Jeremiah 13

1 the LORD says to me, “Go, and buy yourself a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don’t put it in water.” 2 So I bought a belt according to the LORD’s word, and put it on my waist. 3 The LORD’s word came to me the second time, saying, 4 “Take the belt that you have bought, which is on your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” 5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. 6 After many days, the LORD said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and took the belt from the place where I had hidden it; and behold, the belt was ruined. It was profitable for nothing. 8 Then the LORD’s word came to me, saying, 9 “the LORD says, ‘In this way I, will ruin the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing. 11 For as the belt clings to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cling to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah,’ says the LORD; ‘that they may be to me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.’ 12 “Therefore you shall speak to them this word: ‘the LORD, the God of Israel says, “Every bottle shall be filled with wine.”’ They will tell you, ‘Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?’ 13 Then tell them, ‘the LORD says, “Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14 I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together,” says the LORD: “I will not pity, nor spare, nor have compassion, that I should not destroy them.”’” 15 Hear, and give ear. Don’t be proud; for the LORD has spoken. 16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it gross darkness. 17 But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and my eye shall weep bitterly, and run down with tears, because the LORD’s flock is taken captive. 18 Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Humble yourselves, sit down; for your headdresses have come down, even the crown of your glory. 19 The cities of the South are shut up, and there is no one to open them. Judah is carried away captive, all of it; it is wholly carried away captive. 20 Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock? 21 What will you say, when he shall set over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you? Shall not sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail? 22 If you say in your heart, “Why are these things come on me?” For the greatness of your iniquity your skirts are uncovered, and your heels suffer violence. 23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. 24 “Therefore I will scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me,” says the LORD; “because you have forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.” 26 Therefore will I also uncover your skirts on your face, and your shame shall appear. 27 I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries, and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, Jerusalem! You will not be made clean; how long shall it yet be?”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-11

It was usual with the prophets to teach by signs. And we have the explanation, Jer. 13:9-11. The people of Israel had been to God as this girdle. He caused them to cleave to him by the law he gave them, the prophets he sent among them, and the favours he showed them. They had by their idolatries and sins buried themselves in foreign earth, mingled among the nations, and were so corrupted that they were good for nothing. If we are proud of learning, power, and outward privileges, it is just with God to wither them. The minds of men should be awakened to a sense of their guilt and danger; yet nothing will be effectual without the influences of the Spirit.

Verses 12-17

As the bottle was fitted to hold the wine, so the sins of the people made them vessels of wrath, fitted for the judgments of God; with which they should be filled till they caused each other’s destruction. The prophet exhorts them to give glory to God, by confessing their sins, humbling themselves in repentance, and returning to his service. Otherwise they would be carried into other countries in all the darkness of idolatry and wickedness. All misery, witnessed or foreseen, will affect a feeling mind, but the pious heart must mourn most over the afflictions of the Lord’s flock.

Verses 18-27

Here is a message sent to king Jehoiakim, and his queen. Their sorrows would be great indeed. Do they ask, Wherefore come these things upon us? Let them know, it is for their obstinacy in sin. We cannot alter the natural colour of the skin; and so is it morally impossible to reclaim and reform these people. Sin is the blackness of the soul; it is the discolouring of it; we were shapen in it, so that we cannot get clear of it by any power of our own. But Almighty grace is able to change the Ethiopian’s skin. Neither natural depravity, nor strong habits of sin, form an obstacle to the working of God, the new-creating Spirit. The Lord asks of Jerusalem, whether she is determined not be made clean. If any poor slave of sin feels that he could as soon change his nature as master his headstrong lusts, let him not despair; for things impossible to men are possible with God. Let us then seek help from Him who is mighty to save.

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