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Jeremiah 16:5

5. For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.

5. Quia sic dicit Jehova, Ne ingrediaris domum luctus, et ne eas ad plangendum, et ne movearis propter illos; quia abstuli pacem meam a populo hoc, dicit Jehova, clementiam et miserationes.


As Jeremiah was forbidden at the beginning of the chapter to take a wife, for a dreadful devastation of the whole land was very nigh; so now God confirms what he had previously said, that so great would be the slaughter, that none would be found to perform the common office of lamenting the dead: at the same time he intimates now something more grievous, — that they who perished would be unworthy of any kind office. As he had said before, “Their carcases shall be cast to the “beasts of the earth and to the birds of heaven;” so now in this place he intimates, that their deaths would be so ignominious, that they would be deprived of the honor of a grave, and would be buried, as it is said in another place, like asses.

But when God forbids his Prophet to mourn, we are not to understand that he refers to excess of grief, as when God intends to moderate grief, when he takes away from us our parents, or our relatives, or our friends; for the subject here is not the private feeling of Jeremiah. God only declares that the land would be so desolate that hardly one would survive to mourn for the dead.

He says, Enter not into the house of mourning Some render מרזה, merezach, a funeral feast; and it is probable, nay, it may be gathered from the context, that such feasts were made when any one was dead. 157157     The word is of a general import, to cry aloud or to shout, either for grief or for joy: it is here for grief, and in Amos 6:7, for joy. The literal rendering here is, “Enter not the house of shouting.” The version of the Septuagint is wide of the mark, “Enter not into their bacchanalian assembly, (θίασον.)” The Syriac omits the word, and the Vulgate and Targum have “feast.” — Ed. And the same custom we see has been observed by other nations, but for a different purpose. When the Romans celebrated a funeral feast, their object was to shake off grief, and in a manner to convert the dead into gods. Hence Cicero condemns Vatinius, because he came clothed in black to the feast of Q. Arius, (Orat. pro L. Mur.) and elsewhere he says, that Tuberonis was laughed at and everywhere repulsed, because he covered the beds with goat’s skins, when Q. Maximus made a feast at the death of his uncle Africanus. Then these feasts were among the Romans full of rejoicing; but among the Jews, as it appears, when they lamented the dead, who were their relatives, they invited children and widows, in order that there might be some relief to their sorrow.

However this may be, God intimates by this figurative language, that the Jews, when they perished in great numbers, would be deprived of that common practice, because they were unworthy of having any survivors to bewail them.

Neither go, he says, to lament, nor be moved on their account 158158     The verb means to move, or to nod, either in contempt or in sympathy. The latter is the meaning here: hence to condole is the sense. He was not to go for the purpose of lamenting the dead, or of condoling with the living. To “mourn” is the Septuagint, a word of a similar meaning with the preceding; more correct is to “console,” as given by the Vulqate and the Targum.Ed. and why? For I have taken away my peace from this people, that is, all prosperity; for under the term, peace, the Jews included whatever was desirable. God then says, that he had taken away peace from them, and his peace, because he had pronounced that wicked nation accursed. He then adds, that he had taken away his kindness and his mercies. 159159     These words are omitted by the Septuagint, but given by the other versions, and are left out in no copies. The “and” before “kindness” is found in two MSS., and in the Syriac, but not in the Vulgate: it seems necessary. The passage I thus render, —
   For withdrawn have I my peace From this people, saith Jehovah, My mercy also and my compassions.

   There is here a reason given for the preceding prohibitions: the Prophet was to shew no favor, no kindness to the people, and no sympathy with them: for God had withdrawn from them his “peace,” which means here his favor, and also his mercy or his benignity, as some render the word, and his compassions. — Ed.
For the Prophet might have raised an objection and said, that this was not consistent with the nature of God, who testifies that he is ready to shew mercy; but God meets this objection and intimates, that there was now no place for kindness and mercy, for the impiety of the people had become past all hope. It follows —

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