Jeremiah Chapter 44
Jeremiah 44:1 “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,”
“The word that came”: The unrelenting iniquity of the Jews called for yet another prophecy of judgment on them in Egypt.
“Migdol” may be identified with the Magdali mentioned in the Amarna Tablets of ancient Egypt. “Noph” is a variant of Moph, the Hebrew name of Memphis, the foremost city of lower (or northern), “Egypt”. “Pathros” was a general designation of upper (or southern), Egypt. The Jews apparently dispersed throughout Egypt quickly.
In the last lessons Jeremiah had warned them not to go to Egypt, or the wrath of God would descend upon them. We see they have defied the warnings and went to Egypt anyhow. The names above are just some of the cities in Egypt where they are living. I want to say one more time, Egypt is a type of the world. The message for Christians in this is to stay in the city of God. Do not go back into the world after you are saved.
Verses 2-6: The prophet summarized what had occurred in Judah as a basis for what he predicted coming on the refugees in Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:2 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they [are] a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,”
In which manner, the prophecies of this book are frequently prefaced (see Jer. 42:15).
“Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah”: They saw it with their own eyes; they could not but serve it in their minds. They had an experimental knowledge of it. They suffered it in part themselves, and must be convicted in their own consciences that it was from the hand of the Lord:
“And, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein”: Lie waste, at this very time. The walls are broken down the houses are demolished and the goods in them carried off. There are no inhabitants left, or very few, to rebuild the cities, till the land, and dwell therein.
There was no doubt from even the Chaldeans that this was a judgement of God. God had warned them over and over through Jeremiah to stop worshipping false gods, but they continued their evil ways. God finally poured his wrath out upon his people. Really God was not at fault for this. The people brought it on themselves because of their unfaithfulness.
Jeremiah 44:3 “Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, [and] to serve other gods, whom they knew not, [neither] they, ye, nor your fathers.”
As they were eye-witnesses to the effect, so it was nothing but their unbelief that made them strangers to the cause. For God by his prophets had told them that the great moving cause was their paying a Divine homage to idols. The sin of which is aggravated from this, that they were as much strangers to the idols, as to the people with whom they joined in the worship of them. Neither they nor any of their fathers having had any experimental knowledge of what they had done or could do for such as adored them.
We have spoken so many times in these lessons about the Jews being the wife of God symbolically. The worship of other gods is like an unfaithful wife. This is spiritual adultery. Just as a jealous husband will not tolerate an unfaithful wife, God will not tolerate unfaithfulness from his chosen people. The burning of incense in the temple of God symbolized the rising of the prayers of saints to heaven. You can see why burning incense to false gods would be so bad.
Jeremiah 44:4 “Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them], saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.”
As many as he raised up, and employed in the work and service of prophesying. And these were many. And as many as they were, he sent them, one after another, to warn of their sin and danger. But all to no purpose; which was a further aggravation of their wickedness.
“Rising early, and sending them”: Was very early in his messages to them; gave them timely warning, and let slip no opportunity of admonishing them. And this he did constantly (see Jer. 7:13).
“Saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate”: All sin is abominable in itself, and hateful to God, especially idolatry. And therefore, should not be done. It should be abominable to men, and hateful to them, because it is so to God. And after such a remonstrance as this, to commit it must be very aggravating and provoking.
Jeremiah had not been the only prophet that God had sent to warn them. Jeremiah was one that stayed and prophesied to them for about 40 years. They could not say they were not warned. They did not accept Jeremiah’s message because it was not a message of prosperity. They did not want the truth. They wanted to hear something that would tickle their ears.
Jeremiah 44:5 “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.”
To the prophets sent unto them. They wouldn’t listen to God by the prophets. To the words of his mouth, particularly to the above pathetic reasoning with them. At least, if they heard the words said, they did not attend unto them. They had not such an effect upon them, nor were they concluded upon by them.
“To turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods”: To turn from their sins in general, and from their idolatry in particular. One instance of which is given “incense”, and which is put for the whole of idolatrous worship.
They had ears to hear, but they did not hear. They heard words and did not accept Jeremiah’s warning to them.
Jeremiah 44:6 “Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted [and] desolate, as at this day.”
Like melted metal, scalding lead, liquefied pitch, or anything of a bituminous and sulfurous nature. Which spreads, is consuming, and very intolerable (see Jer. 42:18).
“And was kindled in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem”: Which, like a fire, burnt up and destroyed these cities. Particularly the large and spacious city of Jerusalem.
“And they are wasted and desolate, as at this day”: Now lie in ruins in those days, as may be seen by everyone. The thing is notorious; this was their present case; they had become desolate, and so continue.
They should have learned from the very recent destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. This is another warning to learn from the past. I personally believe that is why it is so important to read the Old Testament as well as the New. The modern Christian can find signs we need to heed. This Scripture says it well.
1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Verses 7, 9-10: Incredibly, after being spared death in Judah, they pursued it by their sin in Egypt.
Verses 7-8: Parents’, idolatry had brought tragic consequences into the lives of their children. Sin often has a multigenerational impact.
Jeremiah 44:7 “Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye [this] great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain;”
What prudence can guide you to do such actions as these, by which you cannot hurt God, but yourselves only? You are now but a few of many. What love have you for your country, in taking courses which will certainly tend to the utter extinction of those few? So as there shall be neither man, nor woman, nor child, nor suckling remaining of all the Jews.
“Therefore” connects this verse to the verse before. Because of their great sin they have willfully committed, God has destroyed Judah. This remnant could have been saved if they would have obeyed the LORD, but they chose to disobey God. They have sinned to the destruction of their own souls.
Jeremiah 44:8 “In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?”
Their sinful actions, particularly their idolatry, by worshipping images, the works of men’s hands. And though it was the queen of heaven they worshipped, which their hands made not, yet it was before images they did that. Besides, the things they did to her were the worlds of their hands, as sacrificing, pouring out drink offerings, and as follows.
“Burning incense”: Which they did, not only to her, but;
“To other gods in the land of Egypt”: Where they were very numerous.
“Whither ye be gone to dwell”: Against the express will and command of God.
“That ye might cut yourselves off”: As from the worship of God. So, from being his people, and from being under his care and protection. And from all privileges temporal and spiritual.
“And that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?” Not that this was their view, and design. But this was the event so it was, that they were looked upon as an accursed people of God and man. And their names were taken up for a proverb and a reproach everywhere.
These were God’s chosen people to bring a blessing upon the entire earth through Abraham.
Genesis 26:4 “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;”
It is such a shame that all nations were to be blessed through them (and in verse 8 above), we see curses by them. They were God’s example on the earth and they have failed.
Jeremiah 44:9 “Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?”
And what judgments it brought upon them. Meaning not their more remote ancestors in the wilderness, and the idolatry they committed, and the punishment inflicted upon them for it. But more near, such who lived a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, and whose sins had brought on that. And therefore, could not be easily forgotten by them. Or, if they were forgotten, it argued great stupidity.
“And the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives”: By whom they were drawn into idolatry, particularly Solomon.
“And your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which you have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?” Where they had built altars, and worshipped strange gods. They, and their wives, as well as those who were carried captive. And which were the cause of all those evils that came upon them. These, being recent things, could not be forgotten by them. Or however should have been remembered, and that so as to have deterred them from going into such practices again, as they now did in Egypt.
This is a very sad thing that they had sinned so much, they did not even recognize the fact that they were sinning. This seems that from the least to the greatest were all caught up in sin. Wives, usually set a standard of righteousness for their families. They teach their children righteousness as well. The sin had gotten so bad, even they were involved.
Jeremiah 44:10 “They are not humbled [even] unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.”
Not contrite under a sense of their sins, nor truly penitent for them. Not humbled before God nor man, so as to acknowledge them, mourn over them, and forsake them. The Targum is, “they cease not unto this day;” that is, from committing the same things. Which shows they had no true humiliation and contrition for them. This is to be understood, not of the Jews in Babylon only, but chiefly of those in Egypt.
“Neither have they feared”: The Lord; neither his goodness nor his judgments. Or served and worshipped him with reverence and godly fear, as became them.
“Nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you, and before your fathers”: A full proof of this that they neither had true repentance for their sins, nor the fear of God in their hearts. For, had they, these would have led them to obedience to the divine will.
They had been a proud, stiff-necked people. They were the opposite of humble.
James 4:6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
God was trying to teach them that to be His children was a daily walk. They must remain faithful to Him.
Verses 11-14: Ironically, the Jews taken to Babylon were weaned from idolatry and restored to their land; those taken to Egypt for their obstinate idolatry, perished there.
Jeremiah 44:11 “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.”
Because of these sins of idolatry, impenitence, and disobedience.
“I will set my face against you for evil”: To bring the evil of punishment upon them, for the evil of sin committed by them. This the Lord determined with himself, and resolved to do. Which the phrase, “setting his face against them”, is expressive of, by way of retaliation for their setting their faces to go down to Egypt. As well as of his wrath and indignation against them.
“And to cut off all Judah”: Not the whole tribe of Judah; not those that were in Babylon. Which were by far the greatest number of that tribe; but those that were in Egypt.
God is a holy God. He cannot look upon sin, without burning it up. This is the situation here. Judah had to be destroyed because of their unrepented sin.
Jeremiah 44:12 “And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, [and] fall in the land of Egypt; they shall [even] be consumed by the sword [and] by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, [and] an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.”
Such as remained of that tribe in the land of Judea after the captivity: but not all of them.
“That have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there”: Who were bent upon going there, notwithstanding all the protests made to them to the contrary. And were gone there, and were now actually sojourners there this describes such persons who willfully, and of their own accord, went there. And makes an exception those who were over-persuaded or over-powered to go along with them.
“And they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt”: Not by natural death, one after another; but by the judgments of God, as follows.
“They shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine”: By the sword of the king of Babylon; and by famine, occasioned by a foreign army and sieges.
“They shall die; from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine”: Which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to express the universality of the destruction. That it should reach to persons of every age, state and condition, rank and degree, young and old, high and low, rich and poor.
“And they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach” (see Jer. 42:18).
God had given them another chance when he destroyed the land of Judah and Jerusalem. They did not learn from the experience. They will now face the same curse of God for their sin as Judah did.
Jeremiah 44:13 “For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:”
Or “visit”; in a way of wrath and vengeance. Meaning not the native inhabitants of Egypt; though these should be punished, and in whose punishment the Jews would be involved. But here it means the Jews that dwelt in Egypt, who went there contrary to the will of God, and settled there.
“As I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence”: Signifying that the same punishment that came upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and other cities of Judea, should come upon these Jews in Egypt. And as sure as they came upon them; even those which they thought to have escaped, by leaving Judea, and going to Egypt.
It seems so strange, if God is going to totally destroy them that He would still be telling them what was coming. I believe even at this point, if they had returned out of Egypt, God would have saved them. God is longsuffering.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Jeremiah 44:14 “So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.”
“For none shall return but such as shall escape”: A small number (verse 28), who fled before the arrival of Babylonian armies were spared.
This is still pleading with them to go back home to where God put them before it is too late. After His wrath falls, it will be too late.
Jeremiah 44:15 “Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,”
“Wives”: The idolatry apparently began with the women.
“Burned incense”: Which was a rite God appointed to be used in his worship. And is here put for the whole of religious worship, which was given to idols by the Jewish women. This their husbands knew of, and winked at, and did not restrain them from it as they should. They seem to be themselves irreligious persons, a sort of atheists, who had no regard for the true God. Nor any other gods, and cared not who were worshipped.
“And all the women that stood by”: The wives of the men that stood by their husbands, and other women that stood and heard Jeremiah’s sermon. And were conscious to themselves of being guilty of what they were charged with by him.
“A great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros”: In that part of Egypt so called, which was Thebais. Here it seems Jeremiah was with that part of the people that took up their residence there. And by this it appears there was a large number of them. Men and women, and who were all become idolaters, or connivers at and encouragers of.
“Answered Jeremiah, saying”: One in the name of, the rest made a reply.
Verses 16-18: The people’s view of reality was so twisted that they believed Josiah’s reforms that had put an end to pagan practices were the cause of the calamity that had befallen them. They were disloyal to the Lord because they were convinced that the pagan gods could protect them in a way that He could not.
Jeremiah 44:16 “[As for] the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.”
Which they did not believe that it came from the Lord, but was a device of the prophet’s, and a lie, (as in Jer. 43:2). And if it did come from the Lord, their impudence was risen to such a pitch, that they were determined not to regard it.
“We will not hearken unto thee”: To thy words; either to thy exhortations, reproofs, or menaces, even though thou comest and speakest in the name of the Lord. This, and what follows, is an unparalleled instance of the pride, obstinacy, enmity, and rebellion of the carnal mind against God.
This is speaking of total rejection of the Word of the LORD. This is just about the worst sin a person can commit. This is total rejection of God’s message. They have openly committed spiritual adultery by burning incense to false gods. The men and the women are guilty.
Verses 17-19: Queen of heaven” (see note on 7:18). The Jews’ twisted thinking credits the idol with the prosperity of pre-captivity Judah, further mocking the goodness of God.
Jeremiah 44:17 “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.”
These daring sinners do not attempt excuses, but declare they will do that which is forbidden. Those who disobey God, commonly grow worse and worse, and the heart is more hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Here is the real language of the rebellious heart. Even the afflictions which should have parted them from their sins, were taken so as to confirm them in their sins. It is sad when those who should quicken each other to what is good, and so help one another to heaven. Harden each other in sin, and so ripen one another for hell. To mingle idolatry with Divine worship, and to reject the mediation of Christ, are provoking to God, and ruinous to men. All who worship images, or honor saints, and angels, and the queen of heaven, should recollect what came from the idolatrous practices of the Jews.
This is just choosing to worship a false god for advantages they think they will receive from them. They chose this evil queen over God. They are not interested in the message Jeremiah brings them from God. They are like the people of our day who want a feel good religion. They are doing whatever is pleasing to their own flesh. They are so blind they do not realize their food came from God. They gave this false goddess credit for providing their food.
Jeremiah 44:18 “But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.”
This form of worship, characterized specially by its offerings of crescent-shaped cakes, would seem to have been the dominant fashion of the idolatry of the time (see Jer. 7:18). The men who felt themselves condemned by the prophet’s words vindicated their line of action. They had practiced this worship of old, and would practice it still. And they set their experience of the prosperity of those past days against the prophet’s picture of the evil that had followed.
“And to pour out drink offerings to her”: Another part of worship they performed to her but for a while left off. And from that time they say:
“We have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword, and by the famine”: Wanted all the necessaries of life, meat and drink, and clothing and a habitation to dwell in. And multitudes were destroyed by the sword of the king of Babylon. And others perished with famine during the siege. These evils they imputed to their cessation from idolatry, when it was the very thing that brought them on them.
They did not realize that the problems they were having now was in punishment for worshipping false gods like the queen of heaven. This queen is like all the idols, she is a nothing. She can do nothing to help them. The worship of this queen would bring nothing but hopelessness. We might take a lesson from this on idolatry. There is only one God. Jesus is the only mediator. To seek help through another would be sin.
Jeremiah 44:19 “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?”
The “queen of heaven” refers to a fertility goddess, either the Babylonian Ishtar of the Canaanite Asherah. Worshippers offered “cakes” in her image to gain her favor and blessing. Women believed these female deities would bless them with the ability to bear children.
This is just explaining that the husbands were in one accord with their wives burning incense to this false queen of heaven. The sad thing in all of this is that I see our society today. The society as a whole has decided to follow the false god of the flesh. You just need to turn on the television for a moment to see this is true. The men and the women are caught up in worship that is not holy but pleasing to themselves.
Verses 20-23: Jeremiah set the record straight, saying the idol was not the source of their prosperity, but it was the cause of their calamity.
Jeremiah 44:20 “Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him [that] answer, saying,”
Immediately, being influenced, directed, and assisted by the Spirit of God. Though what he says, in (Jer. 44:21); he does not declare as coming from the Lord. But what was upon his mind, and was a full refutation of all that had been said. And which he delivered;
“To the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer”: In which they all agreed, though delivered by one. And to which he made a reply.
Jeremiah 44:21 “The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it [not] into his mind?”
To false gods, to the queen of heaven, to the host thereof.
“Ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land”: On which account they pleaded the ancient past, authority, and the general consent of the people, as on their side. Which the prophet allows; but it all signified nothing.
“Did not the Lord remember them, and came it not into his mind?” Either the incense they offered up to strange gods, or the persons that did it? Did he take no notice of these idolatrous practices, and of these idolaters? He did; he laid up these things in his mind. He showed a proper resentment of them, and in due time punished for them.
God is not like man. He does not forget anything. They were not unfaithful just once. It was a way of life with them.
Jeremiah 44:22 “So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, [and] because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.”
Whatever evil comes upon us, it is because we have sinned against the Lord. We should therefore stand in awe, and sin not. Since they were determined to persist in their idolatry, God would go on to punish them. What little remains of religion were among them, would be lost. The creature-comforts and confidences from which we promise ourselves most, may fail as soon as those from which we promise ourselves least. And all are what God makes them, not what we fancy them to be. Well-grounded hopes of our having a part in the Divine mercy, are always united with repentance and obedience.
They had broken the heart of the LORD. He loved them so much, but they did not return His love. An abomination is a revolting sin. The land is desolate because of their sin. The terrible thing about all of this is, I see a picture of our land in this. There is sin and abomination everywhere you look. The very same sins that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for, are present in our land. How long will it be before God cannot bear our unfaithfulness?
Jeremiah 44:23 “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.”
Not to Jehovah, but to the queen of heaven. Which they owned they did, and determined they would. Asserting it was better with them when they did it than when they omitted it. For which reason the prophet particularly mentions it, and assigns it as the cause of the present ruin and destruction of their land, city, and temple.
“And because ye have sinned against the Lord”: By worshipping idols; all sin is against the Lord, but especially idolatry.
“And have not obeyed the voice of the Lord”: By his prophets, who cautioned them against idolatry and reproved them for it. And told them what would be the consequence of it. But this they hearkened not unto, which was an aggravation of their sin.
“Nor walked in his law”: The moral law, according to it; which is a rule of walk and conversation.
“Nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies”: As not in the moral law, so neither in the ceremonial law, and the rites of that, nor in the judicial law. And the testifying of the will of God in either of them.
“Therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day”: That is, the desolation on their land, as in (Jer. 44:23).
This is an indictment on them but also on us. God does not bring punishment on anyone unprovoked. They have deliberately continued to walk in their own ways. They have rebelled against God.
Verses 24-30: Jeremiah’s ministry concludes with the relationship between God and His people still broken, awaiting the future restoration.
Jeremiah repeated the doom (stated in verses 11-14).
Jeremiah 44:24 “Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that [are] in the land of Egypt:”
To all the people in general, and to the women in particular. Who had a principal concern in these idolatrous practices.
“Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt”: All of the tribe of Judah that were in Egypt. Not in Pathros only, but in other parts of Egypt. This distinguishes them from those of Judah that were in Babylon, and in other provinces. And tacitly points at their sin in going to Egypt, which was the leading step to then fresh acts of idolatry they had been guilty of. These are called upon to hear the word of the Lord. What the prophet had said before was what was upon his mind without immediate inspiration. Or as a direct message from the Lord.
The women were specifically mentioned here because they had burned the incense to this false queen of heaven. He reminds them also that they are in Egypt where the LORD had specifically told them not to go.
Jeremiah 44:25 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.”
They think nothing of breaking the vows that they and their fathers had made to God. Jeremiah is saying, you surely will perform your vows to this false queen of heaven. It is implied by him that they would receive their punishment from the LORD. This would be their reward for the evil they had done and said.
Jeremiah 44:26 “Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.”
Seeing you are so fixed and peremptory, God is as resolved as you are. And as you think you must be religious to your wicked vows, so be assured God will be as religious to his oath. Because he can swear by no greater, he hath sworn by himself (Heb. 6:13-17). There shall not any be left of the Jews that are in Egypt, to swear;
“The Lord God liveth”: For it should seem that the Jews yet retained something of the religion of their country, and sware by the name of the living God, according to the precept (Deut. 6:13; 10:20). God threatened there should be none of them left alive to do it. He would not have his holy name polluted by those mouths that had been used to bless idols.
Up until this time, the LORD had not left them, they had left the LORD. He had been still trying to reason with them. Now He is through reasoning with them. There is no greater name than the name of the LORD. The reason that no one will say, “The LORD liveth”, is because they will all die.
Jeremiah 44:27 “Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: 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.”
To bring the evil of punishment upon them, the particulars of which are after mentioned. And not the blessings of goodness, as formerly. And this he would be as careful and diligent to bring about, as one that watches all opportunities to do hurt to another. And it must be dreadful to be under the vigilant avenging eye of God.
“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”: That is, the greatest part of them. Except a few that shall escape, hereafter mentioned, particularly Jeremiah and Baruch. But as for the main body of such, who went of their own accord to Egypt, and settled. And fell into the idolatry of the country. These should all perish one after another, till there were none of them left. Either by the sword of the king of Babylon; or by famine, which his army and sieges would produce. Or by pestilence, though not here mentioned, yet is in (Jer. 44:13).
There is a danger in worshipping false gods. This has never stopped. It seems people would rather believe a lie, than to believe the One True God. There are always false prophets. Every age has had them. The only way not to be deceived by them, is to know the Bible. Be familiar with its Words. Be led by the Spirit of God and not by your flesh. Try every spirit and see whether it is of God or not. Destruction comes to those who wander away from the Truth.
Jeremiah 44:28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs.”
This justifieth the restrained interpretation of none of the remnant (Jer. 44:14). For here it is plainly said that some should escape and return. But for the rest, they should there perish. And by that it would appear whether God’s word or theirs should stand, and have its accomplishment. They are promising themselves security, and God is threatening them with utter ruin and destruction.
It seems this remnant is saved to tell future generations of who really is God. Elijah proved this very thing on Mount Carmel when God destroyed the prophets of Baal. It seems people never learn. God is the only Truth.
Verses 29-30: The “sign” of punishment (was described in verse 30), as the strangulation of Pharaoh-hophra in 570 B.C. by Amasis, which paved the way for Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion in the 23rd year of his reign (568/567 B.C.).
Jeremiah 44:29 “And this [shall be] a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:”
In Egypt, as before threatened; and what follows is a confirming sign that so it would be. And which, when observed by some, gave the hint to them to make their escape. Though others, being hardened in their idolatry, impenitence, and unbelief, continued, and perished.
“That ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil”: Which sign, when they should see, they might assure themselves that the threatenings of evil to them would certainly be accomplished. As sure as they saw the sign given, which is as follows in verse 30.
It is such a shame that they will not learn without the wrath of God being poured out on them. Just as surely as this sign came upon them and destroyed them, there is a wrath awaiting those today who continue to worship false gods. Repent today and follow the One True God. God is loving, but He is also just.
Jeremiah 44:30 “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaoh-hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.”
“Pharaoh-hophra” had fought against Babylon when Jerusalem was under siege (37:5; 47:5; and in 570 B.C.), the Babylonians killed him in battle. Escape to Egypt was not the solution for the Jews who had fled there; their real need was to return to the Lord.
This Hophra had fled to Egypt himself. He was not in the will of the LORD either. The very same thing that happened to Judah and Jerusalem will happen to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem and Judah. This evil pharaoh would do no better. History tells us he was strangled to death after the fall of Egypt.
Jeremiah Chapter 44 Questions
- What had God warned them of in the last lesson?
- They defied the warnings and went to _________ anyhow.
- What are the names in verse 1?
- Verse 2 is explaining to them that they should learn from what?
- What was one of the wicked things they had done mentioned in verse 3?
- These Jews were the ________ of God symbolically.
- Their worship of a false god was like committing ___________ ___________.
- What did the burning of incense in the temple symbolize?
- Who had God sent to warn them?
- Why did they not accept Jeremiah’s message?
- They had ears to hear, but did not _______.
- What happened to Jerusalem?
- This remnant could have been saved, if they had done what?
- Who in the family, was wicked?
- They were a proud, ______________ people.
- Why did Judah have to be destroyed?
- He will punish those in Egypt as He did _________.
- Who are the only ones who will return to the land of Judah?
- What did all the people say to Jeremiah about the Word of God they received from him?
- What is this, really?
- They chose this evil _______ over God.
- Who is the only mediator?
- How did Jeremiah reply to them?
- They were not unfaithful just once, it was a ________ __ ____ with them.
- Who were they keeping their vows to?
- How is the only way to not be deceived?
- What sign did God give them?
- What happens to Egypt?
- What happens to the evil Pharaoh-Hophra?
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