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Jeremiah, Chapter 13
FIVE WARNINGS FOR ISRAEL
There are five warnings given to Israel in this chapter. The nation of the Chosen people, should have been living in a happy and intimate relationship with the Creator, and should have been busy teaching the ignorant nations of mankind the wonderful facts about the TRUE and Almighty God, but had, contrary to all reason, submitted itself to the sensual allurements of paganism . . . like today’s world. Israel’s spiritual discernment had nearly disappeared; and the whole nation was completely overcome with uncontrolled wickedness. The many vivid warnings of this chapter were designed to stop the headlong stupidity of Israel to destruction; but none of the warnings were heeded.
The warnings were: (1). the parable of the mined linen loin-cloth (Jer.13:1-11), (2). the parable of the wine jars (Jer.13:12-14), (3). the warning against pride and arrogance toward God (Jer.13:15-17), (4). the warning to the royal family (Jer.13:18-19), (5). the warning of defeat, captivity and humiliation, that identified friends of Israel, such as Babylon, as their conquerors and exploiters.
Chapter 13 contains one entire prophecy. The idea of hiding the girdle near the Euphrates (Jer.13:4-6), indicates that the place of Israel’s anguish and suffering would be Chaldea, which the Euphrates River waters. The symbol of the linen girdle, left to decay for an extensive time, was the way in which the glory of the Jews would be marred during the course of their long captivity (Jer.13:1-11). In the next three verses, by another symbol often used to represent the judgments of God, it is intended to show that the calamities threatened would be extended to every rank and denomination (Jer.13:12-14). This brings Jeremiah to an appeal to repentance (Jer.13:15-17). But God, knowing that this hopeful repentance would not follow, sends the prophet with a dreadful message, specifically to the royal family, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in general, to declare the looming judgments in plain terms (Jer.13:18-27). The passionate desire for the reformation of Jerusalem, with which the chapter concludes, beautifully displays the compassion and tender mercy of God. Forgetfulness of God is at the bottom of all sin.
The Euphrates River
The Euphrates River is one of the largest rivers of western Asia, about 1700 miles long. In the Bible it is referred to by several names such as the great river or just the river and is one the four rivers, which flowed from the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:11, 14). It formed the northeastern boundary of the Promised Land (Gen 15:18).
The Euphrates receives its waters from the mountains of Armenia, flows through a deep and narrow gorge, but as it descends toward Babylon, the Euphrates and the Tigris take different routes, which form the great broad plain of Mesopotamia.
The Euphrates has a very strong currents and so it is passable only in its lower parts. Along its shores flourished some of the important cities of Mesopotamia. The greatest of which was Babylon. Another, Carchemish (Isa.10:9; Jer.46:2), was an important road junction and a river crossing for the caravans coming from the Far East.
All through the periods of history (even to the Roman period) the Euphrates River formed the boundary between east and west. Some of the great battles of history took place on the Euphrates, one of which was the battle between Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon and Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt in 605 BC. (Jer 46:2).
An Acted Parable, with its Application (Jer.13:1-11)
Jer. 13:1 Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle . . . linen girdle, why linen? Linen was a mark of the priesthood; and because this garment was given as a symbol of Israel, it had to be linen to properly symbolize Israel as priests unto God which Israel was supposed to be.
And put it upon thy loins . . . some say this was not an outer girdle, but a covering worn next to the skin. This very close and personal garment symbolized the cherished relationship between the LORD and Israel during the long centuries of the nation's development.
And put it not in water . . . meaning that Jeremiah was not to wash the garment either before or after he had worn it. This would enlighten the meaning of the linen loincloth in later portions of the parable.
The prophet Jeremiah, like John Baptist, was not one of those that wore soft clothing, and so it would be strange to him with a linen girdle on, for he was probably used to wearing a leather one (Mat.3:4).
*****I am sure that Jeremiah was not putting on weight. It makes sense that he had been losing weight. But God told him to get a girdle and wear it . . . but it was not because he was getting fat. A girdle was not worn for that purpose in that day. In that day a girdle was something worn to bind up the flowing garments to ready oneself for service. The girdle was a sign of service. The LORD Jesus spoke of His servants having their: Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (KJV) . . . Meaning to be ready for service! He girded Himself with a linen cloth and began to wash the disciples' feet. John 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. (KJV) . . . I think this has a twofold meaning: He, the Great Servant, was preparing them for service by washing their feet . . . so they could have fellowship with Him. Dear one, IF you do not have fellowship with Christ Jesus, you cannot serve. Service is fellowship with Christ. Service is being cleansed and used for what He wants to do. God does not use dirty cups or dirty vessels.
Jer. 13:2 So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins. (KJV)
Jeremiah did exactly as he was told.
Now Jeremiah is told by the LORD to do something very interesting with this girdle.
Jer. 13:3 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, (KJV)
The suggestion of this, although not clearly stated, is that there was a considerable time-lapse, at least enough time for the loincloth to have needed washing, had not God forbidden it.
Jer. 13:4 Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. (KJV)
This Verse has caused a whole attack of objections and denials by commentators. The problem . . . the Euphrates River was almost four hundred miles from Anathoth; and the two journeys to that river and back by Jeremiah, means that he would have traveled a distance of eight hundred miles.
I don’t know about you, but I do not have a problem with this, because Jer.13:5 clearly tells us that, Jeremiah went and hid it as the LORD had commanded him. Where is the problem?
There were many times that the LORD gave the prophets visions. Could this not be one of those visions? Visions to prophets: (Isa.6:1-8; Eze.1:4-14; 8:2; 11:24-25; 37:1-10; Dan.2:28) . . . and many more!
But, then there are those who say that dealing with a visionary experience, does not seem to be in any way reasonable to this prophet, and they believe that Jeremiah actually bought a clean, white, linen girdle, wore it until it became completely dirty, then hid it in the ground until it was completely ruined, that he also recovered it as God commanded him, and that he showed it to his fellow-Israelites, describing the whole history of that girdle to them as a parable of what was going to happen to the apostate nation.
I will go along with the possibility he did it literally, or that it could have been a vision from the LORD.
Jer. 13:5 So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. (KJV)
Again, Jeremiah did exactly as he was told.
*****There has always been much debate as to whether Jeremiah actually went down to the Euphrates and hid the girdle. I think he did . . . if not literally, than in a vision as I stated above. There was traffic in that day, traveling between nations, and I think Jeremiah could have actually made this trip, and he did this very strange thing . . . he went to the Euphrates, and hid the girdle there, just as the LORD told him to do.
Jer. 13:6 And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. (KJV)
The LORD, who had told the prophet go and hide the linen girdle, after a considerable time speaks again to him, to go and take it away from the place where he had placed it.
The passing of many days was needed in order to allow plenty of time for the linen girdle to be thoroughly rotted and spoiled . . . but . . . there was another reason: By the many days are meant the seventy years of the captivity (Jer.25:11-12; 29:10; Dan.9:2).
*****It is a mistake to think that it was the Babylonian captivity that ruined Israel. That captivity was NOT the cause of Israel's apostasy . . . it was the result of it. We must remember that the loincloth was already dirty when Jeremiah buried it by the Euphrates River. So . . . the complete ruination of the girdle, was not a symbol of Israel's apostasy, which was already complete, but a symbol of the complete spoiling of their pride, their national organizations, and their wicked attitude of rebellion against Almighty God. After their return from Babylon, the righteous remnant (Isa.10:21; Jer.6:9; 23:3; Eze.6:8; Joel 2:32) would never again resorted to the Baal. It may be also that the symbolism of the rotten, ruined girdle applied to the vast majority of the Once Chosen People who never returned to Judah, even after God commanded them to do so. They were lost forever as an identifiable race or nation.
Jer. 13:7 Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing. (KJV)
Again, we have the controversy of whether the prophet really made such a journey, or all this was a vision, is very uncertain. When Jeremiah came to the place literally, or in his vision, he saw all the girdle rotted; and good for nothing but to be cast away. This symbolically represented the condition of the Jews . . . they were corrupt and abominable; and the LORD, by sending them into captivity, marred the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem (Jer.13:90.
*****Jeremiah was to wear the girdle and not wash it but let it get totally dirty. It was then the LORD told him to bury it by the Euphrates as a lesson to Israel.
Jer. 13:8 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)
From this it is clear that Jeremiah, after his recovery of the rotten girdle, showed it to the citizens of Judah and Jerusalem and explained the symbolism of it. This seems to imply also that the citizens were aware of the place (the Euphrates River) where the destruction of the nation would be completed by the LORD’S judgment on them.
Jer. 13:9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. (KJV)
My comment on this verse: Lev. 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: (KJV)
Eze.16:50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. (KJV)
Nah. 2:2 For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches. (KJV)
Zep. 3:11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. (KJV)
*****In Jer.13:8-9, God commanded Jeremiah to not only represent the rotten and corrupt state of this people, but also to reveal His vengeance, which would suddenly be brought upon them. Even though they were a proud people, lifted up and swelled in the opinion of themselves, from the favor that God had shown them, in making them a people near unto Him, yet, they corrupted themselves with the corruptions, superstitions and idolatries of heathens. God would make use of some of those nations to stop their pride and pluck their feathers, and they would rot among those people and in some of those nations with whom and by whose example they had sinned against the LORD. God is saying that because the people of Judah were continually sinking deeper into sin they will reach the place where there is no hope for them. He is going to send them into Babylonian captivity. The lesson was impressive. God uses some very strange things and ways to teach His people.
Jer. 13:10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. (KJV)
Jeremiah had yielded a total, blind obedience to God, doing whatever the LORD had commanded him, even though he probably knew no other reason for it . . . except that the LORD had told him do it. Now God explains what He meant to teach the Jews by this, He intended that they would be consumed by the people beyond the river Euphrates, just as that girdle was there marred. He also shows them that their sins in disobeying His Word, and following the imaginations (stubbornness) of their own hearts, especially their idolatry, was what had brought this dreadful judgment upon them.
Jer. 13:11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. (KJV)
The LORD now tells the prophet why He had commanded him . . . for as the girdle cleaved to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they may be to Me a people, and a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. To cleave means to adhere to, stick to, or join with. It is an exclusive joining of two into one entity . . . a people, Israel, with their God.
*****The LORD had used the Jews, as a man used a girdle, which he tied around his loins; and as a man wore his girdle, made up of some costly materials, for an honor and praise to him, so too, it was God's plan in honoring this people, wearing them as a girdle, was that they might bring him honor and glory, living to praise Him, and in the obedience to His commands, especially the commands they resisted involving worship of Him. But they would not hear; they would not agree to God's plans, nor listen to any counsels which He gave them . . . therefore the LORD was determined to pluck them from His Loins, and to allow them to rot, spoil and be ruined, just as that girdle was rotted.
Ps. 81:8-16 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; 9 There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. 10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. 13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! 14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. 15 The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. 16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee. (KJV)
This Passage is an excellent comment on Jer.13:11.
God leaves the image of the girdle, to bring a new image, a new warning.
The Parable of the Wine Jars (Jer.13:12-14)
Jer. 13:12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? (KJV)
The LORD, by His prophet shows them their ruin in another image. He tells Jeremiah to tell them that every bottle should be filled with wine. Wine was what they delighted in (Hos.3:1). They loved bottles of wine, and they wanted prophets that would prophesy to them of wine and strong drink (Mic.2:11). Because of this, the LORD sends them a prophesy about wine, telling the prophet to tell them that every bottle should be filled with wine. This was good news to the drunks among them! Their question: How do we know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? They understood little about the wine which God and His prophet intended; so the LORD opened it to them.
*****The bottles used in the East, were made of skins, and they were used to hold water, milk and other liquids. Here the prophet said that they all should be filled with wine, and were not. The Jews' taunting reply implied a truth, even literally. The symbolic sense which is what Jeremiah really meant, they pretended not to understand. Just as wine intoxicates, so too God's wrath and judgments shall reduce them to that state of helplessness and they shall rush head on to their own ruin (Jer.25:15; 49:12; Isa. 51:17, 21, 22; 63:6).
Jer. 13:13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. (KJV)
There is a wine of astonishment and confusion. Ps. 60:3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. (KJV) A wine that intoxicates, inflames and stupefies, not as a wine that refreshes. With that wine the LORD would fill all orders of persons, kings, priests, prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Neither shall the throne of David be a protection to your kings; God will have no regard to them on that account, nor to the priests, even though they claim to be persons consecrated to God
*****Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land with drunkenness. You and your kings, and priests and prophets, are represented by these bottles. The wine is God's righteous wrath against you, which shall first be shown by confusing your strategies, filling you with stupid plans of defense, causing you from your divided counsels to fall out among yourselves, so that as drunken men you shall reel about and jostle each other. You shall defend yourselves without a plan, and fight without order, until you all fall an easy prey into the hands of your enemies. An ancient proverb is here fulfilled:
Those whom God determines to destroy, He shall first render foolish.
Jer. 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. (KJV)
My comments on this Verse: Ps. 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (KJV)
Rev. 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (KJV)
*****The LORD will set them one against another, raising up an evil spirit of division among them, which they shall be like earthen bottles dashed one against another, which are easily broken in pieces. I will have no pity on them, therefore let them not assume on my mercy, pity and compassion; for I am determined to show them no mercy, but to bring them to utter ruin and destruction.
Warning against the Pride of Israel (Jer. 13:15-21)
Jeremiah is to call them to Repent and Humble Themselves
Jer. 13:15 Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. (KJV)
Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud . . . God usually joined advice and counsel with His rebuke, in case people will change their hearts and ways. Having threatened them, the prophet speaks to them, hoping that they would hear. Give ear . . . they should not exalt themselves against God, neither nourish a vain confidence or presumptuous hope, but instead they kept on in their rebellious courses, hating Him and those who were the LORD'S prophets and His messengers sent to them.
Be not proud . . . pride was the cause of their stubborn refusal.
Ps. 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (KJV)
Ps. 18:27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. (KJV)
Ps. 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. (KJV)
Pro. 6:16-18 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 6 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, (KJV)
Isa. 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. (KJV)
Isa. 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. (KJV)
Dear one, humility is the first step to obedience.
Jer. 13:16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. (KJV)
Glorify the LORD, by a humble confession of your sins (Jos. 7:19-20), glorify the LORD, by submitting yourselves to Him (Jam.4:7), glorify the LORD by humbling yourselves under His Word (Jam.4:10), and under His Mighty Hand (1 Pet.5:6), before He brings upon you His great and heavy judgments that He has threatened. As a state of prosperity is often set out in the Bible by the idea of light (Ps.119:130; Isa.5:20; 1 Jn.1:5; 2:8) which is a pleasant and calming thing . . . on the other hand, a state of affliction often in the Bible, is set out to us under the idea of darkness (Isa. 8:22, Joel 2:2, Am. 5:18), and a lack of light, which men are likely to stumble at anything that lies in their way.
Ps.1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (KJV)
*****Give glory to the LORD, confess your sins and turn to Him, so that these dreadful evils may be stopped. While they look for light and expect prosperity, the LORD turned it into the shadow of death (Ps.23:4). He shall send them a great trouble of the most difficult and disastrous kind. Their feet shall stumble upon the dark mountains, before they encounter those great problems, which having no light or any proper understanding in the matter, they shall be utterly unable to overcome.
Jer. 13:17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive. (KJV)
If they refuse to listen to what God says, and refuse the counsel which He gave them, His soul shall weep in secret for their pride; and His eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is taken captive. The LORD shall seriously and secretly mourn for their rebellion and stubbornness, which is rooted deep in their pride, and by lifting up themselves against the LORD'S counsels and warnings. The LORD shall also mourn for their calamity when it comes upon them, because He has a personal concern about them. If they will not hearken to the LORD, there is no remedy: destruction must come; and there is nothing left for God to do, but to go in secret, and mourn for the people of God, who would be led into captivity.
Jer. 13:18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. (KJV)
Say unto the king and to the queen . . . some versions say queen-mother. The mention of the queen-mother indicates the importance of the king's mother among the kings of Judah. They seem to have had some official position in Judah. 1 Ki. 2:19 suggests that she even occupied a throne next to that of the king. This Passage may also indicate that she too wore a crown. Because Jewish kings often married subjects, and lived in polygamy, the king's mother had superiority over his wives.
There is importance of this verse in determining the date when this chapter was written. The date of this prophecy is shown clearly by the word queen-mother, namely, Nehushta, mother of Jehoiachin (2 Ki.24:8, 12, 15). The queen-mother always had a high position; and, in Jehoiachin's case, this would have been especially so, because of the king's young age (2 Ki.24:8).
Jer. 13:19 The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open them: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive. (KJV)
Possibly the cities of Judah that lay south of Chaldea, and in verse 20, their enemies are said to come from the north (Jer.13:20; 50:9, 41; 51:48). Shut up . . . deserted (Isa. 24:10); so that none shall be left to open the gates to travelers and merchants again . . . shut up so completely by Nebuchadnezzar's forces, sent on before (2 Ki. 24:10-11), that none shall be allowed by the enemy to get out.
*****Warning to the Royal Family (Jer.13:18-19). Jeremiah was to tell the king and the queen mother to humble yourselves, sit down . . . showing that they have humbled themselves; for your control will be destroyed, and your glorious crown taken from your heads.
Jer. 13:20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? (KJV)
Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north . . . Nebuchadnezzar and his hostile army (Jer.1:14; 6:22). Jeremiah speaks to them as if their enemy was even then on their march, that if they would only look, they might see him coming. Lift up your eyes . . . Jeremiah asks where is the flock? (Jer.13:17), meaning the flock which God had given her.
Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? . . . Jeremiah speaks either to the king, or to the rulers, or the chief of the congregation of Judah . . . in the multitude of the people is the king's honour (Pro. 14:28). Jeremiah is amazed at the removal of the people caused by Nebuchadnezzar's forces. Where is the flock, thy beautiful flock? . . . Jerusalem is addressed. Where are the multitudes of prosperous men, women and children? Sad to say . . . they are driven before the Babylonians, who have taken them captive?
Jer. 13:21 What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail? (KJV)
For thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee . . . captains and as chief, literally, princes as to headship; or over their head, that is, the Chaldeans. What will you say when God will set them (the enemies) over you? (Jer.13:20). You cannot say that God has done you wrong, seeing that it was you that gave Him the reason for His dealing so with you (Jer.2:18, 36; 2 Ki.23:29).
This is said of their enemies, whether Assyrians or Chaldeans: for ever since Ahaz submitted himself to the king of Assyria (2 Ki.16:8-10), the kings of Judah never regained their independence. Their enemies were as a result, taught to be their lords and masters.
*****According to Jewish history, Ahaz died in the sixteenth year of his most unfortunate rule. Both politically and spiritually he had been instrumental in undermining the foundations of the kingdom of Judea. Heaven, too, did its share to spoil the last honors accorded him.
According to Jewish information, on the day of Ahaz’s death, the sun shone for only two hours, so that his burial had to be rushed through. He was not buried with the other kings of the House of David. www.chabad.org/
He Is to Convince Them That It Is for Their Obstinacy and Incorrigibleness That the Judgments of God Are so Prolonged and Brought to Extremity
Jer. 13:22 And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare. (KJV)
Hypocrites rarely confess their shame and God's righteousness, but are always ready to disagree, dispute and object with God. They are quick to demand to know what they have done that was so bad, and why God was is dealing so unjustly with them. But God says, if they should have any such thoughts in their heart, they were to remember their sins, how many and how great they have been. Their nakedness is discovered because of these sins, and for these they are exposed to contempt and shame. Most likely these phrases are drawn from the usual practice of soldiers, for when they have conquered a place and taken prisoners, they would strip them, and leave those of either sex, with either no clothes at all to cover their nakedness, or nothing but their own rags, which were not sufficient to cover their nakedness. By skirts is meant the lower part of their bodies covered with the lower part of their garments. Skirts discovered means skirts are thrown up so as to expose the person (Jer.13:26; Isa. 3:17; Nah. 3:5).
Jer. 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (KJV)
The Ethiopians are the descendants of Cush the son of Ham, brother to Mizraim, the father of the Egyptians (Gen.10:6). These were the only people of old noted for their black color in Scripture, as the Ethiopians are now. God showed that the Jews by their continued sin had so hardened themselves to wicked practices, that it was only labor in vain to try to reclaim them, as to wash a black person, or to remove the natural spots from a leopard.
*****The meaning of the question is quite clear! The evil of Judah was so deep-rooted, that they were not capable of a spur-of-the-moment reformation. There remained nothing but the sharp punishment of the exile.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin? Can the leopard his spots? These things are natural to them, and they can in no way be altered . . . so too sin, especially their attachment to idolatry, had become a second nature; that it seemed impossible for them to do good, for they have been accustomed to do evil. It is a very hard to get a sinner, deeply rooted in ungodly habits, to be brought to the knowledge of himself and God. It is impossible for an unsaved person to do good. And all those supposed do-gooders are not really pleasing God. Until a person does his work in the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ and for His glory and honor, he is simply doing the work for himself for selfish reasons. No genuine goodness can come from an evil heart.
Jer. 13:24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. (KJV)
The words above mean a clear and great dispersion, like that of the scattering of stubble by a fierce wind. Hos. 13:3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. (KJV)
Jeremiah pronounces a similar fate on the Babylonians who persecuted Israel, likening their fate to the trampled sheaves on the threshing floor (Jer.51:33).
Jer. 13:25 This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. (KJV)
This is what they shall have at the LORD'S Hand, the punishment which they shall meet with, and they may thank themselves for . . . for had they remembered neither the LORD’S former kindness to them, nor remembered the Law which He gave them. But they had forgotten God, trusting instead lies, or idle tales, vain and arrogant hopes . . . so . . . the LORD has given them but a just portion, and measured to them a just measure. Trusted in falsehood, in idols, and in lying prophets: (Deut.32:37-38; Isa.28:15; Jer.7:4-8; 10:14; Mic.3:11; Hab.2:18-19).
Jer. 13:26 Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear. (KJV)
Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face . . . I will expose them to all manner of shame and contempt, with no regard to their honor. All those that honor God, God will honor, but those that feel contempt and dishonor Him shall not be able to keep their own honor. It was the custom to punish lewd women by stripping them naked, and exposing them to public view; or by throwing their clothes over their heads, as here indicated.
*****Their nakedness is discovered because of these sins, and for these they are exposed to contempt and shame. Most likely these phrases are drawn from the usual practice of soldiers, for when they have conquered a place and taken prisoners, they would strip them, and leave those of either sex, either no clothes at all to cover their nakedness, or nothing but their own rags, which were not sufficient to cover their nakedness. By skirts is meant the lower part of their bodies covered with the lower part of their garments. Skirts discovered means skirts are thrown up so as to expose the person (Jer.13:26; Isa. 3:17; Nah. 3:5).
Jer. 13:27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be? (KJV)
I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings . . . their different kinds of idolatries, practiced in many ways; were no doubt often accompanied with gross wickedness.
The lewdness of thy whoredom . . . Eze. 23:27 Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more. (KJV)
Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! . . . Their lewdness is their idolatry; because after this captivity, the Jews were never guilty of idolatry again. Idolatry did stop!
And thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt . . . Whoredom is spiritual adultery which is idolatry, which is worship of their idols, which was with them when they were in the land of Egypt.
So that thou shall not lift up thine eyes unto them . . . to the idols of Egypt, nor to pray to them, nor to worship them.
Nor remember Egypt any more . . . they would not remember with any delight and pleasure anything about Egypt, nor desire an union with them, nor want help from them, nor to join with them in their idolatries. But instead, all their remembrance of Egypt would be with deep disgust and shame.
*****By these destroying, righteous judgments from Almighty GOD, it shall make the Jews cease to be a people, because GOD would put an end to their lewd filthiness, because they would never have put end to their idolatry on their own. GOD always does what is best!
Book of Jeremiah
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