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A Linen Belt

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time:v “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Peratha w and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.x

Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pridey of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listenz to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their heartsa and go after other godsb to serve and worship them,c will be like this belt—completely useless!d 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renowne and praise and honor.f But they have not listened.’g


12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkennessh all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pityi or mercy or compassionj to keep me from destroyingk them.’ ”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,

do not be arrogant,

for the Lord has spoken.l

16 Give glorym to the Lord your God

before he brings the darkness,

before your feet stumblen

on the darkening hills.

You hope for light,

but he will turn it to utter darkness

and change it to deep gloom.o

17 If you do not listen,p

I will weep in secret

because of your pride;

my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,q

because the Lord’s flockr will be taken captive.s

18 Say to the kingt and to the queen mother,u

“Come down from your thrones,

for your glorious crownsv

will fall from your heads.”

19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,

and there will be no one to open them.

All Judahw will be carried into exile,

carried completely away.

20 Look up and see

those who are coming from the north.x

Where is the flocky that was entrusted to you,

the sheep of which you boasted?

21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you

those you cultivated as your special allies?z

Will not pain grip you

like that of a woman in labor?a

22 And if you ask yourself,

“Why has this happened to me?”b

it is because of your many sinsc

that your skirts have been torn offd

and your body mistreated.e

23 Can an Ethiopianb change his skin

or a leopard its spots?

Neither can you do good

who are accustomed to doing evil.f

24 “I will scatter you like chaffg

driven by the desert wind.h

25 This is your lot,

the portioni I have decreed for you,”

declares the Lord,

“because you have forgottenj me

and trusted in false gods.k

26 I will pull up your skirts over your face

that your shame may be seenl

27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,

your shameless prostitution!m

I have seen your detestable acts

on the hills and in the fields.n

Woe to you, Jerusalem!

How long will you be unclean?”o


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