Jeremiah 16:19-21 – Commentary

(6) Ultimate Acknowledgment of God by the Nations (16:19–21)

19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say,“Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.20 Do men make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” 21 “Therefore I will teach them—this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.

16:19–20 The chapter closes with an affirmation of Jeremiah’s confidence in God as his “strength” and “fortress” (both words come from the same root, ʿzz) as well as his refuge in time of distress. In what has been interpreted as an eschatological statement, Jeremiah foresaw a time when the nations would come from the ends of the earth and acknowledge the Lord as the true God (see Zech 14:16; Rev 21:24). Their eyes would be opened to see that the gods they had made and worshiped were not gods at all (cf. Isa 44:9–20; Jer 2:11; 10:1–5).

16:21 When they acknowledged him, he would teach them his “power” (lit. “hand”) and might.9 When that takes place, they will know that his “name is the Lord” (see 14:7 for the significance of this expression; cf. Exod 3:13–15).

9 “I will teach them” occurs twice in v. 21, but the form of the verb is different. The first occurrence is a participle with a form of קִנֵּה denoting certainty and immanency (Waltke and O’Connor, IBHS, 627). The second is an imperfect form that expresses simple future action.

Huey, F. B. (1993). Jeremiah, Lamentations (Vol. 16, pp. 170–171). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.


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