Jeremiah 18:6
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
He said, "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

New Living Translation
"O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.

English Standard Version
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

New American Standard Bible
"Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?"--this is the LORD's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.

International Standard Version
"Israel, can't I deal with you like this potter?" declares the LORD. "Look, Israel, like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.

NET Bible
"I, the LORD, say: 'O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter's hand.'

New Heart English Bible
"'House of Israel, can't I do with you as this potter?' says the LORD. 'Look, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.'

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Nation of Israel, can't I do with you as this potter does with clay? Nation of Israel, you are like the clay in the potter's hands.

JPS Tanakh 1917
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in My hand, O house of Israel.

New American Standard 1977
“Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

Jubilee Bible 2000
O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel.

King James 2000 Bible
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? says the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

American King James Version
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? said the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

American Standard Version
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Cannot I do with you as this potter, saith the Lord? behold as clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Darby Bible Translation
House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel.

English Revised Version
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Webster's Bible Translation
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 my hand, O house of Israel.

World English Bible
House of Israel, can't I do with you as this potter? says Yahweh. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

Young's Literal Translation
As this potter am I not able to do to you? O house of Israel, an affirmation of Jehovah. Lo, as clay in the hand of the potter, So are ye in My hand, O house of Israel.
Study Bible
The Potter and the Clay
5Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 6"Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7"At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it;…
Cross References
Matthew 20:15
Do I not have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

Romans 9:20
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

Romans 9:21
Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use?

Isaiah 45:9
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands '?

Isaiah 64:8
But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Jeremiah 18:5
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Treasury of Scripture

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? said the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the …

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our …

Daniel 4:23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from …

Matthew 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye …

Romans 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?

(6) Cannot I do with you as this potter?--The question implies a theory of the universe, which is neither (as some have thought) one of absolute fatalism, crushing man's freedom, nor, on the other hand, one which merges God's sovereignty in man's power of choice. The clay can resist the potter, or can yield itself willingly to his hands to be shaped as he wills. Its being "marred" is through no fault of the potter, but--in the framework of the parable--through the defect of the material, and, in its application, through the resistance of the human agents whom God is fashioning. And when it is so marred one of two courses is open to the potter. He can again re-mould and fashion it to his purpose, to a new work which may be less honourable than that for which it was originally designed; or, if it be hopelessly marred, can break it and cast it away, and with fresh clay mould a fresh vessel. The history of nations and churches and individual men offers many examples of both processes. They frustrate God's gracious purpose by their self-will, but His long-suffering leads them to repentance, and gives them, to speak after the manner of men, yet another chance of being moulded by His hands. Here the prophet invites the people, as the clay, to accept the former alternative. St. Paul, taking the same analogy, looks forward to the time when the marred vessel of Israel shall be restored to the Master's house and be honoured in His service (Romans 9:21; Romans 11:26). The closing verses of Browning's poem, "Rabbi Ben-Ezra," in Men and Women, may be referred to as embodying the same thought :--

"But I need Thee, as then,

Thee, God, who mouldest men;

And since, not even while the whirl was worst,

Did I--to the wheel of life,

With shapes and colours rife,

Bound dizzily--mistake my end, to slake Thy thirst,

"So take and use Thy work!

Amend what flaws may lurk,

What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim!

My times be in Thy hand;

Perfect the cup as planned!

Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same."

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord,.... Make, and mar, and remake at pleasure? certainly he could. God is a sovereign Being, and has a sovereign and uncontrollable power over his creatures; he has an indisputable right unto them, and can dispose of them as he pleases; he has as good a right to them, and as great power over them, as the potter has to and over his clay, and a better and greater; since they are made by him, and have their all from him, their being, life, and motion; whereas the clay is not made by the potter; it is only the vessel that is made of the clay by him, which has its form from him; if therefore the potter has such power over the clay, which he did not make, as to cast it into another forth as it pleases him, and especially when marred; the Lord has an undoubted power over men, and a just right to change their, state and circumstances as he pleases; nor have they any reason to complain of him, especially when they have marred themselves by their own sins and transgressions; which was the present case of the house of Israel, or the Jews; see Isaiah 29:16;

behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand; and he can form and fashion it as he pleases, and it is not in the power of the clay to resist and hinder him:

so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel; and I can dispose of you as I please, and put you in what circumstances it seems good unto me, drive you from your land, and scatter you among the nations; nor can you hinder me from doing this, or whatever else is my pleasure. And this his sovereign power and pleasure, and as exercised in a way of mercy and equity, are exemplified in the following cases. 6. Refuting the Jews' reliance on their external privileges as God's elect people, as if God could never cast them off. But if the potter, a mere creature, has power to throw away a marred vessel and raise up other clay from the ground, a fortiori God, the Creator, can cast away the people who prove unfaithful to His election and can raise others in their stead (compare Isa 45:9; 64:8; Ro 9:20, 21). It is curious that the potter's field should have been the purchase made with the price of Judas' treachery (Mt 27:9, 10: a potter's vessel dashed to pieces, compare Ps 2:8, 9; Re 2:27), because of its failing to answer the maker's design, being the very image to depict God's sovereign power to give reprobates to destruction, not by caprice, but in the exercise of His righteous judgment. Matthew quotes Zechariah's words (Zec 11:12, 13) as Jeremiah's because the latter (Jer 18:1-19:15) was the source from which the former derived his summary in Zec 11:12, 13 [Hengstenberg].18:1-10 While Jeremiah looks upon the potter's work, God darts into his mind two great truths. God has authority, and power, to form and fashion kingdoms and nations as he pleases. He may dispose of us as he thinks fit; and it would be as absurd for us to dispute this, as for the clay to quarrel with the potter. But he always goes by fixed rules of justice and goodness. When God is coming against us in judgments, we may be sure it is for our sins; but sincere conversion from the evil of sin will prevent the evil of punishment, as to persons, and to families, and nations.
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