Jeremiah 16

Listen to Jeremiah 16

Famine, Sword, and Death

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 "You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.
3 For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bore them and the fathers who fathered them in this land:
4 1They shall die of deadly diseases. 2They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried. 3They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. 4They shall perish by the sword and by famine, 5and their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.
5 "For thus says the LORD: 6Do not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament or grieve for them, for I have taken away my peace from this people, my steadfast love and mercy, declares the LORD.
6 Both great and small shall die in this land. 7They shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them or 8cut himself 9or make himself bald for them.
7 No one shall 10break bread for the mourner, to comfort him for the dead, nor shall anyone give him the cup of consolation to drink for his father or his mother.
8 You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink.
9 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 11Behold, I will silence in this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.
10 "And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, 12'Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?'
11 then you shall say to them: 13'Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and 14have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law,
12 and because 15you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, 16every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.
13 Therefore 17I will hurl you out of this land into 18a land that neither you nor your fathers have known, 19and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.'

The Lord Will Restore Israel

14 20"Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, 21'As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,'
15 but 22'As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel 23out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.' For 24I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.
16 "Behold, 25I am sending for many fishers, declares the LORD, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out 26of the clefts of the rocks.
17 For 27my eyes are on all their ways. 28They are not hidden from me, 29nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.
18 But first 30I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and 31have filled my inheritance with their abominations."
19 32O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, 33my refuge in the day of trouble, 34to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: "Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, 35worthless things in which there is no profit.
20 Can man make for himself 36gods? Such are not gods!"
21 "Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that 37my name is the LORD."

Jeremiah 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Prohibitions given to the prophet. (1-9) The justice of God in these judgments. (10-13) Future restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles. (14-21)

Verses 1-9 The prophet must conduct himself as one who expected to see his country ruined very shortly. In the prospect of sad times, he is to abstain from marriage, mourning for the dead, and pleasure. Those who would convince others of the truths of God, must make it appear by their self-denial, that they believe it themselves. Peace, inward and outward, family and public, is wholly the work of God, and from his loving-kindness and mercy. When He takes his peace from any people, distress must follow. There may be times when it is proper to avoid things otherwise our duty; and we should always sit loose to the pleasures and concerns of this life.

Verses 10-13 Here seems to be the language of those who quarrel at the word of God, and instead of humbling and condemning themselves, justify themselves, as though God did them wrong. A plain and full answer is given. They were more obstinate in sin than their fathers, walking every one after the devices of his heart. Since they will not hearken, they shall be hurried away into a far country, a land they know not. If they had God's favour, that would make even the land of their captivity pleasant.

Verses 14-21 The restoration from the Babylonish captivity would be remembered in place of the deliverance from Egypt; it also typified spiritual redemption, and the future deliverance of the church from antichristian oppression. But none of the sins of sinners can be hidden from God, or shall be overlooked by him. He will find out and raise up instruments of his wrath, that shall destroy the Jews, by fraud like fishers, by force like hunters. The prophet, rejoicing at the hope of mercy to come, addressed the Lord as his strength and refuge. The deliverance out of captivity shall be a figure of the great salvation to be wrought by the Messiah. The nations have often known the power of Jehovah in his wrath; but they shall know him as the strength of his people, and their refuge in time of trouble.

Cross References 37

  • 1. See Jeremiah 15:2
  • 2. Jeremiah 22:18, 19; Jeremiah 25:33
  • 3. See Jeremiah 8:2
  • 4. See Jeremiah 14:12
  • 5. See Jeremiah 7:33
  • 6. See Ezekiel 24:16-23
  • 7. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 8. Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1
  • 9. Job 1:20; [Isaiah 3:24]
  • 10. Isaiah 58:7; Ezekiel 24:17; [Deuteronomy 26:14; Hosea 9:4]
  • 11. See Jeremiah 7:34
  • 12. See Jeremiah 5:19
  • 13. Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 22:9; [Deuteronomy 29:25, 26; 2 Kings 22:17; 2 Chronicles 34:25]
  • 14. Jeremiah 13:10
  • 15. Jeremiah 7:26
  • 16. See Jeremiah 3:17
  • 17. Jeremiah 10:18; Jeremiah 22:26; Isaiah 22:17, 18; See Deuteronomy 4:26-28; Deuteronomy 28:64, 65
  • 18. See Jeremiah 15:14
  • 19. Deuteronomy 28:36, 64
  • 20. For ver. 14, 15, see Jeremiah 23:7, 8
  • 21. Jeremiah 4:2
  • 22. [See ver. 14 above]
  • 23. [Isaiah 43:5, 6]; See Jeremiah 3:18
  • 24. Jeremiah 24:6; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 32:37
  • 25. [Ezekiel 12:13; Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:15]
  • 26. Jeremiah 13:4
  • 27. Jeremiah 32:19; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 34:21; Proverbs 5:21
  • 28. [Psalms 51:9; Psalms 90:8]
  • 29. [Psalms 51:9; Psalms 90:8]
  • 30. Jeremiah 17:18; Isaiah 40:2
  • 31. [Isaiah 65:4]; See Ezekiel 43:7-9
  • 32. 2 Samuel 22:33; Psalms 28:7; Psalms 31:3, 4; Isaiah 25:4
  • 33. Jeremiah 17:17
  • 34. [Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 49:6, 22, 23]
  • 35. See Jeremiah 18:15
  • 36. [1 Corinthians 8:4]; See Jeremiah 2:11
  • 37. See Jeremiah 33:2

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the ruin and destruction of the Jews is set forth, and confirmed by the prophet's being forbid to be merry, or to go into the house of feasting or mourning, with the reasons thereof; also the sins of the people, the cause of it, are pointed at; and afterwards a promise of their restoration is made; and the chapter is concluded with a prayer of the prophet, pressing his faith in the divine protection, and in the calling of the Gentiles. After the preface or introduction, Jer 16:1, the prophet is forbid to take a wife, or have any children, with the reason of it; because that parents and children would die of grievous deaths unlamented, and not be buried, Jer 16:2-4 and he is also forbid to go into the house of mourning, because peace, lovingkindness, and mercy, were taken from the people, and both great and small would die, and no lamentation be made for them, nor have any burial also, Jer 16:5-7, nor might he go into the house of feasting, because the voice of joy and gladness would cease out of the land, Jer 16:8,9, and upon the people's inquiring the reason of all this, the prophet is bid to tell them, that it was for their forsaking the Lord and his worship, and for their idolatrous practices; of which they were more guilty than their forefathers, and therefore would be cast out of the land, and carried captive into a strange country, Jer 16:10-13 but, after all this, they should be restored again to their own land, and have a greater deliverance than that out of Egypt, as they themselves would own, Jer 16:14,15 but before this would be, fishers and hunters should be sent to distress them, and all because of their iniquities, which God's eye was upon, and would recompense, Jer 16:16-18, and the chapter is closed with the prophet's prayer, in which he expresses his faith in the Lord, and in the conversion of the Gentiles, who would be convinced of their idolatry, and made to know the power and name of the Lord, Jer 16:19,20.

Jeremiah 16 Commentaries