This chapter contains Jeremiah’s last recorded public words. It is not known where he died. One tradition says he was murdered in Egypt by his fellow citizens of Judah – God knows.
Verse 1 – The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt, who dwell at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,
Verse 2 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘You have seen all the calamity that I have brought to Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them,
Verse 3 – ‘because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers.
Verse 4 – ‘However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!”
Rising early, means – time and time again, God had sent His prophets to steer the people towards God. However, they had chosen instead to burn incense and burnt offerings to idols.
Verse 5 – ‘But they did not listen or incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods.
Verse 6 – ‘So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.’
Verse 7 – “Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain,
Verse 8 – ‘in that you provoke Me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to dwell, that you may cut yourselves off and be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?
Verse 9 – ‘Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
Verse 10 – ‘They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers.’
How many of us have made the same mistake more than once? If we forget, we seem to repeat those same mistakes. The people of Judah struggled with remembering their past sins and the same sins their forefathers committed that brought God’s wrath. When we fail to learn from failures, it is to assure future failures. Our past is our school of experience. When we start to do things according to God’s word, we are assured victory.
Verse 11 – “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will set My face against you for catastrophe and for cutting off all Judah.
Verse 12 – ‘And I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed and fall in the land of Egypt. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine. They shall die, from the least to the greatest, by the sword and by famine; and they shall be an oath and an astonishment and a curse and a reproach!
Here they are back in a land they were once delivered from, hearing Jeremiah pronounce God’s word, again, and they had to have been terrified because this time, every one of them was going to die. Has God ever delivered you from something, and you went back to it? Whatever God wipes out , leave it alone! If you go back to it, it just might destroy you.
Verse 13 – ‘For I will punish Jerusalem, by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence,
Verse 14 – ‘so that none of the remnant of Judah who have gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there shall escape or survive, least they return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return and dwell. For none shall return except those who escape.’ ”
Verse 15 – Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwell in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
Verse 16 – “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you!
Verse 17 – “But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouths, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble.
Verse 18 – “But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”
The farther you drift from God and His ways, the more confused you will become. I have heard people say, “Before I became a Christian, I had plenty of friends and money, but none of my problems started until I started living the Christian way.” Here’s the truth with the people who think that way, now, and in Jeremiah’s time: It may have seemed that everything was going their way while they were without God, but the trouble and hard times were going to come, anyway. Judah’s trouble had come because of their idol worship, not because of them not burning incense to the queen of heaven. And the difference between hard times and troubles coming to a believer and non-believer, God promises to deliver His, out of “All” their trouble. Once you hear the truth and know, you then are responsible for that truth to live by it and believe that God only wants the best for His children.
Verse 19 – The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husband’s permission?”
The queen of heaven was the Assyrian-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, which was introduced to the people by Manasseh after King Josiah’s death.
Verse 20 – Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people-the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer – saying:
Verse 21 – “The incense that you burn in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them, and did it not come into His mind? (Consequences of our actions don’t always come right away.)
Verse 22 – “So the Lord could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day.
Long before this generation had started worshiping idols, God had watched their fathers before them do it. His patience had run out.
Verse 23 – “Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.”
All of their actions were a breach of the covenant.
Verse 24 – Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt!
Verse 25 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands saying, “We will surely perform our vows that we made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely fulfill your vows and perform your vows!’
This was a sarcastic statement Jeremiah had made to them; if they couldn’t keep their vows to God, how then would they keep their vows to this idol?
Verse 26 – “Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “The Lord God lives.”
Verse 27 – ‘Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is and end to them.
The people had rejected God watching over them to protect and keep them from harm. Now harm would come and God would just watch.
Verse 28 – ‘Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs.
Verse 29 – ‘And this shall be a sign to you,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.’
Verse 30 – “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.’ ”
Just as Jeremiah had predicted, Zedekiah fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, so would Pharaoh Hophra was assassinated by Amasis, who became Pharaoh in 570 B.C. just before the Babylonians invaded Egypt.