JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 13 - Parable of the Girdle

JEREMIAH – CHAPTER 13 – Parable of the Girdle

Tuesday Morning Bible Study 

April 13, 2020 

Pastor Carolyn Sissom 


This is my first time to teach/preach Chapter 13 about the linen girdle.  It is still very much a mystery to the church today.  Scripture tells us that “all things are written for our learning.”  It is our duty to find out that which the Lord desires us to know. 


 The pure white linen garment worn next to the skin symbolized the pristine purity of the nation in fellowship with the LORD.  The girdle is a symbol of priestly service.  This God had desired from His people.  He wanted them to serve Him to the praise of His Name.  Instead, they were serving other gods which would be to their destruction.   


The girdle was put off and exposed to dampness and soil at the Euphrates.  It showed the ruin of the nation away from God and the corruption of the priesthood as well and prophetic captivity beyond the Euphrates in Babylon.   


The wine jars filled to the brim show the people’s drunkenness and their ruin under Divine judgment (13: 12-14). 


Prophetic action required by God is as anointed as prophetic words. 


The round-trip from Anathoth to Perath (Euphrates river) would have been 700 miles.  It would have been at least a three or four-month journey.   


13: 1-11:  This is what the Lord said to me, Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.  So, I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.  Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: Take the belt you bought and wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.  So, I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me. Many days later the Lord said to me, go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.  So, I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.  Then the word of the Lord came to me:  this is what the Lord says:  In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.  These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt---completely useless!  For as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me, declares the Lord, to be my people for my renown and praise and honor, but they have not listened. (N.I.V.) 



Years ago, I taught on the Priestly garments and the symbolism of each piece.  The High priest is a type of the Great High Priest, Jesus, so the garments of the High Priest typify the character of Jesus Christ.  Even Sunday, I was preaching on the Christian character which is to be like the character of Jesus.  We, who are the sons of God are called to be priests, even so the dress of the priests typifies the character of the believers. 


The chief lesson to be learned from a study of the priestly garments is the character which is essentially Christ’s and then the character of believers in our relationship to Him.


Only the priesthood was allowed to wear the linen girdle and only in the Holy Place and Most Holy Place.  When they came out to minister to the people, they had to pull off the priestly garments. 


There are varying opinions about this parable and the linen girdle.   


1.       Why was Jeremiah told “do not let it touch water?” 

2.       Was the girdle linen? 

3.      Did he really take the journey to Perath which would have taken three or four months?

4.      Why does this matter to us today? 


The Lord gives Jeremiah no explanation.  It seems Jeremiah asks no questions.   


There are two words in the Hebrew used for linen: bad and peset.  Bad is used describing the garments of the high priest.  Peset is used here.  But it is also used in Ezekiel for holy garments of the high priest.    


Ezekiel 44:17-19: It shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen (Peset) garments; and no wool shall come upon them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. When they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments. (K.J.V.) 


Lev 16:4 - He shall put on the holy linen (bad) coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore, shall he wash his flesh in water, (K.J.V.) 


Rev 19:8Too her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (K.J.V.) 


The priestly garments must be recognized by those who enter it as a high-calling demanding the very best that man possesses, and then it must be recognized by the people as God-chosen avenue for conveying His truth.  The leaders, priests, and people would have known Jeremiah was doing something very strange and out of priestly order.  He wore it for some length time before the Lord told him to go bury it.


The priest in his robes of “glory and beauty” was adorned in harmony with his surroundings---the tabernacle; the same colors, some of the same materials, the same skillful workmanship.  This reminds us of the great fact that God loves harmony, and that all His work is harmonious.


In Exodus, the curious girdle of the Priests was attached with the ephod.  A girdle is used to strengthen the loins, thus equipping a man for a strenuous walk.  he rises from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself(John 13:5); or for warfare; “put on the whole armor of Godstand therefore having your loins girded with truth (Eph. 6: 11-14). 


The linen girdle as clothing for the priests was a symbol for strength and support; intimacy with God; and righteousness in service or ministry. 


The linen belt was a sign to Israel worn by the Priesthood symbolizing God’s holy covenant with his people.   It had to be kept out of water to remain pure and unsoiled, still giving Judah time to repent.  The Priest had to be washed in water before putting on the priestly garments which was symbolic of the washing away of the flesh.


Jeremiah taking off the girdle and burying it was a sign of God’s separation from the Priesthood and the nation. 


When the Lord finally does speak to Jeremiah, he still gives no explanation.  The prophet is simply directed to return to the same location where he had hidden the linen girdle.  It is ruined and useless.  The interpretation of these symbolic actions is now given.  Just as the linen belt was ruined, so the Lord will ruin Judah and Jerusalem, marked respectively by “pride” and “great pride.”  


The people do not understand that their only true value derives from their relationship with the Lord from being his people and his city.  The Lord spells it out clearly in verse 11.   Yahweh caused all Judah and Israel to cleave to him just as a girdle cleaves to a man’s waist.  This speaks of the extreme close personal relationship between the Lord and his people.  He chose them to become his people for his renown, praise and honor.   


This specially chosen people did not obey, rather they became rebellious, wicked and stubborn.  The divine plans for His people will one day be fulfilled (Jer. 33:9).  The Lord is now casting them off just as they cast off this divine relationship in order to pursue idols thus becoming utterly ruined just like the belt. 


The words of Jesus reinforce God’s principle that he calls us to serve as witnesses to those around us and that if we do not, judgment lies ahead.  You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Mt. 5:13).  


Jeremiah 13: 12-14:  Say to them: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says:  Every wineskin should be filled with wine.  And if they say to you, don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine? Then tell them, this is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem.  I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike declares the Lord, I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them. (N.I.V.)


There is an abrupt change in parables, but the context of the message is the same.


The Lord makes a statement, then poses a question.  It would seem that the prophetic point is, “you think you know what is coming, but you are actually mockers and really have no idea at all.”  Of course, every wine skin should be filled with wine.  Who would dispute that?  But what you don’t know, it is the people who are the wineskins the wine that will fill them is the wine of judgment.  This is the wine of God’s wrath bringing severe drunkenness.  We see this on the streets of our cities with these wild, lawless riots.


Jeremiah 51:7: Babylon has been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore, the nations are mad.


Jeremiah 13: 15-17:  Hear and pay attention.  Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.  Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills.  You hope for light, but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom.  But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride.  My eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive. (N.I.V.)


Jeremiah has delivered his prophecies in public, often in the midst of throngs of people.  The Lord himself has spoken.  His words must be given attention.  His people cannot proudly reject his message any longer.  Once more, pride is address, that nefarious human tendency that refuses to take correction, refuses to acknowledge its faults and sins, and refuses to get low.  It is a human tendency that is fatal.


Jeremiah is saying there is still one last glimmer of hope before the onslaught of a long, dark night, one last chance to give glory to God before deep darkness falls.  It is the Lord himself who is bringing the darkness on his people. According to 2 Kings 24, 8-10, there is only a 3-month window. 


The warning against pride is followed by the funeral song and dirge for the king (Jehoiachin) and queen mother (Nehushta

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