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CHAPTER 13 Ju1. 23 
Jeremiah's Linen Belt
Thus said Yahweh to me, Go, and buy yourself a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don’t put it in water. 2So I bought a belt according to the word of Yahweh, and put it on my waist. 3The word of Yahweh came to me the second time saying, 4Take 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. 5So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as Yahweh commanded me. 6It happened after many days that Yahweh said to me, Arise, go to the Euphrates and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there. 7Then 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 unfit for use. 8Then the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 9Thus says Yahweh, In this way I will ruin the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them and to worship them, shall even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing. 11For as the belt clings to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cling to Me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says Yahweh; that they may be to Me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.
Wine Jars 
12Therefore you shall speak to them this word: Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall tell you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? 13Then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, says Yahweh: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have compassion, that I should not destroy them.
The Pride and Shame of Jerusalem
15Hear, and give ear; don’t be proud; for Yahweh has spoken. 16Give glory to Yahweh 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 gross darkness. 17But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and my eye shall weep bitterly, and run down with tears, because Yahweh’s flock is taken captive. 18Say to the king and to the queen mother, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your headdresses have come down, even the crown of your glory. 19The cities of the South are shut up, and there is none to open them: Judah is carried away captive, all of it; it is wholly carried away captive. 20Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock? 21What will you say, when He shall punish you? You have provoked them to be captains and rulers over you. Shall not sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail? 22If you say in your heart, Why are these things come on me? For the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts lifted up, and your private parts suffer violence. 23Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. 24Therefore will I scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness. 25This is your lot, the portion measured to you from Me, says Yahweh; because you have forgotten Me, and trusted in falsehood. 26Therefore will I also lift your skirts up above your face, and your shame shall appear. 27I 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 shall it yet be?


13:7 The whole point of Judah's exile in Babylon was to make them "ruined, unfit for use" like the cloth which Jeremiah buried by Euphrates (Jer. 13:7). And yet the second half of Isaiah is full of expressions of God's desire to use Israel after their experience in Babylon as His witness to the nations. Israel's preparation for their mission was through being made "unfit for use". And so God prepares His missionaries and ambassadors today likewise.
13:15-17 For all the issues which the prophets could have condemned people for, pride was high on their list. “I hate the pride of Jacob”, Amos cried out in dismay (Am. 6:8). Jeremiah wept in secret, his eyes running with tears, “for your pride”. Do we weep privately, just to ourselves, because people don’t respond to our message? Only those who have a heart that bleeds will do so. We can’t have an indifferent, take-it-or-leave-it attitude. 
13:22,26 The metaphors used to describe the anger of God with Israel as His wife are pretty awful. Her children to be slain with thirst, she was to be stripped naked by her husband (Hosea 2), gang raped by her lovers, having her nose cut off and left a battered, bleeding mess in the scrubland (Ez. 16,23), and here, she is to have her skirt pulled up over her head and her nakedness revealed. Did it all have to end in such brutality and vulgarity? Today, sex and violence are what attract attention. From lyrics of songs to advertising and movies, that’s clear enough. And the prophets are using the same tactics to arrest Israel’s attention, all the more so because nudity and sex were things simply not up for public discussion. There’s an anxiety which any talk about sex seems to arouse in us, and it was the prophets’ intention to make us likewise get on the edge of our seats, anxious, rapt, sensitive for the next word… realizing that really and truly, this is what human sin does to God. The outrageous sex talk was to bring out how outrageous and obscene are our sins and unfaithfulness to the covenant we cut with God in baptism. God paints Himself as acting with the anger of a very angry husband, whose anger is rooted in the profoundness of His love for His wife. There is a dark side to intimacy. It’s why families, lovers, both spiritual and natural, experience the heights of both love and frustration / anger with each other. With a love like God’s, it’s inevitable that there is a strong element of jealousy and potential hurt over us. It has to be so. And yet the story of the prophets never ends with the angry judgment- amazingly, given this level of anger and judgment / retribution, there is always the passionate appeal for Israel to return, to recover love, romance and intimacy in the relationship. But the shocking sexual language and imagery of the prophets was in order to help Israel see that this was how far they had outraged God. It was and is a rhetoric that cannot be forgotten, shrugged off, re-interpreted. The rhetoric pushes relentlessly for a response in our consciences. Just as for a woman to have her skirt ripped above her head and her nakedness displayed was ultimately humiliating for her, so Israel had humiliated God by their sin (Jer. 13:25-27); their actions were just as shocking and obscene. And yet we so minimize sin. Just a bit of injustice, a little touch of selfishness, a moment of hypocrisy… but all this is obscene treatment of our God. We all know the downward spiral into sin… how once we start, we can’t stop. But when Israel were like this, they are likened to a female camel in insatiable heat (Jer. 2:23-25; 5:7-9). We’d just rather not read that, or retranslate the words to make it seem somehow different. But we’re dealing with serious matters here. Sin is serious to God.