Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning

Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning
Fate of Baruch

But then the Lord presents another fate. In verse 5 he promises a certain fate to Baruch. And he’s going to hear God promise him a fate that is in stark contrast to that of the destruction that’s coming to the world.

Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning
Change in Plans

But before the Lord can contrast his plans for Baruch to his plans for the world, he needs to address Baruch’s own plans for himself – which we discover is something God wants the scribe to change.

5 And seekest thou great things for thyself?
seek them not:

So, this man who has had a family history of ties to royalty – who himself is a smart and maybe even ambitious man – Baruch was seeking great things for himself.

And I do wonder if this scribe was starting to wander from God’s plan for his life. It’s not hard to see how this might be the case.

Baruch takes this job as Jeremiah’s scribe. He writes down a message straight from the prophet who got it from the God of heaven. But then the reaction is humiliating. In fact, now Baruch fears for his own life.

And so, I think it’s easy to imagine that Baruch was regretting his choice of identifying himself with the prophet. In fact, we already saw in this chapter that he was starting to blame God for his life of woe. Maybe he was starting to imagine what life would be like without all the baggage of being identified with the Lord and with Jeremiah.

But God’s simple and straightforward response to this second-guessing scribe is: “STOP IT!” “Don’t seek great things for yourself in this world apart from the Lord!”

Why?

Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning
Reminder of the World’s Fate

Well, here again the Lord reminds Baruch of the fate of this world – which he just told him about a few sentences prior to this.

for, behold, I will bring [evil/disaster] upon all [flesh/humanity], saith the LORD:

So, this judgement and punishment are universal. No one will escape this time of God’s dealing with the world. And again, we’ll see that in greater detail in the next six chapters.

Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning
Baruch’s Fate

But now, God brings it all home for Baruch.

Baruch was seeking things from the world that the world simply couldn’t give – because it was passing away. It was sinking sand. And Baruch was being tempted to leave the solid ground of Submitting to God’s Authority to jump right in to the quicksand of the world around him. What a mistake that would have been.

And so, God encourages Baruch with his fate contrasted to that of the world at the end of verse 5.

but thy life will I give unto thee for a [prey/prize of war] in all places whither thou goest.

And I’d like us to consider what actually happened to Baruch. And we just saw it in the last several chapters as we’ve gone from chapter 36 where Baruch’s very life was being threatened to chapters 42-44 where Baruch was still living – even being accused by the other Jews of stirring up Jeremiah to be against them.

The point is that Baruch heeded this message. And as a result he lived.

In addition, we need to note how Baruch’s life ties in with the last few words of chapter 44, verse 28. There we have God telling the rebellious Jews in Egypt that he’s going to bring Babylon to Egypt, and that as a result they “shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs.”

Well, in the life of Baruch, whose words stood? The Lord’s word to Baruch certainly stood. And in contrast to God’s word standing in chapter 44, here with Baruch, the Lord’s word stood – not for Baruch’s destruction – but for his salvation – his physical deliverance.

So, what we see in verse 5 here is God challenging Baruch to set his sights a little lower. He shouldn’t seek great things in this world. He should seek to be faithful to God and submit to his authority.

If he does – no, he wouldn’t be dealing with “great things” – but “great things” are worthless in a world that is crumbling to bits. “Great things” grow wings and fly away. “Great things” can’t save your life in this world or the next.

But if Baruch submits to God, he would have what hardly any other Israelite had by the time Babylon was through with them. He would have… his life. God would see to it that just as Jeremiah was protected and preserved, just as Ebed-Melech was protected, so too Baruch would be protected from all life-threatening danger.

So, life wouldn’t turn out for Baruch as perhaps he had planned.

He wouldn’t be a prized advisor to the king like his grandfather was to Josiah. And yet Baruch was a helper to the most faithful man in Judah at the time – Jeremiah.

Baruch wouldn’t be a “quiet prince” or a “prince of rest” like his brother Seraiah. But he would receive rest from the Lord – even when almost everyone else around him was being killed.

Baruch wouldn’t receive great things in the crumbling world of his time. But he would serve his great God and the great prophet of that great God. And he would receive the great reward of keeping his life.

And all this – not for being great or trying to achieve greatness – but for simply remaining faithful to the Lord when all others were turning from him.

And if we want to be great and to be successful in this life, we can take this example from Baruch’s life. Don’t seek greatness in this crumbling world. Seek the great God whose kingdom will never crumble and whose faithful covenant love endures forever.

May the Lord encourage us toward this end with this Rebuke to Baruch.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch

Jeremiah 45 Baruch: Let’s examine the subject of this message in Jeremiah 45. His name is Baruch. And we’ve seen him before.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch
What We’ve Already Seen

He witnessed to Jeremiah’s signing of a deed. He wrote and then delivered a message from the prophet. He was accused of stirring Jeremiah up against the people who wanted to go to Egypt.

That’s what we’ve seen of him in the book of Jeremiah so far. But we do have a bit more information on him from both this book and outside of this book.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch
Grandfather a Governor

Chapter 32, verse 12 tells us that Baruch’s grandfather was a man named Mahseiah. Mahseiah was a governor of Jerusalem under king Josiah according to 2 Chronicles 34:8.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch
Brother a Quartermaster

Baruch’s brother was named Seraiah. According to chapter 51, verse 59, Seraiah was a “quiet prince” in the KJV – more likely an official who was in charge of resting places – or a more official sounding title for that position would be “quartermaster.” Someone in charge of sleeping quarters in the palace. So, the point is that he was an official in Zedekiah’s court.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch
Privileged Family

And here’s what we gather from Baruch’s family relations. He came from a family which was privileged with positions in government.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch
Educated Man

And even the fact that Baruch himself was a scribe indicates that he was well educated.

So, Baruch comes from privilege. Let’s keep that in mind as we continue.

Jeremiah 45 Commentary KJV Summary Sermon Baruch

Jeremiah 45 Commentary: As we enter Jeremiah chapter 45 we find ourselves at the end of the main section in Jeremiah that we’ve been recognizing as “The Bitter End of Judah.” That section started in chapter 36 and, as I say, ends here in chapter 45.

We’ll re-cover some of the details from this main section in just a little bit.

But first we’re going to read chapter 45 in its entirety. And then we’ll seek to understand this chapter in detail.

KJV Jeremiah 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.

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Verse 1: Intro

Now, let’s take a closer look at this chapter, starting with the introduction to the chapter in verse 1. Let’s read that one more time.

KJV Jeremiah 45:1 ¶ The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah,

when he [had written/was writing] these words in a book at the [mouth/dictation] of Jeremiah,

in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Change in Time

Let’s try to understand the timeframe we’re working with here in chapter 45.

Here in chapter 45 we’re told that we’re in the fourth year of Jehoiakim.

And that time reference actually brings us all the way back to where we were all the way back in chapter 36. And a lot has happened since chapter 36.

So, let’s review what we’ve seen since studying that chapter.

Chapter 36 is where God commands Jeremiah to have Baruch write all his words on a scroll. That happens in the fourth year of Jehoiakim.

Baruch is then to take that scroll and read it in the Temple because Jeremiah has been banned from the Temple.

Baruch goes to the Temple on a fast day in Jehoiakim’s fifth year according to chapter 36, verse 9 and declares to everyone what Jeremiah has spoken with the Lord’s authority.

King Jehoiakim then hears the message and doesn’t tremble like his father Josiah – but rather he burns the message and seeks to kill Jeremiah and Baruch who have already hidden themselves.

Then chapter 36 ends with Jeremiah dictating more words to Baruch and this time that scroll doesn’t get burned.

Then, moving from chapter 36 to chapter 37 we skip over the last five or six years of Jehoiakim’s reign. We also skip over the three months of Jeconiah’s reign. And finally we land in the reign of the last king of Judah named Zedekiah.

Chapter 37, verse 4 tells us that Jeremiah had not yet been put into prison. But then later on in that chapter in the 11th verse we see Jeremiah being put into prison around the 8th year of Zedekiah’s reign. So, in chapter 37 we’re somewhere around Zedekiah’s 8th year.

Then in chapter 39, Jerusalem is finally taken by Babylon. This happens toward the end of Zedekiah’s 9th year.

Then in chapter 40 we saw the Babylonians place a governor over Judah by the name of Gedaliah. He was appointed over everyone who remained in Judah after the Babylonians exiled or killed most of the Jews. This would have happened a few months or maybe a few years after Babylon invaded Jerusalem.

At that point, Jews who were in hiding started returning to Gedaliah. But then in chapter 41, Ishmael kills Gedaliah and takes the people toward Ammon. But then in that same chapter we see the people rescued by an army officer named Johanan.

They all ask Jeremiah if they should go to Egypt for protection in chapter 42. God tells Jeremiah to tell them to stay in Judah and they disobey the Lord and go to Egypt anyway.

Then the Lord gave the Jews a threat of punishment in chapters 43 and 44.

And then we find ourselves in chapter 45 today with this message for Baruch.

But here’s why we went through all of that. This message in chapter 45 was given all the way back in the time covered in chapter 36 – Jehoiakim’s 4th year. The same year that Baruch wrote the scroll at Jeremiah’s dictation.

So, as far as the timeframe is concerned, what’s recorded in chapter 45 is a flashback all the way back probably around 20 years prior to what we see at the end of chapter 44.

So, that’s the timeframe we’re dealing with in chapter 45.

Jeremiah 45 Baruch Biography

Get more insight on this man named Baruch at our Jeremiah 45 Baruch article.

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Verses 2-5 Message to Baruch

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Verses 2-3 Baruch’s Thoughts

And, so, it’s to this man of privilege that God chooses to speak through Jeremiah starting in verses 2-3.

2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch;

3 Thou didst say,

[Woe is me now/I feel so hopeless/I’m as good as dead]!
for the LORD hath added [grief/sorrow] to my [sorrow/pain/suffering];

I [fainted/am weary/am worn out] [in/with/from] my [sighing/groaning],
and I find no rest.

So, the Lord gives us and Jeremiah and Baruch himself a window into Baruch’s mindset at the time.

Baruch is feeling sorry for himself. Remember, this is being spoken to Baruch right around the time when he had to give a very unpopular message to the king. His family had been apparently very well-thought-of by the royalty of Judah until that point. But as a result of the message that Baruch was going to give to the king he would seek to kill this scribe.

In fact, we might see some hint of Baruch comparing his lot to that of his brother. Remember, we know from chapter 51 that Baruch’s brother Seraiah was a quartermaster or a “quiet prince” or a “prince of rest.” The word translated as “quiet” is the same word we see at the end of verse 3 here. So, perhaps Baruch is looking at his brother who is a “prince of rest” and he looks at his own situation being Jeremiah’s scribe and is saying that his situation is not nearly as restful as even his own brother.

In addition, it wasn’t just the reaction of the king or the comparison of his life to that of his brother that was bothering Baruch. But this scribe who had some smarts was hearing Jeremiah’s message from the Lord and he was seeing that things were going to be getting much worse – not just for him but for his whole country. And this was very concerning for him.

But we see also some assignment of blame to the Lord from Baruch. The Lord knew that in his heart Baruch was saying that God himself was to blame for these realities.

Now, it’s very obvious that God was simply responding to the sin of Baruch’s countrymen. It’s not that God by default enjoys punishing. He does so in response to people’s sins.

But Baruch is blaming God for his sorrow and pain and lack of rest.

So, that’s the Lord pointing out to Baruch that he knows what he’s thinking and what he’s saying.

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Verses 4-5 God’s Response

So then in verses 4 and 5 we have God’s response to Baruch’s thoughts.

Jeremiah 45 Commentary
Verse 4 Fate of the World

To begin, in verse 4, the Lord foretells the fate of the entire world.

4 Thus shalt thou [Jeremiah…] say unto him [Baruch…],

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/earth].

Now, the words “built,” “break down,” “planted,” and “pluck up” are all found in chapter 1, verse 10. There – at the beginning of this book – we read:

KJV Jeremiah 1:10 See, I have this day set thee [Jeremiah…] over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

And so now finally, what God called Jeremiah to do is finally happening.

And the scope of this destruction is definitely over all the land of Judah.

We see proof of that again all the way back in chapter 1. Verse 14 of that chapter says:

KJV Jeremiah 1:14 Then the LORD said unto me [Jeremiah…], Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land [same word as chapter 45, verse 4].

And of course, in chapter 45 we’re simultaneously looking forward to the destruction to come – while at the same time we’re able to look back over the previous several chapters and see that destruction had already come. It came upon the land of Judah.

But, that word “land” (eretz) can also mean “world” – as in the entire world. And interestingly enough, right after this chapter, God will devote six chapters to warning nations all over the world of that time of the destruction that’s coming to them.

So, when God tells Baruch in chapter 45, verse 4 that he’s going to break down and pluck up the whole world – he’s including both Judah and really, the entire inhabited earth.

So, the Lord has Baruch face the fate of the whole world. That fate is destruction.

But Baruch’s fate is much different. Read of it at our Jeremiah 45 5 Meaning article.

Queen of Heaven – Bible, Jeremiah, Verse, Egypt, Goddess, Old Testament

This false deity known as the Queen of Heaven is referred to only in the book of Jeremiah.

Four times her name appears in Jeremiah 44 and then once she’s spoken of in Jeremiah 7. Let’s look at Jeremiah 7:16-20 to remind us of what God has already said of her there.

KJV Jeremiah 7:16 ¶ Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Alright, now back to Jeremiah 44.

 

Jeremiah 44 KJV Commentary Bible Summary Explanation Queen of Heaven

Jeremiah 44 Word Cloud

In Jeremiah 44 we’re going to hear the last words (chronologically in this book) of the people, of Jeremiah, and of God.

God: Jews in Egypt Will Be Punished| 1-14

To begin, in verses 1-14 the Lord has a message to his people who disobeyed him by fleeing Judah and instead going to live in Egypt.

Intro | 1

We have an introduction to this section in verse 1.

KJV Jeremiah 44:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah

concerning all the Jews which [dwell/lived] in the land of Egypt,

which dwell at Migdol,
and at Tahpanhes,
and at [Noph/Memphis],
and in the [country/land/region] of [Pathros/southern Egypt],

saying,

Remember the Destruction of Jerusalem | 2-6

And now God starts his message to the rebellious Jews by telling them in verses 2-6 to remember the destruction of Jerusalem – which they had just experienced only a few months prior to this.

Note Jerusalem’s Current Condition | 3

God begins by having the people take note of Jerusalem’s current condition in verse 2.

2 Thus saith the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all], the God of Israel;

Ye have seen all the [evil/disaster] 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,

The Reason for the Destruction: Idolatry | 3-5

Now, why did God bring this destruction to Jerusalem? In a word, according to verses 3-5, idolatry.

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.

4 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets,
[rising early and sending them/persistently], saying,

Oh, do not this [abominable/disgusting] thing that I hate.

5 But they [hearkened/listened] not,
nor [inclined their ear/pay any attention]

to turn from their wickedness,
to burn no incense unto other gods.

Now, I want us to notice the structure of verses 3-5. Look at how verse 3 begins. It speaks of the people’s “wickedness” and then goes on to say that they burned incense to “other gods.”

Now, note how verse 5 ends. It again speaks of the people’s “wickedness” and then says that they burned incense to “other gods.” See the repetition there?

And in the middle we have this – verse 4 – God speaking and the result in verse 5 of the people not listening. That’s what it comes down to. Idolatry (vv. 3 and 5) was the manifestation of the people not listening to God’s word (v. 4).

  • People’s wickedness / Incense to other gods (v 3)
    • People not listening to God’s word (v 4)
  • People’s wickedness / Incense to other gods (v 5)

Idolatry is a sin which brings God great anger. But it’s just one symptom of not listening to his word.

And for you and I, this dynamic is as true of us as it was of ancient Israel. If there is a problem in our life, most likely it’s due to us not listening to God’s word – not knowing it at all, or not knowing it in its fullness, or maybe we know it but we’re not listening to it – we’re not obeying it.

The Result of Idolatry | 6

And therefore, in verse 6 God points to the result of the people’s idolatry – fueled as it was by their blatant disregard of his word.

6 Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth,
and [was kindled/burned like a fire] in the cities of Judah
and in the streets of Jerusalem;

and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.

And again the structure of verses 2-6 is interesting. We spoke of the structure of verses 3-5:

  • Wickedness/Idolatry
    • Not listening to God’s word
  • Wickedness/Idolatry

Now let’s briefly examine the structure of the broader section in verses 2-5.

Verse 2 speaks of “the cities of Judah” being desolate. Verse 6 then ends with a reminder that “the cities of Judah” are “desolate.”

Why this desolation? Verse 2 – God brought evil or disaster upon the city and nation. And verse 6 – God poured out his fury and anger on the city and nation.

So, then if we were to kind of work from the outside in, verses 2-6 go like this.

The cities of Judah are desolate. This is because God has poured out his anger on them and brought disaster upon them. That’s verse 2 and verse 6.

Why the disaster? It’s due to the people’s wickedness, especially as it related to idolatry. That’s verse 3 and verse 5.

And then at the core of the people’s wickedness and idolatry is their refusal to hear and obey God’s word. That’s verse 4 and a little bit of verse 5.

  • Judah is desolate (v 2)
    • God’s anger and wrath (v 2)
      • The people’s wickedness and idolatry (v 3)
        • The people didn’t listen to God’s word (v 4)
      • The people’s wickedness and idolatry (v 5)
    • God’s anger and wrath (v 6)
  • Judah is desolate (v 6)

And notice one thing the Lord says about the people’s refusal to hear and obey his word. Back in verse 4, the Lord says that the people refused to hear “the prophets.” So, who was speaking this message of rebuke to the people? A prophet – Jeremiah. And I think what the people should have caught is that this refusal to listen to God through ignoring his prophets was not simply a matter of historical significance. It wasn’t simply that their fathers refused to hear the prophets. But actually they themselves were following in the footsteps of their rebellious ancestors.

You Have Not Learned from Their Lesson | 7-10

And that’s the conclusion that the Lord brings to their attention in verses 7-10. He tells them that they have not learned the lesson of verses 2-6. They have not learned from the destruction of Jerusalem.

7 Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel;

Wherefore commit ye this great [evil/harm] against your souls,
to cut off from you man and woman,
child and [suckling/baby], out of Judah,

to leave you none to remain;

8 [In that ye/Why do you?/That is what will happen as you] 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?

Now, once more I think the structure of verses 7 and 8 is worth noting.

Let me make a little defense of what we’re doing. Sometimes – especially in the prophets – God says something and then he moves to something else and then he comes right back to what he previously said.

And we can think that perhaps he’s wasting space or being needlessly redundant. But God doesn’t waste anything and he’s not redundant – at least, not needlessly so.

What he does sometimes is actually structure his speech so that what he says at the beginning matches what he says at the end. Then what he says after the beginning statement matches what he said right before the last statement. And on and on until you reach the middle. And often right there in the middle is what God wants to focus on.

So, look for this kind of thing as you’re reading the prophets. When you don’t understand why God is not simply stating what he’s saying, perhaps it’s because he is encoding his message in this manner.

So, moving on to the structure of verses 7 and 8…

Verse 7 begins with God calling the Jews’ attention to the fact that they are harming themselves. They are committing great evil against their own souls.

Then to end verse 8 God again calls attention to them cutting themselves off. So, self-harm is what the Lord is telling them that they’re engaged in.

Well, what is leading to the people causing harm to themselves? The middle of those two verses and the beginning of verse 8 — Idolatry is the way in which these people are bringing about their own destruction.

And that’s interesting because I thought the issue was that they disobeyed God and went to Egypt. But what we start to get the hint of here in these verses now is that these people – yes, disobeyed God by going to Egypt. But even worse – they were actually worshiping false gods there in Egypt.

And in this way, these people who fled to Egypt are no different from their ancestors, according to verses 9 and 10.

9 Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your [fathers/anscestors],
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?

10 They are not humbled even unto this day,
neither have they [feared/revered me],
nor walked in my law,
nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.

And primarily, the form that their wickedness took on was idolatry. That’s clear from the great emphasis we’ve seen on that sin throughout this entire book.

So I Will Need to Punish You Like I Punished Them | 11-14

And so, because the Jews currently in Egypt were no different in their idolatrous behavior than their ancestors in Judah who ended up being punished by God, the Jews in Egypt will also meet that same fate, according to verses 11-14.

11 ¶ Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Behold, I [will set my face against you/am determined] for [evil/harm/disaster],
and to [cut off/destroy] all Judah [here in Egypt…].

12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that [have set their faces/were determined] to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there,

In other words, God would set his face against those who set their faces against his will.

and they shall all be consumed,
and fall in the land of Egypt;

Well, how will they be consumed?

they shall even be consumed [by the sword/in battle] and by [the famine/starvation]:

And, what does it mean to be consumed by these things?

they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine:

and they shall be an [execration/oath],
and an [astonishment/horror],
and a curse,
and a [reproach/taunt].

Now, at this point, God is going to back up and restate what he just said – just in case they didn’t get it.

13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem,
by [the sword/war], by [the famine/starvation], and by [the pestilence/disease]:

So, the crime of the Jews in Egypt is the same as that of the Jews in Judah and therefore their punishment will be the same.

And just like there was only a tiny remnant of Jews that escaped the punishment doled out in Judah, so too there would only be a few that would escape the punishment in Egypt.

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/or] 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/except some fugitives].

And that ends God’s message to the Jews in Egypt. They are idolatrous and have not obeyed God’s word. Therefore, God will need to punish them just like he punished their ancestors in Judah who were themselves idolatrous and disobedient to the word.

Jews: We Will Keep Disobeying | 15-19

Well, how do the Jews respond to a message like that?

Basically, they tell Jeremiah that they intend to keep disobeying God’s word – particularly by continuing their idolatry.

Intro |15

Verse 15 sets the scene.

15 ¶ Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods,
and all [the women/their wives] that stood by,

a great [multitude/assembly], even all the people that dwelt in the land of [northern…] Egypt, in [southern…] Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

So, there’s this great idolatrous multitude that were present and heard this message from Jeremiah. They are scattered all over Egypt – northern and southern (Pathros) Egypt – as we saw earlier in this chapter.

The idolatrous men and their idolatrous wives are there.

And here’s what they say.

We Won’t Obey | 16-17a

In a word – “We won’t obey!” verses 16-17.

16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD,
we will not hearken unto thee.

17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing [goeth forth out of our own mouth/we have vowed],
to burn incense unto the [goddess called the…] queen of heaven,
and to pour out drink offerings unto her,

as we have done,
we,
and our [fathers/ancestors],
our kings,
and our princes,

in the cities of Judah,
and in the streets of Jerusalem:

For more information on this demon whom the people worshiped in Egypt, see my article on the Queen of Heaven.

Now, God through Jeremiah had just reminded the people of the evil they all did in the cities of Judah and streets of Jerusalem. But now these people turn around and pretend as if what they did in those cities and in those streets were a commendable thing.

What darkness. What blindness. God had just clearly told them in this chapter of their problem and the destruction that their problem caused. Back in Jeremiah 7 he warned them of what would happen as they continued to worship this idol known as the Queen of Heaven. The Jews therefore had God’s sure testimony on the matter. And yet, they turn right around and deny it. They refuse to obey.

Why?

And Here’s Why | 17b-19

They are going to tell Jeremiah why they will continue to disobey the Lord in verses 17-19.

Disobedience to God Brings Blessings | 17b-18

First, in verses 17 and 18 the people have a selective – and really warped – memory when it comes to reality. And so they declare that disobedience to God brings blessings – at least it did in the old days, they say.

for then [when they were committing idolatry…] had we plenty of [victuals/food], [I guess they forgot that whole matter of the bread running out and of the famine and such…]
and [were well/prospered/were well-off],
and saw no [evil/disaster/troubles]. [Could it be that they actually forgot that whole matter of Babylon invading them and destroying most of what they knew?…]

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/lacked] all things,
and have been consumed by [the sword/war] and by [the famine/starvation].

This is the kind of response that at first makes me laugh. It is so utterly ridiculous that my reaction is laughter.

It’s as if I were standing here and telling you that my hair is red (it’s actually brownish/black). And I did it with a straight face. And you told me, no, your hair is brownish-black. And I just wasn’t getting it at all.

It’s just like that, only the consequences are so much higher. The offense to the God who knows reality is so much higher.

God was angry at them for their sin against him. And he’s trying to tell them what they did wrong so that they can correct their ways. But they are just at this point utterly refusing to listen to him. They don’t want to change. They want him to change.

And all of this is leading them to have a completely warped sense of reality and really what the New Testament would call “reprobate” minds. They now have minds that are incapable of telling right from wrong. And this has come because of their chronic disobedience to God.

So, they are saying “Disobedience to God Brings Blessing!” Whereas the reality that God constantly held out for them was the exact opposite – “Obedience to God Brings Blessing.

We Must Obey Men Rather Than God | 19

Then in verse 19 they continue to churn out more garbage from their reprobate minds and they say this: “We Must Obey Men Rather Than God!

19 And [the women added…] 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/husbands’ full knowledge and approval]?

In other words, “Come on! We’re being submissive wives. We’re doing right. Our husbands were totally in favor of us doing this. We’ve gone through the proper channels.

As if somehow obeying men – the idolatrous husbands in this case – were more important than obeying God.

These people are showing that their priorities are all wrong. Instead of saying with the apostle Peter and the other apostles “We must obey God rather than men,” these people are demonstrating a heart that says “We must obey men rather than God.

And so, there we have it – the Jews respond to God’s warnings by digging in their heels and really doubling-down on their disobedience.

Jeremiah: Jews in Egypt Will Be Punished Like Their Ancestors | 20-30

So, you wonder, what’s left for God to do but simply repeat to them exactly what he’s said before?

It reminds me of a situation at work this week. Part of my job is to manage students’ financial accounts at Maranatha Baptist University.

And if they don’t pay when they need to then I need to follow established University policy in whatever next step there may be.

This week there was a student who was arguing with me about why a particular charge shouldn’t apply to him. Now, that charge applies to everyone in his situation, but he was trying to get out of paying it. And by the way, that student is not in our church!

And he kept offering new arguments as to why he shouldn’t pay. And then I would respond with reasons why he should pay the few hundred dollars and what that money is spent toward and such.

But finally I just said something like, “I look forward to receiving your payment” and ended it with that.

Now, I’m not saying that the student was like the rebellious Jews. I am not saying that I am perfect like God. But what I am saying is that at some point when authority makes a pronouncement and the people receiving that announcement continually and positively argue the pronouncement, eventually all that the authority can do is to restate what he’s already said.

And that’s just what we see in the rest of Jeremiah 44.

Intro | 20

Verse 20 sets the scene.

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,

Jeremiah: God Punished Your Ancestors for Doing What You’re Doing | 21-23

And what God does in verses 21-23 is – once again – he reiterates that the Jews’ ancestors weren’t punished for not serving the Queen of Heaven, but rather they were punished by God for that very idolatry – the exact opposite of what they were saying.

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?

22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings,
and because of the [abominations/disgusting things] which ye have committed;

therefore is your land a desolation,
and an astonishment,
and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.

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/disaster] is happened unto you, as at this day.

So, God here sets the record straight. Sin against God has resulted in the trouble they’re experiencing.

God (though Jeremiah): Keep Sinning, But I Will Repay | 24-30

But God knows their hard and stubborn hearts. And so the Lord ends this chapter speaking to the Jews through Jeremiah and telling them that they can keep on sinning – but that God will repay.

24 ¶ Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people,
[and/particularly] to all the women,

Hear the word of the LORD,
all Judah that are in the land of Egypt:

25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying;

[Ye and your wives/You women] 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/well, then!] accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.

By the way, this is holy sarcasm.

What is sarcasm? Sarcasm is using irony to mock or convey contempt.

Well then, what is irony? Irony is expressing meaning by using language that usually signifies the opposite.

It is ironic that God is telling the people to perform their vows to the Queen of Heaven. Why? Because God certainly does not want them worshiping this false god. But God is expressing meaning by using language that conveys the opposite of what he’s actually wanting. He says in effect, “worship that false god.” But what he’s actually expressing – what he actually means – is “Don’t worship that false god!”

And it’s sarcastic because he’s using that irony but going one step beyond that in a way that conveys mockery and contempt for the people.

Maybe it bothers you that God mocks and conveys contempt for these people. But it shouldn’t. God has been very patient with these people for centuries. We have problems being patient with people for a few minutes.

But anyway, God is using holy sarcasm here. He’s telling the people to worship idols, when it’s very obvious that that is the farthest thing from what he wants. He wants them to worship him alone.

But since they’re so bent on idolatry, he goes on to tell them once more of what he’s going to have to do to them starting in verse 26.

26 [Therefore/But] 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/invoked in oaths] in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying,

[As surely as…] The Lord GOD liveth.

So, no Jew in Egypt will ever again use the Lord’s name in an oath. Why is that? Because he will destroy them all as he says in verse 27.

27 Behold, I will watch over them for [evil/disaster], and not for [good/prosperity]:

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.

The idea is — it’s difficult for dead men to make oaths. So, God will stop these rebels from taking his name in a vain manner by killing them.

But just like with the destruction of Jerusalem, so to in Egypt there will be a small remnant, according to verse 28.

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/prove true], mine, or theirs.

So, talk is cheap. There’s been talk from God and talk-back from the people. But in the end, when God would bring Babylon to invade Egypt and destroy the Jews there, then God’s words will have been backed up by his actions.

And an unmistakable sign that God’s words are absolutely true will be seen when Nebuchadnezzar comes and defeats the Pharaoh of Egypt, according to verses 29 and 30.

29 And [this shall be a sign unto you/I will make something happen to prove to you that…], 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/harm]:

30 [Thus saith/I x promise] the LORD; Behold, I will give [Pharaohhophra/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 Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.

So, there we have it. The bitter end of the bitter end of Judah. Now, there is a brief flashback in the next chapter that we’ll deal with next time. But here in Jeremiah 44 we see the last recorded words of Jeremiah. We see the last recorded words of the people. And the last recorded words of God – if we’re speaking chronologically and limiting ourselves to this book.

Even in the section that comes after this one – where God foretells of the disaster to come upon the nations of that time, the words spoken apparently came before the events we just witnessed here. And of course, the events recorded in Jeremiah 52 are later than this time, but there are no words spoken there.

The point is that this chapter is a snap-shot frozen in time of the Jews’ awful rebellion against their God. How hopeless. What they need is what we heard about in Jeremiah’s Book of Encouragement – they need a new heart and they need a good leader – David’s son the Messiah.

But he hadn’t come yet. And this is what happens apart from Jesus – rebellion and destruction.

Next time Lord-willing we’ll hear a message given to Baruch in Jeremiah 45.