Jeremiah (Notes on Chapter 13)

Symbolism in Scripture is a matter of record; some reject what they understand to be symbolism because they maintain there is no substance to that symbolism. Perhaps in some contexts this would be right; not with the Lord, however. The Lord provides much in the way of symbolism in order to convey particular messages. This is what we have in this chapter. Jeremiah was to take a linen sash (loincloth, shorts), wear it for a period of time, bury it, and then retrieve it. When he retrieved it the linen sash was “profitable for nothing” (13:10, NKJV). The symbolism was not meant for the people, but the Lord meant it for Jeremiah (13:11). Just as a man would cleave to his wife, the Lord saved a people in order that they would cleave to Him. That they did not meant that they (the people of Judah) were “profitable for nothing.” There is another bit of symbolism (13:12-14); this time it pertains to the proper use of a container, a bottle (wine jar, wineskins). The Lord uses this symbol to convey that the contents of that wineskin will bring about disaster to those who “imbibe” it; in other words, as the wine is used to be enjoyed and satisfy, it will now bring violent destruction. The remainder of the chapter (13:15-27) has Jeremiah zeroing in on that which is their plague: pride. Pride might be defined as personal responsibility in destructive engagements. Israel did not listen to the Lord and while in that state of mind there was no way they could do anything good (13:23).