Jeremiah 16 - 17 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
The Sign of the Unmarried Prophet (16:1- 17:18)
Re: The Imminence of Judgment in this Place (in this land)
  1. Illustrated by the life of the prophet:
    1. Not married (16:1-4) - No hope in this place.
      Psa 137:8,9 gives a glimpse of the sorrows experienced by families at the Babylonian captivity.
    2. Not mourning (v.5-7) - No comfort in this land.
      Ezekiel, who had been taken into captivity during the brief reign of Jehoiachin, was also a living illustration of judgment yet to fall upon Judah. He presented "the sign of the unmourning prophet" when his wife died (Eze 24:15-27).
      "they shall not... cut themselves..."- This heathen practise of mourning was forbidden by the Lord (Lev 19:28; Deu 14:1). It would be forgotten in the overwhelming presence of death.
    3. Not feasting (v.8-9)- No gladness in this place. your eyes, and in your days...- They themselves would experience this judgment. It was imminent. The Lord uses similar language in describing judgments that were and are yet future. (cp. Eze 26:13 re: Tyre; Rev 18:23 re: mystery Babylon)
  2. The cause of the judgment (v.10-12)
    The question of v.10 is framed sarcastically by those who disregard the message of judgment. The cause of the Lord's displeasure was not hidden (Jer 5:19; 13:22). When judgment fell, the surrounding nations would understand why (Jer 22:8,9; Deu 29:24,25).
  3. The thoroughness of the judgment (v.13,16,17)
  4. The end of the judgment (14,15,18)
    • future restoration to the covenant Land (v.14)
    • a deliverance surpassing the deliverance from Egypt (v.15)
    • after their sin is rewarded double (cp. 17:18; Isa 40:1,2) - The double reward may encompass the trouble experienced at the destruction of the first and second temples, including the Great Tribulation.
    • re: carcases of detestable things, see Lev 26:30
  5. The purpose in the judgment (v.19-21)
  6. The condition of those under judgment (17:1-13)
    1. A Record of Sin: Indelibly engraved in individual hearts and in corporate religion. (17:1)
      • Its contrast -- to the Lord's counsel to them (eg. Prov 3:1-3; 7:1-3).
           -- to the witness that they were meant to bear to the nations (16:19-21)
           -- to the instruction that they should have given their children (17:2; Deu 6:4-9)
      • Its cost -- "all thy treasures... throughout all thy borders..." (v.3)
        "My mountain" is Jerusalem. cp. Mic 3:12; Jer 26:18; Lam 5:17,18 (also Mic 4:1,2 re: future restoration).
        "The field" is Judah. Their substance and all their treasures were gifts from the Lord... as was the Land itself.
           -- exile from the Land and servitude to enemy nations (v.4).
    2. Trust in Man (17:5-8) -- cursed barrenness...
      "The arm of flesh will fail you... ye dare not trust your own..." [hymn]
      Their trust in their king (Jehoiakim), in political alliances, in military might, in their own wisdom... would result in bitter disappointment.
      Contrast: the blessed fruitfulness of those who trust in the Lord (Psa 1:3; 2:12; Prov 3:5-8).
    3. Trust in one's own heart (17:9-10) -- self deception... cp. 16:12; Psa 53:1-3; Mark 7:21,22; Heb 3:12
      Contrast: the Lord's knowledge of the inner man and His ability to reward accordingly. (Psa 90:8; 139:11; Isa 59:1,2,12; Rev 2:23)
    4. Trust in Wealth (17:11), especially ill gotten wealth -- foolishness...
      Contrast: the true riches, forsaken by the unbeliever (v.12,13; cp. Jer 9:23,24).
      Those who turn from the Lord in pursuit of earthly religion, earthly confidences and earthly riches, receive that which they sought. "Names written in the earth" are identified with earthly things rather than with the heavenly (Ex 32:32,33; Luke 10:20; cp. John 8:6).
  7. The Heart of the unmarried prophet (17:14-18)
    • Glorying in the Lord alone - " praise" ie., "my song of glory" (v.14; Jer 9:23,24)
    • Faithful to the Lord's Word -
      • inspite of ridicule from his hearers (v.15; cp. Isa 5:19; Eze 12:22; 2Pet 3:4)
      • inspite of conflict within his own heart (v.16) - He was a pastor at heart, desiring better things for his people than the "woeful day" of judgment. But he would not waver from proclaiming the message that the Lord had committed to him. Jer 1:7-9; cp. Rom 9:1-3; Acts 20:20,27; 2Cor 2:17
    • Trusting in the Lord's justice -
      • for personal salvation in the time of judgment, v.17; cp. v.7,13; 16:19; Eph 6:13
      • for just reward of the wicked, v.18; Psa 25:2,3
        double destruction (see Jer 16:18) - See Rev 18:6 for its final fulfilment.

The Message in the Gate of Commerce (17:19-27)
Re: A Test of their Heart Inclination
  1. A Call to renewed observation of the Sabbath (17:19-23)
    • bear no burden... - The day of physical rest was meant to remember the rest of redemption, which was secured by the arm of the Lord, not by the arm of flesh (17:5). Deu 5:14,15
    • hallow {set apart} the Sabbath day... - The day was set aside to remember that the people were set apart for the Lord. Ex 31:13
    • but they would not... - This may seen as the response of Jeremiah's hearers to his message, and also as the Lord's observation that many of their predecessors ('your fathers,' v.22) had also ignored His command.
  2. A Promise of Blessing for Obedience (v.24-26)
    • political stability (v.25)
    • economic prosperity (v.26) accompanying a revival of true worship.
      • These things will be realized when Christ occupies the throne of David in His millennial kingdom.
      • These were the things which they sought by their own means (cp. 17:5,6,9-11). But they were not attainable apart from the Lord (17:7,8,13,14). By human wisdom, to have a place in the world economy, they could not afford to relax their efforts to buy and sell and get gain (cp. Judah's part in the economy of Tyre, Eze 27:17, the fall of which, Eze 27:29-36, is a precursor to the fall of Babylon the Great, Rev 18:2,11- ). Here is the final chapter of those "written in the earth" (v.13). (also see Jam 4:13- 5:3)
  3. A Promise of Cursing for Disobedience (v.27) cp. Ex 31:14,15
    a fire... shall not be quenched... - cp. v.4 a fire... shall burn for ever - ie., until it is finished consuming, until the judgment is complete (17:18 with 16:18).

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