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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 16: Divine instructions for Jeremiah & warnings for the people


[Preliminary Comment: The chapter starts with a warning to avoid various things:

•  getting married
•  joining in mourning
•  joining in celebrations

but he is to confront the people with their sin and warn them of the impending judgement that will result in the people going into exile.]



v.1,2 The Lord warns Jeremiah not to marry and have a family

v.1   Then the word of the Lord came to me:

v.2  ‘You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.'


v.3,4 He gives the reason – sword and famine is soon to come to this land

v.3  For this is what the Lord says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers:

v.4  ‘They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.'


v.5-7 He instructs Jeremiah to avoid places of mourning and shares why

v.5  For this is what the Lord says: ‘Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity from this people,' declares the Lord .

v. 6  ‘Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead.

v.7  No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead – not even for a father or a mother – nor will anyone give them a drink to console them.


v.8,9 Likewise Jeremiah is to avoid celebrations – for they will soon end

v.8  ‘And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink.

v.9  For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place.


v.10-12 When the people question Jeremiah he is to confront them with their sin

v.10  ‘When you tell these people all this and they ask you, “Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?”

v.11  then say to them, “It is because your ancestors forsook me,” declares the Lord, “and followed other gods and served and worshipped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.

v.12  But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.


v.13 For this the Lord will send the nation into exile

v.13  So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favour.”


v.14,15 The Exodus will be forgotten and the Exile will be remembered

v.14  ‘However, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, ‘when it will no longer be said, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,”

v.15  but it will be said, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.” For I will restore them to the land I gave to their ancestors.


v.16-18 So now the Lord will send those who will clear the people from the land

v.16  ‘But now I will send for many fishermen,' declares the Lord, ‘and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.

v.17  My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.

v.18  I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.'


v.19 Jeremiah acknowledges the Lord's greatness and justice

v.19   Lord , my strength and my fortress,
     my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
     from the ends of the earth and say,
‘Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,
     worthless idols that did them no good.

v.20 The people had turned to powerless idols

v.20  Do people make their own gods?
     Yes, but they are not gods!'


v.21 So now the Lord is going to act against them and teach them

v.21  ‘Therefore I will teach them –
     this time I will teach them
     my power and might.
Then they will know
     that my name is the Lord.



Continue to Chapter 17