Jeremiah 16:10
And it shall come to pass, when you shall show this people all these words, and they shall say to you, Why has 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?
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(10) What is our iniquity? . . .—Now, as before (Jeremiah 5:19), the threatenings of judgment are met with words of real or affected wonder. “What have we done to call for all this? In what are we worse than our fathers, or than other nations?” All prophets had more or less to encounter the same hardness. It reaches its highest form in the reiterated questions of the same type in Malachi 1, 2.

16:10-13 Here seems to be the language of those who quarrel at the word of God, and instead of humbling and condemning themselves, justify themselves, as though God did them wrong. A plain and full answer is given. They were more obstinate in sin than their fathers, walking every one after the devices of his heart. Since they will not hearken, they shall be hurried away into a far country, a land they know not. If they had God's favour, that would make even the land of their captivity pleasant.Tear themselves - Better as in the margin; "break broad for them." It was customary upon the death of a relative to fast, and for the friends and neighbors after a decent delay to come and comfort the mourner, and urge food upon him 2 Samuel 12:17; food was also distributed at funerals to the mourners, and to the poor.

Cup of consolation - Marginal reference note.

10. (De 29:24; 1Ki 9:8, 9). When thou shalt show this people all these words, or all these things; when thou shalt be observed by this people to refuse marriage, and to go to the houses of mourners, according to the custom, to eat or to drink with mourners, to make them to forget their sorrows, or to go into the house of feasting for jollity and mirth, and they shall ask the reason of thy singularity in this behaviour, and thou shalt give them the reason of it, according as I have instructed thee; and they shall pretend to be at a loss to know the reason why God is so severe against them, for what sin or iniquity it is, thinking perhaps that Manasseh’s or Jehoiakim’s commanding them to worship idols would excuse them, and only leave their superiors guilty; for otherwise, while there was such plain idolatry amongst them, they could not be ignorant of cause sufficient that God had, considering the multiplied threats in the law. And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt show this people all these words,.... Or, "all these things" (a); which he was forbid to do; as marrying and having children, going into the house of mourning or feasting, with the reasons of all, because of the calamities coming upon them:

and they shall say unto thee, wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? as if they were quite innocent, and were not conscious of anything they had done deserving such punishment, especially so great as this was threatened to be inflicted on them; as their dying grievous deaths, parents and children, great and small, and be unlamented, and unburied: or "what is our iniquity?" or "what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?" supposing we have been guilty of some weaknesses and frailties; or of some few faults; which though they cannot be justified, yet surely are not to be reckoned of such a nature as to deserve and require so great a punishment: thus would they either deny or lessen the sins they had been guilty of, and suggest that the Lord was very hard and severe upon them.

(a) "omnes res hasce", Gataker, Piscator.

And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt show this people all these words, and they shall say to thee, Why hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is {e} our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?

(e) Because the wicked are always rebellious and conceal their own sins and murmur against God's judgments, as though he had no just cause to punish them, he shows him what to answer.

10. Cp. Jeremiah 5:19, Jeremiah 13:22.

10–13. See introd. summary to section.The course to be pursued by the prophet with reference to the approaching judgment. - Jeremiah 16:1. "And the word of Jahveh cam to me, saying: Jeremiah 16:2. Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place. Jeremiah 16:3. For thus hath Jahveh said concerning the sons and the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bear them, and concerning their fathers that beget them in this land: Jeremiah 16:4. By deadly suffering shall they die, be neither lamented or buried; dung upon the field shall they become; and by sword and by famine shall they be consumed, and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of the heavens and the beasts of the field. Jeremiah 16:5. For thus hath Jahveh said: Come not into the house of mourning, and go not to lament, and bemoan them not; for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith Jahveh, grace and mercies. Jeremiah 16:6. And great and small shall die in this land, not be buried; they shall not lament them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. Jeremiah 16:7. And they shall not break bread for them in their mourning, to comfort one for the dead; nor shall they give to any the cup of comfort for his father and his mother. Jeremiah 16:8. And into the house of feasting go not, to sit by them, to eat and to drink. Jeremiah 16:9. For thus hath spoken Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I cause to cease out of this place before 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."

What the prophet is here bidden to do and to forbear is closely bound up with the proclamation enjoined on him of judgment to come on sinful Judah. This connection is brought prominently forward in the reasons given for these commands. He is neither to take a wife nor to beget children, because all the inhabitants of the land, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, are to perish by sickness, the sword, and famine (Jeremiah 16:3 and Jeremiah 16:4). He is both to abstain from the customary usages of mourning for the dead, and to keep away from mirthful feasts, in order to give the people to understand that, by reason of the multitude of the dead, customary mourning will have to be given up, and that all opportunity for merry-making will disappear (Jeremiah 16:5-9). Adapting thus his actions to help to convey his message, he will approve himself to be the mouth of the Lord, and then the promised divine protection will not fail. Thus closely is this passage connected with the preceding complaint and reproof of the prophet (Jeremiah 15:10-21), while it at the same time further continues the threatening of judgment in Jeremiah 15:1-9. - With the prohibition to take a wife, cf. the apostle's counsel, 1 Corinthians 7:26. "This place" alternates with "this land," and so must not be limited to Jerusalem, but bears on Judah at large. ילּדים, adject. verbale, as in Exodus 1:32. The form ממותי is found, besides here, only in Ezekiel 28:8, where it takes the place of מותי, Jeremiah 16:10. תחלאים ממותי, lit., deaths of sicknesses or sufferings, i.e., deaths by all kinds of sufferings, since תחלאים is not to be confined to disease, but in Jeremiah 14:18 is used of pining away by famine. With "they shall not be lamented," cf. Jeremiah 25:33; Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 7:33.

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