Scripture reading – Jeremiah 45; Jeremiah 46  

* This is the second of two Bible studies for today and is taken from Jeremiah 46.

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A Prophecy Against the Gentile Nations (Jeremiah 46-52)

Beginning with Jeremiah 46, the focus of Jeremiah’s prophecies shifts from the remnant of Judah to the Gentile nations. All the nations of that region eventually capitulated to Nebuchadnezzar and his army. Babylon became a world empire, defeating its neighboring countries in rapid succession.

The LORD revealed to Jeremiah the humiliating defeat Egypt would suffer (Jeremiah 46) and the demise of the Philistines (Jeremiah 47). The nation of Moab also fell to Babylon’s sword (Jeremiah 48) and was followed by the Ammonites (Jeremiah 49:1-6) and Edomites (Jeremiah 49:7-22). Syria became a vassal state of Babylon (Jeremiah 49:23), as did several tribes of the Arabian desert (Jeremiah 49:28-39). Finally, Jeremiah’s prophecies concluded with revelations regarding Babylon’s future, decline, and overthrow by the Medo-Persians (Jeremiah 50-52).

The Defeat of Egypt

Jeremiah 46


The Defeat of Egypt in the Fourth Year of Jehoiakim’s Reign in Judah (Jeremiah 46:1-12)

2 Chronicles 35:20-27 recorded that Pharaoh-necho, the king of Egypt, had slain Judah’s King Josiah in battle at Megiddo. Later, Judah sought an alliance with Egypt against Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar’s army laid siege to Jerusalem, Pharaoh led his army out of Egypt to confront Babylon’s army. When Nebuchadnezzar heard the Egyptian force was coming up against him, he ordered his army to withdraw from Jerusalem and attack the Egyptians.  

Babylon’s army crushed the Egyptian soldiers, many of whom were mercenaries from Ethiopia and Libya (Jeremiah 46:5, 9). Though armed with shields and swords and skilled as archers, those soldiers learned no nation could stand before an enemy when the LORD sets “a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries” (Jeremiah 46:10). The blood of God’s vengeance could not be satisfied. No medicines could heal the wounds Egypt suffered (Jeremiah 46:11). So great was the defeat that Egypt’s soldiers stumbled over each other in their flight (Jeremiah 46:12).


Nebuchadnezzar’s Invasion of Egypt Following Jerusalem’s Destruction (Jeremiah 46:13-26) 

The prophecy that Jeremiah would be a prophet not only to Judah but “unto the nations” was fulfilled when the LORD commanded Jeremiah to declare in Egypt that “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 46:13).

Several metaphors were given to warn Egypt of the humiliating defeat that nation would suffer: Egypt would be like a cow facing the butcher (Jeremiah 46:20), and a snake scurrying for safety (Jeremiah 46:22a). Babylon would afflict Egypt like trees felled by an axe (Jeremiah 46:22b). The army of Babylon would be so vast that Egypt would be like a forest facing an invasion of locusts (Jeremiah 46:23). Like a daughter raped and disgraced, Egypt would be “delivered into the hand of the people of the north” (i.e., Babylon; Jeremiah 46:24).

Three Reasons for God’s Judgment Against Egypt

Three Reasons for God’s Judgment Against Egypt (Jeremiah 46:25-28)

Egypt would not be spared the wrath of the LORD, for the people were guilty of idolatry. The nation had been led astray by her leaders, and the people placed their trust in evil men (Jeremiah 46:25-26). Yet, though Nebuchadnezzar’s forces would decimate other nations, Egypt would be spared annihilation and remained inhabited (Jeremiah 46:26). Perhaps the explanation for Egypt’s reprieve was the presence of a remnant of Judah that dwelled in that land (Jeremiah 46:26-28).


Closing thoughts for Jeremiah 46 –

The LORD did not forget His wayward people nor set aside His covenant with Israel. The LORD commanded Jeremiah to declare, “Be not dismayed, O Israel…I will save thee from afar off…28Fear 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 [chasten] thee in measure; Yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished” (Jeremiah 46:27-28).

Though despised and hated, the Jewish presence in our world and the existence of Israel as a nation is a powerful testimony to God’s sovereignty. That which He has promised will be fulfilled, for He will keep His covenant with the children of Israel.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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