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44 This is the message God gave to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who were living in the north of Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and throughout southern Egypt as well:

2-3 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw what I did to Jerusalem and to all the cities of Judah. Because of all their wickedness they lie in heaps and ashes, without a living soul. For my anger rose high against them for worshiping other gods—“gods” that neither they nor you nor any of your fathers have ever known.

I sent my servants, the prophets, to protest over and over again and to plead with them not to do this horrible thing I hate, but they wouldn’t listen and wouldn’t turn back from their wicked ways; they have kept right on with their sacrifices to these “gods.” And so my fury and anger boiled over and fell as fire upon the cities of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and there is desolation until this day.

And now the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you shall live—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in arms. For you are rousing my anger with the idols you have made and worshiped here in Egypt, burning incense to them, and causing me to destroy you completely and to make you a curse and a stench in the nostrils of all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your fathers, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, your own sins, and the sins of your wives in Judah and Jerusalem? 10 And even until this very hour there has been no apology; no one has wanted to return to me or follow the laws I gave you and your fathers before you.

11 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There is fury in my face and I will destroy every one of you! 12 I will take this remnant of Judah that insisted on coming here to Egypt, and I will consume them. They shall fall here in Egypt, killed by famine and sword; all shall die, from the least important to the greatest. They shall be despised and loathed, cursed and hated. 13 I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by sword, famine, and disease. 14 Not one of them shall escape from my wrath except those who repent of their coming and escape from the others by returning again to their own land.

15 Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols (it was a great crowd of all the Jews in southern Egypt) answered Jeremiah:

16 “We will not listen to your false ‘Messages from God’! 17 We will do whatever we want to. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven[a] and sacrifice to her just as much as we like—just as we and our fathers before us, and our kings and princes have always done in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and happy! 18 But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her, we have been in great trouble and have been destroyed by sword and famine.”

19 “And,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were worshiping the Queen of Heaven and pouring out our libations to her and making cakes for her with her image on them, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!”

20 Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer:

21 “Do you think the Lord didn’t know that you and your fathers, your kings and princes, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 22 It was because he could no longer bear all the evil things you were doing that he made your land desolate, an incredible ruin, cursed, without an inhabitant, as it is today. 23 The very reason all these terrible things have befallen you is because you have burned incense and sinned against the Lord and refused to obey him.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women: “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you citizens of Judah who are here in Egypt! 25 The Lord, the God of Israel, says: Both you and your wives have said that you will never give up your devotion and sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven, and you have proved it by your actions. Then go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her! 26 But listen to the word of the Lord, all you Jews who are living in the land of Egypt: I have sworn by my great name, says the Lord, that it will do you no good to seek my help and blessing anymore, saying, ‘O Lord our God, help us!’ 27 For I will watch over you, but not for good! I will see to it that evil befalls you, and you shall be destroyed by war and famine until all of you are dead.

28 “Only those who return to Judah (it will be but a tiny remnant) shall escape my wrath, but all who refuse to go back—who insist on living in Egypt—shall find out who tells the truth, I or they! 29 And this is the proof I give you that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here: 30 I will turn Pharaoh Hophra,[b] king of Egypt, over to those* who seek his life, just as I turned Zedekiah, king of Judah, over to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.”


  1. Jeremiah 44:17 Queen of Heaven, see note to 7:18.
  2. Jeremiah 44:30 Pharaoh Hophra. Hophra, or Apries, ruled Egypt from 588–568 b.c. over to those. Pharaoh Hophra was killed by Amasis, one of his generals who had revolted and who was then crowned in his place.

Disaster Because of Idolatry

44 This word came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt(A)—in Migdol,(B) Tahpanhes(C) and Memphis(D)—and in Upper Egypt:(E) “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster(F) I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah.(G) Today they lie deserted and in ruins(H) because of the evil(I) they have done. They aroused my anger(J) by burning incense(K) to and worshiping other gods(L) that neither they nor you nor your ancestors(M) ever knew. Again and again(N) I sent my servants the prophets,(O) who said, ‘Do not do this detestable(P) thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen or pay attention;(Q) they did not turn from their wickedness(R) or stop burning incense(S) to other gods.(T) Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out;(U) it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins(V) they are today.

“Now this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Why bring such great disaster(W) on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women,(X) the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant?(Y) Why arouse my anger with what your hands have made,(Z) burning incense(AA) to other gods in Egypt,(AB) where you have come to live?(AC) You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a curse[a] and an object of reproach(AD) among all the nations on earth. Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors(AE) and by the kings(AF) and queens(AG) of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives(AH) in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem?(AI) 10 To this day they have not humbled(AJ) themselves or shown reverence,(AK) nor have they followed my law(AL) and the decrees(AM) I set before you and your ancestors.(AN)

11 “Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty,(AO) the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster(AP) on you and to destroy all Judah. 12 I will take away the remnant(AQ) of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest,(AR) they will die by sword or famine.(AS) They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach.(AT) 13 I will punish(AU) those who live in Egypt with the sword,(AV) famine and plague,(AW) as I punished Jerusalem. 14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”(AX)

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives(AY) were burning incense(AZ) to other gods, along with all the women(BA) who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt,(BB) said to Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen(BC) to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!(BD) 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would:(BE) We will burn incense(BF) to the Queen of Heaven(BG) and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials(BH) did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.(BI) At that time we had plenty of food(BJ) and were well off and suffered no harm.(BK) 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings(BL) to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.(BM)

19 The women added, “When we burned incense(BN) to the Queen of Heaven(BO) and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands(BP) know that we were making cakes(BQ) impressed with her image(BR) and pouring out drink offerings to her?”

20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, 21 “Did not the Lord remember(BS) and call to mind the incense(BT) burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem(BU) by you and your ancestors,(BV) your kings and your officials and the people of the land?(BW) 22 When the Lord could no longer endure(BX) your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse(BY) and a desolate waste(BZ) without inhabitants, as it is today.(CA) 23 Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed(CB) his law or his decrees(CC) or his stipulations, this disaster(CD) has come upon you, as you now see.”(CE)

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women,(CF) “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt.(CG) 25 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives(CH) have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’(CI)

“Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows!(CJ) 26 But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt:(CK) ‘I swear(CL) by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign(CM) Lord lives.”(CN) 27 For I am watching(CO) over them for harm,(CP) not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish(CQ) by sword and famine(CR) until they are all destroyed.(CS) 28 Those who escape the sword(CT) and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few.(CU) Then the whole remnant(CV) of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand(CW)—mine or theirs.(CX)

29 “‘This will be the sign(CY) to you that I will punish(CZ) you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.’(DA) 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to deliver Pharaoh(DB) Hophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, just as I gave Zedekiah(DC) king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’”(DD)


  1. Jeremiah 44:8 That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed; also in verse 12; similarly in verse 22.