November 6, 2007

Jeremiah 43-45 - Whose Word Will Stand

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 43:

Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah.

Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven—the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah.

And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD.

And they arrived at Tahpanhes.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes:

Take in your hands large stones and hide them in the mortar in the pavement that is at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah, and say to them,

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:

Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden, and he will spread his royal canopy over them.

He shall come and strike the land of Egypt, giving over
  • to the pestilence those who are doomed to the pestilence,
  • to captivity those who are doomed to captivity, and
  • to the sword those who are doomed to the sword.
I shall kindle a fire in the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive.

And he shall clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd cleans his cloak of vermin, and he shall go away from there in peace. He shall break the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt, and the temples of the gods of Egypt he shall burn with fire.

Jeremiah 44:

And now thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel:

Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and child, from the midst of Judah, leaving you no remnant?

Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth?

Have you forgotten the evil of your fathers, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, your own evil, and the evil of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers.

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:

Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed. In the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall be consumed. From the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine, and they shall become an oath, a horror, a curse, and a taunt.

I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to live in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return to dwell there.

For they shall not return, except some fugitives.

(And it was their fathers who had said, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt.")

Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah:

As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.

And the women said, When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?

(Behold, the problems with relying on man's logic.)

Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who had given him this answer:

As for the offerings that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your officials, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them? Did it not come into his mind? The LORD could no longer bear your evil deeds and the abominations that you committed.

Therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey the voice of the LORD or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day.

Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women,

Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:

You and your wives have declared with your mouths, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her. Then confirm your vows and perform your vows!

Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt:

Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the LORD, that my name shall no more be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, As the Lord GOD lives.

Behold, I am watching over them for disaster and not for good. All the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them. And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs.

This shall be the sign to you, declares the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for harm:

Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and sought his life.

Jeremiah 45:

The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch:

You said, Woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.

Thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD:

Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land.

And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the LORD.

But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.

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