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Jeremiah Taken to Egypt

43 When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the Lord their God to all the people, Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians[a] or be carried off into exile.”

So Johanan and the other military leaders and all the people refused to obey the Lord’s command to stay in Judah. Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled. In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included. The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes.

Then at Tahpanhes, the Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar,[b] king of Babylon, here to Egypt. I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden. He will spread his royal canopy over them. 11 And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt. He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war. 12 He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder. He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak. And he himself will leave unharmed. 13 He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun[c] in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”

Judgment for Idolatry

44 This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis,[d] and in southern Egypt[e] as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known.

“Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today.

“And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? 10 To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you.

11 “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! 12 I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. 13 I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. 14 Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.”

15 Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt[f]—answered Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! 17 We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! 18 But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.”

19 “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, 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 did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 22 It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. 23 All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord. You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord, all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. 25 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’

26 “But listen to this message from the Lord, all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27 For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. 28 Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs!

29 “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord, ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar[g] of Babylon.’”

A Message for Baruch

45 The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah,[h] after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’

“Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

Messages for the Nations

46 The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the Lord concerning foreign nations.

Messages about Egypt

This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish[i] when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar[j] of Babylon.

“Prepare your shields,
    and advance into battle!
Harness the horses,
    and mount the stallions.
Take your positions.
    Put on your helmets.
Sharpen your spears,
    and prepare your armor.
But what do I see?
    The Egyptian army flees in terror.
The bravest of its fighting men run
    without a backward glance.
They are terrorized at every turn,”
    says the Lord.
“The swiftest runners cannot flee;
    the mightiest warriors cannot escape.
By the Euphrates River to the north,
    they stumble and fall.

“Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime,
    overflowing all the land?
It is the Egyptian army,
    overflowing all the land,
boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood,
    destroying cities and their people.
Charge, you horses and chariots;
    attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt!
Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia[k]
    who are skilled with the shield and bow!
10 For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    a day of vengeance on his enemies.
The sword will devour until it is satisfied,
    yes, until it is drunk with your blood!
The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today
    in the north country beside the Euphrates River.

11 “Go up to Gilead to get medicine,
    O virgin daughter of Egypt!
But your many treatments
    will bring you no healing.
12 The nations have heard of your shame.
    The earth is filled with your cries of despair.
Your mightiest warriors will run into each other
    and fall down together.”

13 Then the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt.

14 “Shout it out in Egypt!
    Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis,[l] and Tahpanhes!
Mobilize for battle,
    for the sword will devour everyone around you.
15 Why have your warriors fallen?
    They cannot stand, for the Lord has knocked them down.
16 They stumble and fall over each other
    and say among themselves,
‘Come, let’s go back to our people,
    to the land of our birth.
    Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’
17 There they will say,
    ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth
    who missed his opportunity!’

18 “As surely as I live,” says the King,
    whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
“one is coming against Egypt
    who is as tall as Mount Tabor,
    or as Mount Carmel by the sea!
19 Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile,
    you citizens of Egypt!
The city of Memphis will be destroyed,
    without a single inhabitant.
20 Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer,
    but a horsefly from the north is on its way!
21 Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves.
    They, too, will turn and run,
for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt,
    a time of great punishment.
22 Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away.
    The invading army marches in;
    they come against her with axes like woodsmen.
23 They will cut down her people like trees,” says the Lord,
    “for they are more numerous than locusts.
24 Egypt will be humiliated;
    she will be handed over to people from the north.”

25 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes,[m] and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. 26 I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord, have spoken!

27 “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
    do not be dismayed, Israel.
For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
    and your children will return from their exile.
Israel[n] will return to a life of peace and quiet,
    and no one will terrorize them.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
    for I am with you,” says the Lord.
“I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you,
    but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you, but with justice;
    I cannot let you go unpunished.”

Footnotes

  1. 43:3 Or Chaldeans.
  2. 43:10 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
  3. 43:13 Or in Heliopolis.
  4. 44:1a Hebrew Noph.
  5. 44:1b Hebrew in Pathros.
  6. 44:15 Hebrew in Egypt, in Pathros.
  7. 44:30 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
  8. 45:1 The fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign was 605 B.c.
  9. 46:2a This event occurred in 605 B.c., during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign (according to the calendar system in which the new year begins in the spring).
  10. 46:2b Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 46:13, 26.
  11. 46:9 Hebrew from Cush, Put, and Lud.
  12. 46:14 Hebrew Noph; also in 46:19.
  13. 46:25 Hebrew of No.
  14. 46:27 Hebrew Jacob. See note on 5:20.