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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 again declares that God’s judgment would be just, which he had previously foretold; for hypocrites, we know, do not cease to quarrel with God, except they are often proved guilty; and it is always their object, where they cannot wholly excuse themselves, to extenuate in some measure their fault. The Prophet therefore here removes every pretense for evasion, and declares that they were wholly worthy of such a reward.

But his manner of speaking ought to be noticed, If thou wilt say in thine heart, etc. Hypocrites do not only claim for themselves righteousness before the world, but they also deceive themselves, and the devil so dementates them with a false persuasion, that they seek to be counted just before God. This then is what the Prophet sets forth when he says, If thou wilt say in thine heart, Why have these evils happened to me? 9292     The verb is here in the singular, and is followed by a nominative in the plural; the very same anomaly exists in Welsh. The line would be literally the same in that language, —
   Pam y digwyddodd i mi y pethau hyn?

   But if “these things” preceded the verb, it would be in the plural. — Ed.
that is, if thou seekest by secret murmuring to contend with God, the answer is ready, Because of the multitude of thine iniquity, discovered are thy skirts, and thy heels are denuded.” The multitude of iniquity he calls that perverse wickedness which prevailed among the Jews; for they had not ceased for a long time to provoke the wrath of God. Had they only once sinned, or had been guilty of one kind of sin, there would have been some hope of pardon, at least God would not have executed a punishment so severe; but as there had been an uninterrupted course of sinning, the Prophet shews that it would not be right to spare them any longer.

As to the simile, it is a form of speaking often used by the prophets, that is, to denude the soles of the feet, and to discover the skirts. We know that; men clothe themselves, not only to preserve them from cold. but that they also cover the body for the sake of modesty: there is therefore a twofold use of garments, the one occasioned by necessity, and the other by decency. As then clothes are partly made for this end — to cover what could not be decently shewn or left bare without shame, the prophets use this mode of speaking when they have in view to shew that one is exposed to public reproaJeremiah 9393     The three last lines are as follows: —
   For the number of thine iniquity Discovered have been thy skirts, Violently stripped off have been thy heels.

   “Skirts” here stand for the parts covered by them, and “heels” for the sandals which were worn. Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate mention the parts, and not skirts — “the hinder parts,” “the uncomely parts,” but they retain the word “heels.” The metonomy exists, no doubt, as to both. The Syriac has “skirts” and “ankles.” The Targum gives the meaning, “confusion” and “ignominy.” The past time is used for the future. — Ed.
It afterwards follows —

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