Jeremiah 18 – The Parable of Potter and Clay & Pottery-Making in Bible Times

Wow, pottery is almost as old as dirt.  Way back when they used Cuneiform, tablets, and pottery to get in contact, and now they use electricity and wireless functions.

I think technology is great, but I also think it’s evil and I believe the back bone of any evil technology is the Synagogue of Satan.

I have no doubt that the United States is involved in the Synagogue of Satan.  The last honest president we had before Trump is Reagan.  Obama isn’t more evil than the Clintons and Bushes, he’s just not as smart as them so he couldn’t hide is as much.

Holy Land, Bronze Age, c. 1500 – 1250 BC. Nice terracotta pyxis or cooking pot, the body squat with indented sides, short necked with outward turned lip. A thick loop handle to either side. Intact except for a rim chip, and an attractive form. W: 9.6 cm (3 3/4″); H: 6.5 cm (2 1/2″). Heavy earthen deposits. From the collection of James DiBella, New York, NY, acquired from Khader M. Baidun, Israel.

Jeremiah 18
The Parable of Potter and Clay

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

Holy Land. Iron Age, c. 1000 – 600 BC. Shallow terracotta bowl with low ring base and flattened rim.

18:1-20:18 – three chapters focusing on lessons the Lord taught Jeremiah at the potter’s workshop.

2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

“Wheels” – Lit. “two stones.”  Both wheels were attached to a single upright shaft, one end of which was sunk permanently in the ground.  The potter would spin the lower wheel with his foot and would work the clay on the upper wheel.

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 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.

Holy Land. Bronze Age, c. 3000 – 2500 BC. Large terracotta spouted jar. The body rounded with flattened bottom, the neck short with flared mouth, a single pouring spout on shoulder opposite a small round handle. 4 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in (11.2 x 15.2 cm). A nice example with earthen and mineral deposits.

Holy Land. Iron Age, c. 1000 – 600 BC. Nice black-ware juglet. The body rounded with knob on bottom, the neck tubular and lightly flared, single handle at side.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

18:7-10 – the Lord retains the right of limiting His own absolute sovereignty on the basis of human response to His offers of pardon and restoration and His threats of judgment and destruction.

“At…if…at…if” – God’s promises and threats are conditioned on man’s actions.  God, who Himself does not change (Num 23:19; Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17), nevertheless will change His preannounced response to man, depending on what the latter does.

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will everyone do the imagination of his evil heart.

Holy Land. Old Testament period. Early Bronze Age, c. 3100 – 2900 BC. Ceramic cooking pot. The body squat with indented bottom, short neck and flared mouth; two small pinched handles at either side. H: 5″ (13 cm). Moderate surface deposits, small rim chip and hairline cracks.

Old Testament-period Holy Land. Bronze Age Judaea, Third Millennium BC. Gorgeous red-ware terracotta single-handled footed cup. Intact with lovely red tone. Found in Jerusalem.

13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

Holy Land, Early Bronze Age, c. 3100 – 2900 BC. Interesting large terracotta amphoriskos, with globular body and tall spout, a small lug handle to either side.

19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

Hellenistic Greek, c. 3rd-2nd century BC. Ceramic bottle, found in Judaea! With rounded body, tall neck and flared rim. Off-white color with traces of original orange and brown slip. H: 10.3 cm (4 inches). Very old inked tag on base reads “Judaea, Hellenistic Period C. 330 BC”.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.

 

Pottery-Making in Bible Times

The invention of pottery can be as old as 7000 B.C.  Archaeologists have discovered a great deal of evidence related to pottery-making in ancient Israel, including the remains of workshops, potter’s wheels, tools, unfired vessels, prepared clay and kilns.

This collection of pottery is on permanent display in the James Library. It consists of ten olive oil lamps from various time periods, two olive oil juglets and one zoomorphic ceramic vessel.

This collection of pottery is on permanent display in the James Library. It consists of ten olive oil lamps from various time periods, two olive oil juglets and one zoomorphic ceramic vessel.
For thousands of years, small ceramic lamps were used to illuminate homes and temples. Hundreds of these lamps have been excavated, most of which are no more than a simple saucer-like vessel. Earlier lamps were wheel-thrown, while later lamps were formed from clay rolled into a sheet and pressed into a mold. Wicks were generally made of flax or hemp and were draped over the edge of the lamp. Olive oil was the preferred fuel, but other vegetable, nut and animal oils were also used.

For thousands of years, small ceramic lamps were used to illuminate homes and temples. Hundreds of these lamps have been excavated, most of which are no more than a simple saucer-like vessel.

Earlier lamps were wheel-thrown, while later lamps were formed from clay rolled into a sheet and pressed into a mold. Wicks were generally made of flax or hemp and were draped over the edge of the lamp. Olive oil was the preferred fuel, but other vegetable, nut and animal oils were also used.

A large production area was excavated at Late Bronze and Iron Age Megiddo, for example.  Production typically followed the method described below:

After the clay had been extracted from the ground it was brought to the workshop and prepared.  Foreign objects were removed and water added as a softening agent.

The clay was “wedged” (pressed to remove air) by a process of kneading or treading (cf. Isa 41:25).

Sometimes potters employed levigation, a method of removing impurities by suspension in water.

Tempering agents were added to harden the clay or to reduce its propensity to crack.  Among the tempers used as various times were straw, sand, salt, animal dung and grog (ground-up pieces of broken pottery).

Vase from mycenaean cemetary at Prosymna, Argos, grave 2, 15th Century B.C.

A formed vessel was air-dried to a leather-hard condition.  Where ever possible, pottery was dried in caves; the cooler temperature allowed for slow, even drying.

Vase from mycenaean cemetary at Prosymna, Argos, grave 2, 15th Century B.C.

A vessel might be decorated with a slip (a thin, colored coat of watery clay) or an incised pattern.

Pots were stacked in a kiln and baked.  The kiln had to be hot enough for the pottery to glow red – about 1,472 F – a temperature that had to be maintained for two or three days.

Basic techniques were developed during the Neolithic period.  The discovery of pottery-making technology was a major revolution of the ancient world; in fact, researchers differentiate between “pre-pottery: and “pottery” Neolithic phases.  There were some significant innovations later on, although many observable differences were simply matters of style.

Early potters understood the importance of turning the clay in order to shape vessels, but an innovation of the Middle Bronze period, the “kick wheel,” allowed potters to create delicate pottery.  Since the wheel was turned rapidly by foot, it allowed the potter to use both hands for shaping.

Potters could “throw” the clay… shaping a single lump on a wheel with the aid of centrifugal force.  They also began to use fine clays that were slippery and plastic or pliable.  The finer clays required more controlled drying and firing processes, since vessels made of such clay would more easily shrink and crack.

Old Testament-period Holy Land, late Bronze Age, c. 1200-1000 BC. Large creme buff single-handled dipper cup.

Toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age potters learned to decorate pots with slips and paint.  While clay dries, salts suspended in the water form a layer on the surface.  Since this “scum” prevents paints from absorbing properly and distorts their colors, a white firing slip was applied.  This would adhere to the vessel so that the red or black painted decorations would not be affected by the scum.

Old Testament-period Holy Land, late Bronze Age, c. 1200-1000 BC. Large creme buff single-handled dipper cup.

The Late Bronze Age saw a decline in pottery-making skills.  Late Bronze potters reverted to using less malleable, coarser clays that were less prone to cracking and attaching handles was easier.  Use of these coarser clays resulted in heavier, thicker pottery.  The use of the high-speed wheel may have died out; slips, if applied at all, were thinner; and pottery was less likely to be painted.

During the Iron Age the quality of pottery-making improved markedly.  The kick wheel came back into use and techniques were developed for fast production and making vessels with thin walls but sturdy bases.

Potters used string to separate vessels from the remaining clay on the wheel (“string-cutting”); sometimes they partially dried vessels and then shaved them down prior to firing.  This allowed for strong but lightweight pottery.  Small vessels, like cups, were typically thrown, but larger items were built up using the coil technique.

Holy Land. Bronze Age, c. 2000 – 1550 BC. Terracotta juglet. missing the base and repaired from pieces, Heavily encrusted with earthen deposits.

When Jeremiah “went down to the potter’s house” (Jer 18:3), he descended from Jerusalem to the Hinnom Valley, on the western and southern sides of the city, where the potters’ quarter was located (19:2).

Holy Land. Bronze Age, c. 2000 – 1550 BC. Terracotta juglet. missing the base and repaired from pieces, Heavily encrusted with earthen deposits.

He discovered the potter forming a vessel at a fast kick wheel.  When the clay did not form properly, the potter started over, reshaping the lump into another vessel.  This provided an object lesson for Jeremiah on the sovereignty of God, who molds and shapes people and events He wills (18:5-6).

So I want to know about the Skull and Bones society?