Jeremiah 15-16

Jeremiah's Crazy Chronology

Kings of Judah
2 Kings
2 Chronicles
1 Nephi and Jer
(640-609 BC)
2 Kgs. 22:1-2
2 Chron. 34:1-7
Jer. 1-3
2 Chron. 34:8-19
2 Kgs. 22:3-20
Jer. 11
2 Chron. 34:20-33
Jer. 7-8
2 Kgs. 23:21-23
2 Chron. 35:1-19
Jer. 4-6
2 Kgs. 23:24-28
2 Chron. 35:20-27
2 Kgs. 23:29-30
Jer. 9-10
Jehoahaz or Shallum
2 Kgs. 23:31-35
2 Chron. 36:1-4
Jer. 22-23
Jehoiakim or Eliakim
(609-598 BC)
2 Kgs. 23:36-37
Jer. 12-13, 26, 25, 35-36, 45-49
2 Chron. 36:5-8
2 Kgs. 24:1-7
Jer. 15-20
Jehoiachin or Coniah
2 Chron. 36:9-10
2 Kgs. 24:8-16
Jer. 24
(598-587 BC)
2 Kgs. 24:17-20
2 Chron. 36:11-16
1 Ne. 1, Jer. 27-31, 21, 37-38
2 Kgs. 25:1-3
Jer. 32, 14, 33-34
2 Kgs. 25:4-21
2 Chron. 36:17-21
Jer. 39, 52:1-30, 40
2 Kgs. 25:22-26
Jer. 41-44, 50-51
2 Kgs. 25:27-30
Jer. 52:31-34
(Jeremiah chapters 11, 14, and 50-51 are placed based on content rather than chronology in an effort to match current events with Jeremiah’s prophecies. The prophecies may have been given either earlier or later.)
Jeremiah 15:2 thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the Lord; Such as are for death, to death… to the sword… to the famine… to the captivity
The king of Babylon… sent an army, and besieged Jehoiachin in Jerusalem… gave orders to his generals to take all that were in the city captives, both the youth and the handicraftsmen, and bring them bound to him; their number was ten thousand eight hundred and thirty-two; as also Jehoiachin, and his mother and friends. And when these were brought to him, he kept them in custody, and appointed Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, to be king…
Now in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, on the tenth day of the tenth month, the king of Babylon made a second expedition against Jerusalem, and lay before it eighteen months, and besieged it with the utmost application. There came upon them also two of the greatest calamities at the same time that Jerusalem was besieged, a famine and a pestilential distemper (i.e. a great political unrest), and made great havoc of them. And though the prophet Jeremiah was in prison, he did not rest, but cried out, and proclaimed aloud, and exhorted the multitude to open their gates, and admit the king of Babylon, for that if they did so, they should be preserved, and their whole families; but if they did not so, they should be destroyed; and he foretold, that if any one staid in the city, he should certainly perish by one of these ways,—either be consumed by the famine, or slain by the enemy's sword; but that if he would flee to the enemy, he should escape death. Yet did not these rulers who heard believe him, even when they were in the midst of their sore calamities; but they came to the king, and in their anger informed him what Jeremiah had said, and accused him, and complained of the prophet as of a madman. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book X, 7:1, 4)
Jeremiah 15:6 I am weary with repenting
"When the Lord said, 'I am weary with repenting,' He meant just this: Often He had stayed His hand in punishing His Chosen People because they promised to turn from their wicked ways and seek Him. Just as often their promises were vain. They continued in the wicked course they pursued. Now the Lord had proved their perfidy and now He refused longer to withhold His anger. His patience with them was exhausted." (George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955-1961], 4: 214)
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them
In the English vernacular, to "eat one's words" means to be proven wrong about some prediction. Whoever must "eat his words" cannot say "I told you so" because they were ultimately incorrect.
In the scriptures, to eat words means something completely different. To eat the words of the Lord or to eat a book of the Lord's writings means to receive a prophetic assignment from the Lord.
John the Revelator was given a book to eat, but it didn't set well with his stomach (Rev. 10:9-10). Two of Jeremiah's contemporaries had similar experiences. First, Ezekiel had the word of the Lord put in his mouth when he was commanded, "eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel" (Ezek. 3:1). Second, Lehi was shown the destruction of Jerusalem in a book but he was not required to eat it (1 Ne. 1:11-12).
It would seem that Jeremiah rejoiced to receive his prophetic call having his mouth filled with the word of the Lord. He was happy to be called by the name of the Lord. However, when he began preaching, his joy turned to sorrow. Divine fortune turned to loneliness, cruel imprisonment, and abandonment as his message was rejected by kings, nobles, and neighbors.
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart
"I used to 'read' the scriptures 20 minutes each day according to a schedule of what to read and when to read it. Then I discovered the joy of 'studying' the scriptures-and of pondering the meaning and impact on my life. If I don't understand a passage or specific meaning of a word, I take the time to search the scriptures and satisfy my yearning to know God's will. Using new tools such as a database of the computerized scriptures and related books, a whole new world of study and learning has become available. Studying, pondering and intense prayer have greatly impacted my life for good as I put into practice the new knowledge as it is received. Line upon line, precept upon precept, we can each progress along the narrow path that leads to eternal life.-Larry Strong, Kaysville, Utah" (LDS Church News, 1997, 05/10/97)
Russell M. Nelson
I learned long ago that a period of uninterrupted scriptural study in the morning brings enduring enrichment. I feel as did Jeremiah: "Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jer. 15:16). Sacred scriptures have been repeatedly described as "glad tidings of great joy" (Hel. 16:14; Mosiah 3:3; Alma 13:22; see also Luke 2:10). As we learn and abide their teachings, that joy becomes part of our lives. ("Joy Cometh in the Morning," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 69)
Jeremiah 15:17-18 I sat alone because of thy hand... why is my pain perpetual
"Jeremiah began... to prophesy about the impending doom from the north... His was a lonely ministry. He was commanded not to take a wife nor to have children, for if he did, 'they shall die grievous deaths. . . and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.' (Jer. 16:1-2,4) He occasionally refers to his personal suffering because of his being 'a man of contention to the whole earth!' (Jer. 15:10) and his loneliness: 'Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound uncurable, which refuseth to be healed?' (Jer. 15:18.)
"Jeremiah faced opposition from priests (Jer. 20:2), the mob (Jer. 26:8-9), his townspeople from Benjamin (Jer. 37:12), the king (Jer. 36:19-32) and the army (Jer. 38:4.)
"In the year 605, he commanded his words to be written and read to the people. King Jehoiakim took the scroll and burned it, and was cursed for his action. (Jer. 36:30.) Following this, Jeremiah went into hiding but continued to prophesy. After Zedekiah became king in 598 B.C., Jeremiah denounced false prophets that fed the fires of nationalism and optimism. He counseled that war against Nebuchadnezzar would be futile. Zedekiah began to fight the Chaldeans, and Jerusalem was soon besieged. At this time, Jeremiah was imprisoned and beaten by his people.
"When the seige finally ended and the Chaldeans entered the city, Jeremiah was shown special consideration by the conquerors. He was taken with a remnant to the then-Babylonian province of Mizpah, but the governor was soon slain. Jeremiah told those with him to remain in the land. But the remnant was angered by this, considering it unpatriotic, and traveled to Egypt hoping to find refuge. There, Jeremiah prophesied that the Chaldeans would conquer Egypt and destroy most of the Jews because they worshiped false gods.
"According to tradition, he was stoned to death by his own people while in Egypt." ("Profiles of the Prophets: Jeremiah," LDS Church News, 1998, 07/25/98)
Jeremiah 15:20 I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall
"At one point in his life Jeremiah recalled the joy he once had found in his calling: 'Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts' (Jer. 15:16). He then lamented the persecution and loneliness that resulted from delivering the words: 'I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand' (Jer. 15:17). The Lord responded with the promise he had made at the beginning: 'I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord' (Jer. 15:20-21). The Lord protected and preserved Jeremiah until his mission was completed. As we study the life of Jeremiah, we begin to understand a man who trusted in the Lord rather than in the arm of flesh (Jer. 17:5-8) and one whose call was to sacrifice the approval of men in order to gain the presence of God." (Kent P. Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 4: 1 Kings to Malachi [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 213)

Jeremiah 16:2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place

“In this place”!  In what place?  Jeremiah receives a warning not to marry nor have children “in this place,” but we are never told where he was.  Was he in his hometown of Anathoth (Jer. 11:21)?  Was he in Jerusalem or some other Jewish city?  We don’t know.  This passage should not be interpreted to mean that Jeremiah never had a wife or children.  It may have been given to him early on in his prophetic career before he had married, but we can’t even be sure of that.  Jeremiah may have been humble in excluding details of his travels and travails but we would at least like to know where he was when he received this warning (v. 1-9).

Jeremiah 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried

The destruction promised "in this place" will come swiftly and by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.  In fact, no one will survive to write the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.  While the history of Babylon’s conquest didn’t preserve the specific fulfillment of this prophecy, history repeated itself in the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.  Then again was the prophecy of Jeremiah fulfilled. This time, the history was preserved:

"Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day... And indeed the multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a hindrance to those that would make sallies out of the city.
"But when [the Roman soldiers] went in numbers into the lanes of the city... when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing." (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 1:1; 8:5)
Jeremiah 16:4 their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians is a type for the destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.  Both of these are a type for the destruction at the battle of Armageddon:
   ...thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
   Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
   And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
   Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek. 39:17-20)
Jeremiah 16:10 what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?
"[In spite of multiple prophetic warnings] the people refused to change or even to recognize their iniquity. There was no introspection, no remorse. 'No man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?' (Jer. 8:6.)
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. (Jer. 6:15.)
"In fact, the people even wondered, 'Wherefore hath 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?' (Jer. 16:10.) Laman and Lemuel, as products of that society, shared those feelings. 'We know,' said they, 'that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people,' and they convinced themselves that their father Lehi had misjudged their friends and neighbors. (1 Ne. 17:22.) Prophets must always appear too judgmental to those who lose their ability to discriminate between good and evil.
"Jeremiah, not willing that any should perish, was inspired to promise the citizens of Jerusalem that God would save them, their city, and their temple from destruction-if they would repent. More specifically, if they would simply keep the Sabbath day holy, God would spare them. (See Jer. 17:19-27.) Jeremiah's warnings, however, went unheeded and failed to deter their rampant wickedness." (Keith H. Meservy, "Jerusalem at the Time of Lehi and Jeremiah," Ensign, Jan. 1988, 24)
Jeremiah 16:14 it shall not more be said, the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt
When the Lord God Jehovah brought the children out of Egypt with a strong hand, destroying the house of pharaoh and his army, protecting his people with prophets and plagues, He made quite a name for himself. The nations feared, the Gentiles trembled, the people marveled. "Woe unto us? Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness" (1 Sam. 4:8).
But when the Israelites were gathered out of Goshen and taken by a mighty hand to inherit the land of their forefathers, it was a type for an even greater gathering. The latter-day gathering of Israel will make old news of the Egypt story. All the elements of the Exodus account will be repeated but on a grander scale. Jeremiah prophesied of a new reputation, "behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord" (v. 21)
This is why Moses was the prophet to restore the keys pertaining to the gathering of Israel:
The heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. (D&C 110:11)
"Just as the Lord had gathered the house of Israel the first time under the leadership of Moses, he promised to gather them a second time after their long dispersion. The Lord told Jeremiah that this second gathering would be a glorious event (see Jer. 16:14-15). The scriptures contain a variety of prophecies pointing to the gathering of remnants of Israel, including references of a dramatic nature:
   ...there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt (Isa. 11:16).
"To the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said:
   And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
   And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. ...
   And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land (D&C 133:26-27, 29).
"As ancient prophets foretold Israel's scattering, they also often coupled that prediction with the promise of Israel's eventual return. Typical of such promises are these words in Isaiah 54:7-8:
   For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
   In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
"How can Israel be gathered if they are dispersed among all nations and have no sense of their identity? How can anyone know who Israel is? And to what do they return? Modern scriptures provide the answers. The Lord said to the Latter-day Saints, 'And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts' (D&C 29:7). Obviously, of first importance is their receptivity to God and his teachings.
"From this scripture and many similar texts, it is clear that an important component of the latter-day gathering of Israel involves worldwide missionary work. Those who are spiritually ready among the nations hearken to the gospel message. That messengers to Israel will be involved in the return of Israel to their God is evident in these words to Jeremiah, given by the Lord as he spoke of this future return: 'Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks' (Jer. 16:16). "(Paul K. Browning, "Gathering Scattered Israel: Then and Now," Ensign, July 1998, 59-60)
LeGrand Richards
Jeremiah saw the day when it should no longer be said:
The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them. ... (Jer. 16:14-15.)
Just contemplate that statement for a few moments. Think how the Jews and the Christians all through these past centuries have praised the Lord for his great hand of deliverance under the hands of Moses when he led Israel out of captivity, and yet here comes Jeremiah with this word of the holy prophet, telling us that in the latter days they shall no more remember that, but how God has gathered scattered Israel from the lands whither he had driven them. ("In the Mountain of the Lord's House," Ensign, June 1971, 98)
Bruce R. McConkie
With increasing power and in great glory, we have gathered, from their Egyptian bondage as it were, the dispersed of Ephraim and a few others, initially to the mountains of America, but now into the stakes of Zion in the various nations of the earth. The gathering of Israel is a reality. When the ten tribes return they will come at the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he now holds and will then hold the keys of presidency and direction for this mighty work. ("This Final Glorious Gospel Dispensation," Ensign, Apr. 1980, 22)
Parley P. Pratt
Now, it has ever been the case with Israel, when they wished to express the greatness of their God, to say, The Lord liveth, which brought up our fathers out of the land of Egypt. This saying at once calls to mind the power and miracles of that memorable event, and associated with it all that was great and grand, and was calculated to strike the mind with awe, under a lively sense of the power of Israel's God. But to our astonishment! something is yet to transpire which will cast into momentary forgetfulness all the great events of that day, and the children of Israel shall know that their God liveth, by casting their minds upon events of recent date, which shall have transpired, still more glorious and wonderful than their coming out of Egypt. They will exclaim, The Lord liveth, which recently brought the children of Israel from the north, and from all lands whither he had driven them, and hath planted them in the land of Canaan, which he gave our fathers. With this idea will be associated every display of grandeur and sublimity, of wonder and amazement; while they call to mind the revelations, manifestations, miracles, and mercies displayed in bringing about this great event, in the eyes of all nations. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 31 - 33.)
Jeremiah 16:16 I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord... I will send for many hunters
"The Lord told Jeremiah that he would call for many 'fishers' and 'hunters' to gather the righteous together (Jer. 16:16). 'Fishers' use nets to gather great numbers at one time. 'Hunters' gather their prey one at a time. Some of our modern missionaries are serving in 'hunter' nations and some are called to serve in 'fisher' nations." (W. Jeffrey Marsh, "Training from the Old Testament: Moroni's Lessons for a Prophet," Ensign, Aug. 1998, 16)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
We traveled to Ghana in West Africa. There the Church is growing rapidly and is on very solid footing. We traveled along the beautiful coast to a chapel that recently had been completed. After holding a meeting there, we traveled through the village of Cape Coast with President and Sister Ernest J. Miller.
As the sun was setting, we saw a large crowd of villagers. Young, old, and middle-aged all were pulling on a huge net and drawing it out of the water. We stopped and inquired about what they were doing. They were pulling in the fish caught that day. In the net were large and small fish of many kinds. Each villager put his hands to the net to help bring in the catch. The thought ran through my mind of the gathering of Israel in the last days as referred to in Jeremiah. The Lord said, "I will send for many fishers ... and they shall fish them" (Jer. 16:16).
That, brethren and sisters, is the mission of all of us as members of the Church: to put our hands on the net and pull in thousands of fine men and women who are searching for the truth. ("Pulling in the Gospel Net," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 61)
LeGrand Richards
He said that he would send for many fishers and many hunters and they would fish them and hunt them from the hills and the mountains and the holes in the rocks (see Jer. 16:16). They are the thirty-one thousand Mormon missionaries scattered all over the world gathering in the seed of Israel and bringing them to Zion.
He saw how they would be gathered one of a city and two of a family, and the Lord would bring them to Zion, and he would give them pastors after his own heart who should feed them with knowledge and with understanding (see Jer. 3:14-15). Could anybody sit through sessions of this conference and listen to these prophets of the living God and not realize that Jeremiah saw this day when we would come here, gathered one of a city and two of a family, and that He would give us pastors after His own heart? ("A Testimony," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 64-65)
Jeremiah 16:16 they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks
When the author served his mission in Seoul Korea, this prophecy came to mind. One day in particular, we tracted a neighborhood in the hills of suburban Seoul. The homes were small; the paths were steep, narrow, and serpentine; the entrances were tiny and sometimes hidden. People had been packed into tiny dwellings, compressed in a chaotic menagerie of single-roomed sanctuaries. It seemed as if the people were hiding from us, like groundhogs in their respective holes. We felt like hunters, looking in every nook and cranny, trying to find anyone we could pull out of their hiding places into the light of the restored gospel.
George Q. Cannon
The Gospel has been like a magnet among the nations. It has drawn to it the pure, the meek, the lowly. Thousands can testify that when they heard the servants of God proclaim the message which they bore, that God had again spoken from the heavens, that the everlasting Gospel was restored and that the authority to administer its ordinances had been given unto men, they embraced the message with all their hearts. The only fear that they entertained was that it was almost too good to be true. The Elders who have gone forth know how this has been. They have found these men and women just as fishers and hunters find the object of their toil and search. They have drawn these people together, and the power of God has been poured out as never before. No human being has ever witnessed, nor mortal pen has ever written, anything like this work. Never has there been such a work as this in which we are engaged. Never has the power of God been poured out so universally upon the people of every land and clime as it has been in our day. Under its influence the people have been impelled to gather into one place, there to worship God, to keep His commandments, to build up His kingdom and to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 4, October 7th, 1894)
Jeremiah 16:20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
Bruce R. McConkie
Let that which men worship be made with the axe and saw, with the hammer and chisel, with the furnace and mold; or let it be made in the minds of men and be written in the creeds of apostasy-no matter: men cannot create God. Whatever comes from their hands or springs from their minds is nothing more than a poor, shriveling shadow of the Eternal Reality. God is the Almighty, not an idol made by the hands of man, not a Spirit essence dreamed up by fertile brains and described in decadent creeds. God is not what the Christians describe in their creeds; he is not what the Buddhists worship in their temples, nor is he what the heathen bow before in their groves. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 197)