Scripture reading – Jeremiah 44

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Following the slaying of Gedaliah, the governor of Judah, the people feared Babylon’s retribution for the deaths of Nebuchadnezzar’s officials. In Jeremiah 42 and 43, the people came to Jeremiah and requested that he seek the will of the LORD and promised, “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God” (Jeremiah 42:5-6).

Jeremiah sought the LORD and ten days later challenged the people to remain in Judah with the promise of God’s blessing and protection. Nevertheless, they refused, and the men forced the women, children, and the prophet Jeremiah to journey to Egypt, where they sought safety as exiles (Jeremiah 42:19-22). Though he warned that all that befell Jerusalem and Judah would come to Egypt, the people dismissed the prophet (Jeremiah 43:11-13).


Jeremiah 44


Prophecy Concerning the Jewish People in Egypt (Jeremiah 44:1-14)

Having rejected the warnings of the prophets (Jeremiah 44:4), the people continued in their sins, worshipped other gods, and offered incense (Jeremiah 44:5). Though they had witnessed the wickedness of their forefathers and God’s judgment (Jeremiah 44:9), yet they refused to humble themselves and repent (44:10)

Jeremiah warned that their sins had provoked God’s wrath, and He would “cut off all Judah” (Jeremiah 44:11). He foretold that all who came to Egypt would be punished. He warned that they would be “consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt…by the sword and by the famine: they shall die” (Jeremiah 44:11-12).


The People’s Blasphemous Response (Jeremiah 44:15-18)

Rather than humble themselves and repent, the people were proud and stubborn. They declared they would “certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth” (Jeremiah 44:17a). Petulant as a brazen rebellious child, the people announced they would “burn incense unto the queen of heaven [the Egyptian goddess of fertility]” (Jeremiah 44:17b). They avowed that their idolatrous worship of “the queen of heaven” in Jerusalem had been rewarded with “plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil” (Jeremiah 44:17). Not content with their blasphemy, they declared their troubles had come when they failed to worship “the queen of heaven” (Jeremiah 44:18).

Final Message to the Exiled Refugees of Judah

Jeremiah’s Answer and Final Message to the Exiled Refugees of Judah (Jeremiah 44:19-30)

Hearing the rancorous words of the people, Jeremiah admonished them, saying, “Did not the Lord remember them [their sins], and came it not into his mind?” (Jeremiah 44:21). The prophet avowed, “because of the abominations which [they had] committed; therefore, is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day” (Jeremiah 44:22).

Jeremiah refused to temper his words and continued, saying, “Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore, this evil is happened unto you, as at this day” (Jeremiah 44:23).


Closing thought

Jeremiah concluded his message by declaring prophetically, “The Lord God liveth” (Jeremiah 44:26), and “all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them” (Jeremiah 44:27). Yet, the LORD did not forsake His people. Jeremiah promised a “small number” of Judah would “escape the sword” and return to Judah (Jeremiah 44:28).

The remnant of Judah that sought refuge in Egypt and boasted in their gods would witness the fall of Egypt as the LORD would give “Pharaoh-hopra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies,” even as “Zedekiah king of Judah [came] into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 44:30).

The remnant of Judah refused to obey the LORD and abandoned the land He promised His people. Though they sought refuge in Egypt, they came to suffer the sorrows they longed to escape.

Remember: The LORD is longsuffering and just. “Whom the LORD loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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