The linen belt
1 This is what Yahweh said to me: “Go! Buy your self a linen belt and put it around your waist; do not put it in water.” 2 So I bought the belt as Yahweh ordered and put it around my waist.
3 The word of Yahweh came to me a second time, 4 “Take the belt you bought, the one you put around your waist, and go to the torrent Perah; hide it there in a hole in the rock.” 5 I went and hid it as Yahweh instructed me.
6 After many days Yahweh said to me, “Go to the torrent Perah and get the belt I ordered you to hide there.” 7 I went to the torrent and dug up the belt but it was ruined and good for nothing, 8 and Yahweh said to me, 9 “In this way I will destroy the pride and great glory of Judah, 10 this wicked people who refuse to heed what I say, this stubborn people who go after other gods to serve and worship them. And they shall become like this belt which is now good for nothing.
11 For just as a belt is to be bound around a man’s waist so was the peo ple of Israel and Judah bound to me – it is Yahweh who speaks – to be my people, my glory and my honor; but they would not listen.
The broken wine jars
12 You will say to them this word of Yahweh the God of Israel, “Every pitcher should be filled with wine.” And they will say: “Don’t we know that a pitcher should be filled with wine?”
13 You will reply, “You are the pitchers that Yahweh will fill until you are drunk. I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land – kings who succeed David, the priests, the prophets and all who live in Jerusalem. 14 I will dash them one against another, parents and children together.
14 I will have neither compassion nor mercy: I am going to destroy them.”
A vision of exile
15 Hear and pay attention; do not be proud, for Yahweh has spoken!
16 Give glory to Yahweh your God before he brings dark ness, and your feet stum ble in the darkening hills.
16 You were hoping for light, but he will turn it into the darkness of death and deep gloom!
17 If you do not heed this warning I will weep in secret because of your pride and I will shed tears when Yah weh’s flock has been taken cap tive.
18 Say to the king and the queen mo ther,
18 “Humble yourselves,
18 for the crown of glory
18 has fallen from your head.
19 The cities of the Negeb have been shut and no one comes to open them,
19 all Judah is deported,
19 completely carried off.”
20 Look up Jerusalem and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you and where are your beautiful sheep?
21 What will you say when those you let take liberties with you come back to oppress you?
21 Won’t your pain be like that of a wo man giving birth? 22 And if you ask yourself, “Why has all this disgrace fallen on me?” It is be cause of your great wicked ness that they have torn away your clothes and dealt violently with you.
23 Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard his spots? And can you do good, you who are accustomed to doing evil?
24 I will scatter you like straw blown by the desert wind; 25 that is your reward – it is Yahweh who speaks – because you have forgotten me and trusted in False hood.
26 I myself will pull your skirts over your face and your shame shall be seen. 27 Your adultery, your neighing, your bra zen prostitution, all this abomination I have seen on the hills and in the fields.
27 Woe to you Jerusalem! When at last will you be cleansed?”