Jeremiah 13:1-14

A belt that someone has made from cloth

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

3 The Lord spoke to me again. 4 ‘Take the belt that you bought. You are now wearing it. Take it to the River Euphrates and hide it in a hole in the rocks.’ 5 So I went. And I hid it at the River Euphrates as the Lord had said to me.

6 Many days after that, the Lord said to me, ‘Now go to the River Euphrates. Get the belt that I sent you to hide there.’ 7 So I went to the River Euphrates, to the place where I had hidden the belt. I dug it up. But it was dirty and I could not use it.

8 Then the Lord spoke to me.

9 ‘I will destroy everything that has any value in Judah and in Jerusalem. I will make it like this belt. 10 These people are very bad. They refuse to listen to my words. They do what they want. They work for other gods and they worship them,’ he said. ‘They will be like this linen belt. Nobody will be able to use them for anything. 11 My people are like a belt. I tied all Israel's people and all Judah's people round myself. They should have been my people and they should have brought honour and praise to me. But they have not listened to me.’

12 ‘You must speak to them. Say, “ ‘People should fill with wine every skin of a goat that is to keep wine in,’ says the Lord.” They may answer, “We know that.” 13 Then say to them, “I will make all the people who live in this country become like drunks. All the kings, prophets, priests and people who live in Jerusalem will be like drunks. 14 I will hit them against each other like jars, whether they are old or young”, says the Lord. “I will not be sorry for them and I will not be kind to them. I will destroy them, and nothing can stop me.” ’