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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 16

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-21

3. Instructions as to the conduct of the Lord’s servant among the people who have incurred judgment

Jeremiah 16:1-9

1          The word of Jehovah came also unto me, saying,

2     Thou shalt not take to thee a wife,

Nor shalt thou have sons and daughters in this place:

3     For thus saith Jehovah of the sons and of the daughters born in this place,

And of their mothers that bare them,
And of their fathers that begat them in this land:

4     Miserable deaths1 shall they die,

They shall not be mourned nor buried;
They shall become dung on the surface of the earth;
And by sword and famine shall they perish;
And their carcases shall serve for food to the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the earth.

5     For thus saith Jehovah: Enter not into the house of mourning,2

And go not to bewail them or to commiserate them;
For I have taken my peace from this people, saith Jehovah,—
The loving-kindness and the mercy.

6     Both great and small shall die in this land;

They shall not be buried and men will not mourn them,
Nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:

7     Nor will men break bread3 for them in mourning,

To console them concerning the dead;
Nor will they present them the cup of consolation,
Concerning father or mother.

8     And also thou shalt not go into the house of feasting, [lit. drinking],

To sit with them to drink and to eat.

9     For thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth, the God of Israel:

Behold, I take away from this place before your eyes and in your days,
The voice of joy and the voice of gladness,
The voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.


The prophet (in Jeremiah 15:10) had cried to his mother in complaint: Why hast thou borne me? He had explained in Jeremiah 16:17 that he lived alone and far from all society of cheerful men. The Lord had thereupon in Jeremiah 16:19-21 consoled him and promised him protection and deliverance. But the great national calamities should nevertheless continue. Hence both the complaint of the prophet in Jeremiah 16:10 and his separation in Jeremiah 16:17 are approved. Yea, it is added in confirmation that he is not even to take a wife and beget children (Jeremiah 16:2), for these would not escape the universal calamity of death (Jeremiah 16:3-4),—further that he is not to go into any house of mourning or give any token of sympathy in the cases of death, in order to indicate that the dead will remain without burial or mourning;—finally that he is not to go into any house of feasting, in order to indicate that all joy, especially all nuptial rejoicing, will cease.

Jeremiah 16:1-4. The word … beasts of the earth. The probibition to marry is closely connected with the complaint of the prophet in Jeremiah 16:10 : let it not be that thy children charge thee as thou hast charged thy mother. Comp. Jeremiah 8:2; Jer 26:33.—With the sword, comp. Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 14:15; Jeremiah 44:12; Jeremiah 44:27.—Become food. Comp. Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20.

Jeremiah 16:5-7. For thus saith … father or mother. The connection of Jeremiah 16:4, with Jeremiah 16:5 sqq., is as follows: the inhabitants shall perish miserably and lie unburied, for it is the command of the Lord that the prophet go into no house of mourning, i.e., it is the divine purpose to decree that punishment of which the command to the prophet is only the outward sign. The ground of this purpose is that God has withdrawn His favor from the people. (For I have taken, etc.).—Commiserate. Comp. Jeremiah 15:5; Jeremiah 22:10; Job 2:11; Job 42:11.—For I have taken, etc. Comp. Joel 2:10; 4:15; Genesis 30:23.—Loving-kindness Comp. Hosea 2:21; Zechariah 7:9.—Cut make bald, customs forbidden by the law (Vid. Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1), but which were, however, practised. Comp. Jeremiah 41:5 (Jeremiah 48:37). קָרְחַה [baldness] is mentioned with especial frequency: Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 7:18; Amos 8:10; Micah 1:16. Comp. Ewald, Alterthümer d. V. Isr. [Jewish Antiquities] S. 225; Saalschuetz, Mos. Recht., S. 380.—They shall not break bread [A. V., “tear themselves.” Comp. Textual Notes].—The cup of consolation, comp. Proverbs 31:6-7.

Jeremiah 16:8-9. And also thou shalt not … voice of the bride. In this relation also the absence of the prophet is to indicate that joyful festivals are things denied by the Lord.—Before your eyes. This calamity will not just come upon a later generation, but upon the present.—Voice of the bridegroom. Comp. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 25:10.


Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 16:4.—מְמוֹתֵי תַחֲלֻאִים [literally, deaths of diseases], different kinds of death in torment. Comp. Jeremiah 14:18 [the sick (pining) of famine]. ממות here only and in Ezekiel 28:9; comp. מוֹתֵי, Ezekiel 28:10.

Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 16:5.—מַרְזֵחַ ּבֵית מַרְזֵחַ occurs besides only in Amos 6:7 (in the construct state, מִרְזַח. Comp. Olsh. § 198, a. b. S. 376, 7), in the latter place with the meaning of jubilation. The root רָזַח, which does not occur in the Hebrew, has according to the dialects (Arab. marsih, vox vehemens) the meaning of loud crying, be it for joy or sorrow.

Jeremiah 16:7; Jeremiah 16:7.—פָרַס interchangeably with פָרַשׂ (Lamentations 4:4)=frangere, dividere. With להם Isaiah 58:7. Here להם is wanting, but is found in some codd. of Kennicott. The LXX. and Jerome also express it. At any rate the bread, corresponding to the cup of consolation, is intended, which in Ezekiel 24:17; Ezekiel 24:22 is called לֶהֶם אֲנָשִׁים; Hosea 9:4 לֶהֶם אוֹנִים. The suffixes in לְנַהֲמִוֹ as in אביו and אִמּוֹ refer to the idea present, not in the words but in the mind of the mourner (Comp. Ewald, § 318 a).


Reason Of The Rejection And Announcement Of The Captivity (Jeremiah 16:10 to Jeremiah 17:4)

1. Idolatry the cause of the removal into exile

Jeremiah 16:10-15

10     And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew [declarest to] this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath [doth] the Lord [Jehovah] pronounced [denounce] all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed4 against the Lord [Jehovah] our God?

11          Then shalt thou say unto them:

Therefore, because your fathers have forsaken me. saith Jehovah,
And went after other gods, and served them and worshipped them,
And have forsaken me and not kept my law;

12     And ye have done still worse5 than your fathers,

Since ye walk6 every one according to the hardness of his evil heart,

That ye hearken not unto me;—

13     Therefore I cast you away out of this land

Into the land that ye have not known, ye and your fathers;
And there ye shall serve the7 other gods day and night,

Because8 I will shew you no favour.9

14     Therefore behold, the days come, saith Jehovah,

When it shall no more be said: As Jehovah liveth,
Who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

15     But: As Jehovah liveth,

Who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the North,
And from all lands whither he had driven them:
And I bring them back into their land, that I gave to their fathers.


The grounds of the punitive judgment described in the previous context are stated in this way, that the prophet is commanded to answer the people when, assuming an air of innocence, they inquire into these grounds (Jeremiah 16:10): because your fathers forsook me and served other gods (Jeremiah 16:11), and ye moreover have done worse (Jeremiah 16:12), therefore I cast you forth into a strange land, where you may serve those gods; and will show you no more favor (Jeremiah 16:13). To this are added two verses repeated in Jeremiah 23:7-8, in which it is declared that the oath by Jehovah who brought Israel out of Egypt, will be changed into the oath by Jehovah who brought Israel out of the north country. If these verses are genuine here, their object must be a double one: 1. Confirmation of the threatening pronounced in Jeremiah 13:2. Mitigation of the harsh utterance at the close of Jeremiah 16:13, by the prospect of future deliverance. This strophe, moreover, forms the argument of the third division, for the three following strophes serve only to describe more in detail, and to elucidate some points in the first.

Jeremiah 16:10-13. And it shall come to pass … shew you no favour. This mode of speech, viz., the hypothesis of a question of the people and answer to it is found Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 13:22.—Therefore that your fathers, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 7:24-28; Jeremiah 9:11-15; Jeremiah 11:7, sqq.—Hardness. Comp. Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 9:13; Jeremiah 18:12.—that ye hearkened not. Comp. Jeremiah 17:23; Jeremiah 18:10; Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 43:13.—Therefore I cast, etc., comp. Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 22:28.—Into the land. The article is explained by the prophet’s reference to what has been already said (Jeremiah 15:14).—And ye shall serve. What was before sin is now punishment. The prophet has in view Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 28:36; Deuteronomy 28:64.—Day and night. The servants’ toil consists in this, that they must attend to their service day and night.—Because I will shew. This causal sentence refers not to the first clause of the verse, which is circumstantially founded on the preceding context from Jeremiah 16:10, but on the second. Because Jehovah has withdrawn His favor, they have to seek help of their idols.

Jeremiah 16:14-15. Therefore behold … gave to your fathers. לָכֵן, therefore, at the beginning of Jeremiah 16:14 is entirely in place. On this very account, because Israel, according to Jeremiah 16:13, were to be cast away into a foreign land, the form of oath is to be correspondingly altered. Accordingly the purport of Jeremiah 16:14-15 is primarily not consolatory, but sad. It confirms the declaration concerning the captivity. In so far, and because Jeremiah frequently quotes himself, as well as because interruptions of a prophecy of sorrowful import by consolatory prospects also frequently occur (comp. Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10; Jeremiah 5:18), these verses may well be genuine here. I bring back is then connected with I cast away in Jeremiah 16:13. Moreover that the words, even if transferred by Jeremiah himself, are in their original position in Jeremiah 23:7, is clear from the connection, as well as from “the more peculiar and concrete form of the text” (Hitzig) of this passage.


Jeremiah 16:10; Jeremiah 16:10.—אשׁר הטאנו. The nota relationis may be regarded as a pronoun in the accusative, because it is said—הֲטָאָה הָטָא, Exodus 32:31; comp. Leviticus 4:3; Deuteronomy 19:15.

Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 16:12.—חרעתם ו׳. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, e.

Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 16:12.—והנכם ונו׳, causal sentence. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 110, 1, e.

Jeremiah 16:13; Jeremiah 16:13.—The אֵת before אלהים in this passage may have this reason, that the word may be regarded as determinate in itself. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 68,1. Anm. 1.

Jeremiah 16:13; Jeremiah 16:13.—אשׁר ּאשׁר־לא is causal here as in Jeremiah 13:25. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 110, 1.

Jeremiah 16:13; Jeremiah 16:13—חֲנִינָה ἄπ. λεγ.


Jeremiah 16:16-18

16          Behold I send for10 many fishers,11 saith Jehovah, who shall fish them.12

After that I send for many hunters, who shall hunt them
Down from every mountain, and from every hill,
And from out of the clefts of the rocks.

17     For my eyes overlook all their ways; they are not hidden from me,

Nor is their iniquity concealed from mine eyes.

18     And I recompense the first time double their iniquity and sin,

Because they have desecrated my land with the carcases of their monsters,
And have filled mine inheritance with their abominations.13


This strophe serves only to describe more fully the facts announced in Jeremiah 16:13, Therefore I cast you, etc. The deportation is to take place, as it were, according to the rules of art. The enemies are therefore compared to fishermen who fish out a lake, and with hunters who exterminate the wild animals from a hunting-district, even from the most effectual covers (Jeremiah 16:16). So also the hiding of the Israelites will not avail, for all their ways are so manifest to the Lord that their iniquity lies displayed before His eyes (Jeremiah 16:17). And so He recompenses to them for the first time double their sin by banishment from the land which they have desecrated by their idolatries. In this it is implied that in case of a second provocation, God’s punitive justice will apply a still higher measure than that of double retribution.

Jeremiah 16:16-18. Behold … abominations.—Many hunters. The reason why the adjective many is used, is that the prophet means to say: then again I send for many, viz., hunters.—Hunters is, therefore, epexegetical. That רבים is here used as a numeral (as in Psalms 89:51; Proverbs 31:29; 1 Chronicles 28:5; Nehemiah 9:28), is less probable. From Jeremiah 16:17-18 it is evident that fisher and hunter were not to bring together the Israelites out of exile, but to drive them out of their own land.—As it follows from כִּי, Jeremiah 16:17, the figure declares that no concealment will profit them. As fishers and hunters, who proceed according to the rules of their art, know how to drive out the animals from all their hiding-places, so will the enemies do with the Israelites. The former will see through all the plans and measures of the latter and defeat them, for they are revealed to them by God. before whose sight those measures equally with the sins of Israel lie bare and exposed. Comp. Jeremiah 23:24; Jeremiah 32:19.—ראשׁוֹנהּ, first time. [Henderson, following Hitzig, etc., renders “previously.”—S. R. A.] The explanation according to which this word is referred to Jeremiah 16:15 (Hitzig, Ewald, Umbreit), would be perfectly satisfactory if it did not leave unregarded the evidently intended antithesis to משׁנהdouble. This requirement can be met satisfactorily without any alteration of the text (as attempted by Graf, according to Isaiah 56:7), if we recognize that the prophet assumes the possibility of a second visitation. Then he would say: for this first time double will be recompensed (Isaiah 61:7; Zechariah 9:12), but in case of repetition a much severer measure will be rendered:—as in reality the second destruction by the Romans was total in comparison with the first merely partial one.—Because, etc. The punishment has an inner relation to the sin: they have desecrated the land and rendered it uninhabitable, they must therefore leave it.


Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 16:16.—שָׁלַח לְ is used here with the meaning of “to send for, cause to be brought,” exactly as in Jeremiah 14:3 in the expression שָׁ‍ֽלְחוּ לַמּיִם. It is, therefore, quite a mistake to assume an Aramaism here as in Jeremiah 40:2 (comp. 2 Chronicles 17:7; Ezra 8:16), or, to refer to entirely different passages, as 1 Kings 20:7. Even Numbers 22:40, cannot be compared.

Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 16:16.—דַוָּנִים. The word occurs besides only in Isaiah 19:8 and Ezekiel 47:10, in the former place in the form דַיָנִים, in the second דַּוָּנִים, without any proposed alteration of reading in the Keri. In the present passage the Keri probably proceeds from the endeavor to produce uniformity with צַיָדִים.

Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 16:16.—ודינום ἄ λεγ.—Fuerst and Ewald (§ 127, a) would explain דִּינ as an abbreviation of הֵדִינ. But why should there not be a root with a weak י as middle radical? Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 37; Olsh. § 233 d, S. 486.

Jeremiah 16:18; Jeremiah 16:18.—As מלא is not construed with בְ, we must connect with מלאו only ותועבוֹתיהם (comp. Jeremiah 2:7; Jeremiah 44:22).


Jeremiah 16:19-21

19          O Jehovah, my strength and my fortress,

And my refuge in the day of distress!
“To thee will the heathen come from the ends of the earth, and will say:
Falsehood only have our fathers inherited,
Vapour, and there is none among them that profiteth.

20     Should a man make himself gods? And they are not gods!”

21     Therefore behold I teach them this once,

And teach them to know my hand and my might,
And they shall know that my name [is] Jehovah.


Having in Jeremiah 16:14-18 given a confirmation and further description of the judgment threatened in Jeremiah 16:13, the prophet in the two following strophes, Jeremiah 16:19-21, and Jeremiah 17:1-4 goes back to Jeremiah 16:10, where it is said that the people deny having sinned against Jehovah. This denial may have a double meaning. First it may be intended to declare that it is not a sin to serve other gods, together with Jehovah. Secondly, the meaning may be that the fact itself that Israel served other gods is disputed. To this denial in the first sense the prophet replies by directing his glance into the proximate future, in which the heathen will perceive what Israel has failed to perceive, viz., that the gods are vanity, that Jehovah is alone God, and that therefore idolatry is sin (Jeremiah 16:19-20). Now since Israel might and should long ago have perceived that which even the heathen will perceive at last, but did not do so, Jehovah will bring this truth to their knowledge by a thoroughly incisive lesson (Jeremiah 16:21).

Jeremiah 16:19-20. O Jehovah my strength … not gods. Since the prophet addresses the Lord as my strength, etc., and then says that the heathen, after they have perceived the nothingness of the idols, will all come to this Lord, he includes himself, as it were, together with the heathen, among the believers in Jehovah, but excludes Israel from this communion, until instructed by the judgments they recognize their errors, and obtain the same saving knowledge.—My strength. Comp. Psalms 28:7-8; Psalms 59:17; 2 Samuel 22:3.—Heathen [lit., nations.—S. R. A.] Even this word shows that it is not the tribes of Israel that are meant. (Meier).—Falsehood only. Comp. Jeremiah 10:14; Jeremiah 51:17.—Our fathers inherited. The expression is still stronger than if it had been we inherited. The tradition is false from the very beginning.—Profiteth. Comp. Isaiah 44:10; Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 2:11.—Should a man. The words of the heathen in which they themselves set forth the vanity of the idols. Manufactured gods are on this very account no gods. The sentence and they are not gods is to be taken in a causal sense. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 109, 4.

Jeremiah 16:21. Therefore behold … my name Jehovah. From the connection the prophet’s object cannot be to give instruction concerning the future conversion of the heathen. He only wishes, by the good which he says of the heathen, to set the folly of Israel in a clearer light. We are therefore after the sentences “I come to thee,” and “the heathen will come to thee” to supply: but Israel comes not to thee. There is a reference to this thought in therefore. Because Israel has not the knowledge which he might long have had, as well as, or better than the heathen will have it in the future, the Lord will this once impart it to them.—This once (comp. Jeremiah 10:18) like the first time in Jeremiah 16:18, refers to the impending first catastrophe of the theocracy by the Chaldeans. Israel is to feel the hand of the Lord, and thus learn to understand the significance of His name. The prophet evidently alludes to Exodus 3:14. We perceive in what sense the understanding of the name is meant, from the words “I will teach them to know (i. e., to experience, to feel) My hand and My might,” in comparison with the expression הֶבֶל, which is used of the idols in Jeremiah 16:19. By that visitation, namely, will Jehovah manifest Himself as the Really Existent (this point from the connection is evidently here brought into the foreground) in opposition to the non-existent deities, and thus bring Israel to the consciousness that he has certainly sinned in worshipping other gods together with Jehovah. Comp. Isaiah 52:6, coll. Jeremiah 23:27; Exodus 6:3.

[“This passage (Jeremiah 16:19 to Jeremiah 17:14) is appointed as the Haphtorah, or Proper Prophetical Lesson, to Leviticus 26:3 to Leviticus 27:34, where God declares the vanity of idols, and the blessings of faith, repentance and obedience.” Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]


1. On Jeremiah 14:7. “Medicina erranti confessio, qua de re Psalms 32:3-4 et Ambrosius eleganter: Confessio verecunda suffragatur Deo, et pœnam, quam defensione vitare non possumus, pudore revelamus (lib. de Joseph., c. 36), et alibi idem: Cessat vindicta divina, si confessio præcurat humana. Etsi enim confessio non est causa meritoria remissionis peccatorum, est tamen necessarium quoddam antecedens.” Förster.

2. “In earnest and hearty prayer there is a conflict between the spirit and the flesh. The flesh regards the greatness of the sins, and conceives of God as a severe Judge and morose being, who either will not help further or cannot. The spirit, on the other hand, adheres to the name of God, i. e., to His promise; he apprehends God by faith as his true comfort and aid, and depends upon Him.” Cramer.

3. On Jeremiah 14:9 a. “Ideo non vult Deus cito dare, ut discas ardentius orare.” Augustine.

4. On Jeremiah 14:9 b. “Quia in baptismo nomen Domini, i. e., totius SS. et individuæ Trinitatis super nos quoque invocatum est, eo et ipso nos in fœdus Dei recepti sumus et inde populus Dei salutamur.” Förster.

5. On Jeremiah 14:10. “So long as the sinner remains unchanged and uncontrite God cannot remove the punishment of the sin (Jeremiah 26:13).” Starke.—“Quotidie crescit pœna, quia quotidie crescit et culpa.” Augustine.

6. On Jeremiah 14:11-12. [“We further gather from this passage that fasting is not in itself a religious duty or exercise, but that it refers to another end. Except then they who fast have a regard to what is thereby intended—that there may be a greater alacrity in prayer—that it may be an evidence of humility in confessing their sins,—and that they may also strive to subdue all their lusts;—except these things be regarded, fasting becomes a frivolous exercise, nay, a profanation of God’s worship, it being only superstitious. We hence see that fastings are not only without benefit except when prayers are added, and those objects which I have stated are regarded, but that they provoke the wrath of God as all superstitions do, for His worship is polluted.” Calvin.—S. R. A.] “Unbelief is a mortal sin, so that by it the good is turned into evil. For fasting or praying is good; but when the man who does it has no faith it becomes sin (Psalms 109:7).” Cramer.

7. On Jeremiah 14:14. “He who would be a preacher must have a regular appointment. In like form for all parts of divine worship we must have God’s word and command for our support. If we have it not all is lost.” Cramer.

8. On Jeremiah 14:14 (I have not sent them). “This does not come at all into the account now-a-days; and I do not know, whether to such a preacher, let him have obtained his office as he may, in preaching, absolution, marrying and exorcising, or on any other occasion, when he appeals to his calling before the congregation or against the devil, the thought once occurs, whether he is truly sent by God. Thus the example of the sons of Sceva (Acts 19:14; Acts 19:16) is no longer considered, and it appears that the devil is not yet disposed by such frightful occurrences to interrupt the atheistical carelessness of the teachers.” Zinzendorf.

9. On Jeremiah 14:15. “The example of Pashur and others shortly afterwards confirms this discourse. This is an important point. One should however, with that modesty and prudence, which Dr. Wiesmann (Prof. of Theol. in Tübingen), who seems called of God to be a writer of church history, in his Introd. in Memorabilia historiæ sacræ N. T. (1731 and 1745) which I could wish were in the hands of all teachers, repeatedly recommends, have regard to this also, when so-called judgments on the wicked are spoken of, that when the Lord in His wisdom and omnipotence exercises justice on such transgressors by temporal judgments, these are often a blessing to them and the yet remaining means of their salvation. It is related that a certain clergyman in a Saxon village, about the year 1730, felt such a judgment upon himself and his careless ministry, and after happy and humble preparation on a usual day of fasting and prayer, presented himself before his church as an example, and exercised on himself what is called church discipline, whereupon he is said to have fallen down dead with the words,

‘My sin is deep and very great,
And fills my heart with grief.
O for thy agony and death,
Grant me, I pray, relief.’
He is no doubt more blessed, and his remembrance more honorable, than thousands of others, who are praised by their colleagues in funeral discourses as faithful pastors, and at the same time, or already before, are condemned in the first but invisible judgment as dumb dogs, wolves or hirelings.” Zinzendorf.

10. On Jeremiah 14:16. “Although preachers lead their hearers astray, yet the hearers are not thus excused. But when they allow themselves to be led astray, the blind and those who guide them fall together into the ditch (Luke 6:39).” Cramer. [“When sinners are overwhelmed with trouble, they must in it see their own wickedness poured upon them. This refers to the wickedness both of the false prophets and the people; the blind lead the blind, and both fall together into the ditch, where they will be miserable comforters one to another.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

11. On Jeremiah 14:19. Chrysostom refers to Romans 11:1 sqq., where the answer to the prophet’s question is to be found.

12. On Jeremiah 14:21. “Satan has his seat here and there (Revelation 2:13). I should like to know why the Saviour may not also have His cathedral. Assuredly He has, and where one stands He knows how to maintain it, and to preserve the honor of the academy.” Zinzendorf.

[“Good men lay the credit of religion, and its profession in the world, nearer their hearts than any private interest or concern of their own; and those are powerful pleas in prayer which are fetched from thence, and great supports to faith. We may be sure that God will not disgrace the throne of His glory, on earth; nor will He eclipse the glory of His throne by one providence, without soon making it shine forth, and more brightly than before, by another. God will be no loser in His honor in the long run.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 14:22. “Testimony to the omnipotence of God, for His are both counsel and deed (Proverbs 8:14). Use it for consolation in every distress and for the true apodictica [demonstration] of all articles of Christian faith, however impossible they may appear.” Cramer.—[“The sovereignty of God should engage, and His all-sufficiency encourage, our attendance on Him, and our expectations from Him, at all times.” Henry.—“Hence may be learned a useful doctrine—that there is no reason why punishments, which are signs of God’s wrath, should discourage us so as to prevent us from venturing to seek pardon from Him; but on the contrary a form of prayer is here prescribed for us; for if we are convinced that we have been chastised by God’s hand, we are on this very account encouraged to hope for salvation; for it belongs to Him who wounds to heal, and to Him who kills to restore to life.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

14. On Jeremiah 15:1. On the part of the Catholics it is maintained that “hoc loco refellitur hæreticorum error … orationes defunctorum sanctorum nihil prodesse vivis. Contrarium enim potius ex hisce arguendum suggeritur, nempe istiusmodi sanctorum mortuorum orationes et fieri coram Deo solere pro viventibus, et quando viventes ipsi non posuerint ex semet obicem, illas esse iis maxime proficuas. Ghisl. Tom. II. p. 296). To this it is replied on the part of the Protestants. 1. Enuntiatio isthæc plane est hypothetica. 2. Eo tantum spectat, ut si Moses et Samuel in vivis adhuc essent, adeoque in his terris pro populo preces interponerent suas, perinde ut ille, Exodus 32:0. hic vero 1 Samuel 7:0. (Förster, S. 86).” He also adds two testimonies of the fathers against the invocation of saints. One from Augustine, who (contra Maximin., L. 1), calls such invocation sacrilegium, the other from Epiphanius who (Hæres 2) names it an error seductorum, and adds “non sanctos colimus, sed sanctorum dominum.”—That the intercession of the living for each other is effective, Cramer testifies, saying “Intercession is powerful, and is not without fruit, when he who prays and he for whom he prays are of like spirit.” Comp. Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 John 5:16. [To the same effect also Calvin and Henry.—S. R. A.]

15. On Jeremiah 15:4 b. “Scilicet in vulgus manant exempla regentum, utque ducum lituos, sic mores castra sequuntur.”—“Non sic inflectere sensus humanos edicta valent ut vita regentum.”—“Qualis rex talis grex.” Förster.

16. “God keeps an exact protocol [register] of sins, and visits them to the third and fourth generation.” Cramer. [“See what uncertain comforts children are; and let us therefore rejoice in them as though we rejoiced not.” Henry.—S. R. A]

17. On Jeremiah 15:5. “When God abandons us we are abandoned also by the holy angels, and all creatures. For as at court when two eyes are turned away the whole court turns away; so when the Lord turns away all His hosts turn away also.” Cramer.

18. On Jeremiah 15:7. “God as a faithful husbandman has all kinds of instruments for cleaning His grain. He has two kinds of besoms and two kinds of winnowing-fan. With one He cleanses, winnows the grain and sweeps the floor, so that the chaff may be separated from the good wheat. This is done by the Fatherly cross. But if this does not avail He takes in hand the besom of destruction.” Cramer.

19. On Jeremiah 15:10. “The witnesses of Jesus have the name among others of being hard and rough people, from whom they cannot escape without quarreling. It is not only a reproach which Ahab and such like make to Elijah, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’ (1 Kings 19:17). But even true-hearted people like Obadiah do not thoroughly trust to them; every one has the thought, if they would only behave more gently it would be just as well and make less noise. Meanwhile the poor Elijah is sitting there, knowing not what to do; a Jeremiah laments the day of his birth … why am I then such a monster? Why such an apple of discord? What manner have I? How do I speak? ‘For when I speak, they are for war’ (Psalms 120:7). He does not at once remember that they called the master Beelzebub, and persecuted all the prophets before him; that his greatest sin is that he cares for the interests of Jesus in opposition to Satan.” Zinzendorf. [“Even those who are most quiet and peaceable, if they serve God faithfully, are often made men of strife. We can but follow peace; we have the making only of one side of the bargain, and therefore can but, as much as in us lies, live peaceably.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

20. On Jeremiah 15:10 b. (I have neither lent nor borrowed at usury). “My dear Jeremiah! Thou mightest have done that; that is according to the custom of the country, there would be no such noise about that. There is no instance of a preacher being persecuted because he cared for his household. But to take payment in such natural products as human souls, that is ground of distrust, that is going too far, that thou carriest too high, and thou must be more remiss therein, otherwise all will rise up against thee; thou wilt be suspended, removed, imprisoned or in some way made an end of, for that is pure disorder and innovation, that smacks of spiritual revolutionary movements.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 15:15 a. (Thou knowest that for thy sake I have suffered reproach). “This is the only thing that a servant of the Lamb of God should care for, that he does indeed suffer not the least in that he has disguised and disfigured the doctrine of God and his Saviour. … It might be wished that no servant of the Lord, especially in small cities and villages, would now and then make a quarrel to relieve the tedium, which will occupy the half of his life, and of which it may be said in the end: vinco vel vincor, semper ego maculor.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 15:16. “The sovereign sign of a little flock depending on Christ is such a hearty, spiritual tender disposition towards the Holy Scriptures, that they find no greater pleasure than in their simple but heart-searching truths. I, poor child, if I but look into the Bible, am happy for several hours after. I know not what misery I could not alleviate at once with a little Scripture.” Zinzendorf. [On Jeremiah 17:17. “It is the folly and infirmity of some good people that they lose much of the pleasantness of their religion by the fretfulness and uneasiness of their natural temper, which they humor and indulge instead of mortifying it.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

23. On Jeremiah 15:19, a. (And thou shalt stand before me: [Luther: thou shalt remain my preacher]) “Hear ye this, ye servants of the Lord! Ye may be suspended, removed, lose your income and your office, suffer loss of house and home, but ye will again be preachers. This is the word of promise. * * * And if one is dismissed from twelve places, and again gets a new place, he is a preacher to thirteen congregations. For in all the preceding his innocence, his cross, his faith preach more powerfully than if he himself were there.” Zinzendorf.

Note.—On this it may be remarked that in order to be the mouth of the Lord it is not necessary to have a church.

24. On Jeremiah 15:19 b. (Before thou return to them) “We can get no better comfort than this, that our faithful Lord Himself assures us against ourselves. I will make thee so steady, so discreet, so well-founded, so immovable, that, hard as the human heart is, and dead and opposed, yet it will be rather possible that they all yield to thee, than that thou shouldest be feeble or slack and go over to them.” Zinzendorf.

25. On Jeremiah 15:20. “A preacher must be like a bone, outwardly hard, inwardly full of marrow.” Förster. [“Ministers must take those whom they see to be precious into their bosoms, and not sit alone, as Jeremiah did, but keep up conversation with those they do good to, and get good by.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 16:2. “It is well-known that in no condition is celibacy attended by so many evils as in that of the clergy and that this condition entails in a certain measure a present necessity of marrying. For if any one needs a helpmeet to be by his side, it is the man who must be sacrificed to so many different men of all classes. But all this must be arranged according to circumstances. Ye preachers! Is it made out that ye marry only for Jesus? … that you have the church alone as your object? and that you subject yourselves to all the hardships of this condition with its tribulations only for the profit of many? First, then, examine maturely in your offices, whether there is no word of the Lord, whether circumstances do not show, whether there is not an exception from the rule in your case, that you are to take no wife; whether Paul does not call to you in spirit, ‘I would that thou wert as I.’ May it not sometimes be said? ‘Take no wife at this time or at this place!’ or ‘Take not another!’ How does the matter look on closer examination? The rather, as it is known to the servants of Christ to be no hyperbolical speech, when it is said, ‘The minister has slain his thousands, but the minister’s wife her ten thousands.’ He that loves anything more than Christ is not worthy of Him. If it cannot be cured endure it. But see to it the more, that those who have wives be as those who have them not (1 Corinthians 7:29). Lead your wife in prayer diligently and plainly, as Moses with Zipporah (Exodus 4:25, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me). If they would not have you dead they must leave you your Lord. I know not when anything was so pleasing to me as when I saw a certain minister’s wife weeping sorely from apprehension that her husband would not endure a certain trial. She saw clearly that he would retain his charge, but she feared the Saviour would make it hard to him.”Zinzendorf.

27. On Jeremiah 16:2. “Ridiculi sunt Papicolæ, qui ex hoc typo articulum religionis suæ de cœlibatu saceraotum exstruere conantur. Nahum 1:0Nahum 1:0. tota hæc res fuit typica. Typica autem et symbolica theologia non est argumentativa juxta axioma Thomæ. 2. Non simpliciter interdicitur conjugium prophetæ in omni loco, sed tantum in hoc loco.” Förster.

28. On Jeremiah 16:7. This passage (as also Isaiah 58:7) is used by the Lutheran theologians to prove that panem frangere may be equivalent to panem distribuere, as also Luther translates: “They will not distribute bread among them.” This is admitted by the Reformed, who, however, remark that it does not follow from this that frangere et distribuere also “in Sacramento æquipollere, quod esset a particulari ad particulare argumentari.” Comp. Turretin., Inst. Theol. Elencht. Tom. III., p. 499.

29. On Jeremiah 16:8. “When people are desperately bad and will not be told so, they must be regarded as heathen and publicans (Matthew 17:18; Titus 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5:9).” Cramer.

30. On Jeremiah 16:19. “The calling of the heathen is very consolatory. For as children are rejoiced at heart when they see that their parents are greatly honored and obtain renown and praise in all lands, so do all true children of God rejoice when they see that God’s name is honored and His glory more widely extended.” Cramer.—This passage is one of those which predict the extension of the true religion among all nations, and are therefore significant as giving impulse and comfort in the work of missions. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:21; Hosea 2:1, 25; Joel 3:5; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 65:1; Romans 10:12 sqq.

31. On Jeremiah 16:21. “Nothing can be learned from God without God. God instructs the people by His mouth and His hand, verbis et verberibus.” Cramer.

32. On Jeremiah 17:1. “Scripta est et fides tua, scripta est et culpa tua, sicut Jeremias dixit: scripta est Juda culpa tua graphio ferreo et ungue adamantino. Et scripta est, inquit, in pectore et in corde tuo. Ibi igitur culpa est ubi gratia; sed culpa graphio scribitur, gratia spiritu designatur.” Ambros. de Sp. s. III. 2.

33. On Jeremiah 17:1. “The devil is God’s ape. For when he sees that God by the writing of His prophets and apostles propagates His works and wonders to posterity, he sets his own pulpiteers to work, who labor with still greater zeal, and write not only with pens and ink, but also with diamonds, that such false religion may have the greater respect and not go down.” Cramer.

34. On Jeremiah 17:5.

“O man in human help and favor
Trust not, for all is vanity,
The curse is on it,—happy he,
Who trusts alone in Christ the Saviour.”
[“When water is blended with fire, both perish; so when one seeks in part to trust in God and in part to trust in men, it is the same as though he wished to mix heaven and earth together, and to throw all things into confusion. It is then to confound the order of nature, when men imagine that they have two objects of trust, and ascribe half their salvation to God and the other half to themselves or to other men.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

35. On Jeremiah 17:5. “A teacher is commanded to be the first to honor the authorities, to pray for them and be subject to them as God’s servants… But since the authorities, in all which pertains to the concerns of the soul, have part only as members, there is great occasion for this cursed dependence on flesh … when one from the hope of good personal protection … gives up the work of the Lord to the powers of the earth. … It is true the church is to have foster-parents who are kings. But nevertheless neither kings nor princes are its tutelar deities, much less lords and commanders of the church, but one is our Master, one our Judge, one our King, the Crucified.” Zinzendorf.

36. On Jeremiah 17:5. Reformed theologians, ex. gr., Lambertus Danæus (ob. 1596) have applied this passage in the sense of John 6:63, in their controversies against the Lutheran doctrine of the Supper. But as Calvin declared, it is not the flesh of Christ, but only earthly flesh and that per contemtum which is here spoken of Comp. Förster, S. 97.

37. On Jeremiah 17:7. “Blessed are those teachers, who have betaken themselves, to His protection, who once promised His Church, that even the gates of hell should not prevail against it …… Who has ever been put to shame who trusted in Him?” Zinzendorf.

38. On Jeremiah 17:9. “This is a spiritual anatomy of the heart. Examples: Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:0.); Hezekiah (38:39); the children of Israel (Numbers 14:0.). Alii sumus dum lætamur et omnia in vita nobis secundo vento succedunt; alii vero in temporibus calamitosis, ubi quid præter sententiam acciderit. Comp. Ser. Jer 11:27.” (MS. note in my copy of Cramer’s Bibel).

39. On Jeremiah 17:9. Νᾶφε καὶ μέμνασο�. This applies with respect to ourselves and others. For the defiant it avails as an extinguisher (Romans 12:3); but the despairing may be reassured by it (1 John 3:19-20).

40. On Jeremiah 17:14. (Thou art my praise)…… “When a teacher confines himself to the praise of the cross and lets all other matters of praise go, which might adorn a theologian of these times, and adheres immovably to this: ‘I am determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ the crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2),—amid all the shame of His cross He is victorious over the rest.” Zinzendorf.

41. On Jeremiah 17:16. (That which I have preached was right before thee). “It is not difficult to know in these times what is right before the Lord. There is His word; he who adheres to this strictly, knows in thesi that he is right …… In all this it is the teacher’s chief maxim, not to make use of the application without need, but to make the truth so plain in his public discourse, that the hearers must necessarily make the application to themselves. … ‘Thus saying, thou reproachest us also,’ said the lawyer (Luke 11:45).… Others went away convicted in their consciences.” Zinzendorf.

42. On Jeremiah 17:17. “That is a period which straitens the hearts of witnesses, when their rock, their protection, their consolation, their trust is a terror to them. But under this we must bow and faithfully endure, and we shall have a peaceable fruit of righteousness. Discipline always ends gloriously.” Zinzendorf.


On Jeremiah 14:7-9. Jeremiah a second Israel, who wrestles with the Lord in prayer. 1. In what the Lord is strong against the prophet: the sin of the people. 2. In what the prophet is strong against the Lord: the Name of the Lord (a) in itself. This compels him to show that He is not a desperate hero, or giant, who cannot help; (b) in that His name is borne by Israel. Thus the Lord is bound to show Himself as He who is in Israel (not a guest or stranger), and consequently the Comforter and Helper of Israel.—Heim und Hoffmann, The Major Prophets (Winnenden, 1839). As Daniel (Jeremiah 9:6) prayed, We have sinned and committed iniquity, etc., so Jeremiah took his share in the sin and guilt of his people.—This is true penitence, when one no longer wishes to contend with God in tribulation, but confesses his sin and condemnation, when he sees that if God should treat us according to our misdeeds, He could find no ground for grace. But for His name’s sake He can show us favor. He Himself is the cause of the forgiveness of sin.—Calwer Handbuch [Manual]. Notwithstanding the ungodliness of the people the prophet may still say, “Thou art among us,” because the temple of the Lord and His word were still in the land, and the pious have never all died out. [On Jeremiah 14:7-9. “Prayer hath within itself its own reward. The prayer of the prophet consists of confession and petition. 1. Confession fitly begins. It is the testimony of iniquity, and that this iniquity is against God. When we are to encounter any enemy or difficulty, it is sin weakens us. Now confession weakens it, takes off the power of accusation, etc. 2. Petition: For Thy name’s sake. This is the unfailing argument which abides always the same and hath always the same force. The children of God are much beholden to their troubles for clear experiences of themselves and God. Though thou art not clear in thy interest as a believer, yet plead thy interest as a sinner, which thou art sure of.” Leighton.—S. R. A.]

2. On Jeremiah 14:13-16. Against false prophets. 1. They tell the world what it likes to hear (Jeremiah 17:13); 2. The Lord denies them (Jeremiah 17:14); 3. The Lord punishes them (Jeremiah 17:15); 4. The Lord also punishes those who allow themselves to be deceived by them (Jeremiah 17:16).—Tüb. Bibelw.: To enter the preacher’s office without divine calling, what an abomination is that! But mark this, ye hirelings! the sentence of condemnation is already pronounced over you (Jeremiah 23:21; Matthew 7:15).—Osiander Bibl.: God avenges the deception of false teachers most severely, if not in this world in the next (Acts 13:10-11).—Starke: God punishes both deceivers and deceived, the latter cannot then lay all the guilt on the former (Jer 27:45).

3. On Jeremiah 14:19-22. The church’s distress and consolation. 1. The distress is (a) outward (Jeremiah 17:19), (b) inward (Jeremiah 17:20, the reason of the outward, confession). 2. The consolation (a). The Lord’s Name, [α] It is called and is One (Jeremiah 17:22): [β] His glory and that of the church (throne of glory) are one; (b) the Lord’s covenant (Jeremiah 17:21).—What in the present circumstances should be our position towards God? 1. The divine providence, in which we are at present: 2. Our confession, which we make before God: 3. Our petition, which we should address to Him. Voelter in Palmer’s Ev. Casual-Reden. [Occasional Discourses], 4th Ed., 1865.

4. On Jeremiah 15:16. Sermon on a Reformation or Bible-Anniversary. The candlestick of the Gospel has been rejected by more than one church. We therefore pray: Preserve to us Thy word (Ps. 109:43). 1. Why we thus pray (Thy Word is our hearts’ joy and comfort); 2. Why we hope to be heard (for we are named by Thy name).

5. On Jeremiah 15:19. Caspari (Installation-sermon at Munich, Adv., 1855). These words treat; 1, of the firm endurance; 2, of the holy zeal; 3, of the joyful confidence, with which a preacher of God must come to an evangelical church.

6. Homilies of Origen are extant on Jeremiah 15:5-6; (Hom. XII., Ed. Lommatzsch); Jeremiah 15:10-19 (Hom. XIV.); Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 17:5 (Hom. XV.). [On Jeremiah 15:20. “I. God’s qualification to be an overseer of the church. The metaphor of a wall implies, (1) courage, (2) innocence and integrity, (3) authority. II. The opposition a church-governor will be sure to meet with, (1) by seditious preaching and praying, (2) by railing and libels; (3) perhaps by open force. III. The issue and success of such opposition (they shall not prevail).” South.—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 16:19-21. Missionary Sermon. The true knowledge of God. 1. It is to be had in Christianity (Jeremiah 17:19, a). 2. It will also make its way to the heathen, for (a) It is God’s will that they should be instructed (Jeremiah 17:21); (b) they are ready to be instructed (Jeremiah 17:19 b. Jeremiah 17:20).

8. On Jeremiah 17:5-8. The blessing of faith and the curse of unbelief (comp. Ebal und Gerizim). 1. Why does the curse come upon the unbeliever? (He departs in his heart from the Lord). 2. Wherein this curse consists (Jeremiah 17:6). 3. Why must blessing be the portion of the believer? (Jeremiah 17:7). 4. Wherein this blessing consists (Jeremiah 17:8).

9. On Jeremiah 17:5-8, and Jeremiah 18:7-10. Schleiermacher (Sermon on 28 Mar., 1813, in Berlin): We regard the great change (brought about by the events of the period) on the side of our worthiness before God. 1. What in this respect is its peculiar import and true nature. 2. To what we must then feel ourselves summoned.

10. On Jeremiah 17:9-10. The human heart and its Judges 1:0. The antithesis in the human heart. 2. The impossibility of fathoming it with human eyes. 3. The omniscient God alone sees through it; and 4, judges it with justice. [“The heart is deceitful—it always has some trick or other by which to shuffle off conviction.” Henry.—“It is extremely difficult for sinners to know their hearts. I. What is implied in their knowing their own hearts. 1. It implies a knowledge of their selfishness. 2. Of their desperate incurable wickedness. 3. Of their extreme deceitfulness. II. Why it is so extremely difficult for them to know their own hearts. 1. They are unwilling to know them. 2. Because of the deceitfulness of sin. They love or hate, as they appear friendly or unfriendly to them: (a) God, (b) Christ, (c) good men, (d) one another, (e) the world, (f) their own hearts, (g) the means of grace, (h) their convictions, (i) heaven—Improvement. The only way to know the heart is to inquire whether it loves God or not, etc. 2. Saints can more easily ascertain their true character than sinners Song of Song of Solomon 3:0. All changes in life are trials of the heart,” etc., etc. Emmons.—“I. The human heart exhibits great fraud and treachery. 1. We are changeable by that connection which the soul has with the body. 2. By its connection with external objects by our senses. 3. By its love of novelty and variety. 4. By its hasty resolutions. 5. By its self-love. II. Its excessive malice is seen in history and experience. III. Its deep dissimulation and hypocrisy render it inscrutable. Inferences: 1. We should entertain a sober diffidence of ourselves. 2. We should not be surprised when men use us ill or disappoint us. 3. We should take care and give good principles and a good example to those young persons under our guidance. 4. We should be ready to confess our offences to God. 5. We should bear in mind that we are under the inspection of one who searcheth the hearts,” etc. Jortin.—See also two Sermons by Jer. Taylor.—S. R. A.].

11. Rud. Kœgel (Court and Cathedral preacher at Berlin, 1865). Sermon on Jeremiah 17:9; Jeremiah 17:19, and Hebrews 13:9 : Two pictures: 1, the unregenerate; 2, the regenerate heart.

12. On Jeremiah 17:12-13. Sermon for the dedication of a church, the anniversary of the Reformation, or on Whitsunday. The church of the Lord. 1. What it is in itself (place of sanctuary, throne of divine glory, house of Him, who is Israel’s hope). 2. What it will be (it will ever remain firm, Matthew 16:18): 3. What they find who forsake it (Jeremiah 17:19).

13. On Jeremiah 17:14-18. Cry for help of a preacher tempted on account of the truth. 1. The temptation (Jeremiah 17:15). 2. The demonstration of innocence (Jeremiah 17:16). 3. The cry for help, (a) negative (Jeremiah 17:17-18), (b) positive (Jeremiah 17:19). [On Jeremiah 17:14. The penitent’s prayer. 1. The words express an earnest desire for salvation. 2. He applies to Almighty God for it. 3. Through the medium of prayer. 4. With confidence that he will be heard. Dr. A. Thomson of Edinburgh.—S. R. A.].

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 16". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/jeremiah-16.html. 1857-84.
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