Jeremiah 13:23
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

King James Bible
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

Darby Bible Translation
Can an Ethiopian change his skin, or a leopard his spots? [Then] may ye also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.

World English Bible
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.

Young's Literal Translation
Doth a Cushite change his skin? and a leopard his spots? Ye also are able to do good, who are accustomed to do evil.

Jeremiah 13:23 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Can the Ethiopian change his skin - Can a black, at his own pleasure, change the color of his skin? Can the leopard at will change the variety of his spots? These things are natural to them, and they cannot be altered; so sin, and especially your attachment to idolatry, is become a second nature; and we may as well expect the Ethiopian to change his skin, and the leopard his spots, as you to do good, who have been accustomed to do evil. It is a matter of the utmost difficulty to get a sinner, deeply rooted in vicious habits, brought to the knowledge of himself and God. But the expression does not imply that the thing is as impossible in a moral as it is in a natural sense: it only shows that it is extremely difficult, and not to be often expected; and a thousand matters of fact prove the truth of this. But still, what is impossible to man is possible to God. See the note on Jeremiah 13:27.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Jeremiah 2:22,30 For though you wash you with nitre, and take you much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, said the Lord GOD...

Jeremiah 5:3 O LORD, are not your eyes on the truth? you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them...

Jeremiah 6:29,30 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melts in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away...

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Proverbs 27:22 Though you should bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

Isaiah 1:5 Why should you be stricken any more? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Matthew 19:24-28 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...

accustomed. Heb. taught.

Jeremiah 9:5 And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies...

An Impossibility Made Possible
'Can the Ethiopian change his skin?'--JER. xiii. 23. 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.'--2 COR. v. 17. 'Behold, I make all things new.'--REV. xxi. 5. Put these three texts together. The first is a despairing question to which experience gives only too sad and decisive a negative answer. It is the answer of many people who tell us that character must be eternal, and of many a baffled man who says, 'It is of no use--I have tried and can do nothing.' The second text is the grand Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Cavils of the Pharisees Concerning Purification, and the Teaching of the Lord Concerning Purity - the Traditions Concerning Hand-Washing' and Vows. '
As we follow the narrative, confirmatory evidence of what had preceded springs up at almost every step. It is quite in accordance with the abrupt departure of Jesus from Capernaum, and its motives, that when, so far from finding rest and privacy at Bethsaida (east of the Jordan), a greater multitude than ever had there gathered around Him, which would fain have proclaimed Him King, He resolved on immediate return to the western shore, with the view of seeking a quieter retreat, even though it were
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Cross References
Proverbs 27:22
Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.

Isaiah 1:5
Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.

Jeremiah 4:22
"My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good."

Jeremiah 9:5
Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.

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