In The Word
Read: Jeremiah 43-45
In Egypt Jeremiah Warns of Judgment
43 But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent to them, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God—that is, all these words—2 Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there’; 3 but Baruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us in order to hand us over to the Chaldeans, so they will put us to death or exile us to Babylon!” 4 So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces, and all the people, did not obey the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah.5 Instead, Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took the entire remnant of Judah who had returned from all the nations to which they had been scattered, in order to reside in the land of Judah— 6 the men, the women, the children, the king’s daughters, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, together with Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah— 7 and they entered the land of Egypt (for they did not obey the voice of the Lord) and went in as far as Tahpanhes.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terracewhich is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the Jews; 10 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I am going to send men and get My servant Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and I am going to set his throne over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them. 11 He will also come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity, and those for the sword to the sword. 12 And I shall set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them captive. So he will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely. 13 He will also smash to pieces the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt; and the temples of the gods of Egypt he will burn with fire.”’”
Conquest of Egypt Predicted
44 The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt, those who were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and the land of Pathros, saying, 2 “This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: ‘You yourselves have seen all the disaster that I have brought on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are in ruins and no one lives in them, 3 because of their wickedness which they committed to provoke Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods whom they had not known, neither they, you, nor your fathers. 4 Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.” 5 But they did not listen or incline their ears to turn from their wickedness, so as not to burn sacrifices to other gods.6 Therefore My wrath and My anger gushed out and burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, so they have become ruins and a desolation as it is this day. 7 Now then, this is what the Lord God of armies, the God of Israel says: “Why are you doing great harm to yourselves, to eliminate from yourselves man and woman, child and infant from among Judah, leaving yourselves without a remnant, 8 provoking Me to anger with the works of your hands, burning sacrifices to other gods in the land of Egypt where you are entering to reside, so that you may be eliminated and become a curse and a disgrace among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah and the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 Yet they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in My Law or My statutes, which I placed before you and before your fathers.”’
11 “Therefore this is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: ‘Behold, I am going to set My face against you for a disaster, even to eliminate all Judah. 12 And I will take away the remnant of Judah who have set their minds on entering the land of Egypt to reside there, and they will all meet their end in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword or meet their end by famine. From the small to the great, they will die by the sword and famine; and they will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation, and a disgrace. 13 And I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, just as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with plague. 14 So there will be no survivor or refugee for the remnant of Judah who have entered the land of Egypt to reside there and then to return to the land of Judah, to which they are longing to return to live; for none will return except a few refugees.’”
15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives were burning sacrifices to other gods, along with all the women who were standing by, as a large assembly, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, responded to Jeremiah, saying, 16 “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! 17 But we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings, and our leaders did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune.18 But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything, and have met our end by the sword and by famine.” 19 “And,” said the women, “when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image, and poured out drink offerings to her?”
Disaster for the Jews
20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and women—even to all the people who were giving him suchan answer—saying, 21 “As for the smoking sacrifices that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your forefathers, your kings and your leaders, and the people of the land, did the Lord not remember them, and did all of this not come into His mind? 22 So the Lord was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed; so your land has become a place of ruins, an object of horror, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Since you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the Lordand not obeyed the voice of the Lord nor walked in His Law, His statutes, or His testimonies, therefore this disaster has happened to you, as it has this day.”
24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt! 25 This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: ‘As for you and your wives, you have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, “We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” By all means fulfill your vows, and be sure to perform your vows!’ 26 In return, hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that My name shall never be invoked again by the mouth of anyone of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “As the Lord God lives.” 27 Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword or by famine until they are completely gone. 28 Those who escape the sword will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 And this will be the sign to you,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will assuredly stand against you for harm.’ 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘Behold, I am going to hand Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt over to his enemies, to those who seek his life, just as I handed Zedekiah king of Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and was seeking his life.’”
Message to Baruch
45 This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at Jeremiah’s dictation, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying: 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says to you, Baruch: 3 ‘You said, “Oh, woe to me! For the Lordhas added grief to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.”’ 4 This is what you are to say to him: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Behold, what I have built I am going to tear down, and what I have planted I am going to uproot, that is, all the people of the land.” 5 But as for you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you as plunder in all the places where you may go.’”
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The people that left Judah against God’s will not only settled their homes in Egypt, but they walked further away from God by worshipping Egyptian gods. God reminded them of the consequences that their ancestors suffered when they had disobeyed Him and worshipped false gods. In defiance to God, the people told Jeremiah, “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you!” As a result, God promised destruction to punish them for their wickedness.
Even though many of the people were doing wrong, there were some who remained faithful to God. One of those was Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch. During the earlier reign of King Jehoiakim, Baruch had written down all of Jeremiah’s prophecies, which nearly had them both killed. The attack on their lives and the people’s constant sin had caused Baruch to become discouraged. God encouraged Baruch to stand firm; God promised to preserve Baruch’s life in the times of war.
Though we live in a culture that pressures us to conform to its ways and sins, we are meant to stand firm so that we can live in a manner pleasing to God. But even when we stand firm, we can become discouraged by seeing the constant wickedness around us. If you are discouraged, take the time to get in the Father’s presence. “I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 49:10).