Jeremiah 16:18
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.
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(18) I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double.—A restitution, or fine, to double the amount of the wrong done was almost the normal standard of punishment under the Law of Moses (Exodus 22:4; Exodus 22:7). The words threaten accordingly a full punishment according to the utmost rigour. In Isaiah 40:2 the same thought is presented in its brighter aspect. Israel has received “double for all her sins,” and therefore, having paid, as it were, “the uttermost farthing” (Matthew 5:26), she may now hope for mercy.

The carcases . . .—The word may be used in scorn of the lifeless form of the dumb idols which the people worshipped, to touch which was to be polluted, as by contact with a corpse (Numbers 19:11); but it more probably points to the dead bodies of the victims that had been sacrificed to them. The phrase occurs also in a like context in Leviticus 26:30. It would appear from Isaiah 65:4 that these often included animals which by the Law were unclean: “swine’s flesh and broth of abominable things.”

16:14-21 The restoration from the Babylonish captivity would be remembered in place of the deliverance from Egypt; it also typified spiritual redemption, and the future deliverance of the church from antichristian oppression. But none of the sins of sinners can be hidden from God, or shall be overlooked by him. He will find out and raise up instruments of his wrath, that shall destroy the Jews, by fraud like fishers, by force like hunters. The prophet, rejoicing at the hope of mercy to come, addressed the Lord as his strength and refuge. The deliverance out of captivity shall be a figure of the great salvation to be wrought by the Messiah. The nations have often known the power of Jehovah in his wrath; but they shall know him as the strength of his people, and their refuge in time of trouble.First - Before the return from exile.

I will recompense their iniquity ... double - The ordinary rule of the Law (Isaiah 40:2 note). Sin is twofold; there is the leaving of God's will undone, and the actual wrongdoing. And every punishment is twofold: first, there is the loss of the blessing which would have followed upon obedience, and secondly, the presence of actual misery.

Because they have defiled ... - Rather, "because they have profaned My land with the carcases of their detestable things" (their lifeless and hateful idols, the very touch of which pollutes like that of a corpse, Numbers 19:11); "and hare filled My inheritance with their abominations."

18. first … double—Horsley translates, "I will recompense … once and again"; literally, "the first time repeated": alluding to the two captivities—the Babylonian and the Roman. Maurer, "I will recompense their former iniquities (those long ago committed by their fathers) and their (own) repeated sins" (Jer 16:11, 12). English Version gives a good sense, "First (before 'I bring them again into their land'), I will doubly (that is, fully and amply, Jer 17:18; Isa 40:2) recompense."

carcasses—not sweet-smelling sacrifices acceptable to God, but "carcasses" offered to idols, an offensive odor to God: human victims (Jer 19:5; Eze 16:20), and unclean animals (Isa 65:4; 66:17). Maurer explains it, "the carcasses" of the idols: their images void of sense and life. Compare Jer 16:19, 20. Le 26:30 favors this.

Before I will restore them, and return in my wonted favour to them, I will punish them for their ways which 1 have seen, which are ways of iniquity, and will plentifully punish them; (for so

double here signifies, not the double of what their sins deserve;) because by their idolatry, blood, and cruelty, and other sins, they have defiled the land which I own, and which I have given them; and have filled that country which I have chosen for and named

my inheritance with their

abominable things, that is, practices, or unclean beasts offered to their idols in sacrifices, or innocent persons slain by them.

And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double,.... Or, "but first I will recompense", &c. (f); meaning, before he showed favour to them, and returned their captivity, Jeremiah 16:15, he would punish them according to their sins; not double to what they deserved, but to what: they were used to have, or he was used to inflict upon them, punishing them less than their sins deserved; but now he would reward them to the full, though not beyond the measure of justice, yet largely and abundantly, and with rigour and severity. Some understand this of God's gathering together all their sins and iniquities "from the beginning" (g), as they render the word; the sins of their fathers and their own, and punishing them for them all at once; or first their fathers' sins, and then their own, in which they imitated their fathers, and filled up the measure of their iniquity. So the Targum,

"and I will render to the second as to the first, for everyone of both, their iniquities and their sins.''

Because they have defiled my land; out of which he cast the Canaanites for the same reason; and which he chose for the place of his residence and worship, and settled the people of Israel for that purpose in it: that they might serve him in it, and not do as the Heathens before them had done, and which yet they did; and this was what was provoking to him.

They have filled mine inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable things; with their idols, which were not only lifeless, but stinking, loathsome, and abominable; or unclean creatures, which were sacrificed unto them; and some think human sacrifices, the bodies of men, are meant: places of idolatrous worship were set up everywhere in the land, and therefore it is said to be filled therewith; and it was an aggravation of their wickedness, that this was done in a land which the Lord had chosen for his own possession, and had given to Israel as an inheritance.

(f) "sed reddum primum". (g) "ab initio" Calvin; "initio", Montanus.

And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled my inheritance with the {h} carcases of their detestable and abominable things.

(h) That is, their sons and daughters, who they offered to Molech.

18. first] The word (rî’shônah) is not found in LXX, and was probably inserted after Jeremiah 16:14 f. had been introduced into the text. Co. however thinks it is a corruption of the frequent expression (e.g. Jdg 9:57) ‘al ro’shâm, upon their head.

double] Cp. Isaiah 40:2.

because they have polluted] The mg. is more strictly in accordance with the Hebrew.

the carcases, etc.] the idols themselves, called carcases as being in their nature polluting to the touch like a dead body.

The whole of Jeremiah 16:18 is unmetrical, and Co. rejects the second part (from “because”), as containing language belonging to later times, e.g. “carcases” in connexion with idols, as in Ezekiel 6 (specially in Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 16:13) and Leviticus 26:30.

Verse 18. - First - i.e. before "I bring them back again into their land" - I will recompense... double; i.e. amply, in full measure (comp. Jeremiah 17:18; Isaiah 40:2; Revelation 18:6). With the carcasses, etc. The idols, which "defile the consciences" of those who worship them, are compared to the most unclean and loathsome objects. Jeremiah 16:18 The punishment foretold is but retribution for their sins. Because they have defiled the land by idolatry, they shall be driven out of it. ראשׁונה, first, is by Jerome, Hitz., Ew., Umbr. made to refer to the salvation promised in Jeremiah 16:15 : first, i.e., before the restoration of my favour spoken of in Jeremiah 16:15, I requite double. Against this Graf has objected, that on this view "first" would appear somewhat superfluous; and Ng., that the manifestly intended antithesis to משׁנה is left out of account. There is little force in either objection. Even Ng.'s paraphrase does not do full justice to the presumed antithesis; for if we render: "For the first time the double shall be requited, in the event of repetition a severer standard shall be used," then the antithesis to "first" would not be "double," but the supplied repetition of the offence. There is not the slightest hint in the context to lead us to supply this idea; nor is there any antithesis between "first" and "double." It is a mere assumption of the comm., which Rashi, Kimchi, Ros., Maur., etc., have brought into the text by the interpolation of a ו cop. before משׁנה: I requite the first of their transgressions and the repetition of them, i.e., their earlier and their repeated sins, or the sins committed by their fathers and by themselves, on a greater scale. We therefore hold the reference to Jeremiah 16:15 to be the only true one, and regard it as corresponding both to the words before us and the context. "The double of their iniquity," i.e., ample measure for their sins (cf. Isaiah 40:2; Job 11:6) by way of the horrors of war and the sufferings of the exile. The sins are more exactly defined by: because they defiled my land by the carcases of their detestables, i.e., their dead detestable idols. שׁקּוּצים נבלת is formed according to פּגרי , Leviticus 26:30, and it belongs to "they defiled," not to "they filled," as the Masoretic accentuation puts it; for מלא is construed, not with בּ of the thing, but with double accus.; cf. Ezekiel 8:17; Ezekiel 30:11, etc. So it is construed in the last clause: With their abominations they have filled the inheritance of Jahveh, i.e., the land of the Lord (cf. Jeremiah 2:7). The infin. חלּלם is continued by מלאוּ in verbo fin., as usual.

In Jeremiah 16:19-21 we have more as to the necessity of the threatened punishment. The prophet turns to the Lord as his defence and fortress in time of need, and utters the hope that even the heathen may some time turn to the Lord and confess the vanity of idolatry, since the gods which men make are no gods. To this the Lord answers in Jeremiah 16:21, that just therefore He must punish His idolatrous people, so that they shall feel His power and learn to know His name.

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