Jeremiah 13

Chapter 13[a]

Warnings to Judah. 1 The Lord said to me: Go forth and purchase for yourself a loincloth. Wrap it around your loins, but do not dip it in water. 2 I purchased the loincloth as instructed by the Lord and wrapped it around my loins.

3 Then the Lord spoke to me a second time, saying: 4 Take the loincloth that you purchased and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates and conceal it there in a cleft of the rock. 5 So I went to the Euphrates and hid it as the Lord had commanded me.

6 After a long period of time, the Lord said to me: Go now to the Euphrates and retrieve the loincloth that I instructed you to hide there. 7 And so I returned to the Euphrates and searched for the cleft, and I then retrieved the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But the loincloth had now rotted and was good for nothing.

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 Thus says the Lord: In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the enormous pride of Jerusalem. 10 Because these wicked people refuse to listen to my words and stubbornly follow their own inclinations as they run after other gods to serve them and worship them, they will become like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11 For just as a loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in the hope that they would become my people, my praise, and my pride. But they refused to listen.

12 The Shattered Wineflask. Therefore, proclaim this message to them: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Every wineflask should be filled with wine. If they reply, “Do you think we do not know that every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine?” 13 say to them in reply: Thus says the Lord: I will fill all the inhabitants of this land with wine until they are drunk—the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 14 Then I will smash them one against the other, parents and children together, says the Lord. I will show no pity, I will not spare or show compassion, when I destroy them.

A Vision of Exile

15 Listen carefully and suppress your pride,
for it is the Lord who speaks.
16 Give glory to the Lord, your God,
before the darkness descends,
before your feet stumble
on the mountains at twilight,
before the light you hope for
will gradually turn to gloom
and then into thick darkness.
17 If your pride does not allow you to listen,
I will weep in secret for you.
My eyes will be filled with tears
because the Lord’s flock is being led into captivity.
18 [b]Say to the king and the queen mother,
“Descend from your thrones,
since your glorious crowns
have fallen from your heads.”
19 The cities in the Negeb are besieged,
and no one will be able to offer them relief.
All Judah has been taken into exile;
every inhabitant has been led away.

Jerusalem’s Shame

20 Lift up your eyes and behold
those who are coming from the north.
Where is the flock that was entrusted to you,
the sheep that were your pride?
21 What will you say when they appoint as your rulers
those whom you chose as your allies?
Will not pangs seize you
like those of a woman in labor?
22 And if you should ask yourself,
“Why has all this happened to me?”
it is because of your many grievous sins
that your skirts have been stripped away
and you have been violated.
23 Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin
or a leopard change its spots?
Neither are you able to do good
when you are schooled in evil.
24 I will scatter you like chaff
that is driven by the desert wind.
25 This is your lot, says the Lord,
the portion I have measured out to you,
because you have forgotten me
and placed your trust in false gods.
26 I myself will tear off your skirts
so that your shame will be seen.
27 Your adulteries, your cries of lustful pleasure,
your shameless acts of prostitution:
all these abominable deeds of yours
I have observed on the hills of the countryside.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
How long will it be
before you are made clean?

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 13:1 Judah, which should be a source of renown and glory for the Lord (v. 11), has become intoxicated by its title of chosen people. The oracles collected here by the editor denounce this pride; the prophecies are filled with threats to be carried out in the very near future. The oracles certainly preceded the first deportation in 598 B.C.
  2. Jeremiah 13:18 The king is certainly Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim; he was a young man of 18 and would ascend the throne only to be led away a prisoner (see 2 Ki 24:8).

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