought in His mind as being acceptable to Him. Though I find no biblical

support for such a conclusion, I tend to think this statement was made in rebuke

of those who might have tried to justify their sacrifices in light of God’s testing of

Abraham regarding his willingness to be submissive to the LORD and sacrifice

Isaac whether it made sense to him or not. That would be similar to how the

false teachers in the church today twist the truth of God’s word to promote their

own purposes.

 

(6/11) I was listening to Stephen Meyer re the reliability of the scripture, and he made a comment regarding verse 5 that enlightened me.  My understanding of his statement:  He understood God to be saying that He never gave a commandment against the sacrifice of children because it never entered His mind that they would sink so low as to participate in such practices.  (cf 32:35)

My thoughts:  In light of God’s omniscience, I think we need to understand that the Lord is speaking on a human level of thinking.  In light of all God’s other commands, it would seem unthinkable that the Israelites could ever consider such a practice justified or reasonable.

 

We can see from the reference from 2Kings 23 above and verse 6 that Molech and

Baal were different names used in reference to one false god.

 

The LORD declares through Jeremiah that in the future this valley would be

known as “The Valley of Slaughter.” The obvious reference would be to the

great number of the people of Jerusalem/Judah that will be killed by the enemy

as a result of God’s judgment.

 

Jer. 19:7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place;

and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the

hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for

the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

 

I think the NLT translation is much simpler to understand: “For I will upset the

battle plans of Judah and Jerusalem and let invading armies slaughter them. The enemy

will leave the dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals.”

 

The NLT seems to take a little emphasis off of one very important point—the fact

that it is the LORD who will give the enemy of Judah/Jerusalem success, and it is

the LORD who will feed the carnivorous birds and the wild beasts with the dead

carcasses of the people.

 

This treatment of the dead corpses just adds to the shame of the people. In my

mind it is another aspect of reaping what they have sown. They had used this

valley for idol worship showing great disregard for the lives of their children,

and now the LORD will treat them with the same contempt.

 

Jer. 19:8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that

passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues

thereof.

 

The LORD goes on to declare through His prophet that Jerusalem will be ruined

and become a place that will cause the heathen nations to look upon the people

with scorn. The extent of the destruction will astonish all who see it.

 

Jer. 19:9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of

their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege

and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall

straiten them.

 

The LORD is going to make their circumstances so desperate through the siege of

the enemy that they will turn to cannibalism. This is a prophecy that is more

than this mom can imagine, but there is no reason not to take this prophecy

literally. Scripture records that circumstances were just as horrendous when

Benhadad, King of Assyria, besieged Samaria.

 

2 Kings 6:25–29 “And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it,

until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of

dove’s dung for five pieces of silver. And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the

wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. And he said, If the

LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the

winepress? And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This

woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son

to morrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day,

Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.”

 

Jeremiah’s Lamentation seems to be referencing the fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

Lamentations 2:20 “Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall

the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long?”

 

Jer. 19:10 ¶ Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go

with thee,

Jer. 19:11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will

I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot

be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place

to bury.

 

At this point Jeremiah is instructed to break the bottle in front of his witnesses

and tell them that the LORD is going to the break the city and its people just as

surely as Jeremiah had broken the bottle. Jeremiah was to be sure to break the

bottle in such a way that it was beyond repair—just as the city and its people

were beyond restoration. The LORD would start over with a new

generation.

 

The decreed destruction would result in Tophet, the Valley of Hinnom,

becoming their burial ground; in fact, they will run out of space needed for

burials.

 

Jer. 19:12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhabitants

thereof, and even make this city as Tophet:

Jer. 19:13 And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah,

shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose

roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured

out drink offerings unto other gods.

 

The LORD goes on to emphasize that this destruction will happen because of His

decree. The enemy would not succeed except through His empowerment.

The LORD had set Jerusalem apart as the location of the temple, the place that

was associated with His name as the God of Israel.

 

1 Kings 8:26–29 “And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which

thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on the earth?

behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house

that I have builded? Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his

supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy

servant prayeth before thee to day: That thine eyes may be open toward this house night

and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou

mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.”

 

Instead of protecting the honor of God’s name, the people had chosen to reject

Him and show honor to the false gods of the heathen nations. They had been led

into such actions by their kings. God had been clear with His people from the

very beginning that He is a jealous God.

 

Exodus 34:14 “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is

Jealous, is a jealous God:”

 

Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”

 

Deuteronomy 6:14–15 “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which

are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger

of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the

earth.”

 

Jer. 19:14 Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the LORD had sent him to

prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD’S house; and said to all the

people,

Jer. 19:15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring

upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced

against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear

my words.

 

After delivering his object lesson to the chosen witnesses in the valley of

Hinnom, Jeremiah went to the temple course to declare to all the people that God

is going to judge Jerusalem/Judah because they have refused to listen to His

prophet. They have hardened their necks, a picture from the Hebrew of turning

their back on the God of Israel. They have purposely chosen to break covenant

with their God and turn to the worship of false gods. They refuse to repent

when confronted with their sins and the opportunity to seek God’s mercy.