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CHAPTER 16

Jer 16:1-21. Continuation of the Previous Prophecy.

2. in this place—in Judea. The direction to remain single was (whether literally obeyed, or only in prophetic vision) to symbolize the coming calamities of the Jews (Eze 24:15-27) as so severe that the single state would be then (contrary to the ordinary course of things) preferable to the married (compare 1Co 7:8, 26, 29; Mt 24:19; Lu 23:29).

4. grievous deaths—rather, "deadly diseases" (Jer 15:2).

not … lamented—so many shall be the slain (Jer 22:18).

dung—(Ps 83:10).

5. (Eze 24:17, 22, 23).

house of mourning—(Mr 5:38). Margin, "mourning-feast"; such feasts were usual at funerals. The Hebrew means, in Am 6:7, the cry of joy at a banquet; here, and La 2:19, the cry of sorrow.

6. cut themselves—indicating extravagant grief (Jer 41:5; 47:5), prohibited by the law (Le 19:28).

bald—(Jer 7:29; Isa 22:12).

7. tear themselves—rather, "break bread," namely, that eaten at the funeral-feast (De 26:14; Job 42:11; Eze 24:17; Ho 9:4). "Bread" is to be supplied, as in La 4:4; compare "take" (food) (Ge 42:33).

give … cup of consolation … for … father—It was the Oriental custom for friends to send viands and wine (the "cup of consolation") to console relatives in mourning-feasts, for example, to children upon the death of a "father" or "mother."

8. house of feasting—joyous: as distinguished from mourning-feasts. Have no more to do with this people whether in mourning or joyous feasts.

10. (De 29:24; 1Ki 9:8, 9).

11. (Jer 5:19; 13:22; 22:8, 9).

12. ye—emphatic: so far from avoiding your fathers' bad example, ye have done worse (Jer 7:26; 1Ki 14:9).

imagination—rather, "stubborn perversity."

that they may not hearken—rather, connected with "ye"; "ye have walked … so as not to hearken to Me."

13. serve other gods—That which was their sin in their own land was their punishment in exile. Retribution in kind. They voluntarily forsook God for idols at home; they were not allowed to serve God, if they wished it, in captivity (Da 3:12; 6:7).

day and night—irony. You may there serve idols, which ye are so mad after, even to satiety, and without intermission.

14. Therefore—So severe shall be the Jews' bondage that their deliverance from it shall be a greater benefit than that out of Egypt. The consolation is incidental here; the prominent thought is the severity of their punishment, so great that their rescue from it will be greater than that from Egypt [Calvin]; so the context, Jer 16:13, 17, 18, proves (Jer 23:7, 8; Isa 43:18).

15. the north—Chaldea. But while the return from Babylon is primarily meant, the return hereafter is the full and final accomplishment contemplated, as "from all the lands" proves. "Israel" was not, save in a very limited sense, "gathered from all the lands" at the return from Babylon (see on Jer 24:6; Jer 30:3; Jer 32:15).

16. send for—translate, "I will send many"; "I will give the commission to many" (2Ch 17:7).

fishers … hunters—successive invaders of Judea (Am 4:2; Hab 1:14, 15). So "net" (Eze 12:13). As to "hunters," see Ge 10:9; Mic 7:2. The Chaldees were famous in hunting, as the Egyptians, the other enemy of Judea, were in fishing. "Fishers" expresses the ease of their victory over the Jews as that of the angler over fishes; "hunters," the keenness of their pursuit of them into every cave and nook. It is remarkable, the same image is used in a good sense of the Jews' restoration, implying that just as their enemies were employed by God to take them in hand for destruction, so the same shall be employed for their restoration (Eze 47:9, 10). So spiritually, those once enemies by nature (fishermen many of them literally) were employed by God to be heralds of salvation, "catching men" for life (Mt 4:19; Lu 5:10; Ac 2:41; 4:4); compare here Jer 16:19, "the Gentiles shall come unto thee" (2Co 12:16).

17. (Jer 32:19; Pr 5:21; 15:3).

their iniquity—the cause of God's judgments on them.

18. first … doubleHorsley translates, "I will recompense … once and again"; literally, "the first time repeated": alluding to the two captivities—the Babylonian and the Roman. Maurer, "I will recompense their former iniquities (those long ago committed by their fathers) and their (own) repeated sins" (Jer 16:11, 12). English Version gives a good sense, "First (before 'I bring them again into their land'), I will doubly (that is, fully and amply, Jer 17:18; Isa 40:2) recompense."

carcasses—not sweet-smelling sacrifices acceptable to God, but "carcasses" offered to idols, an offensive odor to God: human victims (Jer 19:5; Eze 16:20), and unclean animals (Isa 65:4; 66:17). Maurer explains it, "the carcasses" of the idols: their images void of sense and life. Compare Jer 16:19, 20. Le 26:30 favors this.

19, 20. The result of God's judgments on the Jews will be that both the Jews when restored, and the Gentiles who have witnessed those judgments, shall renounce idolatry for the worship of Jehovah. Fulfilled partly at the return from Babylon, after which the Jews entirely renounced idols, and many proselytes were gathered in from the Gentiles, but not to be realized in its fulness till the final restoration of Israel (Isa 2:1-17).

20. indignant protest of Jeremiah against idols.

and they (are) no gods—(Jer 2:11; Isa 37:19; Ga 4:8). "They" refers to the idols. A man (a creature himself) making God is a contradiction in terms. Vulgate takes "they" thus: "Shall man make gods, though men themselves are not gods?"

21. Therefore—In order that all may be turned from idols to Jehovah, He will now give awful proof of His divine power in the judgments He will inflict.

this once—If the punishments I have heretofore inflicted have not been severe enough to teach them.

my name … LordJehovah (Ps 83:18): God's incommunicable name, to apply which to idols would be blasphemy. Keeping His threats and promises (Ex 6:3).

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