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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 16:5

5. For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.

5. Quia sic dicit Jehova, Ne ingrediaris domum luctus, et ne eas ad plangendum, et ne movearis propter illos; quia abstuli pacem meam a populo hoc, dicit Jehova, clementiam et miserationes.

As Jeremiah was forbidden at the beginning of the chapter to take a wife, for a dreadful devastation of the whole land was very nigh; so now God confirms what he had previously said, that so great would be the slaughter, that none would be found to perform the common office of lamenting the dead: at the same time he intimates now something more grievous, -- that they who perished would be unworthy of any kind office. As he had said before, |Their carcases shall be cast to the |beasts of the earth and to the birds of heaven;| so now in this place he intimates, that their deaths would be so ignominious, that they would be deprived of the honor of a grave, and would be buried, as it is said in another place, like asses.

But when God forbids his Prophet to mourn, we are not to understand that he refers to excess of grief, as when God intends to moderate grief, when he takes away from us our parents, or our relatives, or our friends; for the subject here is not the private feeling of Jeremiah. God only declares that the land would be so desolate that hardly one would survive to mourn for the dead.

He says, Enter not into the house of mourning Some render mrzh, merezach, a funeral feast; and it is probable, nay, it may be gathered from the context, that such feasts were made when any one was dead. And the same custom we see has been observed by other nations, but for a different purpose. When the Romans celebrated a funeral feast, their object was to shake off grief, and in a manner to convert the dead into gods. Hence Cicero condemns Vatinius, because he came clothed in black to the feast of Q. Arius, (Orat. pro L. Mur.) and elsewhere he says, that Tuberonis was laughed at and everywhere repulsed, because he covered the beds with goat's skins, when Q. Maximus made a feast at the death of his uncle Africanus. Then these feasts were among the Romans full of rejoicing; but among the Jews, as it appears, when they lamented the dead, who were their relatives, they invited children and widows, in order that there might be some relief to their sorrow.

However this may be, God intimates by this figurative language, that the Jews, when they perished in great numbers, would be deprived of that common practice, because they were unworthy of having any survivors to bewail them.

Neither go, he says, to lament, nor be moved on their account and why? For I have taken away my peace from this people, that is, all prosperity; for under the term, peace, the Jews included whatever was desirable. God then says, that he had taken away peace from them, and his peace, because he had pronounced that wicked nation accursed. He then adds, that he had taken away his kindness and his mercies. For the Prophet might have raised an objection and said, that this was not consistent with the nature of God, who testifies that he is ready to shew mercy; but God meets this objection and intimates, that there was now no place for kindness and mercy, for the impiety of the people had become past all hope. It follows --

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