The Sign of the Loincloth
1This is what the Lord said to me: “Jeremiah, go and buy a linen loincloth.#13:1 loincloth A common undergarment in ancient Judah. It was a short skirt that was wrapped around the hips. It reached about halfway down the thighs. Then put it around your waist. Don’t let it get wet.”
2So I bought a linen loincloth, just as the Lord told me to do, and I put it around my waist. 3Then the message from the Lord came to me a second time. 4This was the message: “Jeremiah, take the loincloth you bought and are wearing, and go to Perath.#13:4 Perath Probably a village near Jerusalem. This town is called Parah in the list of the cities of the land of Benjamin in Josh. 18:23. But this name also means the Euphrates River. Hide the loincloth there in a crack in the rocks.”
5So I went to Perath and hid the loincloth there, just as the Lord told me to do. 6Many days later the Lord said to me, “Now, Jeremiah, go to Perath. Get the loincloth that I told you to hide there.”
7So I went to Perath and dug the loincloth out of the crack in the rocks where I had hidden it. But now I could not wear the loincloth, because it was ruined. It was not good for anything.
8Then the message from the Lord came to me. 9This is what the Lord said: “The loincloth is ruined and not good for anything. In the same way, I will ruin the proud people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10I will ruin them because they refuse to listen to my messages. They are stubborn and do only what they want to do. They follow and worship other gods. They will be like this linen loincloth. They will be ruined and not good for anything. 11A loincloth is wrapped tightly around a man’s waist. In the same way, I wrapped the family of Israel and the family of Judah around me.” This message is from the Lord. “I did that so that they would be my people and bring me fame, praise, and honor. But my people did not listen to me.”
Warnings to Judah
12“Jeremiah, say to the people of Judah: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ They will laugh and say to you, ‘Of course, we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ 13Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will make everyone who lives in this land helpless, like a drunken man. I am talking about the kings who sit on David’s throne. I am also talking about the priests, the prophets, and all the people who live in Jerusalem. 14I will make them stumble and fall against each other, even the fathers and sons.’ This message is from the Lord. ‘I will not feel sorry or have pity for them. I will not allow compassion to stop me from destroying the people of Judah.’”
15Listen and pay attention.
The Lord has spoken to you.
Do not be proud.
16Honor the Lord your God.
Praise him or he will bring darkness.
Praise him before you fall on the dark hills.
You people of Judah are hoping for light,
but the Lord will turn the light into thick darkness.
He will change it into the deepest gloom.
17If you people of Judah don’t listen to him,
I will hide and cry.
Your pride will cause me to cry.
I will cry very hard.
My eyes will overflow with tears,
because the Lord’s flock#13:17 Lord’s flock This is a figurative name for the people of Judah. The Lord is thought of as a shepherd, while his people are seen as his flock of sheep. will be captured.
18Tell these things to the king and his wife,
“Come down from your thrones.
Your beautiful crowns have fallen from your heads.”
19The cities in the Negev are locked.
No one can open them.
All the people of Judah have been taken away as captives.
They were carried away as prisoners.
The enemy is coming from the north#13:20 north The Babylonian army came from this direction to attack Judah. Armies from countries north and east of Israel often came this way to attack Judah and Israel.!
Where is the flock#13:20 flock Here, the word “flock” refers to all the towns around Jerusalem, as if Jerusalem were the shepherd and the towns of Judah were her flock. you were once in charge of?
That beautiful flock is gone now.
21I will let your enemies become your rulers—
people you once trusted with your secrets.
What will you say then?
Surely you will feel great pain,
like a woman giving birth.
22You might ask yourself,
“Why has this bad thing happened to me?”
It happened because of your many sins.
Because of your sins, your skirt was torn off,
and your sandals were taken away.
They did this to embarrass you.
23A black man cannot change the color of his skin,
and a leopard cannot change its spots.
In the same way, Jerusalem, you cannot change and do good.
You always do bad things.
24“I will force you to leave your homes.
You will run in all directions.
You will be like chaff blown away by the desert wind.
25This is what will happen to you.
This is your part in my plans.”
This message is from the Lord.
“Why will this happen?
Because you forgot me.
You trusted false gods.
26Jerusalem, I will pull your skirt up over your face.
Everyone will see you,
and you will be ashamed.
27I saw the terrible things you did.#13:27 I saw … you did This is probably talking about worshiping false gods. But part of that worship was having sex with temple prostitutes.
I saw you laughing and having sex with your lovers.
I know about your plans to be like a prostitute.
I have seen you on the hills and in the fields.
It will be very bad for you, Jerusalem.
How long will you continue doing your dirty sins?”