God’s Command to Jeremiah
God called Jeremiah not to marry saying: “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place” (Jeremiah 16:2). This prohibition came early in the prophet’s life, for Hebrew youth generally married at an early age (Genesis 38:1; 2 Kings 22:1; 23:36).
The Lord Himself gave the reason for this prohibition in Jeremiah 16:3, 4. “For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: “They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth.”
The kingdom of Judah was falling apart under the disease of sin which it practiced in the land through many generations. The kings, the people, and even the priests became corrupted. Their actions led to the inevitable climax of the judgment of God—the nations being captured and overcome by a foreign kingdom.
God, in His great mercy, saw the terrible conditions that would come upon the land. So, in deep compassion spared the prophet the agony of taking care of family and children in such dire conditions. For both parents and children were soon to suffer the most tragic fate caused by pestilence and famine (Jeremiah 14:18). The sword was to tear down the nation and its inhabitants. This command emphasized further the seriousness of the troubles that were to come upon Judah (Ezekiel 24:15–27; Leviticus 10:6, 7).
Thus, Jeremiah’s unmarried state was a command that served two purposes. First- it was a sign of impending destruction that will come upon the rebellious generation. Second- it was blessing in disguise to Jeremiah to spare him added agony and trials.
In His servant,