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Chapter 42

Then all the military leaders, including Johanan, son of Kareah, Azariah, son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet and said, “Please grant our petition; pray for us to the Lord, your God, for all this remnant. As you see, only a few of us remain, but once we were many. May the Lord, your God, show us the way we should take and what we should do.” “Very well!” Jeremiah the prophet answered them: “I will pray to the Lord, your God, as you desire; whatever the Lord answers, I will tell you; I will withhold nothing from you.”(A) And they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not follow all the instructions the Lord, your God, sends us through you.(B) Whether we like it or not, we will obey the command of the Lord, our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us for obeying the command of the Lord, our God.”(C)

Ten days passed before the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he called Johanan, son of Kareah, his army leaders, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, and said to them: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to offer your petition: 10 If indeed you will remain in this land, I will build you up, and not tear you down; I will plant you, not uproot you; for I repent of the evil I have done you.(D) 11 Do not fear the king of Babylon, as you do now. Do not fear him—oracle of the Lord—for I am with you to save you, to rescue you from his power.(E) 12 I will take pity on you, so that he will have pity on you and let you return to your land.(F) 13 But if you keep saying, “We will not stay in this land,” thus disobeying the voice of the Lord, your God, 14 and saying, “No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war, nor hear the trumpet alarm, nor hunger for bread. There we will live!”(G) 15 then listen to the word of the Lord, remnant of Judah: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you are set on going to Egypt and settling down there once you arrive, 16 the sword you fear shall overtake you in the land of Egypt; the hunger you dread shall pursue you to Egypt and there you shall die.(H) 17 All those determined to go to Egypt to live shall die by the sword, famine, and disease: not one shall survive or escape the evil that I am bringing upon them.(I) 18 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Just as my furious wrath was poured out upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so shall my anger be poured out on you when you reach Egypt. You shall become a malediction and a horror, a curse and a reproach, and you shall never see this place again.(J)

19 The Lord has spoken to you, remnant of Judah. Do not go to Egypt! Mark well that I am warning you this day. 20 At the cost of your lives you have been deceitful, for you yourselves sent me to the Lord, your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord, our God; whatever the Lord, our God, shall say, tell us and we will do it.” 21 Today I have told you, but you have not listened to the voice of the Lord your God, in anything that he has sent me to tell you.(K) 22 Have no doubt about this: you shall die by the sword, famine, and disease in the place where you want to go and live.(L)

Chapter 43

When Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words the Lord, their God, sent to them, Azariah, son of Hoshaiah, Johanan, son of Kareah, and all the others had the insolence to say to Jeremiah: “You lie; the Lord, our God, did not send you to tell us, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there.’ Baruch, son of Neriah, is inciting you against us, to hand us over to the Chaldeans to be killed or exiled to Babylon.”(M)

So Johanan, son of Kareah, and the rest of the leaders and the people did not listen to the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah.(N) Instead, Johanan, son of Kareah, and the military leaders took along all the remnant of Judah who had been dispersed among the nations and then had returned to dwell in the land of Judah: men, women, and children, the princesses and everyone whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the bodyguard, had consigned to Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah, the prophet, and Baruch, son of Neriah.(O) They went to Egypt—they did not listen to the voice of the Lord—and came to Tahpanhes.(P)

Jeremiah in Egypt. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes: Take some large stones in your hand and set them in mortar in the terrace at the entrance to the house of Pharaoh in Tahpanhes, while the Judahites watch. 10 Then say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will place his throne upon these stones which I, Jeremiah, have set up, and stretch his canopy above them.(Q) 11 He shall come and strike the land of Egypt: with death, those marked for death; with exile, those marked for exile; with the sword, those marked for the sword.(R) 12 He shall set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods, burn the gods and carry them off. He shall pick the land of Egypt clean, as a shepherd picks lice off his cloak, and then depart victorious.(S) 13 He shall smash the obelisks at the Temple of the Sun in the land of Egypt and destroy with fire the temples of the Egyptian gods.

Chapter 44

The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Judahites who were living in Egypt, those living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in Upper Egypt: [a]Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You yourselves have seen all the evil I brought upon Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. Today they lie in ruins uninhabited,(T) because of the evil they did to provoke me, going after other gods, offering incense and serving other gods they did not know, neither they, nor you, nor your ancestors.(U) Though I repeatedly sent you all my servants the prophets, saying: “You must not commit this abominable deed I hate,” they did not listen or incline their ears in order to turn from their evil, no longer offering incense to other gods.(V) Therefore the fury of my anger poured forth and kindled fire in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, to turn them into the ruined wasteland they are today.

Now thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why inflict so great an evil upon yourselves, cutting off from Judah man and woman, child and infant, not leaving yourselves even a remnant? Why do you provoke me with the works of your hands, offering sacrifice to other gods here in the land of Egypt where you have come to live? Will you cut yourselves off and become a curse, a reproach among all the nations of the earth?(W) Have you forgotten the evil of your ancestors, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, and your own evil and the evil of your wives—all that they did in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?(X) 10 To this day they have not been crushed down, nor have they shown fear. They have not followed my law and my statutes that I set before you and your ancestors.(Y)

11 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have set my face against you for evil, to cut off all Judah. 12 I will take away the remnant of Judah who insisted on going to the land of Egypt to live there; in the land of Egypt they shall meet their end. They shall fall by the sword or be consumed by hunger. From the least to the greatest, they shall die by sword or hunger; they shall become a malediction, a horror, a curse, a reproach.(Z) 13 Thus I will punish those who live in Egypt, just as I punished Jerusalem, with sword, hunger, and disease, 14 so that none of the remnant of Judah who came to live in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive.(AA) No one shall return to the land of Judah. Even though they long to return and live there, they shall not return except as refugees.

15 They answered Jeremiah—all the men who knew that their wives were offering sacrifices to other gods, all the women standing there in the immense crowd, and all the people who lived in Lower and Upper Egypt: 16 “Regarding the word you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not listening to you.(AB) 17 Rather we will go on doing what we proposed; we will offer incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour out libations to her, just as we have done, along with our ancestors, our kings and princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Then we had plenty to eat, we prospered, and we suffered no misfortune.(AC) 18 But ever since we stopped offering sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out libations to her, we lack everything and are being destroyed by sword and hunger.” 19 And the women said, “When we offered sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven and poured out libations to her, did we bake cakes in her image and pour out libations to her without our husbands’ consent?”(AD)

20 To all the people, men and women, who gave him this answer, Jeremiah said: 21 As for the sacrifices you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem—you, your ancestors, your kings and princes, and the people of the land—did not the Lord remember them? Did it not enter his mind?(AE) 22 The Lord could no longer bear the evil of your deeds, the abominations you were doing; then your land became a waste, a horror, a curse, without even one inhabitant, as it is today.(AF) 23 Because you offered sacrifice and sinned against the Lord, not listening to the voice of the Lord, not following his law, his statutes, and his decrees, therefore this evil has overtaken you, as it is today.(AG)

24 Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women: Hear the word of the Lord, all you Judahites in the land of Egypt: 25 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have carried out with your hands what your mouths have spoken: “We will go on fulfilling the vows we have made to offer sacrifice to the Queen of Heaven and to pour out libations to her.” Very well! keep your vows, fulfill your vows! 26 And then listen to the word of the Lord, all you Judahites living in Egypt; I swear by my own great name, says the Lord: in the whole land of Egypt, my name shall no longer be pronounced by the lips of any Judahite, saying, “As the Lord God lives.” 27 I am watching over them for evil, not for good. All the Judahites in Egypt shall come to an end by sword or famine until they are completely destroyed.(AH) 28 Those who escape the sword to return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah shall be few in number. The whole remnant of Judah who came to Egypt to live shall know whose word stands, mine or theirs.(AI)

29 And this shall be a sign to you—oracle of the Lord—I will punish you in this place so that you will know that my words stand solidly against you for evil. 30 Thus says the Lord: See! I will hand over Pharaoh Hophra,[b] king of Egypt, to his enemies, to those seeking his life, just as I handed over Zedekiah, king of Judah, to his enemy Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, to the one seeking his life.(AJ)


  1. 44:2–30 Chronologically, these are the last of Jeremiah’s words to his people. As the narrative ends, Jeremiah meets with rejection. According to tradition, recorded in a much later work, he was murdered in Egypt by fellow Judahites.
  2. 44:30 Hophra: killed by his own people. Hophra’s successor, Amasis, ruled Egypt when Nebuchadnezzar took control of the country.

13 They love sacrifice,
    they sacrifice meat and eat it,
    but the Lord is not pleased with them.(A)
Now he will remember their guilt
    and punish their sins;(B)
    they shall return to Egypt.[a](C)

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  1. 8:13 Return to Egypt: to punish their violation of the covenant they will experience a reversal of the exodus.

They will not dwell in the Lord’s land;
    Ephraim will return to Egypt,
    and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.

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[a]When they flee from the devastation,
    Egypt will gather them, Memphis will bury them.
Weeds will overgrow their silver treasures,
    and thorns, their tents.

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  1. 9:6 Instead of gathering for celebration (v. 5), they will be gathered for death. Memphis: known for the monumental pyramid tombs. Silver treasures: the silver statues of Baal (8:4).

He shall return to the land of Egypt,(A)
    Assyria shall be his king,
    because they have refused to repent.

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