Jeremiah 13:1-14

A linen belt

1 The Lord said to me, ‘Go and buy a linen belt. Tie it around your body. But do not put it into water.’ 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord had told me to do. I tied it around me.

13:1The belt was a piece of cloth that would cover the lower part of a man's body and the top of his legs.

3 The Lord spoke to me again. 4 He said, ‘Take the belt that you bought and you are now wearing. Take it now to Perath. Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.’ 5 So I went to Perath. I hid it there, as the Lord had commanded me to do.

13:5‘Perath’ may have been a place near Jeremiah's home town of Anathoth. Or it may have been another name for the Euphrates River, which was more than 1,000 kilometres away.

6 Many days after that, the Lord said to me, ‘Now go to Perath again. Get the belt that I told you to hide there.’ 7 So I went back to Perath. I dug out the belt from the place where I had hidden it. But it had become spoiled. I could not use it any more.

8 Then the Lord said to me, 9 ‘I, the Lord, tell you this: See what happened to your belt. Now I will destroy everything that the people of Judah and Jerusalem are proud of. 10 Those wicked people refuse to listen to my words. They do whatever they want to do. They are too proud to change. They serve other gods and they worship them. Now they will become as useless as this linen belt. 11 I tell you this: My people should have been like a belt for me. I held all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah very near to me. I chose them to be my special people. They should have respected me and given me honour so that people would praise me. But they refused to obey me.

12 You must tell them, “The Lord, Israel's God, says this: People make wine bottles so that they can fill them with wine.” They may answer, “We know that is why people make wine bottles. Everyone knows that!” 13 Then tell them, “Now I will fill all the people who live in this land. I will fill the kings from David's family, the prophets, the priests and the people who live in Jerusalem. Yes, I will fill them all with so much wine that they become drunk! 14 I will knock them against each other, so that they break like bottles. I will punish everyone, parents and their children. I will not be sorry for them and I will not be kind to them. I will destroy them, and nothing can stop me.” That is what the Lord says.’