Jeremiah 13 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes menu page)
The Sign of the Linen Girdle-
The Pride of Judah and Jerusalem: to be brought down at Babylon (ch. 13)
I. The Pride Exposed (v.1-14)
A. Jeremiah's illustration: a Girdle {HB='ezor, a waistband, a loin cloth, an under garment}...
A 'girdle' is 'girt' about the wearer. The word has wide application, from the loin cloth of a slave (Job 12:18, where deposed kings become slaves), to the ornamental waistband of a prince (Eze 23:15).
  1. Obtained and worn (v.1,2)
  2. Hidden at the Euphrates (v.3-6)
    Some Bible students think that Jeremiah hid his girdle at a brook, the Wadi Fara, which flowed passed the village of Parah, just a few miles from Anathoth. The Hebrew word for Euphrates {HB=Parath} sounds similar to the village name. However, the spelling difference is clear in the only passage where this village is mentioned (Josh 18:23). The name 'Parath' is applied exclusively to the great river in all biblical occurrences.
       Jeremiah's long journey to the Euphrates would have served to illustrate the coming Babylonian captivity much more clearly than a quick trip to the next town. Likewise, the time elapsed between his two journeys would accomplish the ruin of the garment, while illustrating the duration of the captivity (ie., 'many days'). Some argue that a journey to the Euphrates would have consumed several months, and would have been an unreasonable disruption to Jeremiah's life. Yet, Jeremiah's obedience teaches us that we are to be instant in season and out, even when God's will seems inconvenient to the flesh.
  3. Profitable for nothing (v. 6,7) - marred {HB= shachath, destroyed, corrupted, ruined}.
B. The Lord's explanation (13:8-14):
  1. Judah's pride (v.9) to be marred, because they had marred their privileged purpose. (v.8-11)
    • They had become 'good for nothing' (same HB phrase as in v.7).
      They were proud of their adulterous relationship with ungodly nations and their false gods (v.9,10; cp. Eze 23:13-18). But the glory of these things would fail. cp. Isa 3:24
    • The Lord had intended for Israel to be in close relationship to Him, as His people (cp. Ex 19:5,6; 1Pet 2:9); for the Praise and Glory of His Name.
      There may be several aspects to the illustration:
      • A girdle that "cleaves to the loins of a man" illustrates the intimacy of the relationship.
      • A beautiful girdle was an important outer piece of Aaron's priestly garments which were "for glory and for beauty" (Ex 28:2,8; cp. Rev 1:13).
      • A linen garment speaks of purity and righteousness.
      • A leather girdle indicates humility and lowly service (cp. 2Kin 1:8; Mat 3:4).
      • The Almighty girded Himself to serve (Joh 13:4) and invites us to follow His example (Joh 13:12-17; Luk 12:35).
  2. Judah's proud people to be drunk with the wine of God's wrath. (v.12-14) cp. Jer 25:15-18,27; 51:7
    The 'bottles' {wineskins} (ie., the proud rulers) would themselves be marred (cp. Mark 2:22).
II. The Surrender of Pride Exhorted (v.15-17)
Again, in mercy, the Lord calls them to humble themselves before Him, and turn back from the path of sorrow and destruction, to which their proud rebellion was destined. They must stop exalting themselves in order to properly exalt the LORD (eg., Psa 96:7,8).
III. The Downfall of Pride Described (v.18-27)
A. Their glory would be debased (v.18-21)
  • The glory of king and rulers, brought down. (v.18)
    (cp. Job 12:18, which speaks of kings being relieved of their power, to be reduced to wearing a servant's girdle.)
  • The 'beautiful flock' (God's people) would be lost to captivity (v.19,20),
    before the eyes of their unwatchful shepherds (Eze 34:7-10; Acts 20:28,29).
  • The despair of Israel's rulers upon realizing that the allies,
    which they had nurtured, have become their masters. (v.21)
B. Their debased nature would be exposed (v.22-27)
The reason they are brought down to servitude (naked and barefoot, v.22):
Although the Lord repeatedly called them to repentance, and offered to heal their condition, they refused to hear (v.11), and relished the filth of their chosen way. The Lord laments the hardness of their hearts (cp. v.17; Mat 23:37).

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