"Can The Leopard Change His Spots?"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Jeremiah, sanctified by God before his conception, declares the approaching demolition of Jerusalem by a northern enemy and pleads that the inhabitants of Jerusalem cease their wicked ways and return to God. Jeremiah addresses Jerusalem, which is personified as a shepherdess whose sheep are being scattered by those from the north, whose friends have forsaken her, whose nakedness is exposed for punishment for her lewd-ness, and whose evil habits have become a part of her even as the darkness of his skin is part of the Ethiopian or his spots a part of the leopard. The messenger of the Lord says to the woman of the fields, the keeper of flocks:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.
This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.
Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear.
I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?