The Bible – Old Testament
1 The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth; wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water.
I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on.
A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus:
Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Parath; there hide it in a cleft of the rock.
Obedient to the LORD’S command, I went to the Parath and buried the loincloth.
After a long interval, he said to me: Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth which I told you to hide there.
Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth from the place where I had hid it. But it was rotted, good for nothing!
Then the message came to me from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD: So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot, the great pride of Jerusalem.
This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen.
Now speak to them this word: Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine. If they reply, “Do we not know that every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine?”
say to them: Thus says the LORD: Beware! I am filling with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land, the kings who succeed to David’s throne, the priests and prophets, and all the citizens of Jerusalem.
I will dash them against each other, fathers and sons together, says the LORD; I will show no compassion, I will not spare or pity, but will destroy them.
Give ear, listen humbly, for the LORD speaks.
Give glory to the LORD, your God, before it grows dark; Before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; Before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds.
If you do not listen to this in your pride, I will weep in secret many tears; My eyes will run with tears for the LORD’S flock, led away to exile.
Say to the king and to the queen mother: come down from your throne; From your heads fall your magnificent crowns.
The cities of the Negeb are besieged, with no one to relieve them; All Judah is banished in universal exile.
Lift up your eyes and see men coming from the north. Where is the flock entrusted to you, the sheep that were your glory?
What will you say when they place as rulers over you those whom you taught to be your lovers? Will not pangs seize you like those of a woman giving birth?
If you ask in your heart why these things befall you: For your great guilt your skirts are stripped away and you are violated.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin? the leopard his spots? As easily would you be able to do good, accustomed to evil as you are.
I will scatter them like chaff that flies when the desert wind blows.
This is your lot, the portion measured out to you from me, says the LORD. Because you have forgotten me, and trusted in the lying idol,
I now will strip off your skirts from you, so that your shame will appear.
Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameless prostitutions: On the hills in the highlands I see these horrible crimes of yours. Woe to you, Jerusalem, how long will it yet be before you become clean!
1 [1-11] This is probably a vision of the prophet symbolizing the religious corruption of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians, represented here by the river Parath, the Euphrates; though a spring of the same name, northeast of Anathoth, may be directly meant.