Jeremiah 16 Bible Commentary - Matthew Henry (Complete) (2023)


In this chapter, I. The magnitude of the calamity that befell the Jewish nation is illustrated by the prohibition given to the prophet not to build his own house (vv. 1-4) nor to enter the house of mourning (vv. 5-7). to the inn (vv. 8, 9). II. God is vindicated in this severe case against them by an account of their great wickedness (verses 10-13). III. Reserved mercy is implied (vv. 14:15). IV. Some hopes are raised that the punishment of sin should prove the re-education of sinners, and that they would finally return from duty to God, and thus qualify for His return to them in favor (vv. 16-21). .

Verse 1-9

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The prophet is here to give the people a sign. You wouldn't pay attention to what he said; let's try if they will see what hetut.In general, he should behave in all things as befits one who expects to see his country soon in ruins. This he foretold, but few answered the prophecy; therefore he must show that he himself is perfectly satisfied with the truth of it. Others continue as usual, but he is forbidden to do so in view of these sad times, and so he renounces marriage, mourns the dead, and enjoys himself. Note, Those who seek to persuade others of the Word of God, and thus to influence them, must appear, even in the most self-denying cases, to believe and be affected by it. If we would rouse others from their security, and persuade them to surrender to the world, we must be ashamed to present things, and show that we look forward to their dissolution.

I. Jeremiah must not marry, nor think of having a family and being a housewife (verse 2):You shouldn't have a wifedon't think tooto have sons and daughters in this place,neither in the land of Judah, nor in Jerusalem, nor in Anathoth. The Jews valued their early marriages and numerous descendants more than other peoples. But Jeremiah must live as a bachelor, not so much for the honor of virginity as for the degradation of it. This makes it seem that it was prudent and opportune only in times of catastrophe and times ofcurrent distress,1 Corinthians 7:26. The fact that this is so is part of the unhappiness. There may be a time when it will be said:Blessed is the womb that does not give birth,Lu. 23:29. When we see these times approaching, it is wise for everyone, especially prophets, to refrain from existing as much as possible.involved in the affairs of this lifeand burdened with what, the dearer it is to them, the more the reason for their grief, anxiety, and grief at such a time. The reason given here is because thepaisEMothers, sons and daughters will die an agonizing death,v. 3, 4. As for those who have wives and children, 1. They will have such a plague upon them that they cannot flee from these dead. A single man may run away and move away for his own safety if he, who has a wife and children, cannot find ways of communicating with them, nor find it in his heart to go and leave them behind. 2. You will be in constant fear for fear of these deaths; and the more they have to lose thereby, the greater will be their terror and dismay when death appears everywhere in its triumphant splendor and power. 3. The death of each child and its aggravating circumstances will constitute a new death for the parents. Better not to have children than to have them raised and raisedfor the killer(Hosea 9:13, 14) as they live and die in misery. Death is painful, but some deaths are more painful than others, both for those who die and their loved ones who survive; that's why we read fromsuch a big death2 Cor.1:10. Two things are used a little to allay and allay the terror of death in this world, and to sweeten the bitter pill - to mourn the dead and to bury them; but to make these deaths really painful, they are denied:They must not be claimedbut they are taken as if the whole world was tired of them; not hermust not be buriedbut left open as if they were monuments to justice.You will be dung on the face of the earth,not only contemptible, but contemptible, as if they were good for nothing but to fertilize the soil; To beconsumed,someby the swordand someThrough famine, their carcasses will be meat for the birds of the sky and the animals of the earth.No one will say, "Better to be childless than to see them born?" What reason do we have to sayAll is vanity and rage of spirit,when those creatures, to whom we look to be our greatest consolation, try not only our gravest sorrows, but our worst crosses!

II. Jeremiah must not enter the house of mourning for the death of one of his neighbors or relatives (verse 5):Do not enter the house of sadness.It was customary to offer condolences to those whose relationships were dead.lamenta-laForcrossEgoing baldwhich, it seems, was commonly practiced as an expression of mourning, though prohibited by law, Eng. 14:1. No, sometimes they did it in passionate griefrip for her(vv. 6, 7), partly in honor of the departed, signifying that they thought there was a great loss for them, and partly out of compassion for the surviving relatives, whose burden is lightened when they themselves become partakers of your pain. They used to cry with them and stuffto console them for the dead,as Job's friends with him, and the Jews with Martha and Mary; and it was a friendly office forgive them a cup of comfort to drink,give them liquors and insistently exhort them to drink, to strengthen their spirits, to give wine to the heavy-heartedfor the father or for the mother,may they find some comfort in realizing that even though they lost their parents, they still have some friends who care for them. So the custom persisted, and it was a commendable practice. It's good work for others and a good use for ourselves.Go to the house of mourning.It seems that the prophet Jeremiah was used to good ministries of this kind, and it became good for his character both as a godly man and as a prophet; and one would think that he should have made him more popular with his people than he ought to have appeared. But now God commands him not to mourn the deaths of his friends as usual, because 1. His grief at the destruction of his country in general must swallow up his grief at specific deaths. Tears from him should now be channeled into another channel; and there is opportunity enough for them all. 2. He had little reason to feel sorry for those who died now, just before the judgments he saw at the door, but rather to keep happy those who were old enough.taken away from the evil to come.3. This should be a type of what was to come if such general confusion prevailed that all neighborhood offices were neglected. People will die so often, and even die daily, that they won't have time, space or heart for the ceremonies that used to be associated with death. Worry will be so heavy that there will be no relief, and everyone will be so saddened by their own troubles that they will not think of their neighbors. All then will be mourners and not comforters; each will find enough to carry his own burden; for (v. 5),"I took my peace from this people,establish a complete period of their prosperity, depriving them of health, wealth, rest, friends, and everything with which they could comfort themselves and each other.” Whatever peace we enjoy is God's peace; is his gift, and,if he gives rest, who can cause trouble?But if we do not make good use of his peace, he can and will take it away from us; and where are we then? Job 34:29. "I will take my peaceeven my goodness and mercy;"These will be closed and kept away, which are the cool springs from which all your cool streams flow, and then farewell. Note, Those who have fallen away from all true peace have cast themselves out of the favor of God. It all ends when God takes away his goodness and mercy from us. So it follows (v. 6),Both the great and the small will die,autoIn this country,the land of Canaan, which was formerly calledland of the living.God's favor is our life; take it off andwe die, we perish, we all die.

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III. Jeremiah was not to enter the house of joy, nor the house of sorrow, v. 8. It was his habit, and he was innocent enough, if one of his friends would talk at their houses and invite him to his house.go and sit with themnot only to drink, butto eat and drinksober and cheerful. But now he cannot take that liberty. Because he was inappropriate and inconsistent with God's providences concerning this land and this nation. God called aloudweeping and mourning and fasting;he rose up against them in their courts; and her time has comehumble yourselfand it became good for the prophet who gave them the warning to give them an example of how they took the warning and heeded it, and thus seem to believe that they were affected by those terrors of the Lord, show with whom they wish to meet others. And it becomes all the children of Zion to sympathize with her in her afflictions, and not to rejoice when she is confused, Amos 6:6. 2. Because he had to show people the sad times that befell them. Friends of his wondered if he wouldn't meet them for dinner at home like he used to. But he lets them know, to indicate to them that his whole feast would soon end (v. 9):"I'll make sure the happy voice stops.You will have nothing to enjoy, nothing to rejoice in, but you will be surrounded by calamities that will cloud your happiness and cast a mist over it.” God can find ways to tame the happiest. "It will be doneIn this place,in Jerusalem used to be theHappy cityand thought that his joys were assured. Must be donein your eyes,in your eyes, to be a nuisance to you who now seem so haughty and so cheerful. Must be donein his days;you yourselves will see it.” The hymns of praise they silenced for their iniquities and idolatry, and therefore God rightly silenced them.the voice of joy and happiness.The voice of God's prophets was not heard among them, it was not heeded, and therefore it will be no more.the voice of the bride and groom,of the songs that used to decorate weddings can be heard below them. See chap. 7:34.

Verse 10-13

Here it is, 1. An examination of the reasons why God would bring these judgments upon them (verse 10):If you show these people all these words,the words of this curse they will say to you:Why did the Lord speak all this great evil against us?It is to be hoped that there will be some among them who ask this question with a humble and penitent heart, desiring to know what was the sin that God fought against them, that they might reject it and avoid judgment: "Show us Jonah raising up the storm , and let's throw it overboard." But it seems to be the language here of those who contested God's Word, and challenged him to show what they had done, which could deserve so severe a punishment:"What is our guilt? Or what is our sin?What crime are we guilty of that would be appropriate for such a verdict?put more on them than was rightand that they had reason togo to court with GodJob 34:23. Notice how amazing it is to see how hard it is for sinners to justify God and judge themselves when they are in trouble, and to admit the injustice and sin that got them into trouble. 2. A clear and complete response to this request. They ask the prophet why and for what reason is God so angry with them? He will not shut them up by telling them to be sure there is reason enough, the just God is neverangry for no reasonwithout good reason; but he must specially tell them what the reason is, that they may be convicted and humbled, or at least that God may be vindicated. Then let them know (1.) that God has visited upon them the iniquities of their fathers (verse 11):Your parents abandoned me and did not keep my law.They despised divine institutions and got tired of them (they thought them too simple, too mean), and thenwent after other godstheir worship was more gay and pompous; and because they love variety and novelty, theyserved them and worshiped them;and this was the sin that God said he would do in the second commandmentvisiting the childrenwho kept these idolatrous customs because they received themby tradition of their fathers,1 point 1:18. (2.) That God gave them an account of their own iniquities (v. 12): "Thou hast made the sin of thy fathers thine, and hast loathed the punishment which tarried in their days, becauseYou did worse than your parents.”If they had made good use of their fathers' pardon, and allowed the patience of God to lead them to repentance, they would have fared better, and the judgment would have been averted, the pardon turned into a national pardon; but, making an appearance of it, and thus being hardened in their sins, they fared the worse, and, after the pardon expired, an amendment was added to the sentence, and it was carried out with the severest execution. They were more insolent and stubborn than their fathers,each one walked according to the imagination of his own heart,made it their guide and rule, and determined to live by it that they do not listen to Godand their prophets. They deliberately allowed their own desires and passions to run high so they could drown out the voice of their conscience. No wonder, then, that God made this decree concerning them (verse 13):"I'm taking you out of this countrythis land of light, this valley of vision. Since you won't listen to me, you won't listen to me; you will be taken, not to a neighboring country with which you have already had acquaintance and correspondence, but to a distant country,a land that you do not know, neither you nor your fathers,in which you have no interest, nor can you hope to find any suitable company to alleviate your misery.” Rightly were those banished to a foreign land who loved foreign gods, who did not know them or their fathers, Deut 32:17. things would make their case very miserable, and both relate to the soul, the best part; the greatest calamities of their captivity were those which overtook and excluded them from their salvation. [1] “It is the happiness of the soul that is to be employed in the service of God; ButDay and night you will serve other gods;that is, you will be constantly tempted to serve them, and perhaps compelled to do so by their cruel overseers; and when you are compelled to worship idols, you will be as weary of that worship as you loved it when it was forbidden by your pious fills the backslider's heart with its own ways."You will have no public worship except the worship of idols, and then you will ruefully reflect on how you have belittled the worship of the true God." [2.] "It is the happiness of the soul to have some tokens of God's goodness, but you will come to a strange land,where I will show you no favors."If they had the favor of God, it would have made even the land of their captivity a pleasant land; but when they are under his wrath, the yoke of his oppression will be unbearable for them.

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Verse 14-21

There is a mixture of mercy and judgment in these verses and it is hard to know what some of the passages here apply to - they are so intertwined and some seem to look as far into the future as gospel times.

I. GOD WILL SURELY JUDGE THEM FOR THEIR IDOLATORY. Let them wait, for the decree has been made. 1. God sees all their sins, though they commit them so secretly, and always gently assuages ​​them (v. 17):My eyes are on all your ways.They don't have an eye on God, they don't respect him, they don't reverence him; but he keeps an eye on her; neither they nor their sins arehidden from your face, from your eyes.Note, None of the sins of sinners can be hidden or overlooked by God, Proverbs 5:21; Job 34:21; hp 90:8. 2. God is very displeased, especially with their idolatry, ver. 18. As his omniscience convicts them, so his justice condemns them:I will repay their iniquity and their sin twice,not double what they deserve, but double what they expect and what I used to. or I returnabundant;they must now pay for their long reprieve and divine forbearance which they abused. The sin over which God disputes with them is their possession.stain the earth of Godwith his idolatries, and not only alienated what was his inheritance, but defiled what he inhabited with joys as his inheritance, and made it loathsome to him.with the carcasses of their abominations,the very gods they worshipped, whose images, though made of gold and silver, were as detestable to God as the putrid carcasses of men or beasts are to us. idols areCarcasses of abominable things.God hates them and so should we. Or it may refer to the sacrifices they made to those idols, with whomthe earth was full;for they had heights on every bank and corner. This was the sin that made God angry with them before anyone else. 3. He will discover and raise tools of his wrath, that is,drive them out of their land,according to the judgment passed on them (v. 16):I will send for many fishermen and many huntersthe Chaldean army who will have many ways to capture and destroy them, by deceit as fishermen, by violence as hunters. They will find them wherever they are and will chase and chase them to their doom. You will find them wherever they hide.hillorBank,orrock holes,and must cast them out. God has many ways of persecuting a people with his judgments that evade the convictions of his word. He has men suited to his purpose; he has them within reach, and can fetch them whenever he pleases. 4. Your slavery in Babylon will be more painful and much more painful than in Egypt, your cruelest overseers and your most bitter life. This is implied by the promise (verses 14, 15) that their deliverance from Babylon will in itself be more exalted and welcome to them than that of Egypt. Their slavery in Egypt fell on them gradually and almost imperceptibly; which was already discussed in Babylon, and with all the aggravating circumstances of terror. They had a Goshen of their own in Egypt, but none in Babylon. In Egypt they were employed as useful servants, in Babylon as hated captives. 5. They are warned and God is glorified by these judgments brought upon them. These judgments have a voice, and speak aloud, (1) instruction to them. When God disciplines them, He teaches them. Through this rod, God protests with them (verse 20):"Should one make gods for oneself?Will anyone be so completely without reason and consideration that he believes a god of his own creation can stand in his place? Will you again be as foolish as you were in creating gods for yourself that are no gods, when you have a god to call your own, who made you, and who is the true and living God? (2) Glory to God, for he will be known by the judgments he executes, first he will pay their iniquity (verse 18) and then he willthis time(v. 21) - that once for all, not through many disturbances of his peace, but through this desolation and destruction. "Forthis time,and nothing else,I'll make sure they know my handthe length and weight of my punishing hand, how far it reaches and how deep it can cut.And they will know that my name is Jehovah,a God with whom there is no quarrel, who gives life to threats and breathes life into them as well as into promises.

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II. Yet He has mercy in store for them, whose hints come here for the encouragement of the Prophet himself, and of the few among them who tremble at the Word of God. It was said sternly (v. 13) that God would banish them to a foreign land; but lest they be driven to despair, words of comfort immediately follow.

1.the days will comethe glad days when the same hand that scattered them will gather them again, vv.14, 15. They will be cast out, but they will not be cast out, they will not be cast out. it will be youbrought from the land of the north,the land of their captivity, where they are held with a strong hand,and from all the countries to which they are expelled,and where they looked lost and buried in the crowd; No,I will take you back to your own countryand set them there. Just as he agreed to what was written in this law before his threats, he also agrees to this promise.But I don't want to throw them awayLew. 26:44.From there the Lord your God will gather you,English 30:4. And the following words (v. 16) may be understood as a promise; God will send fishermen and hunters, Medes and Persians, whom they find in the lands where they have been scattered, and will send them back to their own land; or Zerubbabel and others of their own nation, whom they were to fish and pursue, to persuade them to return; or whatever instruments the Spirit of God usedawaken your spirits to soar high,to which they were initially backward. They began to settle in Babylon; But,like an eagle awakens its nest and flies over its young,so God did it through her, Zac. 2:7.

2. Their deliverance from Babylon was, by some accounts, more famous and memorable than their deliverance from Egypt. Both were the Lord's workmanship, and wonderful in his sight; both were proofs that the Lord lived, and should be forever remembered in his honor as the living God; but the new mercy will be so startling, so welcome, that it will blot out even the memory of the first. Not that new mercies should remind us of old ones, and give us occasion to renew our thanksgiving for them; but why are we tempted to think that former days were better than these, and to ask,Where are all the miracles our fathers told us about?as if it were from GodArmtiveshort tarp,and to claim the age of miracles in later ages, when mercies are generally wrought, therefore we are here comparatively permitted to forget the going out of Egypt as a deliverance surpassed by that of Babylon. this was donethrough might and might,Oby the Spirit of the Lord of hosts,Zéc. 4:6. There was more pardoning mercy in this (the most glorious branch of divine mercy) than in this; for their captivity in Babylon had more punishment of sin than their bondage in Egypt; and therefore what comforts Zion in her deliverance from Babylon is this and thatyour iniquity is forgivenIt is a. 40:2. Note, God glorifies himself, and we must glorify him, both in the miracleless and miracle-working mercies of his own day, we must give special thanks.

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3. Their deliverance from captivity will be accompanied by a blessed reformation, and they will return effectually cured of their inclination to idolatry, which will complete their deliverance, and make it a true mercy. They defiled their own country with theirsvile things,v. 18. But if they are offended by it, they will come and humble themselves before God, vv. 19-21. (1.) They must be led to acknowledge that their God alone is truly God, for He is a needy God."My strengthto support and comfort memy fortressto protect and shelter me,and my refugewhere can i run awayin the day of trouble."Note, Necessity draws to God many who have strayed from Him. Those who offended him in the day of prosperity will gladly flee to him in the day of trouble. (2.) They are spurred on to return to him by the conversion of the Gentiles:Gentiles will come to you from the ends of the earth;and that's why we shouldn't come? Or: "The Jews, who made themselves Gentiles by their idolatry (that's how I understand it best),will come to youreturn to his duty and allegiance through repentance and reformation, evenfrom the ends of the earth,from all the countries to which they were expelled.” The prophet consoles himself with this hope and, in a frenzy of joy, returns to God the news he had given him:"O Lord! my strength and my fortress,I'm calm now that you've given me a glimpse of many people to comecome to you from the ends of the earth,both Jewish converts and Gentile proselytes.” Note, Those who are led to God can only rejoice when others come to him, turn to him. (3.) They will acknowledge their ancestors' folly, which they deserve to do when they bewail their ancestors' sins:"Actually, our parents inheritednot the happiness they promised themselves and their children, butLies, vanity and things where there is no gain.Now we know that our fathers were deceived in their idolatrous worship; she has not proved what she promised, and therefore what have we to do with it? .) They must abstain from their idolatry, and this reformation is likely to be sincere and lasting, resulting from a rational conviction of the gross absurdity that lies in sin. You will argue (and argue well) with yourself like this,if a manvisiting a fool so utterly devoid of the sanity of a man as tomake godsthe creatures of your own imagination, the work of your own hands, if they are realno gods?V. 20. Can a man be so in love, so completely lost in human understanding, that he expects some blessing or divine favor from what does not pretend to be divine, but what he first received from him? (5) They should give glory to God in this, and seem to know both his hand in his providence and his name in his word, and that they knew his name by what they let know of his hand, v 21This time,now at last they should know what they should not know through all the trouble the prophets brought with them. Note, We are so foolish that nothing less than the mighty hand of divine grace known experimentally can make us rightly know the name of God as revealed to us.

4. Their deliverance from captivity must be a type of that great salvation which the Messiah will bring, who willgathers the scattered children of God into one.And this is what eclipses the deliverance from Egypt, to the point of dulling even its splendor and even causing it to be forgotten. Some of them apply to thismany fishermenEHunter,the ministers of the gospel who weremen fishermen,To enclose souls in the web of the gospel to find themon every mountainEhill,and secure them for Christ. Then some of the Gentiles came to Godfrom the ends of the earth,and turned to worship him from the service of dumb idols.


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