Jer 13.1-27 tells us about two metaphors using a linen girdle and jugs of wine to illustrate the coming destruction of Judah.
v 1…Thus the Lord (Yehovah) said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband (girdle), and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water (wash it, make it clean).”
v 2…SO I bought the waistband in accordance with the word of the Lord and put it around my waist.
v 3…Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying,
v 4…”Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to Perat (“to break forth” and a name for the Euphrates River) and hide it there in a crevice of a rock (symbolic of a prison they will be confined in.”
v 5…So I went and hid it by Perat (the Euphrates) as the Lord commanded me.
v 6…And it came about after many days (symbolic of the seventy year captivity) that the Lord said to me, “Arise, go to Peratah and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.”
v 7…Then I went to Perat and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it, and lo, the waistband was ruined, and it was totally worthless (corrupted).
v 8…Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
v 9…”Thus says the Lord, ‘Just so I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem (by destroying the Temple and the city transporting the nobility and the people beyond the Euphrates River and hiding them in Babylon).
v 10…This wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words (God’s view), who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts (and intentions) and have gone after other gods to serve them and bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband, which is totally worthless.
v 11…For as this waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to me’, declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for me a people, for renown (a mane), for praise, and for glory; but they did not listen.’
v 12…Therefore (as a result), you are to speak this word to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Every jug a vessel) is to be filled with wine (God’s judgments often symbolized by a cup of wine-Jer 25.25).” And when they say to you, ‘Do we not very well know that every jug is to be filled with wine (tell us something we don’t already know)?”
v 13…Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land-the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets (false ones) and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness (foolishness, stupidity, unable to stand)!
v 14…And I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and sons together (collide like drunken men fight and quarrel breaking into pieces),” declares the Lord, “I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion that I should not destroy them (Judah).”
v 15…Listen and give heed, do not be haughty (listen to Yehovah not the false prophets), for the Lord has spoken.
v 16…Give glory to the Lord your God, before he brings darkness (affliction by the Babylonians) and before your feet stumble on the dusky mountains (mountains of twilight which cast a gloomy shadow over any traveler), and while you are hoping for light he makes it into gloom.
v 17…But if you will not listen to it, my soul (Jeremiah’s) will sob in secret for such pride (He loved his people, but he would weep in private); and my eyes will weep bitterly and flow down with tears, because the flock of the Lord has been taken captive.
v 18…Say to the king (Yehoiachin) and the queen mother (Neshusta who was the Givorah or “great lady.” In Judah the mother of the king was the queen, not a wife. In the northern kingdom they followed the ways of the nations-see the book “Ancient Israel” by Roland Devaux, p. 117-119), take a lowly seat (humble yourself), for your beautiful crown has come down from your head (stripped of power).
v 19…The cities of the Negev (south) have been locked up (captured), and there is no one to open them (no inhabitants left); all Judah has been carried into exile, wholly carried into exile (completely).
v 20…”Lift up your eyes (the king and rulers) and see those coming from the north (what’s coming from Babylon). Where is the flock that was given you (the people), your beautiful sheep?
v 21…What will you say when he appoints over you (visits the king)-and you yourself had taught them (invited them to come and plunder them like Ahaz and Hezekiah did)-former companions (allies like Babylon) to be head (rosh) over you? Will not the pangs take hold of you, like a woman in childbirth (sudden calamity and pain-Yehovah is giving them into the hands of Babylon)?
v 22…And if you say in your heart (intentions, desires), ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the magnitude of your iniquity and your skirts have been removed, and your heels (feet) have been exposed (taken captive).
v 23…Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots (no, it is impossible, it is their nature)? Then you can do good who are accustomed to do evil (no, they were naturally sinners, obstinate and there was no hope for them)?
v 24…Therefore I will scatter them like drifting straw (stubble which is blown away) to the desert wind.
v 25…This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me,” declares the Lord, “because you have forgotten me and trusted in falsehood (idols, false alliances, false prophets, etc).
v 26…So I myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face (sin exposed), that your shame may be seen.
v 27…As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, the lewdness of your prostitution on the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations (their idolatries of various kinds, done everywhere and in various ways, along with perverse sexual sins). Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean (this shows us that though it was difficult, it was not impossible for these leopards to change their spots. It would be seventy years but Judah will be cleansed and in repentance. They would never go back into idolatry like this again)?”