Jeremiah 16
Clarke's Commentary
On account of the evils which threatened his country, the prophet is forbidden to encumber himself with a wife and family, or to bear any share in the little joys and sorrows of his neighbors, which were to be forgotten and absorbed in those public calamities, Jeremiah 16:1-9, which their sins should draw on them, Jeremiah 16:10-13. A future restoration however is intimated, Jeremiah 16:14, Jeremiah 16:15, after these calamities should be endured, Jeremiah 16:16-18; and the conversion of the Gentiles is foretold, Jeremiah 16:19-21.

The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying,
The word of the Lord came also unto me - This discourse Dahler supposes to have been delivered some time in the reign of Jehoiakim.

Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
Those shalt not take thee a wife - As it would be very inconvenient to have a family when the threatened desolations should come on the place. The reason is given in the following verses.

For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;
They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
They shall die of grievous deaths - All prematurely; see Jeremiah 14:16.

As dung upon the face of the earth - See Jeremiah 8:2.

Be meat for the fowls - See Jeremiah 7:33.

For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.
Enter not into the house of mourning - The public calamities are too great to permit individual losses to come into consideration.

Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:
Nor cut themselves - A custom of the heathen forbidden to the Jews, Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1, and which appears now to have prevailed among them; because, having become idolaters, they conformed to all the customs of the heathen. They tore their hair, rent their garments, cut their hands, arms, and faces. These were not only signs of sorrow but were even supposed to give ease to the dead, and appease the angry deities. The Hindoos, on the death of a relation, express their grief by loud lamentations, and not unfrequently bruise themselves in an agony of grief with whatever they can lay hold on.

Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.
Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.
Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting - Funeral banquets were made to commemorate the dead, and comfort the surviving relatives; and the cup of consolation, strong mingled wine, was given to those who were deepest in distress, to divert their minds and to soothe their sorrows. These kinds of ceremonies were common among almost all the nations of the world on funeral occasions. The Canaanites, the Jews, the Persians, Arabians, New Zealanders, Huns, etc., etc.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?
Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;
And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
And ye have done worse than your fathers - The sins of the fathers would not have been visited on the children, had they not followed their example, and become even worse than they.

Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
Will I cast you out of this land - See Jeremiah 7:15, and Jeremiah 9:15.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
The Lord liveth, that brought up - See Isaiah 43:18.

But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
The land of the north - Chaldea: and their deliverance thence will be as remarkable as the deliverance of their fathers from the land of Egypt.

Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
I will send for many fishers - for many hunters - I shall raise up enemies against them some of whom shall destroy them by wiles, and others shall ruin them by violence. This seems to be the meaning of these symbolical fishers and hunters.

For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
The carcasses of their detestable - things - Either meaning the idols themselves, which were only carcasses without life; or the sacrifices which were made to them.

O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
The Gentiles shall come - Even the days shall come when the Gentiles themselves, ashamed of their confidence, shall renounce their idols, and acknowledge that their fathers had believed lies, and worshipped vanities. This may be a prediction of the calling of the Gentiles by the Gospel of Christ; if so, it is a light amidst much darkness. In such dismal accounts there is need of some gracious promise relative to an amended state of the world.

Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
Shall a man make gods unto himself? - Can any be so silly, and so preposterously absurd? Yes, fallen man is capable of any thing that is base, mean, vile, and wicked, till influenced and converted by the grace of Christ.

Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.
Therefore, behold, I will this once - I will not now change my purpose. They shall be visited and carried into captivity; nothing shall prevent this: and they shall know that my name is Jehovah. Since they would not receive the abundance of my mercies, they shall know what the true God can do in the way of judgment.

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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