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This chapter contains an entire prophecy. Under the symbol of a linen
girdle, left to rol near Euphrales, it foretells the manner in which the glory of the Jews shall be marred during their long captivity in Chaldea.
I THUS saith the Lord unto me, Go and get thee a linen
1 girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water ; do not wash it, let it be soiled ; to intimate how the Jews had de2 filed themselves. So I got a girdle according to the word of the 3 LORD, and put [it] on my loins. And the word of the LORD 4 came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that
thou hast got, which [is] upon thy loins, and arise, go to Eu5 phrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went, and 6 hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. And it
came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me,
Arise, go to Euphrates and take the girdle from thence, which 7 I commanded thee to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates,
and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.
All this was transacted in a vision, the more strongly lo impress 8 the mind of the prophet and the people. Then the word of the 9 LORD came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, After this
manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem : they shall be carried captive beyond Euphrates, and
all their finery shall be defaced ; thus will I bring down the pride 10 of the countrymen and the citizens. This evil people, which re
fuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship
them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I
caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD ; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory : but they would not hear ; they have been my peculiar people, have entered into covenant with me ; they have been honoured with my name, and a special relation to me, that I might be glorified by their showing forth my truth and praise to the world : but by their wickedness they are no more a glory to me, than a rotten, dirty
girdle is to him that weareth it. 12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word ; Thus
saith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine, (probably a common proverb) and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine ? they will make a jest of it, saying, Who does not know this ?
But the prophet is ordered to give them a terrible explanation of it. 13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold,
I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit VOL. V.
upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness; i will turn 14 them all to confusion, and put them to their wits end. And I will
d Ish them one against another like bottles, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD : I will not pity, nor spare,
nor have mercy, but destroy them. 15 Hear ye, and give ear ; be not proud, so as to despise what is 16 said so you : for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the
LORD your God, by confession, humilintion, and returning to him, before he cause darkness, that is, trouble and great affliction, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, when flying over the mountains by night from the sword of the Chaldeans, and,
while ye look for light, and wish for the morning, he turn it into 17 the shadow of death. [and] make [it] gross darkness. But if ye
will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for (your) pride ; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears,
because the LORD's flock is carried away captive, for that will be 18 the end of your pride and obstinacy. Say unto the king and to
the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down as mourners : for your principalities shall come down, (even] the crown of your glory; or, he will cause to fall from your heads the diadem of your glory :
probably referring to Jehoiakim and his mother, (2 Kings xxiv. 19 12.) who were carried captive by the king of Babylon. The cities
of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open [them :) Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it snail be wholly
carried away captive ; all the cilies shall be besicged or forsaken. 20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north,
that is, the Chaldeans, ( this is addressed to the king and gover. nors :) where. [is] the flock (that) was given thee to take care
of, thy beautiful flock, which ihou hast neglected ? wiat is become 21 of them ? 10 what state are they reduced? What wilt thou say
when he, that is, God, shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them (to be] captains, (and) as chief over thee; thy regard to
thy neighbours, shall be thy ruin : shall not sorrows take thee, as 22 a woman in travail ? And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore
come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine ini. quity are thy skirts discovered, [and] thy heels made bare ; for
This thou art carried away caprive, stripped of thy upper garments, 23 and barefoot. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard
his spots ? (then) may ye also do good, that are accustomed to
do evil ; 80 accustomed to it that it is almost impossible to reclaim 24 you, there is no prospect of it. Therefore will I scatter them as
the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This (is) thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith
the LORD ; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in false
hood ; in allies that deceived thee, and disappointed thy presumpia 26 tuous hopes. Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face,
that thy shame may appear ; an allusion to the way of punishing 27 lexod women, by publicly exposing them. I have seen thine adul
teries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, [and]
thine abominations on the hills in the fields ; I have seen thy idolatry, which is spiritual lewdness. Wo unto thee, ( Jerusalem ! wilt thou not be made clean ? when [shall it) once [be ?] I will yet wait a while to see what effect these threaienings und er. prostulations will have upon thee.
1. W E here see how much God is displeased with pride,
whatever it be that we are proud of : and especially with those who think themselves too wise and good to be taught. God takes notice of the degrees of pride in the heart, though it do not appear to men. He observes the pride of the countrymen, and the greater pride of the citizens. Those who live in populous, wealthy places, are more apt to be proud of their fine houses, furniture, and entertainments, than those who live in the country. But it is a sin that easily besets all ; and is particularly abominable in God's professing people. He has many ways of marring it and bringing it down. Let us therefore examine our own hearts, guard against self conceit, and earnestly pray that we may be clothed with humility.
2. The prospect of approaching evils should lead us to humiliation and amendment of what is amiss, 7. 16. Pride makes men secure and confident ; but darkness is before them. Our afflictions, disappointments, and days of darkness may be many ; at least death is before us; and on these dark mountains our feet may stumble. To prevent this, let us give glory to God by confession and reformation, and living near to him. It becomes the greatest persons to do this, even kings and queens ; else all their glory and lustre will end in everlasting darkness ; while the humble and pious shall be exalted, and partake of the inheritance of the saints in light.
3. How tenderly ought God's people, and especially his ministers, to be affected with the obstinacy and impenitence of others, v. 17. It should grieve us to behold transgressors, especially those who have enjoyed many and great religious advantages. Ministers, when they see their labours unsuccessful, often weep in secret, and pour out their prayers and tears to God on this account. But God bottles their tears ; and wo be to those whose pride and obstinacy have occasioned them..
4. Let our minds be impressed with the great difficulty of conque ring bad habits. It is a thing next to impossible. Hardly any principles of religion, any motives, either of fear or shame, will work upon those who are accustomed to do evil. Fact and experience prove this. Let us be thankful if through the pious care of parents, and divine grace, we have never contracted them. Young people should above all things guard against them; and parents watch over their children to prevent them. Nothing is impossible to divine grace and power. Let those therefore who are under the power of them, earnestly strive and pray against them, and do it without delay, lest the disease should become incurable.
This chapter forelells a drought, which would greatly distress Judea ;
the prophet makes confession and supplication for pardon ; God declares his purpose to punish ; and the firophet bewails their misery.
THE word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning 2 T the dearth, the scarcity occasioned by want of rain. Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish, that is, the cities and their inhabitants; they are black unto the ground ; they look black and ghastly, and throw themselves on the ground in grief and
despair; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up, even the capita! 3 city groans under it. And their nobles have sent their little
ones to the waters, being forced to part with their servants, they send their children for water : they came to the pits, [and] found
no water ; they returned with their vessels empty ; they were 4 ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads. Because
the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the 5 ploughmen were ashamed, they covered their heads. Yea, the
hind also calved in the field, and forsook sit, because there was 6 no grass for herself to eat, that she might nourish her young. And
the wild asses did stand in the high places for air to cool them, they snuffed up the wind like dragons, or, like crocodiles, suho frequently put up their heads above the water 10 breathe ; their eyes did fail, they looked till they were weary with looking, because
[there was) no grass. 7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou [it]
for thy name's sake, interpose for us : for, or rather, though our 8 backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee. Othe
hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldst thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man, (that) turneth aside to tarry for a night ? thou hast promised to dwell with us : and dost thou regard is no more than a traveller doth a
place in which he lodges for a night, and never expects 10 &CC il 9 any more ? Why shouldst thou be as a man astonied through fear
and surprise, as a mighty man [that] cannot save, who hath lost his wisdom and strength ? yet thou, O LORD, (art] in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name ; leave us not. To which Gou
replies ; 10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved
to wander, they have not refrained their feet from evil Wurs,
therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now rememe 11 ber their iniquity, and visit their sins. Then said the LORD UTI.
to me, Pray not for this people for (their] good ; do not car 12 that your intercessions will prevail. When they fast, I will
hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an en tion, I will not accept them; though they offer whole burnt or ings, and bread offerings, (which were then peculiarly valuauty yet I will not hear : but I will consume them by the sword,
by the famine, and by the pestilence ; the, pestilence and the
sword shall be added to the famine already among them. 13 Then said I, as some excuse for them, Ah, Lord God, behold,
the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither
shall ye have famine ; but I will give you assured peace in this 14 place. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy
lies in my name : I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them : they prophesy unto you a false
vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of 15 their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the
prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land ; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed, which, though
they call themselves prophets, they cannot see to be coming upon 16 themselves. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be
cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword ; and they shall have none to bury them; them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters : for I will pour their
wickedness upon them. 17 Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them ; Let mine
eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease; God commands me to lament your calamities : for the virgin
daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a 18 very grievous blow.* If I go forth into the field, then behold
the slain with the sword ! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine ! yea, both the prophet and
the priest go about into a land that they know not; the false 19 prophets and wicked priests shall be carried captive. Hast thou
utterly rejected Judah ? hath thy soul loathed Zion ? why hast thou smitten us, and (there is) no healing for us? we looked
for peace, and (there is) no good : and for the time of healing, 20 and behold trouble! We acknowledge, O LORD, our wicked
ness, [and] the iniquity of our fathers : for we have sinned 21 against thee; we plead guilty. Nevertheless, Do not abhor (us,]
for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory,
thy temple : remember, break not thy covenant with us; do not 22 annul or cut off our relation to thee. Are there (any] among
the vanities of the gentiles that can cause rain ? or can the heavens give showers ? idols or second causes cannot relieve us ; but (art) not thou he, O Lord our God ? therefore we will wait upon thee : for thou hast made all these (things.)
X ANT of rain in its season, is a great judgment, with
VV which our hearts ought to be deeply affected. God commands the prophet to lament it. Let us own the hand of God whenever we see or feel any degree of it. It is he who maketh the
* Jerusalem is called a virgin daughter, or city, because it had never been burned or de stroycu.