So I looked it up because it was weird: the loincloth here could have basically been a belt, a sash tied about the waist to hold other garments in place. Which would also make sense with the linen connection to priestly garments. And with the metaphor of value while worn and ruination when cast aside.
Still, it’s a very interesting image. I’m not sure we really needed a metaphor here. God’s provided plenty of object lessons and explanations for why Israel, and now Judah, are being punished.
But we have it all the same:
Get yourself a really nice sash like the priests would wear while serving in the temple.
Wear it like it’s supposed to be worn.
Now take it off and bury it in the ground.
When you go back, it’s going to be completely ruined, good for nothing.
Your people are like that.
I got myself a nice people. I made them priests to the nations of the world. I drew them in close and made them holy.
But they cast themselves aside. They covered themselves in filth.
Now they are ruined, good for nothing.
It’s a pretty harsh image. I kind of like it. I reckon we do need it after all. Why don’t we preach it more? We preach most of the other metaphors God uses. We preach the unfaithful wife metaphor. Is it because the translations use the word loincloth?
I like the simplicity of it. Here is a thing of value as long as it clings closely to the one who values it. Do you cling closely to the one who values you?