Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
The Humiliation of Judah's Pride. - The first section of this chapter contains a symbolical action which sets forth the corruptness of Judah (Jeremiah 13:1-11), and shows in figurative language how the Lord will bring Judah's haughtiness to nothing (Jeremiah 13:12-14). Upon the back of this comes the warning to repent, and the threatening addressed to the king and queen, that the crown shall fall from their head, that Judah shall be carried captive, and Jerusalem dishonoured, because of their disgraceful idolatry (Jeremiah 13:15-27).
Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water.The spoilt girdle. - Jeremiah 13:1. "Thus spake Jahveh unto me: Go and buy thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, but into the water thou shalt not bring it. Jeremiah 13:2. So I bought the girdle, according to the word of Jahveh, and put it upon my loins, Jeremiah 13:3. Then came the word of Jahveh to me the second time, saying: Jeremiah 13:4. Take the girdle which thou hast bought, which is upon thy loins, and arise, and go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock. Jeremiah 13:5. So I went and hid it, as Jahveh had commanded me. Jeremiah 13:6. And it came to pass after many days, that Jahveh said unto me: Arise, go to the Euphrates, and bring thence the girdle which I commanded thee to hide there. Jeremiah 13:7. And I went to the Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it; and, behold, the girdle was marred, was good for nothing. Jeremiah 13:8. And the word of Jahveh came to me, saying: Jeremiah 13:9. Thus hath Jahveh said, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 13:10. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them and to worship them, it shall be as this girdle which is good for nothing. Jeremiah 13:11. For as the girdle cleaves 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 Jahveh; that it might be to me for a people and for a name, for a praise and for an ornament; but they hearkened not."
With regard to the symbolical action imposed on the prophet and performed by him, the question arises, whether the thing took place in outward reality, or was only an occurrence in the spirit, in the inward vision. The first view seems to be supported by the wording of the passage, namely, the twice repeated account of the prophet's journey to the Phrat on the strength of a twice repeated divine command. But on the other hand, it has been found very improbable that "Jeremiah should twice have made a journey to the Euphrates, merely to prove that a linen girdle, if it lie long in the damp, becomes spoilt, a thing he could have done much nearer home, and which besides everybody knew without experiment" (Graf.). On this ground Ros., Graf, etc., hold the matter for a parable or an allegorical tale, But this view depends for support on the erroneous assumption that the specification of the Euphrates is of no kind of importance for the matter in hand; whereas the contrary may be gathered from the four times repeated mention of the place. Nor is anything proved against the real performance of God's command by the remark, that the journey thither and back on both occasions is spoken of as if it were a mere matter of crossing a field. The Bible writers are wont to set forth such external matters in no very circumstantial way. And the great distance of the Euphrates - about 250 miles - gives us no sufficient reason for departing from the narrative as we have it before us, pointing as it does to a literal and real carrying out of God's command, and to relegate the matter to the inward region of spiritual vision, or to take the narrative for an allegorical tale. - Still less reason is to be found in arbitrary interpretations of the name, such as, after Bochart's example, have been attempted by Ven., Hitz., and Ew. The assertion that the Euphrates is called נהר פּרת everywhere else, including Jeremiah 46:2, Jeremiah 46:6,Jeremiah 46:10, loses its claim to conclusiveness from the fact that the prefaced rhn is omitted in Genesis 2:14; Jeremiah 51:63. And even Ew. observes, that "fifty years later a prophet understood the word of the Euphrates at Jeremiah 51:63." Now even if Jeremiah 51:63 had been written by another prophet, and fifty years later (which is not the case, see on Jeremiah 50ff.), the authority of this prophet would suffice to prove every other interpretation erroneous; even although the other attempts at interpretation had been more than the merest fancies. Ew. remarks, "It is most amazing that recent scholars (Hitz. with Ven. and Dahl.) could seriously come to adopt the conceit that פּרת is one and the same with אפּרת (Genesis 48:7), and so with Bethlehem;" and what he says is doubly relevant to his own rendering. פּרת, he says, is either to be understood like Arab. frt, of fresh water in general, or like frdt, a place near the water, a crevice opening from the water into the land - interpretations so far fetched as to require no serious refutation.
More important than the question as to the formal nature of the emblematical action is that regarding its meaning; on which the views of commentators are as much divided. from the interpretation in Jeremiah 13:9-11 thus much is clear, that the girdle is the emblem of Israel, and that the prophet, in putting on and wearing this girdle, illustrates the relation of God to the folk of His covenant (Israel and Judah). The further significance of the emblem is suggested by the several moments of the action. The girdle does not merely belong to a man's adornment, but is that part of his clothing which he must put on when about to undertake any laborious piece of work. The prophet is to buy and put on a linen girdle. פּשׁתּים, linen, was the material of the priests' raiment, Ezekiel 44:17., which in Exodus 28:40; Exodus 39:27. is called שׁשׁ, white byssus, or בּד, linen. The priest's girdle was not, however, white, but woven parti-coloured, after the four colours of the curtains of the sanctuary, Exodus 28:40; Exodus 39:29. Wool (צמר) is in Ezekiel 44:18 expressly excluded, because it causes the body to sweat. The linen girdle points, therefore, to the priestly character of Israel, called to be a holy people, a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6). "The purchased white girdle of linen, a man's pride and adornment, is the people bought out of Egypt, yet in its innocence as it was when the Lord bound it to Himself with the bands of love" (Umbr.). The prohibition that follows, "into water thou shalt not bring it," is variously interpreted. Chr. B. Mich. says: forte ne madefiat et facilius dein computrescat; to the same effect Dahl., Ew., Umbr., Graf: to keep it safe from the hurtful effects of damp. A view which refutes itself; since washing does no kind of harm to the linen girdle, but rather makes it again as good as new. Thus to the point writes Ng., remarking justly at the same time, that the command not to bring the girdle into the water plainly implies that the prophet would have washed it when it had become soiled. This was not to be. The girdle was to remain dirty, and as such to be carried to the Euphrates, in order that, as Ros. and Maur. observed, it might symbolize sordes quas contraxerit populus in dies majores, mores populi magis magisque lapsi, and that the carrying of the soiled girdle to the Euphrates might set forth before the eyes of the people what awaited it, after it had long been borne by God covered with the filth of its sins. - The just appreciation of this prohibition leads us easily to the true meaning of the command in Jeremiah 13:4, to bring the girdle that was on his loins to the Euphrates, and there to conceal it in a cleft in the rock, where it decays. But it is signifies, as Chr. B. Mich., following Jerome, observes, populi Judaici apud Chaldaeos citra Euphratem captivitas et exilium. Graf has objected: "The corruptness of Israel was not a consequence of the Babylonish captivity; the latter, indeed, came about in consequence of the existing corruptness." But this objection stands and falls with the amphibolia of the word corruptness, decay. Israel was, indeed, morally decayed before the exile; but the mouldering of the girdle in the earth by the Euphrates signifies not the moral but the physical decay of the covenant people, which, again, was a result of the moral decay of the period during which God had, in His long-suffering, borne the people notwithstanding their sins. Wholly erroneous is the view adopted by Gr. from Umbr.: the girdle decayed by the water is the sin-stained people which, intriguing with the foreign gods, had in its pride cast itself loose from its God, and had for long imagined itself secure under the protection of the gods of Chaldea. The hiding of the girdle in the crevice of a rock by the banks of the Euphrates would have been the most unsuitable emblem conceivable for representing the moral corruption of the people. Had the girdle, which God makes to decay by the Euphrates, loosed itself from him and imagined it could conceal itself in a foreign land? as Umbr. puts the case. According to the declaration, Jeremiah 13:9, God will mar the great pride of Judah and Jerusalem, even as the girdle had been marred, which had at His command been carried to the Euphrates and hid there. The carrying of the girdle to the Euphrates is an act proceeding from God, by which Israel is marred; the intriguing of Israel with strange gods in the land of Canaan was an act of Israel's own, against the will of God.
So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins.
And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying,
Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock.
So I went, and 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 I commanded thee to hide there.After the course of many days - these are the seventy years of the captivity - the prophet is to fetch the girdle again. He went, digged (חפר, whence we see that the hiding in the cleft of the rock was a burying in the rocky soil of the Euphrates bank), and found the girdle marred, fit for nothing. These words correspond to the effect which the exile was designed to have, which it has had, on the wicked, idolatrous race. The ungodly should as Moses' law, Leviticus 26:36, Leviticus 26:39, declared, perish in the land of their enemies; the land of their enemies will devour them, and they that remain shall pine or moulder away in their iniquities and in the iniquities of their fathers. This mouldering (ימּקּוּ) is well reproduced in the marring (נשׁחת) of the girdle. It is no contradiction to this, that a part of the people will be rescued from the captivity and brought back to the land of their fathers. For although the girdle which the prophet had put on his loins symbolized the people at large, yet the decay of the same at the Euphrates sets forth only the physical decay of the ungodly part of the people, as Jeremiah 13:10 intimates in clear words: "This evil people that refuses to hear the word of the Lord, etc., shall be as this girdle." The Lord will mar the גּאון of Judah and Jerusalem. The word means highness in both a good and in an evil sense, glory and self-glory. Here it is used with the latter force. This is shown both by the context, and by a comparison of the passage Leviticus 26:19, that God will break the נּאון of the people by sore judgments, which is the foundation of the present Jeremiah 13:9. - In Jeremiah 13:11 the meaning of the girdle is given, in order to explain the threatening in Jeremiah 13:9 and Jeremiah 13:10. As the girdle lies on the loins of a man, so the Lord hath laid Israel on Himself, that it may be to Him for a people and for a praise, for a glory and an adornment, inasmuch as He designed to set it above all other nations and to make it very glorious; cf. Deuteronomy 26:19, whither these words point back.
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.
Then the word of the 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.
This evil people, which refuse 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.
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.
Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?How the Lord will destroy His degenerate people, and how they may yet escape the impending ruin. - Jeremiah 13:12. "And speak unto them this word: Thus hath Jahveh the God of Israel said, Every jar is filled with wine. And when they say to thee, Know we not that every jar is filled with wine? Jeremiah 13:13. Then say to them: Thus hath Jahve said: Behold, I fill all inhabitants of this land - the kings that sit for David upon his throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem - with drunkenness, Jeremiah 13:14. And dash them one against another, the fathers and the sons together, saith Jahve; I will not spare, nor pity, nor have mercy, not to destroy them. - Jeremiah 13:15. Hear ye and give ear! Be not proud, for Jahveh speaketh. Jeremiah 13:16. Give to Jahveh, your God, honour, ere He bring darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of dusk, and ye look for light, but He turn it into the shadow of death and make it darkness. Jeremiah 13:17. But if ye hear it not, then in concealment shall my soul weep for the pride, and weep and run down shall mine eye with tears, because the flock of Jahve is carried away captive."
To give emphasis to the threatening conveyed in the symbolical action, the kind and manner of the destruction awaiting them is forcibly set before the various ranks in Judah and Jerusalem by the interpretation, in Jeremiah 13:12-14, of a proverbial saying and the application of it to them. The circumstantial way in which the figurative saying is brought in in Jeremiah 13:12, is designed to call attention to its import. נבל, an earthenware vessel, especially the wine jar (cf. Isaiah 30:24; Lamentations 4:2), is here the emblem of man; cf. Jeremiah 18:6; Isaiah 29:16. We must not, as Ng. does, suppose the similar to be used because such jars are an excellent emblem of that carnal aristocratic pride which lacked all substantial merit, by reason of their being of bulging shape, hollow within and without solidity, and of fragile material besides. No stress is laid on the bulging form and hollowness of the jars, but only on their fulness with wine and their brittleness. Nor can aristocratic haughtiness be predicated of all the inhabitants of the land. The saying: Every jar is filled with wine, seemed so plain and natural, that those addressed answer: Of that we are well aware. "The answer is that of the psychical man, who dreams of no deeper sense" (Hitz.). Just this very answer gives the prophet occasion to expound the deeper meaning of this word of God's. As one fills all wine jars, so must all inhabitants of the land be filled by God with wine of intoxication. Drunkenness is the effect of the intoxicating wine of God's wrath, Psalm 60:5. This wine Jahveh will give them (cf. Jeremiah 25:15; Isaiah 51:17, etc.), so that, filled with drunken frenzy, they shall helplessly destroy one another. This spirit will seize upon all ranks: upon the kings who sit upon the throne of David, not merely him who was reigning at the time; upon the priests and prophets as leaders of the people; and upon all inhabitants of Jerusalem, the metropolis, the spirit and temper of which exercises an unlimited influence upon the temper and destiny of the kingdom at large. I dash them one against the other, as jars are shivered when knocked together. Here Hitz. finds a foreshadowing of civil war, by which they should exterminate one another. Jeremiah was indeed thinking of the staggering against one another of drunken men, but in "dash them," etc., adhered simply to the figure of jars or pots. But what can be meant by the shivering of pots knocked together, other than mutual destruction? The kingdom of Judah did not indeed fall by civil war; but who can deny that the fury of the various factions in Judah and Jerusalem did really contribute to the fall of the realm? The shattering of the pots does not mean directly civil war; it is given as the result of the drunkenness of the inhabitants, under which they, no longer capable of self-control, dash against and so destroy one another. But besides, the breaking of jars reminds us of the stratagem of Gideon and his 300 warriors, who, by the sound of trumpets and the smashing of jars, threw the whole Midianite camp into such panic, that these foes turned their swords against one another and fled in wild confusion: Judges 7:19., cf. too 1 Samuel 14:20. Thus shall Judah be broken without mercy or pity. To increase the emphasis, there is a cumulation of expressions, as in Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 15:5, cf. Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 7:4, Ezekiel 7:9, etc.
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 upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.
And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.With this threatening the prophet couples a solemn exhortation not to leave the word of the Lord unheeded in their pride, but to give God the glory, ere judgment fall on them. To give God the glory is, in this connection, to acknowledge His glory by confession of apostasy from Him and by returning to Him in sincere repentance; cf. Joshua 7:19; Malachi 2:2. "Your God," who has attested Himself to you as God. The Hiph. יחשׁך is not used intransitively, either here or in Psalm 139:12, but transitively: before He brings or makes darkness; cf. Amos 8:9. Mountains of dusk, i.e., mountains shrouded in dusk, are the emblem of unseen stumbling-blocks, on which one stumbles and falls. Light and darkness are well-known emblems of prosperity and adversity, welfare and misery. The suffix in שׂמהּ goes with אור, which is construed feminine here as in Job 36:32. Shadow of death equals deep darkness; ערפל, cloudy night, i.e., dark night. The Chet. ישׁית is imperf., and to be read ישׁית; the Keri ושׁית is uncalled for and incorrect.
Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into 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.Knowing their obstinacy, the prophet adds: if ye hear it (what I have declared to you) not, my soul shall weep. In the concealment, quo secedere lugentes amant, ut impensius flere possint (Chr. B. Mich.). For the pride, sc. in which ye persist. With tears mine eye shall run down because the flock of Jahveh, i.e., the people of God (cf. Zechariah 10:3), is carried away into captivity (perfect. proph).
Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.The fall of the kingdom, the captivity of Judah, with upbraidings against Jerusalem for her grievous guilt in the matter of idolatry. - Jeremiah 13:18. "Say unto the king and to the sovereign lady: Sit you low down, for from your heads falls the crown of your glory. Jeremiah 13:19. The cities of the south are shut and no man openeth; Judah is carried away captive all of it, wholly carried away captive. Jeremiah 13:20. Lift up your eyes and behold them that come from midnight! Where is the flock that was given thee, thy glorious flock? Jeremiah 13:21. What wilt thou say, if He set over thee those whom thou hast accustomed to thee as familiar friends, for a head? Shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail? Jeremiah 13:22. And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore cometh this upon me? for the plenty of thine iniquity are thy skirts uncovered, thy heels abused. Jeremiah 13:23. Can an Ethiopian change his skin, and a leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:24. Therefore will I scatter them like chaff that flies before the wind of the wilderness. Jeremiah 13:25. This is thy lot, thine apportioned inheritance from me, because thou hast forgotten me and trustedst in falsehood. Jeremiah 13:26. Therefore will I turn thy skirts over thy face, that thy shame be seen. Jeremiah 13:27. Thine adultery and thy neighing, the crime of thy whoredom upon the ills, in the fields, I have seen thine abominations. Woe unto thee, Jerusalem! thou shalt not be made clean after how long a time yet!"
From Jeremiah 13:18 on the prophet's discourse is addressed to the king and the queen-mother. The latter as such exercised great influence on the government, and is in the Books of Kings mentioned alongside of almost all the reigning kings (cf. 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 10:13, etc.); so that we are not necessarily led to think of Jechoniah and his mother in especial. To them he proclaims the loss of the crown and the captivity of Judah. Set yourselves low down (cf. Gesen. 142, 3, b), i.e., descend from the throne; not in order to turn aside the threatening danger by humiliation, but, as the reason that follows show, because the kingdom is passing from you. For fallen is מראשׁתיכם, your head-gear, lit., what is about or on your head (elsewhere pointed מראשׁות, 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 26:7), namely, your splendid crown. The perf. here is prophetic. The crown falls when the king loses country and kingship. This is put expressly in Jeremiah 13:19. The meaning of the first half of the verse, which is variously taken, may be gathered from the second. In the latter the complete deportation of Judah is spoken of as an accomplished fact, because it is as sure to happen as if it had taken place already. Accordingly the first clause cannot bespeak expectation merely, or be understood, as it is by Grotius, as meaning that Judah need hope for no help from Egypt. This interpretation is irreconcilable with "the cities of the south." "The south" is the south country of Judah, cf. Joshua 10:40; Genesis 13:1, etc., and is not to be taken according to the prophetic use of "king of the south," Daniel 11:5, Daniel 11:9. The shutting of the cities is not to be taken, with Jerome, as siege by the enemy, as in Joshua 6:1. There the closedness is otherwise illustrated: No man was going out or in; here, on the other hand, it is: No man openeth. "Shut" is to be explained according to Isaiah 24:10 : the cities are shut up by reason of ruins which block up the entrances to them; and in them is none that can open, because all Judah is utterly carried away. The cities of the south are mentioned, not because the enemy, avoiding the capital, had first brought the southern part of the land under his power, as Sennacherib had once advanced against Jerusalem from the south, 2 Kings 18:13., Jeremiah 19:8 (Graf, Ng., etc.), but because they were the part of the kingdom most remote for an enemy approaching from the north; so that when they were taken, the land was reduced and the captivity of all Judah accomplished. For the form הגלת see Ew. 194, a, Ges. 75, Rem. 1. שׁלומים is adverbial accusative: in entirety, like מישׁרים, Psalm 58:2, etc. For this cf. גּלוּת, Amos 1:6, Amos 1:9.
The announcement of captivity is carried on in Jeremiah 13:20, where we have first an account of the impression which the carrying away captive will produce upon Jerusalem (Jeremiah 13:20 and Jeremiah 13:21), and next a statement of the cause of that judgment (Jeremiah 13:22-27). In שׂאי and ראי a feminine is addressed, and, as appears from the suffix in עיניכם, one which is collective. The same holds good of the following verses on to Jeremiah 13:27, where Jerusalem is named, doubtless the inhabitants of it, personified as the daughter of Zion - a frequent case. Ng. is wrong in supposing that the feminines in Jeremiah 13:20 are called for by the previously mentioned queen-mother, that Jeremiah 13:20-22 are still addressed to her, and that not till Jeremiah 13:23 is there a transition from her in the address to the nation taken collectively and regarded as the mother of the country. The contents of Jeremiah 13:20 do not tally with Ng.'s view; for the queen-mother was not the reigning sovereign, so that the inhabitants of the land could have been called her flock, however great was the influence she might exercise upon the king. The mention of foes coming from the north, and the question coupled therewith: Where is the flock? convey the thought that the flock is carried off by those enemies. The flock is the flock of Jahveh (Jeremiah 13:17), and, in virtue of God's choice of it, a herd of gloriousness. The relative clause: "that was given thee," implies that the person addressed is to be regarded as the shepherd or owner of the flock. This will not apply to the capital and its citizens; for the influence exerted by the capital in the country is not so great as to make it appear the shepherd or lord of the people. But the relative clause is in good keeping with the idea of the idea of the daughter of Zion, with which is readily associated that of ruler of land and people. It intimates the suffering that will be endured by the daughter of Zion when those who have been hitherto her paramours are set up as head over her. The verse is variously explained. The old transll. and comm. take פּקד על in the sense of visit, chastise; so too Chr. B. Mich. and Ros.; and Ew. besides, who alters the text acc. to the lxx, changing יפקד into the plural יפקדוּ. For this change there is no sufficient reason; and without such change, the signif. visit, punish, gives us no suitable sense. The phrase means also: to appoint or set over anybody; cf. e.g., Jeremiah 15:3. The subject can only be Jahveh. The words from ואתּ onwards form an adversative circumstantial clause: and yet thou hast accustomed them עליך, for אליך rof ,, to thee (cf. for למּד c. אל, Jeremiah 10:2). The connection of the words אלּפים לראשׁ depends upon the sig. assigned to אלּפים. Gesen. (thes.) and Ros. still adhere to the meaning taken by Luther, Vat., and many others, viz., principes, princes, taking for the sense of the whole: whom thou hast accustomed (trained) to be princes over thee. This word is indeed the technical term for the old Edomitish chieftains of clans, Genesis 36:15., and is applied as an archaic term by Zechariah 9:7 to the tribal princes of Judah; but it does not, as a general rule, mean prince, but familiar, friend, Ps. 655:14, Proverbs 16:28, Micah 7:5; cf. Jeremiah 11:19. This being the well-attested signification, it is, in the first place, not competent to render עליך over or against thee (adversus te, Jerome); and Hitz.'s exposition: thou hast instructed them to thy hurt, hast taught them a disposition hostile to thee, cannot be justified by usage. In the second place, אלפים cannot be attached to the principal clause, "set over thee," and joined with "for a head:" if He set over thee - as princes for a head; but it belongs to "hast accustomed," while only "for a head" goes with "if He set" (as de Wet., Umbr., Ng., etc., construe). The prophet means the heathen kings, for whose favour Judah had hitherto been intriguing, the Babylonians and Egyptians. There is no cogent reason for referring the words, as many comm. do, to the Babylonians alone. For the statement is quite general throughout; and, on the one hand, Judah had, from the days of Ahaz on, courted the alliance not of the Babylonians alone, but of the Egyptians too (cf. Jeremiah 2:18); and, on the other hand, after the death of Josiah, Judah had become subject to Egypt, and had had to endure the grievous domination of the Pharaohs, as Jeremiah had threatened, Jeremiah 2:16. If God deliver the daughter of Zion into the power of these her paramours, i.e., if she be subjected to their rule, then will grief and pain seize on her as on a woman in childbirth; cf. Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 22:23, etc. אשׁת לדה, woman of bearing; so here, only, elsewhere יולדה (cf. the passages cited); לדה is infin., as in Isaiah 37:3; 2 Kings 19:3; Hosea 9:11.
The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open them: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive.
Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?
What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?
And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.This will befall the daughter of Zion for her sore transgressions. Therefore will she be covered with scorn and shame. The manner of her dishonour, discovery of the skirts (here and esp. in Jeremiah 13:26), recalls Nahum 3:5, cf. Isaiah 47:3; Hosea 2:5. Chr. B. Mich. and others understand the violent treatment of the heels to be the loading of the feet with chains; but the mention of heels is not in keeping with this. Still less can the exposure of the heels by the upturning of the skirts be called maltreatment of the heels; nor can it be that, as Hitz. holds, the affront is simply specialized by the mention of the heels instead of the person. The thing can only mean, that the person will be driven forth into exile barefoot and with violence, perhaps under the rod; cf. Psalm 89:52.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.Judah will not escape this ignominious lot, since wickedness has so grown to be its nature, that it can as little cease therefrom and do good, as an Ethiopian can wash out the blackness of his skin, or a panther change it spots. The consequential clause introduced by גּם אתּם connects with the possibility suggested in, but denied by, the preceding question: if that could happen, then might even ye do good. The one thing is as impossible as the other. And so the Lord must scatter Judah among the heathen, like stubble swept away by the desert wind, lit., passing by with the desert wind. The desert wind is the strong east wind that blows from the Arabian Desert; see on Jeremiah 4:11.
Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.
This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.In Jeremiah 13:25 the discourse draws to a conclusion in such a way that, after a repetition of the manner in which Jerusalem prepares for herself the doom announced, we have again, in brief and condensed shape, the disgrace that is to befall her. This shall be thy lot. Hitz. renders מנת מדּיך: portion of thy garment, that is allotted for the swelling folds of thy garment (cf. Ruth. Jer 3:15; 2 Kings 4:39), on the ground that מד never means mensura, but garment only. This is, however, no conclusive argument; since so many words admit of two plural forms, so that מדּים might be formed from מדּה; and since so many are found in the singular in the forms of both genders, so that, alongside of מדּה, מד might also be used in the sense of mensura; especially as both the signiff. measure and garment are derived from the same root meaning of מדד. We therefore adhere to the usual rendering, portio mensurae tuae, the share portioned out to thee. אשׁר, causal, because. Trusted in falsehood, i.e., both in delusive promises (Jeremiah 7:4, Jeremiah 7:8) and in the help of beingless gods (Jeremiah 16:19). - In the וגם־אני lies the force of reciprocation: because thou hast forgotten me, etc., I too have taken means to make retribution on your unthankfulness (Calv.). The threatening of this verse is word for word from Nahum 3:5. - For her lewd idolatry Jerusalem shall be carried off like a harlot amid mockery and disgrace. In Jeremiah 13:27 the language is cumulative, to lay as great stress as possible on Jerusalem's idolatrous ongoings. Thy lewd neighing, i.e., thy ardent longing for and running after strange gods; cf. Jeremiah 5:8; Jeremiah 2:24. זמּה, as in Ezekiel 16:27; Ezekiel 22:9, etc., of the crime of uncleanness, see on Leviticus 18:17. The three words are accusatives dependent on ראיתי, though separated from it by the specification of place, and therefore summed up again in "thine abominations." The addition: in the field, after "upon the hills," is meant to make more prominent the publicity of the idolatrous work. The concluding sentence: thou shalt not become clean for how long a time yet, is not to be regarded as contradictory of Jeremiah 13:23, which affirms that the people is beyond the reach of reformation; Jeremiah 13:23 is not a hyperbolical statement, reduced within its true limits here. What is said in Jeremiah 13:23 is true of the present generation, which cleaves immoveably to wickedness. It does not exclude the possibility of a future reform on the part of the people, a purification of it from idolatry. Only this cannot be attained for a long time, until after sore and long-lasting, purifying judgments. Cf. Jeremiah 12:14., Jeremiah 3:18.
Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear.
I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?