Notes on Jeremiah 19

Those to whom Jeremiah was to speak—this “parable in action” (Dearman)—we have the significance of this chapter! Jeremiah was to take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests to the Topheth (or Tophet), a place within the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. It was here that Jeremiah was to speak some words so plain that the only way they would be misunderstood would be the result of one’s desire to misunderstand. Jeremiah has a pottery jar in hand, with him were the people the Lord wanted him to take, and to the designated spot they are to go. While there Jeremiah is to make plain why the Lord is bringing judgment. The people such as these are guilty in Jerusalem for the following: they have forsaken God and worshiped idol gods and innocent blood was shed in this place. A Bible dictionary (McClintock) says this of Topheth: a place near Jerusalem, where the ancient Canaanites, and afterwards the apostate Israelites, made their children to pass through the fire to Moloch” (cf. 7:31; Psalm 106:38). Though the people of the land looked upon it has a “field of service” to the idol gods, the Lord looked upon it as nothing more than a “valley of slaughter.” Consequently, Jeremiah was to take this potter jar, the men with him to this location and smash the jar in their presence. “With the breaking of the jar, Jeremiah indicates the irrevocable judgment to come. Just as the smashed earthenware cannot be repaired, Judah cannot be reformed” (Dearman, p. 186).