Jeremiah 13:8
Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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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.Many days - The seventy years' captivity. 6. after many days—Time enough was given for the girdle to become unfit for use. So, in course of time, the Jews became corrupted by the heathen idolatries around, so as to cease to be witnesses of Jehovah; they must, therefore, be cast away as a "marred" or spoiled girdle. No text from Poole on this verse.

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. Or the word of prophecy from before the Lord, as the Targum; and now follows the application of this sign to the thing signified, and the whole intention of it is opened. Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
8–11. See introd. summary to section.

Verses 8-11. - Explanation of the symbol. Could there be a greater humiliation for Judah and Jerusalem than to be compared to a rotting linen apron? The hard things said of this evil people in Ver. 10 must of course be understood with the limitations indicated in the note on Jeremiah 9:15, 16. Imagination should (as usual) be stubbornness. The explanation in Ver. 11 is a strong argument for the rendering "apron" (see above, on Ver. 1). Jeremiah 13:8After 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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