Which is worse death or captivity? (Jer 22:10-22:10)

“Do not weep for him

Who is dead!

Do not bemoan him!

Rather weep for him

Who goes away!

He shall return no more

To see his native land.”

Jeremiah poses the problem. Which is worse? Was it better to die or to be sent into captivity? In fact, Jeremiah says that they should not weep or bemoan the dead. Instead they should weep for those who are going away, never to see their native land. Jeremiah maintains that captivity was worse than death. Was that a common thought? That is a strange way to look at it, but it does denote the great importance of the Promised Land to the Israelites.

No funeral rites or burial (Jer 16:5-16:7)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Do not enter

The house of mourning!

Do not go to lament!

Do not bemoan them!

I have taken away

My peace

From this people.

I have taken away

My steadfast love.

I have taken away

My mercy.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Both great as well as small

Shall die in this land.

They shall not be buried.

No one shall lament for them.

There shall be no gashing.

There shall be no shaving of the head for them.

No one shall break bread

For the mourner.

No one shall offer

Comfort for the dead.

No one shall give them

The cup of consolation to drink

For their fathers,

Nor for their mothers.’”

Yahweh was clear to Jeremiah. He was not to enter anyplace where mourning was going on. Jeremiah was not to lament or bemoan anyone. Yahweh had taken away his peace, love, and mercy from his people. He warned that everyone, whether they were important or not, would all die in this land of desolation. However, they were not to be buried. No one should lament for them. They were not to be involved with the traditional funeral rites of cutting oneself or gashing, as well as shaving one’s head. No one should eat with them. They should not drink from the cup of consolation, even if it is their father or mother.