The LORD God placed several restrictions on Jeremiah’s personal life. They were meant as as object lessons for the people.
VERSE 1. The LORD’s word came also to me, saying,
NLT translation. The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Do not get married or have children in this place.”
Do not get married. Jeremiah was single. God led Jeremiah to not get married.
Many people assume that the biblical norm is for people to get married. Sociologically that’s true. However, the Bible recommends singleness.
Saint Paul was single:
1 Corinthians 7:7. But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. (NLT translation)
Paul recommends that people remain unmarried, if possible:
1 Corinthians 7:8-9. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. 9 But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust. (NLT translation)
The Lord Jesus Christ recommends singleness if possible:
Matthew 19:10-12. Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” “Not everyone can accept this statement,” 11 Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (NAB translation)
And the prophet Jeremiah was single:
Jeremiah 16:2. The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Do not get married or have children in this place.” (NLT translation)
VERSE 3. For the LORD says concerning the sons and concerning the daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them, and concerning their fathers who became their father in this land:
VERSE 4. “They will die grievous deaths. They will not be lamented, neither will they be buried. They will be as dung on the surface of the ground. They will be consumed by the sword and by famine. Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and for the animals of the earth.”
VERSE 5. For the LORD says, “Don’t enter into the house of mourning. Don’t go to lament. Don’t bemoan them, for I have taken away my peace from this people,” says the LORD, “even loving kindness and tender mercies.
NLT translation. This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy.
Do not go to funerals. Attending a funeral would have placed Jeremiah under the authority of the corrupt religious leaders. That would have been a disaster.
VERSE 6. Both great and small will die in this land. They will not be buried. Men won’t lament for them, cut themselves, or make themselves bald for them.
VERSE 7. Men won’t break bread for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead. Men won’t give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.
NLT translation. And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all.
do not go to their feasts. Jeremiah is to stay away from their religious observances. He should not submit to the corrupt spiritual leaders. Nor should he receive ministry from the corrupt spiritual leaders.
In reality, its the reverse of that. Jeremiah is God’s ministry to the corrupt spiritual leaders.
and parties. In addition to avoiding their religious events, Jeremiah is to avoid their celebrations. They are so corrupt that Jeremiah cannot risk appearing to be a part of their world. Imagine if Jeremiah were to be out drinking with the corrupt spiritual leaders.
Do not eat and drink with them at all. This does not forbid eating or drinking. Rather, what’s forbidden is to eat or drink or drink with a corrupt religious leader. Jeremiah is not required to be a tee-totaler.
VERSE 9. For the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I will 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.
NAB translation. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Before your eyes and in your lifetime, I will silence in this place the song of joy and the song of gladness, the song of the bridegroom and the song of the bride.
I will silence … joy. Joy is a gift of the Most High God. But for these people, he will take it away.
VERSE 10. It will happen, when you tell this people all these words, and they ask 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?’
VERSE 11. then you shall tell them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me,’ says the LORD, ‘and have walked after other gods, have served them, have worshiped them, have forsaken me, and have not kept my law.
VERSE 12. You have done evil more than your fathers, for behold, you each walk after the stubbornness of his evil heart, so that you don’t listen to me.
VERSE 13. Therefore I will cast you out of this land into the land that you have not known, neither you nor your fathers. There you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’
VERSE 14. “Therefore behold, the days come,” says the LORD, “that it will no more be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;’
VERSE 15. but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the countries where he had driven them.’ I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.
VERSE 16. “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the LORD, “and they will fish them up. Afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain, from every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.
VERSE 17. For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from my face. Their iniquity isn’t concealed from my eyes.
VERSE 18. First I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable things, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.”
VERSE 19. LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth, and will say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, vanity and things in which there is no profit.
VERSE 20. Should a man make to himself gods which yet are no gods?”
VERSE 21. “Therefore behold, I will cause them to know, this once I will cause them to know my hand and my might. Then they will know that my name is the LORD.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.