Jeremiah 16

Day of Disaster

1 Then the word of the LORD came to me:
2 “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.”
3 For this is what the LORD says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers:
4 “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.”
5 For this is what the LORD says: “Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity from this people,” declares the LORD.
6 “Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead.
7 No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console them.
8 “And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink.
9 For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place.
10 “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the LORD our God?’
11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.
12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.
13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’
14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’
15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.
16 “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.
17 My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.
18 I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.”
19 LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.
20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!”
21 “Therefore I will teach them— this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my 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 51

  • 1. Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:26-27
  • 2. Jeremiah 6:21
  • 3. ver 6; Jeremiah 25:33
  • 4. Psalms 83:10; S Jeremiah 9:22
  • 5. S Jeremiah 14:15
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 28:26; Psalms 79:1-3; S Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 15:3; Jeremiah 34:20
  • 7. S Jeremiah 15:5
  • 8. Jeremiah 9:21; Ezekiel 9:5-6
  • 9. S ver 4
  • 10. S Leviticus 19:28
  • 11. S Leviticus 21:5; S Job 1:20; Jeremiah 41:5; Jeremiah 47:5
  • 12. S 2 Samuel 3:35
  • 13. Jeremiah 22:10; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:4
  • 14. Lamentations 1:9,16
  • 15. S Exodus 32:6; S Ecclesiastes 7:2-4; S Jeremiah 15:17
  • 16. S Isaiah 24:8; S Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 26:13; Hosea 2:11; Amos 6:4-7
  • 17. S Psalms 78:63
  • 18. Isaiah 22:12-14; Revelation 18:23
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 29:24; Jeremiah 5:19
  • 20. S Job 31:27
  • 21. Deuteronomy 29:25-26; S 1 Kings 9:9; Psalms 106:35-43; Jeremiah 22:9
  • 22. S Exodus 32:8; S Jeremiah 7:26; Ezekiel 20:30; Amos 2:4
  • 23. S Ecclesiastes 9:3; S Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 13:10
  • 24. S 2 Chronicles 7:20
  • 25. S Deuteronomy 28:36; S Jeremiah 5:19
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 4:28; S 1 Kings 9:9
  • 27. S Jeremiah 15:5
  • 28. Jeremiah 29:10; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:27,38
  • 29. S Deuteronomy 15:15; Jeremiah 23:7-8
  • 30. S Jeremiah 3:18
  • 31. S Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 23:8
  • 32. Psalms 53:6; S Isaiah 11:12; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 32:44; Ezekiel 38:14; Joel 3:1; Jeremiah 24:6
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 30:3; S Isaiah 14:1
  • 34. Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:14-15
  • 35. Amos 9:3; Micah 7:2
  • 36. S 1 Samuel 26:20
  • 37. S Genesis 3:8; S Ecclesiastes 12:14; S Mark 4:22; 1 Corinthians 4:5; S Hebrews 4:13
  • 38. S Psalms 51:9; Proverbs 15:3; Zephaniah 1:12
  • 39. S Isaiah 65:6
  • 40. S Isaiah 40:2; S Jeremiah 12:3; Revelation 18:6
  • 41. Numbers 35:34; Jeremiah 2:7
  • 42. S Psalms 101:3
  • 43. S 1 Kings 14:24
  • 44. S Jeremiah 2:7; S Jeremiah 4:1; Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 8:10
  • 45. S 2 Samuel 22:3; S Psalms 46:1
  • 46. S Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:17
  • 47. S Psalms 4:2
  • 48. S Deuteronomy 32:21; S 1 Samuel 12:21
  • 49. S Isaiah 40:19; S Jeremiah 14:22
  • 50. Psalms 115:4-7; Isaiah 37:19; S Jeremiah 2:11; Romans 1:23
  • 51. S Exodus 3:15

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

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