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Jeremiah 42-46 Common English Bible (CEB)

Don’t go to Egypt!

42 Then all the army officers, including Johanan, Kareah’s son, and Jezaniah, Hoshaiah’s son, and the rest of the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “We have something to ask you: Please pray to the Lord your God for us, this small group, for as you can see we were once many but now are very few. May the Lord your God show us where we should go and what we should do.”

The prophet Jeremiah replied, “Yes, I’ll pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. And I’ll tell you whatever the Lord says; I won’t hide anything from you.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we fail to do everything that the Lord your God tells us through you. Whether we like it or not, we will obey all that the Lord our God says. We will obey the Lord our God, to whom we’re sending you, so it may go well for us.”

Ten days later Jeremiah received the Lord’s word. So he called Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the army officers with him and the rest of the people, from the least to the greatest, and he said to them: You have sent me to present your plea to the Lord, and this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 10 If you live in this land, I will build you up and not pull you down. I will plant you and not dig you up because I grieve over the disaster I have brought upon you. 11 You don’t have to be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. You don’t have to be afraid of him anymore, declares the Lord, for I will be with you to save you and rescue you from his hand. 12 I will be merciful to you, and he will be merciful and return you to your land.

13 But if you say, “We won’t live in this land,” you will disobey the Lord your God. 14 And if you insist, “No, we’re going to live in Egypt, where there’s no war, battle alarms, or hunger, and there we will stay,” 15 then listen to the Lord’s word, you remaining Judeans. The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: If you are determined to go to Egypt and you then go and live there, 16 then the war you fear will seize you in the land of Egypt; and the famine you dread will hunt you down in Egypt, and there you will die. 17 Every one of you who is determined to go and live in Egypt will die by the sword, famine, and disease. No one will escape the disaster that I will bring upon them there.

18 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Just as my fierce anger was poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so it will be poured out on you if you go to Egypt. You will become an object of cursing, scorn, shock, and disgrace. And you will never see this place again. 19 You who survive from Judah, the Lord has told you: Don’t go to Egypt. Know without a doubt that I have warned you this day. 20 You are putting your lives at risk[a] by sending me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God; tell us everything the Lord our God says, and we’ll do it.” 21 Today I have told you, but you still haven’t obeyed all that the Lord your God has sent me to tell you. 22 So know without a doubt that you will die by war, famine, and disease in the place you yearn to go and live.

Off to Egypt with Jeremiah and Baruch

43 When Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—he didn’t omit anything the Lord sent him to convey— Azariah, Hoshaiah’s son, and Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You’re lying to us! The Lord our God didn’t send you to tell us not to go to Egypt to live. It’s Baruch, Neriah’s son, who put you up to it so that we end up in the hands of the Babylonians, who will either kill us or deport us to Babylon.”

So Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the army officers and the rest of the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the army officers took the remaining Judeans who had returned to the land of Judah after being scattered among the nations— men, women, children, the king’s daughters, everyone Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard had left with Gedaliah, Ahikam’s son and Shaphan’s grandson, including Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch, Neriah’s son. They went to the land of Egypt, as far as Tahpanhes, for they wouldn’t obey the Lord.

The Lord’s word came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes: Take some large stones and set them in the clay pavement[b] in front of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes while the people of Judah are watching. 10 After that, say to the people: The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I’m sending for my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who[c] will set his throne over these stones and will spread his canopy over them. 11 He will come and ravage the land of Egypt:

those marked for disaster, to disaster,
    and those marked for exile, to exile.
        and those marked for war, to war.

12 He will set on fire[d] the temples of the Egyptian gods. He will burn them down and carry off their gods. He will wrap the land of Egypt around himself, just as a shepherd wraps[e] his garment around himself, and he will move on unharmed.[f] 13 He will shatter the sacred pillars in the temple of the sun in Egypt and burn down the temples of the Egyptian gods.

Jeremiah’s final words to Judeans in Egypt

44 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word for the Judeans living in the land of Egypt, those living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis and in the land of Pathros. The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: You have seen the disaster I brought on Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. They are now a wasteland with no one left because of their evil ways. They have angered me by making offerings and worshipping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors knew. Yet time and again I sent you all my servants the prophets, saying, “Don’t do these detestable things that I hate.” But they wouldn’t listen or pay attention or turn from their evil ways. They continued making offerings to other gods. So my fierce anger poured out and blazed against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. And they were reduced to an utter wasteland, as they are today.

Now the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Why are you committing this huge mistake that will cost you your lives? Every man, woman, child, and infant will be eliminated from the midst of Judah, and no one will be left. Why do you anger me by what you do: by burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live? You will be eliminated and become an object of cursing and disgrace among all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors and the sins of the kings of Judah and their wives?[g] Have you forgotten the sins that you and your wives committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 To this day you[h] haven’t shown any sorrow for what you have done. And you haven’t revered me or followed my Instruction and my laws that I set before you and your ancestors.

11 Therefore, the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I’m determined to bring disaster on you, to eliminate all of Judah. 12 I will take the few remaining Judeans who were determined to go to the land of Egypt to live. They will all perish there. They will fall by the sword and perish due to famine. The least to the greatest will die by the sword and by famine. They will become an object of cursing, scorn, contempt, and disgrace. 13 I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, just as I punished Jerusalem with war, famine, and disease. 14 From the few remaining in Judah, no fugitive or survivor who came to live here in the land of Egypt will be able to return to the land of Judah. Even though they want to return and live there, they won’t be able to return, except for some fugitives.

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, along with the great crowd of women who were present, as well as the people living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, all answered Jeremiah: 16 “We’re not going to listen to a word you have said to us in the Lord’s name! 17 No, we’re going to do exactly what we want: We’re going to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials, have done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Then we had plenty to eat and we were thriving; we didn’t have any troubles. 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring drink offerings to her, we have been destroyed by the sword and by famine.”

19 And the women added,[i] “Do you think that we burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour drink offerings to her without our husbands’ support when we make cakes in her image and pour drink offerings to her?”

20 Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women alike, in fact everyone who had spoken this way: 21 “Do you really think the Lord was unaware of what you were up to in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? Don’t you think the Lord knew that you and your ancestors were making offerings to other gods[j]—along with your kings and officials, and the people of the land? 22 It got so bad that the Lord could no longer bear your evil and shameless acts; it was at that point that your land was reduced to an utter wasteland and a curse, as it is today. 23 The current dire situation occurred because you made offerings to other gods[k] and sinned against the Lord—because you wouldn’t obey the Lord or follow the Lord’s instruction, laws, or warnings.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women: Listen to the Lord’s word, all you Judeans in the land of Egypt. 25 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: You and your wives have done exactly what you said you would do. You said, “We will definitely fulfill our promise to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” Go ahead and keep your promises! 26 But listen to the Lord’s word, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt. I swear by my great name, says the Lord, that no one from Judah living in Egypt will utter my name again, even in the solemn pledge: “As surely as the Lord God lives.” 27 I’m watching over them for harm and not for good. Everyone from Judah who is living in the land of Egypt will die by the sword and by famine, until all are gone. 28 Those who actually survive war and return from Egypt to the land of Judah will be very few. Then the few remaining Judeans living in Egypt will know for certain whose word is true—mine or theirs! 29 And this will be a sign for you, declares the Lord: I will punish you here so that you know my threats against you will surely be fulfilled. 30 The Lord proclaims: I will hand Pharaoh Hophra, Egypt’s king, over to his enemies who seek to kill him, just as I delivered Judah’s King Zedekiah over to his enemy King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who sought to kill him.

A final word for Baruch

45 In the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, Baruch was writing in a scroll the words that Jeremiah was dictating to him. Jeremiah the prophet told Baruch, Neriah’s son: This is what the Lord the God of Israel proclaims about you, Baruch: You have said, “I can’t take it anymore! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I’m worn out from groaning and can find no rest.” This is what you should say to him: “The Lord proclaims: I’m breaking down everything I have built up. I’m digging up that which I have planted—the entire land. You seek great things for yourself, but don’t bother. I’m bringing disaster on all humanity, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.”


46 This is what the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah concerning the nations.

Prophecy against Egypt

About Egypt! A message for the army of Pharaoh Neco, Egypt’s king, which was defeated by Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish near the Euphrates River in the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son:

Grab your shields
    and prepare for war!
Saddle the horses;
    mount the stallions!
Take your positions
    with helmets on!
Polish your spears;
    put on your armor!
Why do I see them terrified,
    retreating in haste?
Their soldiers are crushed,
    running for cover,
    and they don’t turn back.
Panic lurks at every turn,
        declares the Lord.
The swift can’t flee;
    the mighty can’t escape.
Up north by the Euphrates River,
    they stagger and fall.

Who is this that rises like the Nile,
    whose banks overflow?[l]
It’s Egypt that rises like the Nile,
    whose banks overflow,[m]
        who declares, “I will arise
        and cover the earth
        and destroy cities and inhabitants.”
Charge, you horses;
    advance, you chariots!
Attack, you soldiers
    with your shield in hand,
        you people of Cush and Put[n]
            with your bow drawn,
        you archers from Lud.

10 But that day belongs to the
    Lord God of heavenly forces;
        it’s a day of reckoning,
        settling scores with enemies.
The sword will devour
    until it has had its fill of blood.
The Lord God of heavenly forces
    is preparing a sacrifice in the north
        by the Euphrates River.
11 Go up to Gilead and seek balm,
    virgin Daughter Egypt.
You search out remedies in vain,
    for your disease is incurable.
12 Nations hear of your shame;
    the earth is filled with your sobs.
Soldier stumbles over soldier;
    together they go down.

13 This is the word that the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the military offensive of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar against the land of Egypt:

14 Tell Egypt, warn Migdol,
    alert Memphis and Tahpanhes!
Say: “Brace yourselves for what’s coming.
    War is breaking out from every side!”
15 Why have your mighty fallen?
    Why haven’t they stood their ground?
        Because the Lord has struck them down.
16 He’s tripped them up;
    they fall over each other and say,
    “Let’s get out of here
        and go home to our people,
        where we were born,
        far away from the oppressor’s sword.”[o]
17 There they call Pharaoh, Egypt’s king,
    Loudmouth—Nothing But Hot Air!
18 As I live, declares the king,
    whose name is the Lord of heavenly forces,
one is coming
    just as surely as Tabor is in the mountains
    and Carmel is by the sea.[p]
19 Get what you need for deportation,
    you inhabitants of Egypt.[q]
Memphis will be reduced to a wasteland,
    a ruin with no one left.
20 Egypt is a beautiful, yes, beautiful heifer,
    but a horsefly from the north
        is coming to bite her.[r]
21 Even her mercenaries
    are like well-fed calves;
        they too will retreat and run for cover;
        they won’t survive.
The day of disaster has come to haunt them,
    the time of their punishment.
22 Like the sound of a snake hissing
    as it slithers away
        is Egypt[s] as armies approach in force;
        they come against her with axes,
            like woodcutters.
23 They destroy her dense forest,
    though it is vast,
        because they outnumber locusts
        and can’t be counted,
            declares the Lord.
24 Daughter Egypt will be humiliated,
    handed over to people from the north.

25 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I’m going to punish Amon of Thebes, Egypt and its gods and kings, as well as Pharaoh and all who rely on him. 26 I will hand them over to those who seek to kill them, namely Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and his servants. But afterward Egypt will dwell like it did a long time ago, declares the Lord.

27 But don’t be afraid, my servant Judah;
    don’t lose heart, Israel.
I will deliver you from a faraway place
    and your children from the land of their exile.
My people Jacob will again be safe and sound,
    with no one harassing them.
28 So don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob,
    declares the Lord.
I’m with you;
    I will put an end to all the nations
        where I have scattered you.
But I won’t put an end to you.
    I won’t let you avoid punishment;
    I will discipline you as you deserve.


  1. Jeremiah 42:20 Or to do evil
  2. Jeremiah 43:9 Heb uncertain
  3. Jeremiah 43:10 LXX; MT I
  4. Jeremiah 43:12 LXX, Syr; MT I will set on fire
  5. Jeremiah 43:12 Or picks clean
  6. Jeremiah 43:12 Heb uncertain
  7. Jeremiah 44:9 Heb his wives
  8. Jeremiah 44:10 Or they
  9. Jeremiah 44:19 Syr; MT lacks and the women added.
  10. Jeremiah 44:21 Heb lacks to other gods.
  11. Jeremiah 44:23 Heb lacks to other gods.
  12. Jeremiah 46:7 Or like rivers whose waters roar
  13. Jeremiah 46:8 Or like rivers whose waters roar
  14. Jeremiah 46:9 Traditionally Ethiopia and Libya
  15. Jeremiah 46:16 Heb uncertain
  16. Jeremiah 46:18 Heb uncertain
  17. Jeremiah 46:19 Or inhabitant, Daughter Egypt
  18. Jeremiah 46:20 Heb uncertain
  19. Jeremiah 46:22 Heb lacks is Egypt.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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