This is what the LORD said to me: "Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water."
So I bought a belt, as the LORD directed, and put it around my waist.
Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time:14
"Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Peratha2 and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks."
So I went and hid it at Perath, as the LORD told me.36
Many days later the LORD said to me, "Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there."
So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
"This is what the LORD says: 'In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride4 of Jerusalem.
These wicked people, who refuse to listen5 to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts6 and go after other gods7 to serve and worship them,8 will be like this belt--completely useless!911
For as a belt is bound around a man's waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me,' declares the LORD, 'to be my people for my renown10 and praise and honor.11 But they have not listened.'12
"Say to them: 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.' And if they say to you, 'Don't we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?'
then tell them, 'This is what the LORD says: I am going to fill with drunkenness13 all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David's throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem.
I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity14 or mercy or compassion15 to keep me from destroying16 them.' "
Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken.1716
Give glory18 to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble19 on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom.2017
But if you do not listen,21 I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears,22 because the LORD's flock23 will be taken captive.2418
Say to the king25 and to the queen mother,26 "Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns27 will fall from your heads."
The cities in the Negev will be shut up, and there will be no one to open them. All Judah28 will be carried into exile, carried completely away.
Lift up your eyes and see those who are coming from the north.29 Where is the flock30 that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?
What will you say when [the LORD] sets over you those you cultivated as your special allies?31 Will not pain grip you like that of a woman in labor?3222
And if you ask yourself, "Why has this happened to me?"33-- it is because of your many sins34 that your skirts have been torn off35 and your body mistreated.3623
Can the Ethiopianb change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.3724
"I will scatter you like chaff38 driven by the desert wind.3925
This is your lot, the portion40 I have decreed for you," declares the LORD, "because you have forgotten41 me and trusted in false gods.4226
I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen43--
your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution!44 I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields.45 Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?"46