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The Linen Loincloth


Thus said the L ord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth, and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.” 2So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the L ord, and put it on my loins. 3And the word of the L ord came to me a second time, saying, 4“Take the loincloth that you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” 5So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as the L ord commanded me. 6And after many days the L ord said to me, “Go now to the Euphrates, and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.” 7Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But now the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.

8 Then the word of the L ord came to me: 9Thus says the L ord: Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own will and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the L ord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.


Symbol of the Wine-Jars

12 You shall speak to them this word: Thus says the L ord, the God of Israel: Every wine-jar should be filled with wine. And they will say to you, “Do you think we do not know that every wine-jar should be filled with wine?” 13Then you shall say to them: Thus says the L ord: I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness. 14And I will dash them one against another, parents and children together, says the L ord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion when I destroy them.


Exile Threatened


Hear and give ear; do not be haughty,

for the L ord has spoken.


Give glory to the L ord your God

before he brings darkness,

and before your feet stumble

on the mountains at twilight;

while you look for light,

he turns it into gloom

and makes it deep darkness.


But if you will not listen,

my soul will weep in secret for your pride;

my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,

because the L ord’s flock has been taken captive.



Say to the king and the queen mother:

“Take a lowly seat,

for your beautiful crown

has come down from your head.”


The towns of the Negeb are shut up

with no one to open them;

all Judah is taken into exile,

wholly taken into exile.



Lift up your eyes and see

those who come from the north.

Where is the flock that was given you,

your beautiful flock?


What will you say when they set as head over you

those whom you have trained

to be your allies?

Will not pangs take hold of you,

like those of a woman in labor?


And if you say in your heart,

“Why have these things come upon me?”

it is for the greatness of your iniquity

that your skirts are lifted up,

and you are violated.


Can Ethiopians change their skin

or leopards their spots?

Then also you can do good

who are accustomed to do evil.


I will scatter you like chaff

driven by the wind from the desert.


This is your lot,

the portion I have measured out to you, says the L ord,

because you have forgotten me

and trusted in lies.


I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,

and your shame will be seen.


I have seen your abominations,

your adulteries and neighings, your shameless prostitutions

on the hills of the countryside.

Woe to you, O Jerusalem!

How long will it be

before you are made clean?


The Prophet had indirectly threatened them; but yet there was some hope of pardon, provided the Jews anticipated God’s judgment in time and humbled themselves before him. He now declares more clearly that a most certain destruction was nigh at hand, If ye will not hear, he says, weep will my soul in secret But much weight is in what the Prophet intimates, that he would cease to address them, as though he had said, “I have not hitherto left off to exhort you, for God has so commanded me; but there will be no remedy, if ye as usual harden yourselves against what I teach you. There remains then nothing now for me, except to hide myself in some secret place and there to mourn; for my prophetic office among you is at an end, as ye are unworthy of such a favor from God.”

He does not state simply, If ye will not hear, but he adds a pronoun, this, If ye will not hear this, or it: for the Jews might have raised an objection and said, that they were not disobedient to God, and had prophets among them, as it appeared yesterday; for there were those who deceived them by their flatteries. The Prophet then does not speak indistinctly, for that would have had no effect; but he expressly declares that they were to hear what he had said in the last verse: “Except then,” he says, “ye give glory to God, I will leave you or bid you farewell, and will hide myself in some corner, and there bewail your miseries.” When the Prophet said that nothing remained for him but weeping, he intimated that it was all over with them, and that their salvation was hopeless. The sum of the whole is, that they were not to be always favored with that which they were now despising, that is, to be warned by God’s servants; for if they continued to despise all the prophets, God would withdraw such a favor from them.

The Prophet at the same time shows with what feelings he exercised his prophetic office; for though he knew that he was to perform, the part of an herald, and boldly to denounce on the Jews the calamity which we have observed; he yet ever felt so much pity in his soul, that he bewailed that perverseness which would prove their ruin. The Prophet then connected the two feelings together, so that with a bold and intrepid spirit he denounced vengeance on the Jews, and at the same time he felt commiseration and sympathy.

He then mentions the cause, For taken captive is the flock of Jehovah Jeremiah might have had indeed a regard also for his own blood. When, therefore, he saw the nation from which he himself sprung miserably perishing, he could not but mourn for their ruin: but he had an especial regard to the favor of God, as was the case also with Paul, (Romans 9:2, 4, 5) for though he refers to his descent from the Israelites, and assigns this as a reason why he wished to be an anathema from Christ on their account, there were yet other reasons why he spoke highly of them; for he afterwards adds, that the covenant was theirs, that they derived their origin from the fathers, that from them Christ came according to the flesh, who is God, blessed for ever. Paul then so honored and valued the benefits with which the Jews were adorned, that he wished as it were to die for their salvation, and even wished to be an anathema from Christ. There is not the least doubt but Jeremiah for a similar reason adds now, that he would seek retirement or some hidden place where he might bewail the destruction of his people, for it was the flock of Jehovah 8585     The whole verse may be thus rendered, —
   But if ye will not hear, weep in secret places Will my soul, on account of your haughtiness; Yea, bewailing it will bewail, And pour down will mine eye the tear, When taken captive is the flock of Jehovah.

   The word for “haughtiness,” גוה, is rendered “insolence” by the Septuagint and Arabic; “pride” by the Vulgate, and “affliction” by the Syriac. The word is commonly derived from גאה, to swell, to be high, to be elated. It is found in this sense in two other places, Job 33:17, and Daniel 4:37; and in a good sense, elevation, in Job 22:29. It seems to be a contraction, in full גאוה. See Psalm 36:12; Proverbs 29:23. This being the meaning of the word, the view of Calvin cannot be admitted. There is an evident reference to what is said in Jeremiah 13:15, “Be ye not lifted up,” or, “be ye not haughty.” The cause of his weeping was their haughtiness in not hearing God speaking to them.- Ed.
We hence see that it was God’s covenant that made him to shed tears, for he saw that in a manner it failed through the fault of the people. It follows —

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