Jeremiah 13:22
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.
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(22) Are thy skirts discovered.—The “skirts,” or flowing train, worn by women of rank, the removal of which was the sign of extremest degradation (Isaiah 20:4; Isaiah 47:2; Ezekiel 23:29; Hosea 2:3; Nahum 3:5).

Thy heels made bare.—Better, outraged, or disgraced, made to walk barefoot, like menial slaves; possibly, like the outcast harlot. Compare Isaiah’s walking “naked and barefoot” as the symbol of the coming degradation of his people (Isaiah 20:2-4).

Jeremiah 13:22. If thou say, Wherefore come these things upon me? — Hypocrites will rarely confess their own shame and God’s righteousness, but are ready to expostulate with him, and to inquire why he hath dealt so with them, as if he had treated them unjustly. But, saith God, For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, &c. — That is, thou art carried into captivity, stripped and bare, without covering to thy nakedness; it being the barbarous custom of conquerors, in ancient times, to treat their captives with such indignities in conducting them to the place of their intended residence: see note on Isaiah 3:17; and Nahum 3:5. Lowth thinks the words may also allude to the punishment that used to be inflicted upon common harlots and adulteresses, which was to strip them naked, and expose them to the eyes of the world: and thus God threatened he would deal with Jerusalem, upon account of her spiritual fornication.

13:18-27 Here is a message sent to king Jehoiakim, and his queen. Their sorrows would be great indeed. Do they ask, Wherefore come these things upon us? Let them know, it is for their obstinacy in sin. We cannot alter the natural colour of the skin; and so is it morally impossible to reclaim and reform these people. Sin is the blackness of the soul; it is the discolouring of it; we were shapen in it, so that we cannot get clear of it by any power of our own. But Almighty grace is able to change the Ethiopian's skin. Neither natural depravity, nor strong habits of sin, form an obstacle to the working of God, the new-creating Spirit. The Lord asks of Jerusalem, whether she is determined not be made clean. If any poor slave of sin feels that he could as soon change his nature as master his headstrong lusts, let him not despair; for things impossible to men are possible with God. Let us then seek help from Him who is mighty to save.Made bare - Rather, "ill-used, treated with violence." The long flowing robes worn by ladies of rank, are to be laid aside, that they might do menial work, bare-legged, like slaves. The ill-usage to the heels is the having to tramp barefoot, a thing very painful to women accustomed to the seclusion of the female apartments. 22. if thou say—connecting this verse with "What wilt thou say" (Jer 13:21)?

skirts discovered—that is, are thrown up so as to expose the person (Jer 13:26; Isa 3:17; Na 3:5).

heels made bare—The sandal was fastened by a thong above the heel to the instep. The Hebrew, is, "are violently handled," or "torn off"; that is, thou art exposed to ignominy. Image from an adulteress.

Hypocrites will rarely confess their own shame and God’s righteousness, but are ready to expostulate and dispute with God, and to call him to account why he hath dealt so with them, as if God had dealt unjustly. But (saith God) if thou shouldst have any such thoughts in thine heart, do but remember thine iniquities, how many and how great they have been, thy nakedness is discovered because of these, and for these thou art exposed to contempt and shame. Probably these phrases are fetched from the usual practice of soldiers, when they have conquered a place and taken prisoners, to strip them, and leave those of either sex, either no clothes to cover their nakedness, or nothing but their own rags, not sufficient to cover their nakedness. By skirts is meant the lower part of their bodies covered with the lower part of their garments.

And if thou say in thine heart,.... Not daring to express it with the mouth; and which, notwithstanding, God, that knows the heart, was privy to, and could discern all the secret workings of it; putting such a question as this:

wherefore come these things upon me? all these calamities, the invasion and siege of the enemy, famine, sword, captivity, &c.: the answer returned is,

for the greatness of thine iniquity; the enormous crimes the Jews were guilty of, such as idolatry, blasphemy, &c. which were attended with aggravated circumstances: or, "for the multitude of thine iniquity" (h); their sins being so many, as well as great:

are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare; being obliged to walk naked and barefoot, their buttocks uncovered, and their legs and feet naked, without stockings or shoes, as captives used to be led, to their great shame and disgrace; see Isaiah 20:2. The phrases are expressive of captivity, and the manner of it; the cause of which was the greatness and multitude of their sins. The Targum is,

"because thy sins are multiplied, thy confusion is revealed, thy shame is seen.''

(h) "propter multitudinem iniquitatis tuae", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Schmidt.

And if thou shalt say in thy heart, Why come these things upon me? For the greatness of thy iniquity are thy skirts {l} uncovered, and thy heels made bare.

(l) The cloak of hypocrisy will be pulled off, and your shame seen.

Verse 22. - Thy heels made bare; rather, treated with violence. The fate held out to the daughter of Zion (trained to walk about with "tinkling ornaments," Isaiah 3:18) is to plod wearily along with bare feet (comp. Isaiah 47:1). Jeremiah 13:22This 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.
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