King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 16

Prohibitions given to the prophet. (1-9) The justice of God in these judgments. (10-13) Future restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles. (14-21)

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Prohibitions given to the prophet

1 The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying,

2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.

3 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;

4 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.

5 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.

6 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:

7 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.

8 Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.

9 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.

The justice of God in these judgments

10 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?

11 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;

12 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:

13 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.

Future restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles

14 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;

15 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.

16 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.

17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.

18 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.

19 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.

20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?

21 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Place. It was going to be destroyed, and the cares of a family might interrupt the prophet. The Fathers believe that Jeremias never married, (see S. Jer. in C. xxii. Isidor.) which was then a rare example. C. — He always lived a single life, and not only in time of tribulation. S. Jer. c. Jov. 1. W. — The Church enforces this law of God for her sacred ministers, in subdeacons and the higher orders. S. Paul shews the propriety of such a regulation, (1 Cor. vii.) which innovators deem unnatural and tyrannical. How then could God enforce it once? With his grace we may observe celibacy like Jeremias. H.

Ver. 4. Illnesses, denoting God’s wrath. S. Jer. — Earth. The privation of sepulture was accounted one of the greatest evils.

Ver. 5. Feasting: usual at burials for all relations. C. — This custom reduced many to poverty. Jos. Bel. ii. 1. —

Sed cænam funerishæres

Negliget iratus quod rem curtaverit. Pers. vi.

Mourn, if thou shouldst meet a funeral. Lu. vii. 32.

Ver. 6. Cut. Moses prohibited this being done in honour of Adonis. Lev. xix. 27. Deut. xiv. 1. Ezec. xxvii. 31. “The custom of cutting the arms and hair still subsists in Judea,” says S. Jerom; and in other countries. Plut. Herodot. iv. 71.

Ver. 7. Cup. Most exquisite things were sent on such occasions. Buxtorf, Syn. xxxv. Prov. xxxi. 6. Tob. iv. 18. John xi. 19.

Ver. 8. Feasting. Heb. “of drinking,” in times of joy.

Ver. 12. Fathers. Hence you are justly partakers of their punishment. Mat. xxiii. 32. C. — A continuance in sin brings on severe punishments; after which, God again shews mercy. W.

Ver. 13. Gods. Elohim, “masters,” &c. C. xvii. 4. Chal. “idolatrous nations.”

Ver. 15. Fathers. He joins consolation with distressing predictions, and alludes to the redemption of mankind, of which the return of the Jews was the most striking pledge.

Ver. 16. Rocks. They shall be found in all their lurking places. Ezec. xii. 12. Hab. i. 4. C. — The apostles shall save them. Orig. — The Medes and Persians shall grant them liberty; or rather Nabuchodonosor shall fish at first, and afterwards hunt or destroy more of the Jews. C. — Apostolical men (W.) shall be like rocks, (S. Jer.) for the protection of their hearers.

Ver. 18. Double: enormous. H. C. xvii. 18. — I will punish them doubly. — Carcasses. So he styles the victims, or idols, the representations of dead men.

Ver. 19. Them. After the captivity many were converted. Esth. viii. and 1 Esd. vi. 21. Edom was forced to receive circumcision. But this was nothing in comparison with the crowds which embraced the gospel.

Ver. 20. Make gods. This consideration alone suffices to shew their absurdity. C. — “Man must now be merciful to god!” Tert. Apol. — No one can make even a man, much less a god. S. Jer. W.

Ver. 21. Power, in taking vengeance on idolatry. — Lord. “He who is;” (C.) Jehova. H.