A Linen Belt

13 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:(A) “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath[a](B) and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.(C)

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 pride(D) of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen(E) to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts(F) and go after other gods(G) to serve and worship them,(H) will be like this belt—completely useless!(I) 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown(J) and praise and honor.(K) But they have not listened.’(L)

Wineskins

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?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness(M) 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. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity(N) or mercy or compassion(O) to keep me from destroying(P) them.’”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,
    do not be arrogant,
    for the Lord has spoken.(Q)
16 Give glory(R) to the Lord your God
    before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble(S)
    on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
    but he will turn it to utter darkness
    and change it to deep gloom.(T)
17 If you do not listen,(U)
    I will weep in secret
    because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
    overflowing with tears,(V)
    because the Lord’s flock(W) will be taken captive.(X)

18 Say to the king(Y) and to the queen mother,(Z)
    “Come down from your thrones,
for your glorious crowns(AA)
    will fall from your heads.”
19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,
    and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah(AB) will be carried into exile,
    carried completely away.

20 Look up and see
    those who are coming from the north.(AC)
Where is the flock(AD) that was entrusted to you,
    the sheep of which you boasted?
21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you
    those you cultivated as your special allies?(AE)
Will not pain grip you
    like that of a woman in labor?(AF)
22 And if you ask yourself,
    “Why has this happened to me?”(AG)
it is because of your many sins(AH)
    that your skirts have been torn off(AI)
    and your body mistreated.(AJ)
23 Can an Ethiopian[b] change his skin
    or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
    who are accustomed to doing evil.(AK)

24 “I will scatter you like chaff(AL)
    driven by the desert wind.(AM)
25 This is your lot,
    the portion(AN) I have decreed for you,”
declares the Lord,
“because you have forgotten(AO) me
    and trusted in false gods.(AP)
26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
    that your shame may be seen(AQ)
27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
    your shameless prostitution!(AR)
I have seen your detestable acts
    on the hills and in the fields.(AS)
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
    How long will you be unclean?”(AT)

Drought, Famine, Sword

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:(AU)

“Judah mourns,(AV)
    her cities languish;
they wail for the land,
    and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.
The nobles send their servants for water;
    they go to the cisterns
    but find no water.(AW)
They return with their jars unfilled;
    dismayed and despairing,
    they cover their heads.(AX)
The ground is cracked
    because there is no rain in the land;(AY)
the farmers are dismayed
    and cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field
    deserts her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.(AZ)
Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights(BA)
    and pant like jackals;
their eyes fail
    for lack of food.”(BB)

Although our sins testify(BC) against us,
    do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.(BD)
For we have often rebelled;(BE)
    we have sinned(BF) against you.
You who are the hope(BG) of Israel,
    its Savior(BH) in times of distress,(BI)
why are you like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who stays only a night?
Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
    like a warrior powerless to save?(BJ)
You are among(BK) us, Lord,
    and we bear your name;(BL)
    do not forsake(BM) us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

“They greatly love to wander;
    they do not restrain their feet.(BN)
So the Lord does not accept(BO) them;
    he will now remember(BP) their wickedness
    and punish them for their sins.”(BQ)

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray(BR) for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry;(BS) though they offer burnt offerings(BT) and grain offerings,(BU) I will not accept(BV) them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword,(BW) famine(BX) and plague.”(BY)

13 But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets(BZ) keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine.(CA) Indeed, I will give you lasting peace(CB) in this place.’”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies(CC) in my name. I have not sent(CD) them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions,(CE) divinations,(CF) idolatries[c] and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish(CG) by sword and famine.(CH) 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury(CI) them, their wives, their sons and their daughters.(CJ) I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.(CK)

17 “Speak this word to them:

“‘Let my eyes overflow with tears(CL)
    night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin(CM) Daughter, my people,
    has suffered a grievous wound,
    a crushing blow.(CN)
18 If I go into the country,
    I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
    I see the ravages of famine.(CO)
Both prophet and priest
    have gone to a land they know not.(CP)’”

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?(CQ)
    Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
    so that we cannot be healed?(CR)
We hoped for peace
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(CS)
20 We acknowledge(CT) our wickedness, Lord,
    and the guilt of our ancestors;(CU)
    we have indeed sinned(CV) against you.
21 For the sake of your name(CW) do not despise us;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne.(CX)
Remember your covenant(CY) with us
    and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols(CZ) of the nations bring rain?(DA)
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this.(DB)

15 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses(DC) and Samuel(DD) were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people.(DE) Send them away from my presence!(DF) Let them go! And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;(DG)
those for starvation, to starvation;(DH)
those for captivity, to captivity.’(DI)

“I will send four kinds of destroyers(DJ) against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword(DK) to kill and the dogs(DL) to drag away and the birds(DM) and the wild animals to devour and destroy.(DN) I will make them abhorrent(DO) to all the kingdoms of the earth(DP) because of what Manasseh(DQ) son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.

“Who will have pity(DR) on you, Jerusalem?
    Who will mourn for you?
    Who will stop to ask how you are?
You have rejected(DS) me,” declares the Lord.
    “You keep on backsliding.
So I will reach out(DT) and destroy you;
    I am tired of holding back.(DU)
I will winnow(DV) them with a winnowing fork
    at the city gates of the land.
I will bring bereavement(DW) and destruction on my people,(DX)
    for they have not changed their ways.(DY)
I will make their widows(DZ) more numerous
    than the sand of the sea.
At midday I will bring a destroyer(EA)
    against the mothers of their young men;
suddenly I will bring down on them
    anguish and terror.(EB)
The mother of seven will grow faint(EC)
    and breathe her last.(ED)
Her sun will set while it is still day;
    she will be disgraced(EE) and humiliated.
I will put the survivors to the sword(EF)
    before their enemies,”(EG)
declares the Lord.

10 Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth,(EH)
    a man with whom the whole land strives and contends!(EI)
I have neither lent(EJ) nor borrowed,
    yet everyone curses(EK) me.

11 The Lord said,

“Surely I will deliver you(EL) for a good purpose;
    surely I will make your enemies plead(EM) with you
    in times of disaster and times of distress.

12 “Can a man break iron—
    iron from the north(EN)—or bronze?

13 “Your wealth(EO) and your treasures
    I will give as plunder,(EP) without charge,(EQ)
because of all your sins
    throughout your country.(ER)
14 I will enslave you to your enemies
    in[d] a land you do not know,(ES)
for my anger will kindle a fire(ET)
    that will burn against you.”

15 Lord, you understand;
    remember me and care for me.
    Avenge me on my persecutors.(EU)
You are long-suffering(EV)—do not take me away;
    think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.(EW)
16 When your words came, I ate(EX) them;
    they were my joy and my heart’s delight,(EY)
for I bear your name,(EZ)
    Lord God Almighty.
17 I never sat(FA) in the company of revelers,
    never made merry with them;
I sat alone because your hand(FB) was on me
    and you had filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unending
    and my wound grievous and incurable?(FC)
You are to me like a deceptive brook,
    like a spring that fails.(FD)

19 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“If you repent, I will restore you
    that you may serve(FE) me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
    you will be my spokesman.(FF)
Let this people turn to you,
    but you must not turn to them.
20 I will make you a wall(FG) to this people,
    a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
    but will not overcome(FH) you,
for I am with you
    to rescue and save you,”(FI)
declares the Lord.
21 “I will save(FJ) you from the hands of the wicked(FK)
    and deliver(FL) you from the grasp of the cruel.”(FM)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 13:4 Or possibly to the Euphrates; similarly in verses 5-7
  2. Jeremiah 13:23 Hebrew Cushite (probably a person from the upper Nile region)
  3. Jeremiah 14:14 Or visions, worthless divinations
  4. Jeremiah 15:14 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac (see also 17:4); most Hebrew manuscripts I will cause your enemies to bring you / into