1 This is what the Lord told me to do: Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth and put it on, but don't wash it. 2 So I went and bought a loincloth as the Lord had instructed me, and I put it on.
Then the Lord gave me another message: 4
Take the loincloth that you bought and put on, and go immediately to the River Perath*
and hide it there in a hole among the rocks. 5
So I went and hid it at the River Perath, as the Lord had told me.
6 A long time later the Lord told me, Go to Perath, and get the loincloth that I ordered you to hide there. 7 I went to Perath and dug up the loincloth, and removed it from where I'd hidden it. Obviously it was ruined—completely useless.
8 Then a message from the Lord came to me: 9 This is what the Lord says: I will ruin the arrogance of Judah and the great arrogance of Jerusalem in exactly the same way. 10 These evil people refuse to listen to what I tell them. They follow their own stubborn and evil thinking and run off to worship other gods—they will be like this loincloth, completely useless.
11 In the same way that a loincloth holds tightly to the body, so I made all the people of Israel and Judah hold tightly to me, declares the Lord. Then they could have been my people, representing me, giving me honor and praise. But they refused to listen.
12 So tell them this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wine jar shall be filled with wine.
When they reply, “Don't we know that already? Of course every wine jar should be filled with wine!” 13
then tell them that this is what the Lord says: I'm going to make everyone who lives in this land drunk—the kings sitting on David's throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the people of Jerusalem. 14
I'm going to smash them against each other like wine jars,†
both parents and children, declares the Lord. I won't let any mercy or pity or compassion stop me from destroying them.
15 Listen and pay attention. Don't be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. 16 Honor the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before you trip and fall in the twilight on the mountains. You long for light to come, but he send only gloom and complete darkness.
17 But if you refuse to listen, I will weep secretly inside because of your pride. My tears pouring down because the Lord's flock has been captured.
18 Tell the king and the queen mother: Get down from your thrones, because your splendid crowns have fallen from your heads. 19 The towns in the Negev are surrounded; no one can get through to them. The whole of Judah has been taken away into exile, everyone has been exiled. 20 Look up and you'll see the invaders coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given to you to look after? Where are the sheep you were so proud of? 21 What are you going to say when he puts your enemies in charge of you, people you once counted as your friends? Won't you suffer pains like a woman in labor?
22 If you say to yourself, Why has this happened to me? it's because you have been so wicked. That's why your skirts were stripped off and you were raped. 23 Can Ethiopians change the color of their skin? Can a leopard change its spots? In the same way you can't change and do good because you're so used to doing evil.
24 I'm going to scatter you like chaff blown away by the desert wind. 25 This is what's going to happen to you; this is what I have decided to do to you, declares the Lord, because you have forgotten me and believed in lies. 26 I will pull your skirts up over your face, so you will be seen naked and ashamed. 27 I watched your acts of adultery and lust, how you prostituted yourselves shamelessly, worshiping idols on the hills and in the fields. Yes, I saw the disgusting things you did.
Disaster is coming to you, Jerusalem! How long are you going to remain unclean?