Jeremias 13

1 Jehovah told me: »Go and buy a linen belt. Wear it on your hips for a while, but do not put it in any water.«

2 So I bought a belt and put it on my hips.

3 Then Jehovah said:

4 »Take off the linen belt. Go to the Euphrates River and hide the belt in a crack between some large rocks.«

5 And that is what I did, just as Jehovah commanded.

6 Some time later Jehovah said: »Go back and get the linen belt.«

7 I went back and dug the belt out of the hiding place, but the cloth had rotted, and the linen belt was ruined. It was good for nothing.

8 Then Jehovah said:

9 »Jeremiah, I will use Babylon to destroy the pride of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

10 »The people of Judah are evil and stubborn. They do not listen to me. They do whatever they want and even worship other gods. When I am finished with these people, they will be good for nothing, just like this linen belt.

11 »This belt is tight around your waist, and that is how tightly I held onto the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. I wanted them to be my people. I wanted to make them famous, so that other nations would praise and honor me, but they refused to obey me.

12 »Speak this word to them: ‘Thus says Jehovah, the God of Israel, »Every jug is to be filled with wine. When they say to you, Do we not know that every jug is to be filled with wine?

13 »‘»Say to them: Jehovah says I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land, the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness!

14 »‘»I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and the sons together, declares Jehovah. ‘I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion so as not to destroy them.« ’«

15 Listen, give heed and do not be haughty arrogant. Jehovah has spoken.

16 Give glory to Jehovah your God before he brings darkness and before your feet stumble on the dusky mountains. You hope for light. He makes it into deep darkness and turns it into gloom.

17 If you will not listen, I will cry secretly over your arrogance. I will cry bitterly, and my eyes will flow with tears because Jehovah’s flock will be taken captive.

18 Say to the king and his mother: »Come down from your thrones, because your crowns have fallen off your heads.«

19 The cities in the Negev will be locked up. There will be no one to reopen them. All the people of Judah will be taken away into captivity.

20 »Look up, and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given to you? Where are your beautiful sheep?

21 »What will you say when God makes the people you thought were your friends your new masters? Will pain grip you like a woman in labor?

22 »If you ask yourself: ‘Why do these things happen to me?’ It is because you have so many sins. Your clothes have been torn off and your limbs are bare.

23 »Can Ethiopians change the color of their skin or leopards change their spots? Can you do good when you are taught to do wrong?

24 »I will scatter you like straw that is blown away by a desert wind.

25 »This is your fate, the destiny I have planned for you,« proclaims Jehovah. »You have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.

26 »I will also tear off your clothes, and expose your shame.

27 »I have seen you commit adultery and scream with delight. I have seen you act like a brazen prostitute on the hills and in the fields. How hideous it will be for you, Jerusalem! Will you ever be clean?«