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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Jeremiah 16



Verse 1

Jeremiah 16:1-21. Continuation of the previous prophecy.

Verse 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 (Ezekiel 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 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:26, 1 Corinthians 7:29; Matthew 24:19; Luke 23:29).

Verse 4

grievous deaths — rather, “deadly diseases” (Jeremiah 15:2).

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

dung — (Psalm 83:10).

Verse 5

(Ezekiel 24:17, Ezekiel 24:22, Ezekiel 24:23).

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

Verse 6

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

bald — (Jeremiah 7:29; Isaiah 22:12).

Verse 7

tear themselves — rather, “break bread,” namely, that eaten at the funeral-feast (Deuteronomy 26:14; Job 42:11; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:4). “Bread” is to be supplied, as in Lamentations 4:4; compare “take” (food) (Genesis 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.”

Verse 8

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

Verse 9

(Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 25:10; Ezekiel 26:13).

Verse 10

(Deuteronomy 29:24; 1 Kings 9:8, 1 Kings 9:9).

Verse 11

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

Verse 12

ye — emphatic: so far from avoiding your fathers‘ bad example, ye have done worse (Jeremiah 7:26; 1 Kings 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.”

Verse 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 (Daniel 3:12; Daniel 6:7).

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

Verse 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, Jeremiah 16:13, Jeremiah 16:17, Jeremiah 16:18, proves (Jeremiah 23:7, Jeremiah 23:8; Isaiah 43:18).

Verse 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 Jeremiah 24:6; see on Jeremiah 30:3; see on Jeremiah 32:15).

Verse 16

send for — translate, “I will send many”; “I will give the commission to many” (2 Chronicles 17:7).

fishers … hunters — successive invaders of Judea (Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:14, Habakkuk 1:15). So “net” (Ezekiel 12:13). As to “hunters,” see Genesis 10:9; Micah 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 (Ezekiel 47:9, Ezekiel 47:10). 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 (Matthew 4:19; Luke 5:10; Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4); compare here Jeremiah 16:19, “the Gentiles shall come unto thee” (2 Corinthians 12:16).

Verse 17

(Jeremiah 32:19; Proverbs 5:21; Proverbs 15:3).

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

Verse 18
double — Horsley 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” (Jeremiah 16:11, Jeremiah 16:12). English Version gives a good sense, “First (before ‹I bring them again into their land‘), I will doubly (that is, fully and amply, Jeremiah 17:18; Isaiah 40:2) recompense.”

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

Verse 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 fullness till the final restoration of Israel (Isaiah 2:1-17).

Verse 20

indignant protest of Jeremiah against idols.

and they (are) no gods — (Jeremiah 2:11; Isaiah 37:19; Galatians 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?”

Verse 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 (Psalm 83:18): God‘s incommunicable name, to apply which to idols would be blasphemy. Keeping His threats and promises (Exodus 6:3).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 16:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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