Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 13


Jeremiah got a symbolical task from the Lord to illustrate to him vividly what the Lord is going to do. It is a long way to the Euphrates which in Hebrew of the Bible is called by the name Perath. In this chapter the Lord is asking him to go there with a new linen girdle that he bought which should not be washed. (verse 2). He was to go to Perath and hide it in the cleft of the rock (verse 4).


The old scholars of hermeneutics of suspicion, and we have many of them still today, questioned whether this is a trivial fable since why would anyone go at such lengths just to see linen decay. The reality of the description indicates that the prophet really did it. He was young, energetic and not a sixty year old lazy Bible commentator sitting behind his desk all day with his wife bringing him his regular drinks, smoking pipes. Jeremiah was between 16 to 22 years old here. Today’s youth at that age, love traveling and adventure connected to it. The distance was very long, a trip which we probably would consider by aviation rather than by foot and camels. Jeremiah gave no detail of the intricacies of the trip itself. So then, these negative whiners of suspicion, like Graf who helped designed Higher Criticism of the Bible, suggested that it is just a vision and not real. A mental fantasy. The word Perath was then suggested to be somewhat local and near and like Keil is asking to the contrary: why must it just be across the field “as if it were a mere matter of crossing a field” (Keil and Delitzsch on Jeremiah 1900 page 231). Although the Middle Age Rabbis understood it as the Euphrates like Redak and Abarbanel, modern Jewish scholars are looking for a site about 5 km from Anathoth at `En-al-Farah. But, Keil and Delitzsch insisted that the word is used consistently the same for the Euphrates in the book of Jeremiah for example fifty years later in Jeremiah’s life at Jeremiah 51:63. So finally, whether one is an Adventist or not, there are two ways in biblical reading and understanding: interpretation by suspicion or interpretation by harmonious confirmation. The eye of the beholder will decide, Adventist or not. Suspicion is the camp of the agnostics, atheists, nihilists and self-deceived deniers of these but upholders of the same ideas.

So now that everyone knows on what page they are on, it is easier to continue. Either God’s Word is or it isn’t. Make the pick and if it isn’t click on another site. “And it came to pass at the end of many days” (verse 6). It should be many days if you have to travel about 2500 miles to your destiny, not by air or car but by foot and camel. Young Jacob had no problem to cover a similar surface seeking for a wife. No complaints from him, so why would Jeremiah, equal in age, find it full of arthritis to rather stay put? He went back to find the linen girdle hidden in the rock. He dug for it [must have been under earth as well, not only under rock] (verse 7) and the girdle was rotten “it was of no use for anything”. This is the lesson. Judah would go there in exile and they would be of no use for anything as their chances were before. A waste of grand opportunities. (verse 9).


The people are pronounced evil and evil is defined: to refuse to listen to His Words (verse 10). “If one turns one’s ear away from the Law not to listen to the Word of the Lord, even one’s prayer is a curse”. The result of the lesson? They shall be as this girdle: rotten and useless.


A girdle clings to the body so spiritual Israel clings to the Lord (verse 11). The benefits of it are that they were: His people; have a name; have praise; have glory  (verse 11).


Of the weed in spiritual Israel the Lord said that Jeremiah should tell them that all the bottles are filled with alcoholic wine for they will be filled with this. Why will God fill societies leaders, kings, priests, prophets and inhabitants of Jerusalem with alcoholic drunkenness? (verse 13). This is not a license to eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. This wine is the bad one and put in the context of negative results of punishment. When people choose the path of sin, God let it be and do not interfere with their excessive desire to sin. They have to learn the hard way. Their way. ‘I do it my way syndrome.’ ‘Don’t tell me what to do and not to do, talk.’


They will dash each against one another. Society’s stress, combative spirit, sneakiness, upmanship struggles in the workspace and the more. The fathers and sons will also dash together (verse 14). God will not have any pity at this point on them for it is the ultimate choice of themselves. There were atheists who in the last minute turned around and will be saved. These getting destroyed at the Hell event after the millennium did not even utilize the last minute.


So Jeremiah heard the repent invitation call from the Lord: “hear and do not be proud”. Billy Graham said in a sermon in 1958 online on Youtube: “more people will be kept out of heaven because of pride than of anything else”. They are too proud to humble themselves at the foot of the cross. Pride will keep them out of heaven. Pride got Lucifer out of heaven. Pride made him reject the calls of the Trinity and angels to repent in heaven of his rebellious spirit and thinking. Pride will clinch his extermination at the Hell event. And these in Jeremiah.


“Give the Lord your God honor before it becomes dark” (verse 16). While one still has time, one should give to the Lord God honor before it becomes dark in one’s life, for it one waits till it is dark, you will be in mountains dark and stumble, hoping for light but it will be made into  darkness and a dark cloud. 42 years old was he, when, because of a temper, he got a stroke not using his left hand and leg. That is when we met him for evangelizing his soul. Bitter. Extremely bitter about the situation. It carved his pride tremendously and it was clear to us. Then a second stroke and in hospital we visited him each Sunday on the seventh floor of the Myungyoung Hospital of the adjacent town to read him “Give your guilt away” which my wife translated into Korean, and then the gospel of Mark and then John. He was looking forward to our coming each Sunday and we bought him a large clock and calendar. Then praying, also for those he was angry for. Couldn’t speak. Just eye blinking. But blinking eyes accepted God’s honor before it became dark in January 2016. We prayed the last time for him informing that we are going on a long trip and cannot come for one month. He blinked understanding and blinked thankyou. Joyfully he repeated the thankyou. Then while we were on the plane to South Africa he died. Last minute calls and acceptance. God anxiously awaits these acceptances, says Jeremiah, before dark.  


Just as there is a blessing for acceptance, the curse of not accepting it is mentioned (verse 17). If you reject God, “My soul will weep because of your pride and My eye shall weep sore and run down with tears, for the Lord’s flock has been captured”. It is pain for God when His flock is captured in sin or exile like they went into in 586 BCE.


In verse 18, Jeremiah was to say to the king and the queen [so the Targum and Abarbanel] or queenmother [so Rashi and Keil & Deltizsch (1900)] that they must sit low for their greatness has come down. Abarbanel thought it to be Zedekiah and his wife. Rashi thought it to be Jehoiachin and his mother. Redak also understood it to be Jehoiachin because he was imprisoned.


Verse 19 almost makes one wonder if Abarbanel is not closer to reality since all Judah is exiled and the cities of the South are shut up. That would be in 586 BCE. Now if Jeremiah saw this in vision ahead of time, it means that he is asked to look at the North where Babylon would come from (verse 20). “What will you say when He visits [judge] upon you?” (verse 21). When God sends punishments the result is “pangs seize you like a woman in confinement”. This expression is very important since they are used also for the Time of Trouble doctrine in the prophetic literature. If one says why this came over me? The weed during the Time of Trouble will suffer greatly plaques while the spiritual Israel or remnant will be safe and sound. Their iniquities will be uncovered (verse 22).


During the Time of Trouble, can they chance? Too late. The Door of Mercy closed so God says just as a black skin of a Cushite cannot be changed to white and just as a leopard cannot change his spots, they cannot change “you who have become accustomed to do evil” (verse 23). It is in the context of the nearness of the Time of Trouble jargon that this statement is made. In Micah 5:2 we find this “woman in confinement that will give birth”. In Micah 5:1 it is the First Advent of Christ predicted as the “ruler over [spiritual] Israel, and His origin is from old, from the days of eternity”. The Messianic Christ at His first coming. But, in verse 2 it says that “He shall deliver them [Christ our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary shall atone for the people of God who is found spiritual in the Books of Heaven] until (ad), until a woman in confinement gives birth, the agonized ecclesia or church will give birth when the Latter Rain come upon them to collect the last call respondents for salvation and then the Door of Mercy closes. “And the rest of the brothers [spiritual new converts] shall return upon the children of Israel [spiritual remnant to increase it and make it larger as also Isaiah predicted].” Glorification is described when the King of Kings come (Micah 5:3) at the Second Coming.


The Lord predicts that He is going to scatter them in 586 BCE (verse 24). Because they have forgotten the Lord and trusted in falsehood (verse 25). In South Africa a Theological professor from the North-West University, J. Gerricke (2016) left fundamental understanding and faith in the Bible and started to promote even at the SBL readings as a keynote speaker, that agnosticism is the true doctrine of the Old Testament and that there were many gods and finally one was selected. He became agnostic and a proclaimed nihilist proud of his new self-deception. What did the Theological Department do? Fire him? No. They honored him. Result? A few months later the political movement of the EFF, an extreme group burnt down a building on that campus, not for this reason though but the faithful look higher than just roof of the buildings. Both are wrong and God will tell you that but when God’s relationship is traded in for naught, who knows what will happen? Jeremiah listed them.


The site of Kuntillet `Ajrud in the Negev and its inscriptions are evidence for Jeremiah here in verse 27. The Asherah worship on this site or hill was promoted from Jerusalem as a storagejar which was tested to see the origin of its clay, indicating Jerusalem as its origin. On this Yahweh and Asherah’s name are treated in equal honor. From the very days Jeremiah is writing this verse. Jerusalem shall not become purified. Jeremiah asked when this purification will take place?


Dear God

What do we have in Jeremiah’s message but to find ourselves on our knees to return before it is too late. Accept us in Your flock. In Jesus name. Amen.