Jeremiah 13

Listen to Jeremiah 13

The Ruined Loincloth

1 Thus says the LORD to me, "Go and buy a linen loincloth and 1put it around your waist, and do not dip it in water."
2 So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the LORD, and put it around my waist.
3 And the word of the LORD came to me a second time,
4 "Take the loincloth that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, 2go to the Euphrates and hide it there in 3a cleft of the rock."
5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me.
6 And after many days the LORD said to me, "Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there 4the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there."
7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took 5the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the loincloth was 6spoiled; it was 7good for nothing.
8 Then the word of the LORD came to me:
9 "Thus says the LORD: 8Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great 9pride of Jerusalem.
10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, 10who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is 11good for nothing.
11 For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, 12that they might be for me a people, 13a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

The Jars Filled with Wine

12 "You shall speak to them this word: 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Every jar shall be filled with wine."' And they will say to you, 'Do we not indeed know that 14every jar will be filled with wine?'
13 Then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD: 15Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: 16the kings who sit on David's throne, 17the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
14 And I will 18dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the LORD. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.'"

Exile Threatened

15 Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the LORD has spoken.
16 19Give glory to the LORD your God 20before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and 21while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it 22deep darkness.
17 But if you will not listen, 23my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the LORD's flock has been taken captive.
18 Say to 24the king and 25the queen mother: "Take a lowly seat, for 26your beautiful crown has come down from your head."
19 27The cities of the Negeb are shut up, with none to open them; all Judah is taken into exile, wholly taken into exile.
20 "Lift up your eyes 28and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?
21 What will you say when they set as head over you those whom you yourself have taught to be friends to you? 29Will not pangs take hold of you like those of a woman in labor?
22 And if you say in your heart, 30'Why have these things come upon me?' it is for the greatness of your iniquity that 31your skirts are lifted up and you suffer violence.
23 32Can the Ethiopian change his skin or 33the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
24 I will scatter you[a]34like chaff driven by the wind from the desert.
25 35This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD, because 36you have forgotten me and trusted in lies.
26 37I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen.
27 I have seen 38your abominations, your adulteries and 39neighings, your lewd whorings, 40on the hills in the field. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will it be 41before you are made clean?"

Jeremiah 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The glory of the Jews should be marred. (1-11) All ranks should suffer misery, An earnest exhortation to repentance. (12-17) An awful message to Jerusalem and its king. (18-27)

Verses 1-11 It was usual with the prophets to teach by signs. And we have the explanation, ver. ( 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.

Cross References 41

  • 1. Exodus 28:39; Leviticus 16:4; [Acts 21:11]
  • 2. [Jeremiah 51:59, 63]
  • 3. Isaiah 7:19
  • 4. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 5. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 6. Jeremiah 18:4
  • 7. [Ezekiel 15:4, 5]
  • 8. [Psalms 137:1]
  • 9. Leviticus 26:19
  • 10. [Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 16:11, 12]
  • 11. [See ver. 7 above]
  • 12. [Exodus 19:5]
  • 13. Jeremiah 33:9; Isaiah 55:13; Zephaniah 3:20
  • 14. Jeremiah 48:12
  • 15. Ezekiel 23:33
  • 16. Jeremiah 17:20; Jeremiah 19:3; Jeremiah 22:2
  • 17. [Jeremiah 18:18]
  • 18. Psalms 2:9; [Jeremiah 19:10, 11]
  • 19. [Joshua 7:19]
  • 20. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:22; Amos 5:8; Amos 8:9; [John 11:10]
  • 21. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:22; Amos 5:8; Amos 8:9; [John 11:10]
  • 22. Isaiah 60:2
  • 23. Jeremiah 9:1, 18; Jeremiah 14:17; Lamentations 1:2, 16; Lamentations 2:18; Lamentations 3:49
  • 24. Jeremiah 22:26; 2 Kings 24:12
  • 25. Jeremiah 22:26; 2 Kings 24:12
  • 26. Proverbs 4:9; Isaiah 28:5; Isaiah 62:3; Lamentations 5:16
  • 27. [Joshua 6:1]
  • 28. Jeremiah 1:13, 14; Jeremiah 6:22
  • 29. See Isaiah 13:8
  • 30. See Jeremiah 5:19
  • 31. ver. 26; Isaiah 3:17; Lamentations 1:8; Nahum 3:5; [Hosea 2:10]
  • 32. [Matthew 19:26]
  • 33. [Matthew 19:26]
  • 34. Psalms 1:4; Psalms 83:13
  • 35. Job 20:29; Psalms 11:6
  • 36. Jeremiah 2:32
  • 37. [See ver. 22 above]
  • 38. Jeremiah 6:15
  • 39. Jeremiah 5:8
  • 40. See Jeremiah 2:20
  • 41. Isaiah 1:16; [Ezekiel 24:13]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


In this chapter, under the similes of a girdle and bottles of wine, the destruction of the Jews is set forth. Some exhortations are given them to repent and humble themselves, even men of all ranks and degrees among them; and their sins, the source of their calamities, are pointed out to them. An order is given to the prophet to get him a linen girdle, with instructions what to do with it, and which he observed, Jer 13:1,2, a fresh order to take it and hide it in the hole of a rock by the river Euphrates, which he accordingly did, Jer 13:3-5 and he is bid a third time to go and take it from thence, which he did; when he found it spoiled, and good for nothing, Jer 13:6,7, then follows the application of this simile, or the signification of this sign; that in like manner the pride of Judah and Jerusalem should be marred, and for their wickedness and idolatry should become good for nothing, like that girdle; whereas they ought to have cleaved to the Lord, as a girdle does to a man's loins, and to have been an honourable people to him, Jer 13:8-11. By the simile of bottles filled with wine is signified that all the inhabitants of the land, king, priests, prophets, and common people, should be like drunken men, that should dash one against another, and destroy each other, which the mercy of God would not prevent, Jer 13:12-14, some exhortations are made to the people in general, to be humble, and confess their sins, and give glory to God, before it was too late; which are enforced by the prophet's affectionate concern for them, Jer 13:15-17 and to the king and queen in particular, since their crown and kingdom were about to be taken from them; the cities, in the southern parts, going to be shut up, and not opened; and even the whole land of Judea, and all its inhabitants, in a little time would be carried captive, Jer 13:18,19, and, to certify them of the truth of these things, they are bid to look to the north, from whence the enemy was coming to carry them captive, even the beautiful flock committed to their care, Jer 13:20, and to consider what they could say for themselves, when their punishment should come upon them suddenly, as the sorrows of a woman in travail, Jer 13:21 and should they ask the reason of this, it was owing to the multitude of their iniquities, and to their habit and custom of sinning, which made their case desperate, Jer 13:22,23, wherefore a resolution is taken to disperse them among the nations, and that this should be their lot and portion, because of their many abominations, and yet not without some concern that they might be purged from their iniquities, Jer 13:24-27.

Jeremiah 13 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.