Jeremiah 13

The Ruined Waistband

1 Thus the LORD said to me, "Go and 1buy yourself a linen waistband and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water."
2 So I bought the waistband in accordance with the 2word of the LORD and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying,
4 "Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the 3Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock."
5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, 4as the LORD had commanded me.
6 After many days the LORD said to me, "Arise, go to the Euphrates and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there."
7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where * I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless.
8 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
9 "Thus says the LORD, 'Just so will I destroy the 5pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.
10 'This wicked people, who 6refuse to listen to My words, who 7walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless.
11 'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah 8cling to Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for 9renown, for 10praise and for glory; but they 11did not listen.'

Captivity Threatened

12 "Therefore you are to speak this word to them, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Every jug is to be filled with wine."' And when they say to you, 'Do we not very well know that every jug is to be filled with wine?'
13 then say to them, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land -the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem -with 12drunkenness!
14 "I will 13dash them against each other, both the 14fathers and the sons together," declares the LORD. "I will 15not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion so as not to destroy them.""'
15 Listen and give heed, do not be 16haughty, For the LORD has spoken.
16 17Give glory to the LORD your God, Before He brings 18darkness And before your 19feet stumble On the dusky mountains, And while you are hoping for light He makes it into 20deep darkness, And turns it into gloom.
17 But 21if you will not listen to it, My soul will 22sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the 23flock of the LORD has been taken captive.
18 Say to the 24king and the queen mother, "25Take a lowly seat, For your beautiful 26crown Has come down from your head."
19 The 27cities of the Negev have been locked up, And there is no one to open them; All 28Judah has been carried into exile, Wholly carried into exile.
20 "Lift up your eyes and see Those coming 29from the north. Where is the 30flock that was given you, Your beautiful sheep?
21 "What will you say when He appoints over you- And you yourself had taught them- Former 31companions to be head over you? Will not 32pangs take hold of you Like a woman in childbirth?
22 "If you 33say in your heart, '34Why have these things happened to me?' Because of the 35magnitude of your iniquity 36Your skirts have been removed And your heels have been exposed.
23 "37Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can 38do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.
24 "Therefore I will 39scatter them like drifting straw To the desert 40wind.
25 "This is your 41lot, the portion measured to you From Me," declares the LORD, "Because you have 42forgotten Me And trusted in falsehood.
26 "So I Myself have also 43stripped your skirts off over your face, That your shame may be seen.
27 "As for your 44adulteries and your lustful neighings, The 45lewdness of your prostitution On the 46hills in the field, I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! 47How long * * will you remain unclean *?"

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 47

  • 1. Jeremiah 13:11
  • 2. Isaiah 20:2; Ezekiel 2:8
  • 3. Jeremiah 51:63
  • 4. Exodus 39:42, 43; Exodus 40:16
  • 5. Leviticus 26:19; Isaiah 2:10-17; Isaiah 23:9; Jeremiah 13:15-17; Zephaniah 3:11
  • 6. Numbers 14:11; 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Jeremiah 11:10
  • 7. Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 11:8; Jeremiah 16:12
  • 8. Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 32:10, 11
  • 9. Jeremiah 32:20
  • 10. Isaiah 43:21; Jeremiah 33:9
  • 11. Psalms 81:11; Jer 7:13, 24, 26
  • 12. Psalms 60:3; Psalms 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 63:6; Jeremiah 25:27; Jeremiah 51:7, 57
  • 13. Isaiah 9:20, 21; Jeremiah 19:9-11
  • 14. Jeremiah 6:21; Ezekiel 5:10
  • 15. Deuteronomy 29:20; Isaiah 27:11; Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 21:7
  • 16. Proverbs 16:5; Isaiah 28:14-22
  • 17. Joshua 7:19; Psalms 96:8
  • 18. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:22; Isaiah 59:9; Amos 5:18; Amos 8:9
  • 19. Proverbs 4:19; Jeremiah 23:12
  • 20. Psalms 44:19; Psalms 107:10, 14; Jeremiah 2:6
  • 21. Malachi 2:2
  • 22. Psalms 119:136; Jeremiah 9:1; Jeremiah 14:17; Luke 19:41, 42
  • 23. Psalms 80:1; Jeremiah 23:1, 2
  • 24. 2 Kings 24:12, 15; Jeremiah 22:26
  • 25. 2 Chronicles 33:12, 19
  • 26. Exodus 39:28; Isaiah 3:20; Ezekiel 24:17, 23; Ezekiel 44:18
  • 27. Jeremiah 32:44
  • 28. Jeremiah 20:4; Jeremiah 52:27-30
  • 29. Jeremiah 1:15; Jeremiah 6:22; Habakkuk 1:6
  • 30. Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 23:2
  • 31. Jeremiah 2:25; Jeremiah 38:22
  • 32. Isaiah 13:8; Jeremiah 4:31
  • 33. Deuteronomy 7:17
  • 34. Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 16:10
  • 35. Jeremiah 2:17-19; Jeremiah 9:2-9
  • 36. Isaiah 47:2; Ezekiel 16:37; Nahum 3:5
  • 37. Proverbs 27:22; Isaiah 1:5
  • 38. Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 9:5
  • 39. Leviticus 26:33; Jeremiah 9:16; Ezekiel 5:2, 12
  • 40. Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 18:17
  • 41. Job 20:29; Psalms 11:6; Matthew 24:51
  • 42. Psalms 9:17; Jeremiah 2:32; Jeremiah 3:21
  • 43. Lamentations 1:8; Ezekiel 23:29; Hosea 2:10
  • 44. Jeremiah 5:7, 8
  • 45. Jeremiah 11:15
  • 46. Isaiah 65:7; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 6:13
  • 47. Proverbs 1:22; Hosea 8:5

Footnotes 4

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