Jeremiah 16

Talks for Growing Christians

Disaster and Deliverance

Jeremiah 16

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Lesson Number 16

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jeremiah’s restrictions portrayed the bad news of the near future.
  2. Jeremiah’s prophecies included the good news of the far future.

Practical Application

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  1. What were the three restrictions (signs) given to Jeremiah by the Lord?
  2. What was the meaning of each of these restrictions?
  3. According to the Law, were the customs of cutting the body and shaving the head to be practiced by the Jewish people?
  4. In verse 13 the Lord told Jeremiah that He would cast the Jewish people out of the land of Israel into a land that they did not know. When and how did the Lord fulfill this prophecy?
  5. In verses 14-21 the Lord told Jeremiah that He would bring the Jewish people back into the land He had given to their fathers. Has this prophecy been fulfilled?


  1. In verses 2-8, God placed three restrictions on Jeremiah’s life in order to convey a message of judgment to Judah. The restrictions were not to marry or have a family, not to mourn the dead or attend funerals, and not to attend any festive occasions.
  2. The restriction not to marry or have a family was a sign of the coming Babylonian invasion when family life would be totally disrupted. The restriction not to mourn the dead or attend funerals was a sign of the aftermath of the invasion when there would be no time or opportunity to mourn or to bury the dead. The restriction not to attend any festive occasion was a sign that there would be no joy or gladness, or any reason for celebration in the land or among the people.
  3. No. The Jewish people were wrongfully involved in these practices (Deuteronomy 14:1).
  4. God used the Babylonian invasion and subsequent captivity in Babylon to fulfill this prophecy.
  5. Partially. The Jews returned to the land of Israel from Babylon when the Persians came to power, and the Jewish people are again being brought back to the land of Israel by the Lord at the present time. The in-gathering will continue even in the last days when Israel returns to the Lord.


  1. The prophecy of the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is not to be spiritualized to the Church and Christians. The Jewish people as a nation will literally return to the literal land of Israel, the land that God “gave to their fathers.” Joel 3:2 indicates that in the last days a dividing up of the land of Israel will bring God’s judgment on the nations that are involved.


  1. In spite of the obvious sinfulness of the Jewish people and the wickedness of their hearts (verses 11-12), they continued to ask, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great disaster against us? And what is our iniquity, what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” When you experience God’s judgment in your life, do you similarly refuse to acknowledge walking “according to the imagination” of your own heart? Or do you turn to Him and listen to Him in order that you might be restored and know that “His name is the Lord?”

Key Verses

  • “The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all lands where He had driven them. For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:15

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