Jeremiah 13:10
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.
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(10) Imagination.—Better, as before, stubbornness.

Shall even be as this girdle.—The same thought is reproduced in the imagery of the potter’s vessel in Jeremiah 18:4. On the other hand there is a partial reversal of the sentence in Jeremiah 24:5, where the “good figs” represent the exiles who learnt repentance from their sufferings, and the “bad” those who still remained at Jerusalem under Zedekiah.

Which is good for nothing.—Better, profitable for nothing, the Hebrew verse being the same as in Jeremiah 13:7.

13:1-11 It was usual with the prophets to teach by signs. And we have the explanation, ver. 9-11. The people of Israel had been to God as this girdle. He caused them to cleave to him by the law he gave them, the prophets he sent among them, and the favours he showed them. They had by their idolatries and sins buried themselves in foreign earth, mingled among the nations, and were so corrupted that they were good for nothing. If we are proud of learning, power, and outward privileges, it is just with God to wither them. The minds of men should be awakened to a sense of their guilt and danger; yet nothing will be effectual without the influences of the Spirit.This verse limits the application of the symbol. Only the ungodly and the idolatrous part of the people decayed at Babylon. The religious portion was strengthened and invigorated by the exile Jeremiah 24:5-7. 10. imagination—rather, "obstinacy." Hitherto the prophet had yielded a blind obedience to God, doing what he commanded him, though he possibly knew no other reason for it but because God bade him do so (which is a homage we owe unto God, though to none but him); now God expounds himself what he meant to teach the Jews by this, viz. that he did intend that they should be consumed by the people beyond the river Euphrates, as that girdle was there marred; and he also shows them that their own sins in disobeying his word, and following the imaginations of their own hearts, particularly their idolatry, was what had brought this sore judgment upon them.

This evil people, which refuse to hear my words,.... Sent by the prophets, to whom they turned a deaf ear; and though they pressed them, and importunately desired them to give them a hearing, they refused it; and this showed them to be a bad people, very degenerate and wicked; and which further appears by what follows:

which walk in the imagination of their heart; which was evil, stubborn, and rebellious, see Jeremiah 7:24,

and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them; went to Egypt and Assyria to pay their adoration to those who were not by nature gods; and this was the cause of their ruin and destruction:

shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing: as they were corrupt in their practices, and were become useless and unserviceable to God; so they would be carried captive into a foreign country, where they would be inglorious, and unprofitable, uncomfortable in themselves, and of no use to one another.

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.
10. stubbornness] See ch. Jeremiah 3:17.

shall even be] Heb. let it be.

Jeremiah 13:10After 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.
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