19:1 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
19:2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,
19:3 [cf. 2 Kings 21:1-6 re: the sins of Manasseh (son of Hezekiah) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah] and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah [the entire royal family] and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster [Judah’s moral weakness invited God’s judgment] on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle [because of the magnitude of the disaster].
19:4 For they have forsaken [abandoned; this sin opened the floodgate for a multitude of other sins] me [the one true God] and made this [Jerusalem (the city of God)] a place of foreign gods [with a morality opposite to that of God]; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and [because the worship of false gods desensitized their moral nature…] they have filled this place with the blood [cf. 2 Kings 21:16] of the innocent [children].
19:5 They have built the high places of Baal [the principal deity (storm and fertility god) of Canaanite worship; reference here is to idols in general] to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal [Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3) and Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6) were two kings of Judah who sacrificed children to pagan gods]—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind [the sacrifice of children was alien to God’s mind and opposed to His will].
19:6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom [located outside the south wall of Jerusalem; the city dump was located there; this place became known as “Gehenna” in Greek; the place where Judah’s kings offered human sacrifices], but the Valley of Slaughter.
19:7 “‘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 seek their lives, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.
19:8 I will devastate this city and make it an object of scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.
19:9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh during the stress of the siege imposed on them by the enemies who seek their lives.’
19:10 “Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching,
19:11 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.
19:12 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.
19:13 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.’”
19:14 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,
19:15 “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’”