Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 16

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4




In the next five chapters one may behold the intimate workings of the prophetic heart and soul. Often referred to as the. "confession" of Jeremiah, it is obvious that the prophet is near unto despair - thinking that death is the only possible solution to his intense suffering.

It seems evident that the setting is in the days of Jehoiakim whose personal dislike and animosity toward Jeremiah actually encouraged others to seek his life.


1. To be denied the privilege of a home and family is a painful experience in any age, but in Jeremiah’s day it must have seemed tragic.

a. Some boys married as early as 14.

b. All were expected to be married, and in the way of producing children, by the time they were 18 or 20; to be over 20 and unmarried was considered a cursed

c. Not only was it understood that God wanted men to marry and multiply; one’s property could not be held within the family without children.

2. One of the sacrifices a person has to make in order to be an acceptable servant of God, is the yielding of his own feelings, desires and inclinations to the sovereign will and purpose of His Lord, (Luke 9:23­-24).

3. But, the divine prohibition is actually rooted in divine love, and is designed to spare Jeremiah deep grief, (vs. 3-4; comp. 1 Corinthians 7:26).

a. Grievous sickness - unto death - awaits the children born in this land and the parents who gave them birth, (vs. 3; comp. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 6:21; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 15:8).

b. Unlamented, and unburied, their carcasses will lie, as dung, upon the face of the ground - to be consumed by the birds of heaven and the beasts of the field, (vs. 4; Jeremiah 9:22; Jeremiah 25:33; Jeremiah 44:12; Jeremiah 44:27; Jeremiah 15:3; Jeremiah 34:20; comp. Isaiah 18:6).

Verses 5-9


1. There must be no attempt to comfort the mourning, (vs. 5; comp. Ezekiel 24:15-24).

a. The Lord has withdrawn His peace from them; with that gone it is futile for anyone else to offer them comfort, (vs. 5a; Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 30:5; Jeremiah 15:1-4).

b. Furthermore, the Lord has withdrawn His loving-kindness and covenant mercy - which has been extended to Israel exclusively, (vs. 5b; Jeremiah 13:14; Isaiah 27:11; comp. Psalms 25:6).

2. It appears from verses 6-7 that none will extend comfort to another because ALL "great and small" (2 Chronicles 36:17; comp. Ezekiel 9:6) will be bowed down in their own grief.

a. There will not be leisure for either burial of, or lamentation for, the dead.

b. Nor will there be opportunity to follow the heathen practices of cutting themselves, or shaving their heads, for the dead - a thing that had been widely practiced in Judah, though forbidden by the Law of Moses, (Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1; comp. Jeremiah 41:4-9).

c. The custom of providing a meal, and a cup of consolation, for mourners -following the funeral rites -will be discontinued, (vs. 7; comp. 2 Samuel 3:35; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:1-4).

3. The prophet is also forbidden to enter a house of feasting and merriment, (vs. 8-9).

a. In his day the Lord will cause the shouts of joy and merry­making to cease in Jerusalem, (Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 25:10).

b. Jerusalem will soon be under siege; even the celebration of marriage will be no cause for festivity - for Judah’s prospect for the future is dark indeed!

4. Thus is Jeremiah to disassociate himself from both the sorrows and joys of his people - a people upon whom the consuming judgment of Jehovah is about to fall (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

Verses 10-13


1. ft is obvious that Jeremiah is to inform the people of Judah concerning the divine prohibition that was upon him; verse 10 reveals the exasperation of their startled unbelief.

a. Why has the Lord pronounced such evil against us? What is our iniquity? or what have we done to cause Him to act like this? (comp. Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 13:22; Deuteronomy 29:24-25; 1 Kings 9:8-9).

b. In the blindness of self-deception, they are deeply perplexed.

2. God has furnished His servant with adequate answers to their inquiries (vs. 11-12; Ezekiel 14:12-23).

a. Their fathers have forsaken Jehovah to walk after, worship and serve other gods - which are no-gods, (Jeremiah 5:7-9; Psalms 106:35-41; Ezekiel 11:21; comp. 1 Peter 4:1-3).

b. They have refused to walk in God’s covenant - discarding it in favor of gross idolatry!

c. The children have done worse than their fathers - walking after the stubbornness of their wicked hearts, and refusing to obey Jehovah’s voice, (vs. 12; Jeremiah 7:24-26; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 13:10; comp. 1 Samuel 15:23; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Mark 7:21).

3. Since they refuse to walk in God’s covenant (a rejection of covenant-love), they have forfeited the blessings thereof: they will be delivered up to that which they have deliberately chosen for themselves until they are willing to return to Jehovah with their whole hearts, (vs. 13; Deuteronomy 4:27-31).

a. They will be cast out of the Land of Promise - taken captive into a land that neither they nor their fathers have known, (Jeremiah 15:1; 2 Chronicles 7:20-22; Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 17:4).

b. There they will have opportunity to serve other gods "day and night," (Jeremiah 5:19).

c. Nor may they expect their rejected Lord to show them any favor, (comp. 5b).

4. Judah, and men of every nation and age, must learn that "the wages of sin is death"; the only escape is through one’s acceptance of the divinely-offered provision, and the willing acknowledgment of the Lord’s sovereign claim upon our hearts, our love, our lives and our ALL! (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Verses 14-21


1. Wedged between threatenings of imminent judgment is one brief, shining ray of hope: here is the promise of a New Exodus, (vs. 14­-15).

a. It was not unusual for pre-exilic prophets, in their denunciations of national sins and threatenings of inescapable judgment, to intersperse some ray of hope for a brighter future, (comp., Joel 3:18-21; Amos 9:11-15).

b. The deliverance from Egypt will be eclipsed by a more astounding Exodus from Babylon.

2. Like fishermen and hunters, the Chaldeans will catch them and take them captive to Babylon, (vs. 16-18; Amos 9:1-4; Habakkuk 1:15; Ezekiel 12:13).

a. This judgment is of the Lord, from whose eyes Judah has not concealed her iniquity, (vs. 17).

b. Judah will receive, from the Lord’s hand, ADEQUATE (better than "double") recompense for her pollution of His land and inheritance with the carcasses of her lifeless and detestable idols that are an abomination to Jehovah, (vs. 18; comp. Leviticus 11:24-40).

3. The power of God will yet be revealed, (vs. 19-21).

a. Jeremiah looks to Jehovah as his "strength, fortress, and refuge" in the day of distress, (vs. 19a; 15:11; comp. Psalms 18:1-2; Isaiah 25:4).

b. He sees a coming day (evidently in Messianic times) when the nations will acknowledge the bankruptcy of their idols and turn to Jehovah, (vs. 19b; see Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 4:2).

c. The "no-gods" which the fathers have inherited, to "no profit," will soon be revealed as "lies," (vs. 19c-20; Jeremiah 2:11; Jeremiah 5:7; Psalms 115:4­8; Isaiah 37:18-19; Jeremiah 10:14; Isaiah 44:20; Habakkuk 2:18-20).

d. The judgment about to be executed will not be futile or meaningless; it will result in a universal recognition of the authority of Jehovah - the self-existent, ever-living and sovereign LORD OF ALL! (vs. 21; Psalms 9:16; Psalms 83:17-18; Amos 5:4-9).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 16". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-16.html. 1985.
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