The LORD God calls Jeremiah to perform a symbolic act: the illustration of the linen belt. The parable of the wineskins. The message on sin and its results.
VERSE 1. The LORD said to me, “Go, and buy yourself a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don’t put it in water.”
Go, and buy yourself a linen belt. The people were not responding to Jeremiah’s message. So the LORD God has Jeremiah perform a symbolic act to get their attention.
This is the first time the LORD God called Jeremiah to perform a symbolic act. The second time will be in chapter 43. It will involve burying stones:
Jeremiah 43:8-9. Then the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 “Take great stones in your hand, and hide them in mortar in the brick work, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah;
VERSE 2. So I bought a belt according to the LORD’s word, and put it on my waist.
VERSE 3. The LORD’s word came to me the second time, saying,
VERSE 4. “Take the belt that you have bought, which is on your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.”
go to the Euphrates. The Hebrew word is pp’rat (“Perath”). It is usually translated “Euphrates.” It could mean one of two things:
1. The actual Euphrates river in Mesopotamia. To go there and back would be a 700 mile walk.
2. The nearby village of Parah. It was located about three miles northeast of Anathoth in the tribe of Benjamin.
The village of Parah is more likely. There, the Hebrew people could observe what Jeremiah did.
VERSE 5. So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me.
VERSE 6. After many days, the LORD said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there.”
After many days. It was “a long interval” (NAB translation).
VERSE 7. Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and took the belt from the place where I had hidden it; and behold, the belt was ruined. It was profitable for nothing.
VERSE 8. Then the LORD’s word came to me, saying,
VERSE 9. “The LORD says, ‘In this way I, will ruin the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.
VERSE 10. This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and have gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, will even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing.
VERSE 11. For as the belt clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to me,’ says the LORD; ‘that they may be to me for a people, for a name, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’
VERSE 12. “Therefore you shall speak to them this word: ‘The LORD, the God of Israel says, “Every container should be filled with wine.” ’ They will tell you, ‘Do we not certainly know that every container should be filled with wine?’
Every container should be filled with wine. Are you filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit?
VERSE 13. Then tell them, ‘The LORD says, “Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.
VERSE 14. I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together,” says the LORD: “I will not pity, spare, or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.” ’ ”
VERSE 15. Hear, and give ear. Don’t be proud, for the LORD has spoken.
VERSE 16. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it deep darkness.
VERSE 17. But if you will not hear it, my soul will weep in secret for your pride. My eye will weep bitterly, and run down with tears, because the LORD’s flock has been taken captive.
NAB translation. I will weep in secret many tears; my eyes will run with tears for the LORD’s flock, led away to exile.
I will weep in secret many tears. Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.”
Jeremiah had a real heart for the people God sent him to. He wept over their lostness. He felt keenly their spiritual suffering.
A mark of an authentic spiritual leader is a heart for his people.
VERSE 18. Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Humble yourselves. Sit down, for your crowns have come down, even the crown of your glory.
VERSE 19. The cities of the South is shut up, and there is no one to open them. Judah is carried away captive: all of it. It is wholly carried away captive.
VERSE 20. Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given to you, your beautiful flock?
VERSE 21. What will you say, when he sets over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you? Won’t sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail?
VERSE 22. If you say in your heart, “Why have these things come on me?” Your skirts are uncovered because of the greatness of your iniquity, and your heels suffer violence.
VERSE 23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.
VERSE 24. “Therefore I will scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness.
VERSE 25. This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me,” says the LORD, “because you have forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.”
uncover your skirts on your face. That is, “strip off your skirts from you” (NAB translation).
your shame will appear. With their skirts stripped away, their genitals would be exposed.
VERSE 27. I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries, and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, Jerusalem! You will not be made clean. How long will it yet be?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.