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Jeremiah 16:6-16

Context
16:6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them. 1  16:7 No one will take any food to those who mourn for the dead to comfort them. No one will give them any wine to drink to console them for the loss of their father or mother.

16:8 “‘Do not go to a house where people are feasting and sit down to eat and drink with them either. 16:9 For I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, tell you what will happen. 2  I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in this land. You and the rest of the people will live to see this happen.’” 3 

The Lord Promises Exile (But Also Restoration)

16:10 “When you tell these people about all this, 4  they will undoubtedly ask you, ‘Why has the Lord threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the Lord our God?’ 16:11 Then tell them that the Lord says, 5  ‘It is because your ancestors 6  rejected me and paid allegiance to 7  other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. 8  16:12 And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me. 9  16:13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. There you must worship other gods day and night, for I will show you no mercy.’”

16:14 Yet 10  I, the Lord, say: 11  “A new time will certainly come. 12  People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ 16:15 But in that time they will affirm them with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors.” 13 

16:16 But for now I, the Lord, say: 14  “I will send many enemies who will catch these people like fishermen. After that I will send others who will hunt them out like hunters from all the mountains, all the hills, and the crevices in the rocks. 15 

1 sn These were apparently pagan customs associated with mourning (Isa 15:2; Jer 47:5) which were forbidden in Israel (Lev 19:8; 21:5) but apparently practiced anyway (Jer 41:5).

2 tn Heb “For thus says Yahweh of armies the God of Israel.” The introductory formula which appears three times in vv. 1-9 (vv. 1, 3, 5) has been recast for smoother English style.

sn For the title “the Lord God of Israel who rules over all” see 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.

3 tn Heb “before your eyes and in your days.” The pronouns are plural including others than Jeremiah.

4 tn Heb “all these words/things.”

sn The actions of the prophet would undoubtedly elicit questions about his behavior and he would have occasion to explain the reason.

5 tn These two sentences have been recast in English to break up a long Hebrew sentence and incorporate the oracular formula “says the Lord (Heb ‘oracle of the Lord’)” which occurs after “Your fathers abandoned me.” In Hebrew the two sentences read: “When you tell them these things and they say, ‘…’, then tell them, ‘Because your ancestors abandoned me,’ oracle of the Lord.”

6 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 12, 13, 15, 19).

7 tn Heb “followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the explanation of the idiom.

8 tn Heb “But me they have abandoned and my law they have not kept.” The objects are thrown forward to bring out the contrast which has rhetorical force. However, such a sentence in English would be highly unnatural.

9 sn For the argumentation here compare Jer 7:23-26.

10 tn The particle translated here “Yet” (לָכֵן, lakhen) is regularly translated “So” or “Therefore” and introduces a consequence. However, in a few cases it introduces a contrasting set of conditions. Compare its use in Judg 11:8; Jer 48:12; 49:2; 51:52; and Hos 2:14 (2:16 HT).

11 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” The Lord has been speaking; the first person has been utilized in translation to avoid a shift which might create confusion.

12 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”

13 tn These two verses which constitute one long sentence with compound, complex subordinations has been broken up for sake of English style. It reads, “Therefore, behold the days are coming, says the Lord [Heb ‘oracle of the Lord’] and it will not be said any longer, ‘By the life of the Lord who…Egypt’ but ‘by the life of the Lord who…’ and I will bring them back….”

14 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” The Lord has been speaking; the first person has been utilized in translation to avoid a shift which might create confusion.

15 tn Heb “Behold I am about to send for many fishermen and they will catch them. And after that I will send for many hunters and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the cracks in the rocks.”

sn The picture of rounding up the population for destruction and exile is also seen in Amos 4:2 and Hab 1:14-17.



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