Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 45-46 Message

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paths

Each day, we are dealt situations that we must deal with.  We can do one of two things:  either walk with God, listen to His message, and rejoice in all that we come up against, or, we can choose to try to go our own way, doing our best to solve the dilemmas that present before us.  It is easy to become distracted and take our eyes off of what is truly important, and that is God.  When we lose our focus on God, our lives will increasingly become complicated and spiritually disappointing.

Jeremiah 45:1-5Jeremiah 45:1-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

45 1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; 3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. 4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. 5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.  

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The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him.  He said, 2″This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:  3 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.’
4 “Baruch, this is what the LORD says:  ‘I will destroy this nation that I built.  I will uproot what I planted.  5 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!'”

Again, we are moving back in time to an event that was recorded in chapter 36:1-8.  Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe who recorded Jeremiah’s message on a scroll.

Baruch was troubled and having a pity party for himself.  He felt he deserved rewards in life for his faithful service to Jeremiah, and had begun to turn his focus on himself.
The name ‘Baruch’ means blessing.  He was surely a blessing to Jeremiah and was responsible for ensuring that Jeremiah’s prophecies and personal story would survive for generations to come.

God told Baruch to take the focus of of himself and God would protect him.  If Baruch brought his focus back on God, he would have the reward of life, no matter where he traveled.

When we take our eyes off of God and begin to focus on our own sacrifices, it is easy to lose the joy of serving God.  This brings great frustration into our life and confuses us.  When our mind travels to thoughts of everything we have given up, we must ask God’s forgiveness and redirect our attention to serving God.  This is a privilege; a gift, not something that we can earn, or buy, in life.

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Judgment

As we move into the end of the Book of Jeremiah, we will see that Jeremiah’s prophecies of God’s judgment on the nations have all been grouped together in Chapters 46-52, which the last chapter (52) recapping the fall of Jerusalem. There would be no nation that would escape God’s judgment and punishment.  There are those in today’s world that believe that God’s judgment and punishment will never come to pass.  They are fooling themselves.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.  

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9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;and that which is done is that which shall be done:  and there is no new thing under the sun.

10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new?  it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

In the Bible, we see that history repeats itself over and over again.  Why would that change? If God doesn’t change [Malachi 3:6Malachi 3:6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  

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], and His Word doesn’t change, then why should we expect any different than what is already shared with us in the Bible?  As the people in Jeremiah’s day, and at other times throughout history, were given warning through the prophets, we are given warnings through the written Word of God.  We must open our ears and eyes so that we are able to hear and see these warnings clearly.

Jeremiah 46:1-2Jeremiah 46:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

46 1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; 2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.  

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1 The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the LORD concerning foreign nations.

2 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 when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

The battle at Carchemish took place in 605 B.C.  Babylon and Egypt were the two major world powers after Assyria fell.  If you remember from previous chapters, Judah put their faith in Egypt to save them instead of God.  This was direct disobedience to God for Judah to form a partnership with Egypt.  The Babylonians took Egypt by surprise, entering through Carchemish, and defeating them.

Jeremiah 46:3-12Jeremiah 46:3-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle. 4 Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines. 5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD. beaten...: Heb. broken in pieces fled...: Heb. fled a flight 6 Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates. 7 Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? 8 Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. 9 Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. the Ethiopians: Heb. Cush the Libyans: Heb. Put 10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. 11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. thou shalt...: Heb. no cure shall be unto thee 12 The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together.  

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3 “Prepare your shields,

and advance into battle!

4 Harness the horses,

and mount the stallions.

Take your positions.

Put on your helmets.

Sharpen your spears,

and prepare your armor.

5 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.

6 “The swiftest runners cannot flee;

the mightiest warriors cannot escape.

By the Euphrates River to the north,

they stumble and fall.

7 “Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime,

overflowing all the land?

8 It is the Egyptian army,

overflowing all the land,

boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood,

destroying cities and their people.

9 Charge, you horses and chariots;

attack you mighty warriors of Egypt!

Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia

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.”

This is an extremely vivid poem that was written either right before, or just after, the Babylonians beat Egypt.  It is a description of the Egyptian army getting prepared for the confrontation with Nebuchadnezzar.  It appears that the battle was over before it really even began.  The Egyptians no sooner headed into battle before they turned and fled for their lives in massive panic.  We can see that there were other groups that joined the Egyptian Army in attempt to stand their ground at Carchemish, but there is nothing that is going to save them.  There will be a mighty fall at Carchemish, leaving the path open to advance toward Egypt.

destruction

Jeremiah 46:13-24Jeremiah 46:13-24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt. 14 Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee. 15 Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them. 16 He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword. made...: Heb. multiplied the faller 17 They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed. 18 As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come. 19 O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant. furnish...: Heb. make thee instruments of captivity 20 Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north. 21 Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation. fatted...: Heb. bullocks of the stall 22 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood. 23 They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable. 24 The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.  

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

14 “Shout it out in Egypt!

Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, 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 young cow,

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 humiliate;

she will be handed over to people from the north.”

God continues by explaining that Nebuchadnezzar is the king who will lead the Babylonians to the defeat of Egypt.  Egypt will prepare itself for battle as one would expect but, the invasion will happen and Egypt will suffer as God had said they would.  Anyone who survived the battle would be exiled.  It doesn’t give reference to where they would move on to, but the important point being made here is that Egypt will be destroyed.  The comparison of Egypt to a beautiful, young cow, is describing Egypt’s size, their strength, and power as a nation.  The description of the Babylonian army gives the vision that they are mowing down everything and everyone in sight until there is nothing left but total destruction.

Jeremiah 46:25-28Jeremiah 46:25-28
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him: multitude: or, nourisher: Heb. Amon 26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD. 27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. 28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. not leave...: or, not utterly cut thee off  

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25 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, 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 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.”

When God punishes his people, he does this in order to bring them back to Him.  He is punishing us to correct and purify us.  There is no one who looks forward to punishment, but we should all appreciate the results:  correction + purifying = restoration.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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