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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 13

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-27


Since the foregoing discourse is complete in itself, it is not correct to say that Jeremiah 11-13 form “a whole, one prophetic discourse”(Graf, S. 174). Chap. 13. on the contrary is an independent portion, but contemporaneous with the preceding. For although the cleft in the rock by the river Euphrates involves an obscure intimation of the place of exile, the enemies from the North are still spoken of indefinitely (comp. on Jeremiah 13:20). This portion therefore belongs to the period before the fourth year of Jehoiakim. The reign of Jehoiakim is also indicated in what is said of the pride of the great, and especially of the King, Jeremiah 13:12 sqq—Comp. on the despotism of Jehoiakim, Comm. on Jeremiah 22:13-19.

As to the purport of this passage—it is a reproof of pride. Comp. Jeremiah 13:9, “I will mar the pride of Judah and the pride of Jerusalem, for it is great;Jeremiah 13:2, “bottle,” and the interpretation given of it; Jeremiah 13:15, “be not proud;Jeremiah 13:17, “for your pride;Jeremiah 13:18, “humble yourselves, sit down.”—The reproof is however addressed to the people in a threefold gradation—first the pride of the chosen people generally (Jeremiah 13:9, Judah and Jerusalem) is rebuked under the figure of a destroyed girdle. This is then done with respect to the particular orders enumerated in Jeremiah 13:13, which are represented under the figure of drunken pitchers breaking each other; finally the prophet humbles the pride of the highest, the king and the king’s mother (Jeremiah 13:18) and the form of the concrete mother of the country gradually passes over into the abstract, i. e., ideal, person of the daughter of Zion (Jerusalem, Jeremiah 13:27). There are thus three strophes:

1.Jeremiah 13:1-11. The entire chosen nation a destroyed girdle.

2.Jeremiah 13:12-17. The particular orders broken pitchers.

3.Jeremiah 13:18-27. The father and mother of the country humbled, driven away, insulted.

1. The entire chosen nation a destroyed girdle

Jeremiah 13:1-2

1     Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah] unto me, Go and get [buy] thee a linen girdle, 2and put it upon thy loins and put it not in water. So I got [bought, procured] a [the] girdle according to the word of the Lord [Jehovah], and put it on my loins. 3And the word of the Lord came [was communicated] unto me the second time, 4saying: Take the girdle that thou hast got [bought, procured], which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates [Phrath] and hide it there in a hole [cleft] of the 5rock. So [And] I went and hid it by Euphrates [in Phrath, or on the Phrath] as 6the Lord [Jehovah had] commanded me. And it came to pass after many days, that the Lord [Jehovah] said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates [Phrath] and take 7[fetch] the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates [Phrath] and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it, and behold, the girdle was marred [spoiled]; it was profitable [good] 8for nothing. Then the word of the Lord [Jehovah] came unto me, saying:

9     Thus saith Jehovah:

Thus will I spoil the pride of Judah,
And the pride of Jerusalem, which is great.

10     This wicked people, who refused to hear my words,

Who walked in the hardness of their heart,
And went after other gods to serve them and to worship them,
They shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.

11     For as a girdle lies around the loins of a man,

So have I laid around myself the whole house of Israel,
And the whole house of Judah, saith Jehovah,
That they may be to me for a people,
For a name, for praise, and for beauty;
But they hearkened not.


Jeremiah 13:1-2. Go and buy thee a girdle … on my loins. The reason why the prophet was to buy a girdle appears in Jeremiah 13:11. As of all parts of the clothing the girdle is that which fits most closely, so Israel of all nations is the most closely connected with Jehovah. And as a beautifully ornamented girdle serves to adorn a man (comp. Herzog, Real-Enc., V. S. 407; VII. 717) so the Lord thought to put on Israel as an armament. The prophet was to buy a linen girdle without doubt, because the sacred garments of the priests were linen (comp. Exodus 28:40; Herzog, R.-Enc. VII. S. 714) and because Israel was to be a holy, priestly nation (Exodus 19:6). On the question why the prophet was not to put the girdle in water there has been much debate. Graf’s view that the girdle was to be preserved from the injurious effects of the water, and kept new and undamaged, refutes itself. For no damage would be done to a linen girdle by washing, but it would rather be renewed. The prohibition to put the girdle in water evidently presupposes that the prophet would have washed the girdle when it became dirty. But this was not to be done. It was to remain dirty. As a dirty girdle it was to be taken to the Euphrates. Since now the girdle denotes the people, it was thus to be set before their eyes what was impending over them as having become unclean, and yet long borne by the Lord in their filth. So Rosenmuller and Maurer.

Jeremiah 13:3-7. Take the girdle … profitable for nothing. פְּרָת is in Jeremiah always the Euphrates, Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 46:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 51:63, though in Jeremiah 46:0. we always find נְהַר־פְּרָת. Now it is inconceivable that Jeremiah made the long journey to the Euphrates twice “merely to show that a linen girdle is destroyed by lying a long time in the damp.” Therefore פְּרת is said by some to be a water-gap (פֶּרֶץ) near Jerusalem (Ewald), by others an abbreviation of אֶפְּרָת (Bochart, Venema, Hitzig), by others again the whole is regarded as merely an allegorical narrative (Staeudlin, Neue Beitr. zur Erl. d. bibl. Proph. Gött., 1791, S. 129 sqq., Graf). But I do not see why the words may not be regarded as historical truth, if only we do not apply the standard of the paltry present to the great, past. Was it too much for a prophet to make a long journey in order to set visibly before the eyes of his people their impending fate? There are indeed narratives of such a kind as bear in themselves the necessity of a parabolic interpretation, ex. gr. when Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:15 sqq. says that he took the wine cup of fury from the hand of the Lord and caused Jerusalem with all the cities of Judah, Pharaoh and many other kings and princes to drink of it. But where this is not the case we must be on our guard against transferring our standard of the suitable, or of the morally and physically possible to those times. I therefore do not perceive why the account in Hosea 1:0; Ezekiel 4:5 is less real than what we read in Jeremiah 19:1 sqq.; Jeremiah 27:2; Isaiah 20:3. And here also Jeremiah may have really made a double journey to the Euphrates for the most palpable warning of his people. But let us not expect that Jeremiah will trouble himself to affirm in many words what great result he accomplished by these journeys. He who relates so simply, without even an exclamation, how he was thrown into the miry pit (Jeremiah 38:0.) might here also leave it to his readers to estimate the importance of the facts.

[Henderson:—“On the authority of the LXX., Vulg. and other ancient versions, it has been taken for granted, that by פְּרָת here the river Euphrates is to be understood. That the name is elsewhere employed to designate that river is beyond dispute. Not reckoning the present verse, it occurs fifteen times with this application, but except in three instances, Genesis 2:14; 2 Chronicles 35:20; Jeremiah 51:63, it never stands alone, but always has נָהָר, river, attached to it. Indeed the same must have taken place Genesis 2:14 if that word had not been used immediately before פּרת, so that this passage ought not to be taken into account. With respect to Jeremiah 51:63 also, there was no necessity for employing the qualifying noun, as Seraiah is supposed to be at Babylon at the time to which reference is there made, consequently in the closest contact with the Euphrates. It seems not a little strange, therefore, that the name should appear not fewer than four times in the present verse without the use of the qualifying term, if that river had really been intended. This circumstance appears to have struck the LXX., whose text, Jeremiah 13:7, exhibits τὸ Ευφράτμόν. Ewald, who rejects the Euphrates, renders the word by Flussufer (bank of the river) and thinks that it may be used of fresh or sweet water rivers generally, or that it may express the same as the Arab. فرضة, a rent in the land formed by water. I prefer the solution proposed by Bochart, and adopted by Venema, Dathe and Hitzig, that פּרת is here only an abbreviation of אֶפְּרת, Ephrath, which appears to have been the original name of Bethlehem and its vicinity, and most commonly appears with the paragogic אֶפְּרָתָה–ה, Ephratha. The aphæresis of the prosthetic א is not without examples.—The whole extent of the prophetic journey therefore was only about six miles northward of Jerusalem. There at Bethlehem, he was to hide the girdle in a fissure of הַסָלַע, the rock, some well-known rock in the vicinity of that town. Why he was especially sent to that place it is impossible to say, except that it may have been that the use of the term Prath might lead the Jews, when the symbolical actions came to be understood by them, to think of the Euphrates, to which they were to be carried away captive, as designated by the same name.”—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 13:8-11. Then the word … but they hearkened not. Observe in Jeremiah 13:9-10 the relation of this parable to that which follows, of the pitchers. The girdle signifies the entirety of the people, the pitchers the individuals of all ranks. Hence in Jeremiah 13:9, “the pride of Judah and Jerusalem,” and in Jeremiah 13:10, “this evil people,” is spoken of, while in Jeremiah 13:13 all ranks are enumerated. The meaning of the destruction of the girdle in the cleft of the rock is declared in Jeremiah 13:9-10 : pride shall be brought low, the chosen people shall become as a girdle, which is profitable for nothing. And certainly, though there was a partial return from exile, yet with the captivity in Babylon ceased the existence of Israel as an independent State with compact national unity. Observe in Jeremiah 13:9 the doubling of the strong word גָאוֹן, pride, with the addition הָרָב, great. The main thought of the passage is thus emphasized.—In the words, for a name, for a praise, etc., there appears to be an allusion to Exodus 28:2, where it is said of the holy garments of Aaron that they should be “for glory and for beauty.”


Jeremiah 13:12-17

12     Therefore [And] thou shalt speak unto them this word: Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah the] God of Israel, Every bottle [vessel, pitcher] shall be filled with wine; and they shall [will] say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every 13bottle [pitcher] shall be filled with wine? Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah]:

Behold, I fill all the inhabitants of this land,
And the kings who sit for David on his throne,
And the priests and the prophets and all the citizens of Jerusalem with drunkenness,

14     And dash them one against another,

And the fathers and sons together, saith Jehovah.
I will not spare, nor have pity, nor be merciful,
So as not to destroy them.

15     Hear ye and attend! Be not high-minded! For Jehovah hath spoken.

16     Give to Jehovah, your God, the glory,

Before he causes darkness,
And your feet stumble on mountains of twilight,
And ye wait for light, but he turneth it1 into dark shadow,

And change it2 into cloudy night

17     But if ye hear it3 not, my soul will weep in secret for your pride

And mine eyes shall weep sore and run down with tears,4

That the flock of Jehovah is carried away captive.


Jeremiah 13:12. Announcement of the punitive judgment under a new figure, that of pitchers to be filled, which is not understood by the people. Jehovah explains the figure, Jeremiah 13:13-14. Admonition of the prophet to follow the warning of Jehovah, Jeremiah 13:15-17.

Jeremiah 13:12. Therefore thou shalt speak … shall be filled with wine. After the declaration, in the words “they would not hear,” Jeremiah 13:11, that the symbolical action had been unsuccessful, a new attempt is set on foot by a visible parable to make an impression on the people. The first symbolical act was intended to bring the thoughts of God home to the people in an analytical way, the new parable takes a syntheticalform. The short sentence, “every bottle shall be filled with wine,” is set at the head of an obscure, mysterious problem. The people express their understanding of the sentence in the most natural physical sense, but with the silent assumption (we knew that before, no one need tell us that. Comp. Genesis 43:7) that this interpretation is not satisfactory. The Lord therefore develops His meaning more particularly in what follows.

Jeremiah 13:13-14. Then shalt thou say unto them … destroy them. It should first be observed that in the three parts of this discourse (Jeremiah 13:0) there is a climax, in so far as the first part (Jeremiah 13:9-10) is addressed to the mass of the people, without distinction of the particular orders, the second part specifies these orders with evident emphasis on the favored classes, the third part applies to the king and the king’s mother alone (Jeremiah 13:18). The prominence of the higher classes in the second part is doubtless connected with the purport of the parable. They are compared with earthen pitchers. [Henderson: “These bottles are frequently of a large size. On entering the city of Tiflis, in 1821, the author found the market-place full of such bottles, consisting of the skins of oxen, calves, etc., distended with wine.—It is from this custom that our English word hogshead is derived—that term being a corrupt pronunciation of ox-hide.”—But Hitzig renders wine-pitchers, earthen vessels or pots.—S. R. A.] (Comp. Jeremiah 48:12; Isaiah 30:14; Lamentations 4:2). These pitchers are bellied, to a certain extent swollen, but internally they are hollow and empty and moreover of frangible material. They are therefore an excellent emblem of that carnal aristocratic pride to which there is no corresponding inner merit. That this is the prophet’s meaning is clear from the emphatically prefixed Be not high-minded (אַל–תּגְבָּהוּ), Jeremiah 13:15, and from pride (גֵוָה), Jeremiah 13:17.—What a suitable punishment for such men, who are like pitchers, to be filled with wine of intoxication! שִׁכָּרוֹן, drunkenness, designates the immediate subjective effect of the wine of fury (comp. Jeremiah 25:15; Isaiah 28:7; Isaiah 51:17; Psalms 60:5), of which the further objective effect is collision and breaking to pieces. The Midianites (Judges 7:22) and the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:20), who exterminated each other, were also seized by a spirit of intoxication. If not in this sense, yet in that of mutual hatred, reciprocal oppression and injury in general, the prophet applies נִפַּצְתִּים ו֜, dash them, to the Israelites. But when a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand, Mark 3:24.—The plural kings in Jeremiah 13:13, intimates that not merely the then reigning king, but several, one after another (as the majority of the kings contemporary with Jeremiah were evil-disposed) were included in this category. The addition, who sit for David (comp. Jeremiah 22:4), sets forth that very element on which the pride of these kings especially rested. (Comp. 2 Samuel 7:0).

Jeremiah 13:15; Jeremiah 13:17. Hear ye and attend … carried away captive. The prophet interposes as a mediator with an earnest admonition to observe the divine warning. On high-minded comp. the foregoing remarks.—For Jehovah hath spoken, viz., every bottle, etc., Jeremiah 13:12.—Give glory. Comp. Joshua 7:19. It is opposed to be proud.—Cause darkness. Comp. Psalms 105:28; Psalms 139:12. According to the connection it is easiest to regard God as the subject.—Stumble, reference to dash together, Jeremiah 13:14.—Dark mountains are more than stones of stumbling. The prophet imagines them to be wandering in a mountainous country and in a dark ravine. Comp. Psalms 23:4.—In secret places. The prophet will retire from the publicity, in which he has hitherto lived and labored, into solitude, in order that he may give way to his sorrow.—Weep in contrast with drunkenness, Jeremiah 13:13 : the prophet’s eyes will overflow with tears.—Flock. Comp. Jeremiah 13:20; Zechariah 10:3. Even the disobedient people continue to be the Lord’s flock.


Jeremiah 13:16; Jeremiah 13:16.—שׁמה refers to אור, which is used as a feminine besides only in Job 36:32. Comp. Ewald, § 174 c

Jeremiah 13:16; Jeremiah 13:16.—The Chethibh וְשִׁת for יָשִׁית is foolish.

Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 13:17.—תשׁמעוה referable to Jeremiah 13:15. The feminine suffix in a neuter sense. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 60, 6 b.

Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 13:17.—On the construction, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 69, 2 a.; Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 14:17; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 3:48.


Jeremiah 13:18-27

18          Say to the king and the princes, sit down low,5

For fallen is your chief ornament,6 your glorious crown!

19     The cities of the south are shut up, and no man openeth them;

Judah is carried away7 wholly, carried away completely.8

20     Lift up your eyes and see who are coming from the north.

Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?

21     What wilt thou say, when he sets over thee those,9

Whom thou hast thyself drawn10 to thee for friends, as chief?11

Will not pangs seize thee as a parturient woman?12

22     And if thou sayest in thy heart, why have these things happened to me?—

For the greatness of thy iniquity are thy skirts discovered,13

Thy heels abused.14

23     Will a Cushite change his skin, or a leopard his spots?

Then shall ye also be able to do good, ye accustomed to evil-doing!

24     Therefore I will scatter them as the stubble,15

That hasteth away16 before the wind of the desert.

25     This is thy lot, thy measured17 portion from me, saith Jehovah,

Because thou didst forget me and trust in falsehood.

26     Therefore I also have discovered thy skirts from before,

That18 thy shame may be seen:—

27     Thy adulteries and ardent neighings, the enormity of thy unchastity—

On the hills in the field have I seen thy abominations!
Wo to thee, O Jerusalem! Wilt thou not be cleansed—still after how long!


The discourse of the prophet still rising higher, is now addressed to the king and his mother, thus to the heads of the State (comp. on Jeremiah 13:13). He announces humbling of pride (Jeremiah 13:18), overthrow of power and exile (Jeremiah 13:19). Enemies from the north (Jeremiah 13:20), whose friendship was formerly sought, will bring this about to the. extreme misery of the subjects (Jeremiah 13:21), as a punishment for their sins (Jeremiah 13:22). And since Israel is corrupt to the core, an amelioration on their part is not to be expected (Jeremiah 13:24), wherefore the Lord must also scatter them to the winds (Jeremiah 13:24), and as a just punishment of their wickedness (Jeremiah 13:25-27 a), deliver them up to inconceivable woe (Jeremiah 13:27 b). The address, which at first has the king and his mother alone in view (Jeremiah 13:18-19), passes over gradually more to the latter (Jeremiah 13:20-22), and at last (since the king’s mother may easily be regarded as the mother of the country and representative of the mother-country) to the entirety of the nation (Jeremiah 13:23-27), the end of the discourse thus returning to the beginning (comp. Jeremiah 13:9-10).

Jeremiah 13:18-19. Say to the king … carried away completely.—גְבִיוָה is the queen-mother, who had precedence in rank over the many chosen women of the harem. Therefore the book of Kings (with two exceptions) always mentions with the name of the king, that of his mother.—Comp. Jer 29:2; 1 Kings 15:12; 2 Kings 10:13 (2 Chronicles 15:16).—Sit down. Here, also, the prophet attacks worldly pride.—Of the south. As the enemy comes from the north, the siege of the cities of the south is a sign that the capital is surrounded, and that flight to the south, is no longer possible. [Henderson following Hitzig, more correctly refers this to the complete desertion of the cities,—“the inhabitants having all been carried away into captivity, and not so much as one left to open the gates to a traveler.”—S. R. A].

Jeremiah 13:20-22. Lift up your eyes … thy heels abused. The circumstance that the princess is mentioned immediately before, and that Jeremiah 13:20 b appears to refer to the shepherds of the people (the ideal person of the people is represented as wife, mother, daughter, but never as shepherdess), appears to me to indicate that the prophet has made use of the feminine forms שְׂאִי ,רְאִי (lift up and see), with primary reference to princess:—thou hast thyself drawn, Jeremiah 13:21, also seems to favor this. For such acts always proceeded especially from the heads of the people, and how powerful the influence of the princesses was, is shown in Maachah, the mother of Asa (1 Kings 15:13), Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31 sqq.), and Athaliah (2 Kings 11:0). The sudden change of number is not unusual. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 105, 7. Anm. 2.—As certainly as the prophet means by those coming from the north the same enemies, of which he has already spoken in Jeremiah 1:14-15; Jeremiah 4:6, etc., so certain is it also, that he does not know definitely what northern people were meant; comp. remarks on Jeremiah 1:14. Thus it is also declared that this prophecy must have been delivered before the fourth year of Jehoiakim. For from this year (comp. chap. 15.) Jeremiah knows definitely that the nation is the Chaldeans.—What wilt thou say, Jeremiah 13:21. It having been said of the ruling pair in the previous verse, that they are to lose their flock, it is here added by way of climax, that they will themselves come under the dominion of others, and indeed of those whose friendship might rather have been expected from the previous relations of the kings of Judah towards them. This cannot, indeed, be said of Jehoiakim, for although he had not engaged in direct hostilities against the king of Babylon (his revolt, 2 Kings 24:1, mast have taken place after the battle of Carchemish, and therefore long after this prophecy), he was yet a creature of his opponent Pharaoh Nechoh (2 Kings 23:34). But of his predecessors, from Ahaz onward (comp. 2 Kings 16:7 sqq.), most of them had entered into more or less intimate relations with the northern empire, partly as seeking aid from it (comp. on Jeremiah 2:18; Jeremiah 2:36), partly as introducing among themselves the forms, of religion there prevailing (comp. Manasseh, 2 Kings 21:3; Amon, Ib. 1 Kings 21:20; Zephaniah 1:5 coll. 2 Kings 23:5; 2 Kings 23:11 sqq.), partly at least like Hezekiah in an apparently innocuous, but really fatal display of courtesy. If with this we take into account the relations of the Jewish kings to Assyria, as well as to Babylon, we are justified, both by the words of this passage, which speaks only generally of בָּאִים מִצָפּוֹן, and the inner unity of those empires (comp. the name Asshur, transferred to the Babylonian and Persian monarchy; 2 Kings 23:29; Ezra 6:22).

Jeremiah 13:23-27. Will the Cushite … after how long! There might still be a means of escape—Reform. But this is not to be expected, because evil-doing has become the people’s second nature. Comp. Jeremiah 5:3; Jeremiah 6:10; Jeremiah 6:13-15; Jeremiah 6:27 sqq.; Jeremiah 8:4-7; Jeremiah 9:24-25.—Therefore I also. Jeremiah 13:26. The declaration of cause and consequence are entwined after the manner of a chain in Jeremiah 13:23-27; Jeremiah 13:23 cause, Jeremiah 13:24-25 a, consequence; Jeremiah 13:25 b, repeated cause; Jeremiah 13:26, consequence; Jeremiah 13:27 a, cause again; Jeremiah 13:27 b, the final consequence. Yet since I have discovered thy skirts, evidently points back to Jeremiah 13:22, where the same is said of the enemy, there is in the words, Therefore I also, not merely the antithesis to thou didst forget me, Jeremiah 13:25, but also the thought: whatever the enemy does to thee is done according to my will; I am He who does it.—From before. Jeremiah quotes here only Nahum 3:5, which passage also refers back to Isaiah 47:1-3 (comp. Kueper, S. 136; Strausson Nahum, S. 95).—Graf strangely maintains that עַל־פָּנַיִךְ cannot mean “over thy face;” that the expression never has this meaning. I refer only to 1 Kings 18:7; 1 Kings 18:39. But I also believe that the meaning face is not to be insisted upon, but that פָּנִים here as frequently (comp. Jeremiah 1:13) signifies the fore-part.—Still after how long! Jeremiah had maintained in Jeremiah 13:23 the incorrigibility of the people. From the conclusion of Jeremiah 13:27 it is seen, that he understands this only of the Israel of the present. In the future, though far distant, he sets forth in prospect the purification of the people, comp. Jeremiah 3:18 sqq.; Jeremiah 12:14 sqq.


Jeremiah 13:18; Jeremiah 13:18.—On the construction comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, Anm.

Jeremiah 13:18; Jeremiah 13:18.—מַרְאֲשׁוֹתֵיכֶם. Thus punctuated the word is found here only. On the derivation comp. Olsh. § 197, e, S. 374. The meaning is: that which is found at the head or on the head. (Comp. מַרְגָלוֹתRth 3:4; Ruth 3:7-8; Ruth 3:14). Elsewhere we find (occurring only in this form) מְרַאֲשׁוֹיו, Genesis 28:11; Gen 28:18; 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:16, etc.: and (erroneously punctuated) מֵרַֽאֲשׁתֵי1Sa 26:12.—That which is found on the head is the ornament, which is more particularly designated as the crown. On the sing. masc. יָרַד comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 105, 4 b, 3.

Jeremiah 13:19; Jeremiah 13:19.—הגלת. Comp. Leviticus 25:21; Lev 26:31; 2 Kings 9:37 (Chethibh): Ewald, § 194 a; Olsh., § 226 b, S. 449.

Jeremiah 13:19; Jeremiah 13:19.—שׁלומים, adjective, שָׁלֵם=integer. Comp. Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9.

Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 13:21.—Since there is no nominative to יִכְקֹד, either mentioned or implied, in the connection, it must be either the ideal-general subject (One,), or Jehovah, which in sense amounts to the same thing. All the commentators recognize a parenthesis as beginning with כְּקֹד. But some conclude this with אֹרָם (Gaab), others with קַלַיִךְ (Hitzig, Graf), others with אַלֻּפּים (Eichhorn, De Wette, Umbreit). It is opposed to the first rendering that then the sense of לִמַּדְתְּי remains indefinite, to the second, that then the parenthesis is either superfluous, if we considerאֵלַיִךְ=קַלַיִךְ, or as incorrectly introduced by קַלַיִךְ is to be considered as=adversum te (Vulg., Hitzig). It would then need to beכִּי. I therefore agree with those who conclude the parenthesis with אַלֻּפִּים. Then וְאַתְּ is sentence of condition with an adversative meaning (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 109, 4 e) which in its entirety is to be regarded as the object of יִפּקֹד. The meaning of this verb is that which occurs frequently: to set, ordain over one (comp. Jeremiah 15:3).

Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 13:21.—לִמּד=to accustom, to train, of beasts (Jeremiah 31:18; Hosea 10:11), of men (Jeremiah 10:2). In the latter passage it is construed with אֵלֹfor which we here have עַל, which prepositions, as frequently remarked, are often used as synonymous by Jeremiah (comp. on Jeremiah 10:2).—The construction with a double accusative is similar to Jeremiah 2:33, only here it is a double accusative of person, since it is not said: thou teachest them intimacy, but as intimates, which is to be regarded as a prolepsis and to be included in the cases enumerated in Naegelsb. Gr. § 69, 3.

Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 13:21.—לראשׁ, the thought is the same as in Lamentations 1:5.

Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 13:21.—אשׁת לדה, mulier partus; elsewhere יוֵֹלדָה (comp. Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 22:23; Jeremiah 49:24), לֵדָה besides only in 2 Kings 19:3; Isaiah 37:3; Hosea 9:11.

Jeremiah 13:22; Jeremiah 13:22.—נגלו וגו׳. Comp. Nahum 3:5.

Jeremiah 13:22; Jeremiah 13:22—The Niph. נֶחְמְסוּ here only. Comp. Jeremiah 22:3. The captive driven before the enemy is exposed both to shame and abuse. [Henderson: “The reason why the heels are particularly mentioned, seems to he that the sandal was fastened by a strap or thong which came round above the heel to the instep. As the sandal was not so easily removed as the skirt was turned up, hence the appropriate selection of the verb חַמַם, to tear off, or do anything with violence. Both parts of the description literally apply to those who were removed into a state of expatriation by a victorious army.”—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 13:24; Jeremiah 13:24.—קשׁ stubble. Comp. Psalms 83:14 : Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 47:14.

Jeremiah 13:24; Jeremiah 13:24.—עובר לרוח, literally stubble, which is related to the wind as going along, which runs from the wind. That עבר; also signifies discedere, abire, auferri is seen from passages like Ruth 2:8; 2 Chronicles 18:23; Psalms 81:7; Ezekiel 48:14. Comp. מֹץ עֹבֵר, Isaiah 29:5.

Jeremiah 13:25; Jeremiah 13:25.—מנת־מדיך. In Job 11:9 also מִרָּהּ is to be derived from מַד, with the meaning mensura מִדָּה Comp. Olsh., § 139, S. 263; Fuerst., Conc. S. 616, s. v., מַד.Therefore it is not necessary to render מַד here=upper garment, with reference to Ruth 3:15 (coll. Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 65:6), [as Hitzig does, declaring that מַד never means mensura. Henderson: “As the noun is here parallel with גוֹרָלֹ, the lot, which was specially employed in determining portions of land, it seems preferable to explain it of such measurements.”—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 13:26; Jeremiah 13:26.—אשׁר is causal. Comp. Jos 4:23; 1 Kings 8:33; Zechariah 1:15.


1. On Jeremiah 13:1-11. The Lord has put on Israel as a girdle for His own adornment and for Israel’s highest glory. This figure is unquestionably one of the most precious which the Scripture employs to represent the mystery of election. Elsewhere Israel is called Jehovah’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 7:6), His wife and His beloved bride (Hosea 2:16 sqq.; Jeremiah 2:2), his first-born son (Exodus 4:22), His servant (Isaiah 41:8), His flock (Jeremiah 13:17), his vineyard (Isaiah 5:7), his signet-ring (Haggai 2:23. Vid. Köhler, S. 114). Like the last emblem, the girdle also denotes the closest intimacy, indispensable service, a valuable ornament. But great as is the love which the Lord thus shows to Israel in calling them His girdle, as great is the severity with which he declares, that the honor thus received will not save them from destruction. Let every particular Christian church mark this! However closely it may be attached to the Lord, this saves it neither from internal corruption, nor from external judgment, comp. Luke 3:8-9. Not this or that particular church, but the whole church only has the promise of infallibility (John 16:13) invincibility and permanent existence. (Matthew 16:18).

2. On Jeremiah 13:17. “This is a good advice. In the words of a hymn, ‘when witnesses have sown God’s word, they water it with prayer and many thousand tears.’ In one hour more grace is drawn by weeping from God the lover of life, who allows Himself to be implored, and who hearkens to the voice of His servants; and hearts, which feel the tears of their lover, are thus brought nearer to their object in a quarter of an hour, than could be accomplished by three sermons … ‘Everything is born in pain.’ … When ye can do no more, ye witnesses, go and weep and moisten your seed, then you will come again with joy bringing your sheaves with you.” Zinzendorf. Preces et lacrimæ sunt arma ecclesiæ.

3. On Jeremiah 13:18. “When the enemies are at the gate, the plague in the city or the village, and there is no escape, and human help there is none, then it is of some use for preachers to speak to their princes out of tune; at other times they would be regarded as insolent. … Sometimes God’s witnesses are clothed with an authority which no one understands, but all feel. Jehoram’s visit to Elisha was for the purpose of decapitating him, and a polite conversation was the result, (2 Kings 6:30 sqq.)” Zinzendorf.

4. On Jeremiah 13:18. “A preacher is not to take court-soup and robes of grace and leave the hare’s head unstript, but put salt even into Herod’s wounds.” Förster from a sermon of Celich, 3 Dom. Adv.

5. [On Jeremiah 13:23. “Inveterate habits are justly regarded as a second nature; but being moral in their character, instead of extenuating they aggravate the guilt of those who are the subjects of them. Strong, therefore, as is the physical reference here made, it can with no propriety be employed in support of the physical impossibility of moral reformation.” Henderson.—“Learned men in our age do not rightly refer to this passage, when they seek to prove that there is no free-will in man; for it is not simply the nature of man which is spoken of here, but the habit that is contracted by long practice. Aristotle, a strong advocate of free will, confesses that it is not in man’s power to do right, when he is so immersed in his vices as to have lost a free choice (7 Lib. Ethicon) and this also is what experience proves. We hence see that this passage is improperly adduced to prove a sentiment which is yet true and fully confirmed by many passages of Scripture.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]


1. On Jeremiah 13:1-11. “God has cast off His first people, the whole house of Judah and the house of Jerusalem … God has put on us as a girdle in their stead. For He has not thrown away the girdle and remained naked, but has woven Him self another. This girdle is the church from the heathen. It should know that as God spared not the former, much more will He not spare it, when it sins and is not worthy of God’s loins. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17) in Christ Jesus, to whom be glory and dominion forever. Amen.” Origen, Hom. XI. 6.

2. On Jeremiah 13:12-17. Exhortation to repentance: The earthen wine-pitchers of the prophet Jeremiah 1:0. What they signify (the proud yet perishable world); 2. What will be their fate (Jeremiah 13:14; Jeremiah 13:17); 3. What is the means of escaping this fate (Jeremiah 13:15-16).

3. [On Jeremiah 13:17. “Pride the great hindrance to the reception of the word. Pride will not seek 1, the knowledge of God. Pride (a) will not brook a rival: (b) is unwilling to be taught, (c) is unwilling to use the means of knowledge, (d) is unwilling to pray; 2, the favor of God; 3, likeness to God: 4, communion with God.” Payson on Psalms 10:14.—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 13:23 sqq. The expression in Jeremiah 13:23 opens up to us a comfortless perspective. But with God nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). The conclusion of Jeremiah 13:27 shows us that a purification, though slow and successive is possible, in that we obtain a point of support without ourselves, (Archimedes), and a new principle of life in Christ Jesus. [On Jeremiah 13:23. I. The great difficulty of reforming vicious habits, or of changing a bad course, arises 1, from the general nature of habits; 2, from the particular nature of bad habits; 3, the natural and judicial consequences of the great progress and long continuance of a bad course. II. This difficulty is not desperate, but there is some ground of hope and encouragement. 1. There is left even in the worst of men a natural sense of the evil and unreasonableness of sin. 2. Very bad men when they have any thought of becoming better are apt to conceive some good hopes of God’s grace and mercy. 3. Who knows what man thoroughly roused and startled may resolve and do? 4. The grace and assistance of God when sincerely sought is never to be despaired of. Tillotson.—S. R. A.]

5. [Jer. Taylor uses Jeremiah 13:26 as the text of a sermon on the invalidity of a death-bed repentance.—S. R. A.] 

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 13". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/jeremiah-13.html. 1857-84.
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