Jeremiah 48 Commentary

Moab (48:1-20)

Now, for the entirety of chapter 48 – all 47 verses of it! – we have God’s message of judgement for Moab.

Intro (48:1a)

We’re given an introduction to this message at the beginning of verse 1.

48:1 ¶ Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Now, Moab was the country on the south-east side of the Dead Sea. When Israel came up from Egypt they passed through Moab. But God didn’t allow them to attack that nation.

Genesis 19 tells us that Moab was the result of an incestuous relationship between Lot – who was Abraham’s nephew – and Lot’s oldest daughter. As awful as the truth is, both she and her younger sister had children “by their father” – or in Hebrew “me aviy nu” (מֵאָבִ֖ינוּ). And that’s perhaps how Moab got his name – in Hebrew “mow av” (מוֹאָ֑ב).

At any rate, this nation – that was known by the name of their ancestor Moab – started off being obedient to Babylon. As recent as 598 BC they sent bands of men to harass Jehoiakim on Babylon’s behest. But then about 4 years later in 594 BC we see emissaries from Moab visiting Zedekiah king of Judah when plans for revolt against Babylon were being discussed – according to Jeremiah 27:3.

So, at some point, Moab went from obedience to Babylon to rebellion. And whatever the time frame for that happening – the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus tells us that Babylon conquered Moab in 582 BC.

But before any of that happened, God was going to predict that he was sending Babylon to destroy Moab.

Doom for Northern Cities (48:1b-2)

And because that was the case, Babylon would of course be coming from the north. That’s why we see in verses 1 and 2 doom pronounced for a few of the cities in the north of Moab.

[Woe unto/Sure to be judged is] Nebo!
[for/indeed] it [is/will be] [spoiled/laid waste/destroyed]:

Kiriathaim [is/will] [confounded/put to shame/suffer disgrace] and [taken/captured]:
[Misgab/Its fortress] [is/will] [confounded/put to shame/suffer disgrace] and [dismayed/broken down/be torn down].

Both of these cities – Nebo and Kiriathaim – are north of the Arnon River – which is about half way up the Dead Sea on the east side. These two cities north of the Arnon were in an area that originally belonged to Moab. But then Sihon took it from Moab. And finally it was conquered by Israel and given to the tribe of Reuben. Israel ended up losing possession of this land as they kept growing weaker and so at this point it’s very likely that Moab regained possession of these cities and this land north of the Arnon.

2 There shall be no more [praise/renown] of Moab:

in Heshbon they [have devised/planned] [evil/disaster] against it;

[Saying…] [“] come, and let us [cut it off from being a/put an end to that] nation. [”]

Now, Heshbon is another one of these cities in the north of Moab. It – like the other two cities mentioned before — used to belong to Moab. But Heshbon was actually taken by Sihon to be his capital according to Numbers 21:26-30. Then when Israel came in to the land they assigned Heshbon to Reuben. And then they lost it and finally Moab was in possession of it once more.

Doom for Southern Cities (48:2b-5)

So, the destruction that would start in those northern cities would not stop there. The destruction – according to verses 2 through 5 would spread down into the southern cities of Moab.

Also thou shalt be [cut down/brought to silence/destroyed], O [City of…] Madmen [מַדְמֵ֣ן];
[the sword/a destructive army] [shall pursue/will march against] thee.

3 [A voice of crying/Cries of anguish] shall be from Horonaim,

[“] [spoiling/desolation/oh, the ruin] and great destruction. [”]

4 Moab [is destroyed/will be crushed];
her little ones [have caused a cry to be heard/have made a cry/will cry out in distress].

5 For [in the going up/at the ascent] of Luhith [continual weeping shall go up/they go up weeping];
for [in the going down/at the descent] of Horonaim [the enemies/they] [have heard/will hear] [a cry of destruction/the distressed cry/the cries of distress].

Now, we don’t know exactly where Horonaim and Luhith were located from archaeology. But Isaiah 15:5 associates these two cities with a city called Zoar. Zoar was in southern Moab – at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. It’s where Lot and his daughters fled from the destruction of Sodom. Since that’s the case these other two cities were probably also in the south of Moab.

Flee Before Defeat Comes to gods and Kings (48:6-7)

Now, in light of this destruction that will start in the north and work its way down south, Moab is urged to flee before defeat comes to both their kings and their false god. We see this alert issued in verses 6 and 7.

6 [They will hear…] [Flee/Run], save [your lives/yourselves!],
[and/even if you must] be like [the/a lonely] [heath/juniper/shrub] in the [wilderness/desert].

7 For because thou [Moab…] hast trusted in [thy works/the things you do] and in thy [treasures/riches],
thou shalt also be [taken/conquered]:

And [your god…] Chemosh (כְמוֹשׁ) shall go forth into [captivity/exile]
with his priests and his [princes/officials] together.

Now, Chemosh (כְמוֹשׁ) was the god of Moab. Part of his worship involved child sacrifice. Solomon introduced his worship into Israel and Josiah was the one to finally snuff it out.

But not only would this false god be eradicated from Israel, but he would be exiled from his home nation of Moab. We’ve already seen God promise in chapter 43 that Egypt’s gods would be carried off into exile. So this seemed to be a regular practice of victorious armies of those days – to carry off the patron gods of the lands they conquered.

No Town Spared (48:8)

Now, when this defeat came for Moab, no town would be spared. That’s what God says in verse 8.

8 And the [spoiler/destroyer] shall come [upon/against] every [city/town],
and no city shall escape:

the [towns in the…] valley also shall [perish/be destroyed],
and the [cities on the high…] plain shall be [destroyed/laid waste],

as the LORD hath spoken.

Flight for Moab (48:9)

And because no town would be spared the effects of the Babylonian invasion, the Lord commands an unknown character to give wings to Moab so it can flee in verse 9.

9 [Give wings unto/Set up a gravestone for] Moab,
[that/for] it [may/will certainly] [flee and get away/fly away/be laid in ruins]:

for the cities thereof shall be desolate,
without any to dwell therein.

Curse for Slackness (48:10)

And God is so intent on destroying Moab with its detestable idol Chemosh that he issues a curse to any Babylonian who doesn’t destroy Moab with the utmost zeal and violence in verse 10.

10 ¶ Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD [deceitfully/with slackness/with laxness],
and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from [blood/bloodshed/carrying out his destruction].

Moab Like Wine (48:11-12)

Next in verses 11 and 12 the Lord compares Moab to old wine whose dregs have settled to the bottom.

11 Moab hath [been at ease/lived undisturbed] from [his youth/its earliest days],
and [he/its people] [hath settled/are like wine allowed to settle undisturbed] on [his/its] [lees/dregs],

and hath not been [emptied/poured out] from [vessel/one jar] to [vessel/another],
neither hath he gone into [captivity/exile]:

therefore his taste remained [the same…] in him,
and his scent is not changed.

And for those of us who don’t know much about wine production – which I trust is most of us – the picture painted here is that Moab had never been exiled and therefore was complacent and had never changed his evil ways.

Continuing the wine motif…

12 ¶ Therefore, behold, the days [come/are coming], [saith/declares/affirms] the LORD, that I will send unto him [wanderers/pourers/ones who will empty out Moab], that shall [cause him to wander/pour him], and shall empty his [vessels/towns of their people], and break their [bottles/jars in pieces/towns].

Moab Ashamed of Idol (48:13)

And when these pourers come to pour out the old sediment-filled bottle of wine that Moab had become – that is to say, by exiling them – then Moab would finally be ashamed of their awful idol Chemosh according to verse 13.

13 And Moab shall be [ashamed of/disappointed by their god] Chemosh,
as the house of Israel was [ashamed/disappointed] of [the calf god at…] Bethel [their confidence/which they trusted].

So, Moab would be ashamed of Chemosh when Babylon came to destroy them. They discovered that their false god was unable to deliver them. In fact, the God of Israel whom they had been rejecting for so long was right all along. And when they were being exiled they would see that.

Moab’s Weak Warriors (48:14-15)

And not only would Moab’s idol be seen as weak as it truly was – but also the weakness of the Moabite warriors would be abundantly evident when Babylon came to destroy them. Verses 14 and 15.

14 How say ye [men of Moab…],

We are [mighty/heroes] and [strong/mighty] men [for the/of/in] [war/battle]?

15 Moab [is spoiled/will be destroyed], and gone up out of her cities,
and his [chosen/choicest/finest] young men are gone down to the slaughter,

saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

Moab’s Swift Destruction (48:16)

And with otherwise strong warriors made weak, Moab’s destruction would be swift according to verse 16.

16 The [calamity/destruction] of Moab is near [to come/at hand],
and his [affliction/disaster] [hasteth/will come on] [fast/swiftly/quickly].

Call to Moab’s Neighbors (48:17)

So, with Moab’s swift destruction in view, God calls out to all his neighbors – who benefited from him – to take note of his destruction and lament. Verse 17.

17 All ye that [are/live] [about/around] him [Moab…], [bemoan/grieve for/mourn for] him;
and all ye that know his [name/fame], say,

[How/Alas!] is the [strong/mighty] [staff/scepter] broken,
and the [beautiful/glorious] [rod/staff]!

In the context it seems like the staff and rod spoken of here is referring to Moab’s support of those neighbors around him that had come to rely on Moab’s help. That’s why these nations are pictured as crying out and mourning Moab’s destruction – because Moab helped them.

Proud Humbled (48:18)

Verse 18 continues by stating that the proud people of Moab would be humbled when Babylon finally exiled them.

18 [Thou daughter that dost inhabit/O inhabitant of/You who live in] Dibon,
come down from thy [glory/place of honor], and sit [in/on] [thirst/the dry ground];

This city known as Dibon was on what’s called the “King’s Highway.” That’s the road that goes north-south in the east side of the Dead Sea. It still exists today, actually. And I was on it!

for the [spoiler/destroyer] of Moab shall [come upon/come up against/attack] thee,
and he shall destroy thy [strong holds/fortifications].

The News Spreads (48:19-20)

And  we see in verses 19 and 20 that news of Moab’s destruction will spread.

19 O inhabitant of Aroer,
stand by the [way/road], and [espy/watch];

[ask/question] [him/the man] [that/who] fleeth,
and [her/the woman] that escapeth,

and say,
What [is/has] [done/happened]?

20 [They will answer – Here’s where the news is spreading…] Moab is [confounded/put to shame/disgraced];
for it is [broken down/broken/fallen]:

[howl/wail] and [cry/cry out in mourning];
[tell ye it/announce] [in/beside the/along the] Arnon [River…],
that Moab [is/has been] [spoiled/laid waste/destroyed],


Judgement Upon All the Cities | 21-24

Verses 21-24 foretell judgement upon all the cities of Moab.

KJV Jeremiah 48:21 ¶ And judgment [is/will/has] come upon the [cities of the…] [plain country/high plain];
upon Holon,
and upon Jahazah,
and upon Mephaath,

22 And upon Dibon,
and upon Nebo,
and upon Beth[-]diblathaim,

23 And upon Kiriathaim,
and upon Beth[-]gamul,
and upon Beth[-]meon,

24 And upon Kerioth,
and upon Bozrah,
and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.

And sometimes the order in which the Lord lists these cities that he’s denouncing is significant because it follows some sort of linear geographical pattern. Usually in that case they’d go from north to south.

But in this case with these 11 city names the significance is in the fact that their order is totally scattered. If you try to follow these city names on a map as you’re reading you’ll see that they’re all over the place within the borders of Moab.

And I think that’s the point. Like the last phrase of verse 24 says – “all the cities” – “far or near.” In other words, it doesn’t matter where these cities are. They’re all in for God’s judgement.

Moab’s Power Destroyed | 25

And with all of these cities being the target of God’s destruction through the nation of Babylon, Moab’s power will be destroyed, according to verse 25.

25 The [horn/mighty] of Moab [is cut off/will be crushed],
and [his arm/its power] is broken,

[saith/declares/affirms] the LORD.

In the Scripture, horns and arms are often figurative of power. And that’s the case here in this verse as well. The power of Moab – his horn, his arm – will be destroyed.

Contemptible Drunkenness as a Punishment | 26

And God goes on in verse 26 to picture this destruction of Moab’s power as if Moab were a contemptible drunk person.

26 ¶ Make ye him drunken [with the wine of my wrath…]:
for he [magnified himself/vaunted himself/has become arrogant] against the [Me…] LORD:

[With the following result…] Moab also shall [wallow/splash around] in his vomit,
and he also shall be [in derision/a laughingstock].

So, Moab will drink from the cup of God’s wrath with the result that they will be like a drunk. Out of control, helpless, contemptible.

Moab’s Past Contempt for Israel | 27

Contemptible… Sort of like the contempt that the nation of Moab had for Israel so many years previous to this time when Israel was sent into Exile. That contempt of Moab for their neighbor Israel is what God reminds them of in verse 27.

27 For was not Israel a [derision/laughingstock] unto thee [Moab…]?
was he found [by you…] [among/to be nothing but] thieves?

for [since/every time] thou spakest of him,
thou [skippedst for joy/shake your head in contempt and scorn].

What goes around comes around. When Israel was going through their chastening Moab was full of scorn and contempt for them.

But now it’s Moab’s turn to suffer punishment. And just as they scorned Israel and held that nation in contempt, so too now they would be contemptible in the eyes of other nations.

Moab to Flee Like a Dove | 28

And since destruction is coming to Moab, they are encouraged to flee like a dove in verse 28.

28 O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell [in/among] the [rock/cliffs/crags],
and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of [the hole’s mouth/a ravine/the mouth of the chasm].

The point of the simile is inaccessibility. Make yourself inaccessible, Moab! Because Babylon is coming!

Proud Idle Wrath | 29-30

As we continue, verses 29 and 30 reveal to us one reason that God was going to judge and punish Moab. It’s their proud but idle wrath.

29 [We/I, the Lord] have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud)
his loftiness,
and his arrogancy,
and his pride,
and the haughtiness of his heart.

30 I know his [wrath/fury], saith the LORD; but it [shall not be so/is futile];
his [lies/idle boastings] shall [not so effect it/prove to be false/accomplish nothing].

So, Moab’s proud wrath would prove to be idle when God’s appointed punisher would come and exile them.

Mourning for Moab | 31-33

And now, something happens that we might not expect. God – who is bringing this punishment to Moab – now gives a mournful lament for Moab in verses 31-33.

And two aspects of Moab are mourned for in those verses. First for the humans. And then for the produce of the land.

For People | 31

Verse 31 is where the Lord laments for the people of Moab.

31 Therefore will I [howl/weep with sorrow/wail] for Moab,
and I will cry out [in sadness…] for all Moab;
mine heart shall [mourn/moan] for the men of Kir[-]heres.

So, the same all-powerful and sovereign being who is bringing the punishment on Moab is also grieving because of their destruction. He’s punishing, but he’s also lamenting.

Would we expect anything else from the God who created a good world with good people – which was then marred by the sin of those people — which called for him to curse that formerly-good world with the formerly good people?

God will punish. But we shouldn’t be surprised when he grieves for having to punish. It’s like Jesus who lamented over Jerusalem – precisely because he was going to have to send punishment to them for rejecting him as their Messiah.

So, God grieves over having to punish Moab – especially their people.

For Produce | 32-33

And then verses 32 and 33 is where the Lord laments for the produce of Moab.

32 O [vine/grapevines] of Sibmah [northeast point of the Dead Sea, Mt. Pisgah…], I will weep for thee [with the weeping of Jazer/like town of Jazer weeps over them] [Jazer – northeast of Sibmah…]:
[thy plants/their branches/your tendrils] [are gone/once spread/stretched] [over/as far as/across] the [Dead…] sea [to the west…], they [reach/reached] even [to/as far as] the [sea/town] of Jazer [northeast…]:

The branches are pictured as spreading far to the west and to the north. Perhaps this is as far as those grapes or the wine produced by them traveled. The point is then that the produce of Sibmah was enjoyed by many throughout Moab.

But that was going to change when Babylon came…

the [spoiler/destroyer/Babylon] [is fallen upon/will ravage] thy [summer fruits/figs, dates,]
and upon thy [vintage/grape crop].

33 And joy and gladness [is taken/will disappear] from the [plentiful/fruitful] [field/land], [and from the land of/that is] Moab;

and I have caused wine to [fail/cease/cease flowing] from the winepresses: none shall tread with [joyful…] shouting; their [will be…] shouting [of soldiers…] [shall be no/not] shouting [of grape treaders…].

So, there we have God lamenting the produce of Moab.

He grieves for having to destroy both the people and the produce of Moab. And yet, punish he must.

News Spreads from North to South | 34

Now, in verse 34 we’ll see something similar to what we’ve seen before. God says that news of Moab’s destruction – while the destruction is in progress – will go from north to south.

34 ¶ From the [cry/outcry/cries of anguish] of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they [uttered/raised] their voice, [north…]

from Zoar even unto Horonaim, [as an/and to] [heifer of three years old/Eglath-shelishiyah]: [south…] for the waters [also/even] of Nimrim shall [be/become] [desolate/dried up].

The waters on Nimrim may have been a stream either in the north or south of Moab. Perhaps Babylon would have stopped up that stream when it came invading from the north in order to pass through on dry ground – in which case those waters of Nimrim would be in the north.

News of that would start where that occurred – in the north (Heshbon, Elealeh, Jahaz) and travel south as those people fled to Zoar, Horonaim, and Eglath-Shelishiyah.

Destruction for Moab and His Worship | 35

Then in verse 35, God wants to point to a particular element of Moab that he wished to destroy. He wanted to destroy their worship of false gods.

35 Moreover I will [cause to cease/make an end/put an end] [in/to] Moab,
[saith/declares/affirms] the LORD,

[to…] him that [offereth/makes offerings/offers sacrifice] [in/on/at] [the high places/her places of worship],
and him that burneth incense to his gods.

So, in addition to their pride, God is here pointing to Moab’s idolatry as a reason behind his punishing them.

More Mourning for Moab | 36-39

Next, in verses 36-39 there are three entities portrayed as mourning for Moab’s destruction – God (or perhaps Jeremiah), Moab itself, and then Moab’s neighboring nations, in that order.

From God/Jeremiah? | 36

First, God or Jeremiah mourns the destruction of Moab in verse 36.

36 Therefore mine heart [shall sound/moans] for Moab like [pipes/a flute playing a funeral song],
[and/yes] mine heart [shall sound/moans] like [pipes/a flute playing a funeral song] for the men of Kir[-]heres:

because the [riches/wealth/abundance] that he [hath gotten/it produced] [are perished/is lost].

Now, according to Isaiah 15:7, this “riches” (same word, found only in this passage and the one in Isaiah) were carried over a brook as the Moabites tried to escape Babylon. That’s at least one way in which Jeremiah here can say they “perished.”

So, that’s Jeremiah’s lament or perhaps God’s lament for Moab’s lost riches.

From Moab | 37-38

Then in verses 37 and 38 we have a lament for Moab from Moab itself.

37 ¶ For every head shall be bald [in mourning…],
and every beard [clipped/cut off] [to show their sorrow…]:

upon all the hands shall be [cuttings/gashes],
and upon the loins sackcloth.

38 There shall be lamentation [generally/everywhere] upon all the housetops of Moab,
and in the [streets/public squares] thereof:

for I have broken Moab like a [vessel/jar] [wherein is no pleasure/that is unwanted/undesirable],

[saith/affirms/declares] the LORD.

From Other Nations | 39

And then, verse 39 foretells of Moab’s neighbors lamenting Moab’s destruction.

39 They [Moab’s neighbors mentioned at the end of verse 39…] shall [howl/wail], saying,

How is it [broken down/shattered]!
how hath Moab [turned the back/turn away] [with/in] shame!

so shall Moab [be a derision/become a laughingstock/become and object of ridicule] and [a dismaying/an object of terror/terrifying sight] to all [them about/around/the nations that surround] him.

Babylon Coming | 40-42

And of course, these lamentable realities we’ve just read are a result of Babylon coming to destroy Moab. And so, we read of Babylon’s arrival in verses 40-42.

Like an Eagle | 40

Verse 40 tells us that Babylon would come like an eagle.

40 For thus saith the LORD;

[Behold/Look!], [he/a nation] shall fly [as/like] an eagle,
and shall [spread/out] his wings over Moab.

From Strength to Weakness | 41

And when the eagle of Babylon comes, Moab would go from strength to weakness, according to verse 41.

41 Kerioth is taken, and the [strong holds/fortresses] are [surprised/taken/seized],
and the mighty men’s hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in [her pangs/labor].

We see here the contrast of strength and weakness. Strength before Babylon comes – strong holds, mighty men. Weakness when the enemy arrives – surprise, the emotions of a woman in labor.

Result: Utter Destruction | 42

And then verse 42 relates the result of Babylon’s coming – utter destruction because of their pride.

42 And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people,
because he hath [magnified himself/become arrogant] [against/toward] the LORD.

Inevitable Doom | 43-44

This doom is inevitable, according to verses 43 and 44.

43 [Fear/Terror], and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, [saith/affirms/declares] the LORD.

44 He that fleeth from the [fear/terror] shall fall into the pit;
and he that [getteth up/climbs] out of the pit shall be [taken/caught] in the [snare/trap]:

for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab,
the year of their [visitation/punishment], saith the LORD.

So, Moab won’t escape their doom. If they flee from fear they get the pit. If they escape the pit they get the snare. They won’t escape.

And it’s interesting to note that this kind of description is used elsewhere in Scripture to highlight the certainty of the destruction a people would face for whatever reason. You could almost say this kind of way of describing certain destruction was proverbial.

An Old Proverb Revisited | 45

Well, what’s even more interesting is that in verse 45 we have another proverb used. And this time, the proverb is really old, as we’ll see.

45 They that fled stood under the shadow [of the walls…] of Heshbon [because of the force/without strength/helpless]:

So, some Moabites as they were fleeing went and hid in Heshbon. But then this happened…

but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon,
and a flame from the midst of [the former territory of the Amorite king…] Sihon,

and shall devour the [corner/forehead] of Moab,
and the [crown of the head/scalps] of the [tumultuous ones/riotous revelers/war-lovers/sons of noise].

Now, what might not be readily apparent is that most of verse 45 is a repetition of something that Moses wrote in the book of Numbers about 1,000 years before this incident.

We find the following statement in Numbers 21:25-30.

KJV Numbers 21:25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.

26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.

27 Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say,

Come into Heshbon,
let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:

28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sihon:

it hath consumed Ar of Moab,
and the lords of the high places of Arnon.

29 Woe to thee, Moab!
thou art undone, O people of Chemosh:

he hath given his sons that escaped,
and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 We have shot at them;
Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon,

and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah,
which reacheth unto Medeba.

So, this old proverb is revisited here in Jeremiah. In Numbers it apparently referred to the Amorites coming and taking Heshbon from the Moabites. But now in Jeremiah 48 it’s referring to – yes, another nation taking land from Moab – but this time that nation is Babylon rather than the Amorites.

Exile for Chemosh Worshippers | 46

Well, when that fire that is Babylon “goes out of Heshbon” and “consumes Moab” then, according to verse 46, those who worshipped the false god Chemosh would be exiled.

46 [Woe be unto thee/You are doomed], O Moab!
the people of Chemosh [perisheth/will be destroyed]:

for thy sons are taken captives,
and thy daughters captives.

And actually, you can see that this verse is repeating some of what that ancient proverb from Numbers 21 said.

Future Restoration for Moab | 47a

But here’s something not stated in Numbers 21. Verse 47 features God promising to restore Moab in the future.

47 Yet will I [bring again the captivity/restore the fortunes/reverse the ill fortune] of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD.

It’s hard to tie this verse to historical events. Apparently, there may have been some return from exile for the Moabites perhaps around the time Judah was allowed to return to their land. And even now there are people living in the land of Moab. They’re called Jordanians.

Conclusion | 47b

Finally, the conclusion of this extended prophecy concerning Moab’s judgement at the hands of Babylon ends verse 47.

[Thus far/Ending here] is the judgment [of/against] Moab.

And as we close this lesson, let’s just very briefly look forward to what’s to come in this book.

Chapter 49 presents the foretold judgement on six different nations or cities.

Then chapters 50 and 51 are all about the judgement that God was going to bring to bear on Babylon.

And finally, chapter 52 is a rehashing of the final destruction of Judah and the fate of one of their exiled kings.

Jeremiah 47 Summary

Jeremiah 47 Summary

Jeremiah 47 Summary: Jeremiah chapter 47 is directed against the nation known as the Philistines – as we can see in verse 1.

KJV Jeremiah 47:1 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet [against/concerning] the Philistines, before that Pharaoh [smote/struck down/attacked] Gaza.

And the date of this oracle was probably 609 BC. This was the same year as Josiah’s death at the hands of Pharaoh Necho. Further, this year – 609 BC – is about 4 years before the Battle of Carchemish, where Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon defeated Necho and Egypt.

Jeremiah 47 Summary
A Flood Coming (47:2)

Now, the Lord starts his oracle against the Philistines by putting in their minds a picture of a flood. That flood will turn out to be Babylon. Verse 2.

2 Thus saith the LORD;

[Behold/Look!], [waters/enemies that are like water in a river] [rise up/are rising] out of the north [the direction from which Babylon would come…],
and shall [be/become/be like] an overflowing [flood/torrent/stream],

and shall [overflow/overwhelm] the land,
and all that [is therein/fills it];

the city,
and them that dwell therein:

then the men shall [cry/cry out in alarm],
and all the inhabitants of the land shall [howl/wail/cry out in pain].

Jeremiah 47 Summary
Debilitating Terror (47:3)

And when Babylon comes – with all their horses and all their chariots – they will cause the Philistines terror that will be debilitating for them. Verse 3.

3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses,
at the rushing of his chariots,
and at the rumbling of his wheels,

the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;

So, the terror of this invasion would be so overwhelming that fathers – usually notable for their bravery and desire to protect their families and especially their little ones – will refuse to turn back and try to save those whom they would usually be very much inclined to protect from danger.

Jeremiah 47 Summary
Purpose Behind Invasion (47:4)

Now, why was the Lord going to bring Babylon to invade and conquer the Philistines? He lets us in on one aspect of the reason in verse 4.

4 Because of the day that [cometh/has come] [Why is God bringing that day?…]
to [spoil/destroy] all the Philistines, [What’s the purpose of that?…]
and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon [every helper/all the help] that remaineth:

for the LORD [will spoil/is destroying/will destroy] the Philistines,
the remnant [of/that came from] the [country/coastland/island] of [Caphtor/Crete].

So, the purpose behind the Lord sending Babylon to destroy the Philistines was to break off support to Tyre and Sidon.

And that might strike us as a strange purpose that God seems to give out-of-the-blue here. Because we haven’t even heard of the judgement of Tyre and Sidon – nor will we hear of it in this section of Jeremiah.

So, why mention Tyre and Sidon and God’s desire to cut off support from those two cities here?

Let’s consider for a moment what the New Testament reveals as to why God judged Tyre and Sidon. Think of Jesus’ statements in the gospels when he is denouncing the cities that didn’t repent at his presence. He said, “It will be more tolerable for … Tyre and Sidon in the judgement than for you [unrepentant cities].” And the Lord uses another city in that denunciation formula. And that city is Sodom.

So, Jesus was comparing sinful unrepentant cities – Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon – with cities that were even worse because Jesus was among them and they still didn’t repent.

So, here’s what we need to catch from that. God the Son – Jesus Christ – considered Tyre and Sidon very sinful and unrepentant.

So, that much is established from the New Testament.

But do we have any more information about Tyre and Sidon and why God here in the book of Jeremiah is so concerned with cutting off their support? We do.

Ezekiel was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. Ezekiel was perhaps a bit younger than Jeremiah. But a bigger difference between these two prophets is that Jeremiah ministered in Judah and was with those Jews in that nation until the bitter end. In contrast, Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah during Jehoiakim’s reign.

And — interestingly enough — in Ezekiel 28 we have the Lord pronouncing the following judgement against Tyre – one of these cities whose support God wants to cut off. Here it is.

KJV Ezekiel 28:5 [God speaking to Tyre…] By thy great [wisdom/skill] [and by thy/in] [traffick/trade] hast thou increased thy riches,
and thine heart is [lifted up/proud] because of thy riches:

6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;

Because [thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God/you think you are godlike];

7 Behold, therefore I will bring [strangers/foreigners] [upon/against] thee,
the [terrible/most terrifying] of the nations:

and they shall draw their swords against the beauty [of/made by] thy wisdom,
and they shall defile thy [brightness/splendor].

OK, so, we actually need to go to Ezekiel to see one of the reasons why God was going to cut off support for Tyre and Sidon by punishing the Philistines. Tyre – at least – started viewing themselves as gods. And the real and only God understandably had a problem with that.

So, since the Philistines were a help to these two cities, God was going to destroy them. That’s the one purpose that God gives in this chapter for sending Babylon against the Philistines…

Now, one more thing to address from this verse is this statement about where the Philistines originated from. The KJV says Caphtor. We have reason to believe this was the island that we know of as Crete. Crete is out in the Mediterranean Sea to this day. It’s south-east of Greece, south-west of Turkey, and north of both Libya and Egypt.

And interestingly Jeremiah chapter 47, verse 4 isn’t the only place that mentions that the Philistines were from this island of Caphtor or Crete. Amos 9:7 says the same thing.

KJV Amos 9:7 [Speaking to Israel, God says…] Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

Jeremiah 47 Summary
Mourning (47:5)

Alright, well, moving on, because of God’s purposed destruction of the Philistines, now verse 5 says that there would be mourning throughout that nation.

5 Baldness [which indicates mourning…] is come upon Gaza;
[The people of…] Ashkelon [is cut off with/has perished/will be struck dumb]

[O/You…] [the remnant/who remain] of [their valley/Philistia’s power]:
how long wilt thou [cut/gash] thyself [to show your sorrow…]?

Jeremiah 47 Summary
God’s Punishment is Unstoppable (47:6-7)

And then verses 6 and 7 relate that God’s punishment that he intended to bring on the Philistines would be unstoppable.

6 [The Philistines are pictured saying…] [O/Ah!] thou sword of the LORD,
how long will it be ere thou [be quiet/stop killing]?

put up thyself into thy [scabbard/sheath],
[rest, and be still/stay there and rest].

7 [But here’s God’s response…] How can it [be quiet/rest], [seeing/when] [I…] the LORD hath given it [a charge/orders]
[against/to attack] Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.

So, the Philistines would experience destruction at the hands of Babylon just like Judah and just like Egypt, as we’ve seen in the last few chapters of the book of Jeremiah.

And that ends chapter 47.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary

Jeremiah 46 Commentary Image

Jeremiah 46 Commentary: Turn to Jeremiah, chapter 46.

As we enter the 46th chapter of the book of Jeremiah we come to the second-to-last major section of the book.

We just finished witnessing the “Bitter End of Judah” in chapters 36-45. Now we enter the section of the book that runs from chapters 46-51 that consists of God declaring punishment on many of the nations of that time.

This whole book for the most part has dealt with the punishment that Judah deserves. And now, we come to find out that God is going to deal not just with his people but with the whole world of Jeremiah’s time.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:1-51:64 | Nations Denounced

And so, starting in chapter 46, verse 1 we see the Nations Denounced. Let’s read verse 1.

KJV Jeremiah 46:1 ¶ The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet [against/concerning/about] the [Gentiles/nations];

And that will be the theme of this book until we reach the end of chapter 51 – God’s word concerning the nations of that time. God denouncing the nations of Jeremiah’s day.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:2-26 | Egypt Denounced

Now, the first nation to be denounced is Egypt.

That particular nation to the southwest of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea – it receives its message from God in verses 2-26 of this chapter.

And the message to Egypt is broken up into two sections.

First, in verses 2-12 God tells that nation that it will be defeated by Babylon abroad – outside of the borders of Egypt.

And second, in verses 13-26 God tells Egypt that it will experience defeat from Babylon at home – inside its own borders.

So, defeat abroad and at home for Egypt takes up most of this chapter.

And then at the end of the chapter, we’ll see a short encouragement for Judah.

So, Egypt will be defeated abroad and at home. Judah is to take some encouragement from this fact. This is what chapter 46 is about in a nutshell.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:2-12 | Egypt Defeated Abroad

So, let’s examine what God says about Egypt being defeated abroad in verses 2-12.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:2 | Intro

Verse 2 starts by giving an introduction.

2 ¶ [Against/About/He spoke about] Egypt,
[against/concerning/and] the army of [Pharaohnecho/Pharaoh Nec(h)o] king of Egypt, which was [by/encamped along] the river Euphrates [in/at] Carchemish, [and…] which [army…] Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon [smote/defeated] in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.

So, Egypt is at a place called Carchemish. It was a city along the Euphrates river – which was east of Israel.

This happened in Jehoiakim’s 4th year.

Now, according to chapter 25 and verse 1, this was Nebuchadnezzar’s first year. It was in that chapter that the Lord caused Jeremiah to deliver what I labeled an Anniversary Message because in it, Jeremiah reminded the people that he had been ministering to them for 23 years. And in that time, the people hadn’t changed and so God was going to punish them. But Jeremiah also revealed in that message that the Lord was going to punish the nations of the world at that time – much like we see him saying here in this chapter.

Also in Jehoiakim’s fourth year – Nebuchadnezzar’s first – we had in chapter 36 the scroll incident. Jeremiah had Baruch write the Lord’s message on a scroll. Jehoiakim cut it up and burned it. And that all happened starting in Jehoiakim’s fourth year.

And finally in chapter 45 which we studied last time we had a brief message to Baruch encouraging him to not seek great things for himself but rather to seek his great God. That also – we were told – happened in Jehoiakim’s fourth year.

And now this – the Battle of Carchemish is also happening in Jehoiakim’s fourth year.

And what history tells us is that this was a turning point in the political climate of the ancient near east. This would be the changing of the guards as it were – where Egypt would transition from the reigning world power to something less than that – far less. And Babylon would take over that title of “world power”. And all of that happened – as I’ve said – in this fourth year of Jehoiakim.

And the history books could tell you that much. But no modern history book will give the reason for this shift in the world economy of that day. The real reason being that the God of heaven decided that this shift should happen at exactly this time – as we’ll see as we continue here in this chapter.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:3-4 | A Call to Arms for Egypt

Moving on, verses 3 and 4 feature a call to arms for Egypt.

3 [Order ye/Prepare/Fall into ranks with] the buckler and shield,
and [draw near/advance/prepare to march] [to/for/into] battle.

4 Harness the horses [to the chariots…]; [and get up/mount], [O…] ye horsemen,
[and stand forth/take your stations] with your helmets; [furbish/polish/sharpen] the spears, and put on the [brigandines/armor].

So, that’s the rousing call to arms issued to the Egyptian army.

But who is giving this call? Well, it’s actually the Lord. At least that’s what Pharaoh Necho told the king of Judah named Josiah.

In 2 Chronicles 35:20-21, we read this.

KJV 2 Chronicles 35:20 ¶ After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he [Necho…] sent ambassadors to him [Josiah…], saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for [And here’s what we’ve just asked – who is giving this call to arms? Answer…] God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.

So, who then issued this call to arms to the Egyptians so that they would come together with the Assyrians to fight Babylon at Carchemish by the Euphrates? I think it’s clear that it was the Lord who issued the summons.

Both God himself in Jeremiah chapter 46 and Pharaoh Necho in 2 Chronicles say as much.

Now, Necho surely thought the call to arms would have resulted in his certain victory.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:5-6 | Egyptian Army Fleeing in Defeat

And yet, we’re going to see that this call is not met with an equal response from the Egyptian army. In fact, what we see God predicting will happen to the Egyptians at Carchemish in verses 5 and 6 – which perhaps Neco did not know about – is that they will flee in defeat at this battle.

5 [Wherefore have I seen it?/Why have I seen it?/What do I see?]

[them/the soldiers] [dismayed/terrified] and [turned away back/turned backward/retreating]?
and their [mighty ones/warriors] are [beaten down/defeated], and are fled [apace/in haste], and look not back: for [fear/terror] was [round about/on every side/overwhelming] [magor misabib], [saith/declares] the LORD.

6 [Let not/Even x cannot] the swift flee away,
nor the [mighty man/warrior] escape;

they [shall/have] [stumble/stumbled],
and fall [in defeat…] [toward/in] the north by the river Euphrates.

And so, despite a call to arms from the Lord himself, the Egyptian army will be defeated in Carchemish. That’s the Lord’s message to Egypt thus far.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:7-8 | Egypt’s Boasting Remembered

And part of the defeat handed to Egypt by the Lord was due to their great boasting, according to verses 7 and 8.

7 Who is this that [cometh up/rises] as [a flood/the Nile] [yeor],
whose waters [are moved/surge/are turbulent] as the rivers [at flood stage…]?

8 Egypt riseth up like [a flood/the Nile] [yeor],
and his waters [are moved/surge/are turbulent] like the rivers [at flood stage…];

and [he/Egypt] saith, I will [go up/rise], and will cover the earth;
I will destroy [the city/cities] and the inhabitants thereof.

So, that’s Egypt’s boasting. And it’s part of what both caused the Lord to hand them this defeat at Carchemish – and at the same time this pride of theirs is what the Lord used to stir them up to go and fight Babylon on the Euphrates.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:9 | Egypt’s Helpers Called to the Defeat

And Egypt wasn’t alone in this battle. In fact, history tells us that the Assyrians were assisting them. But in addition, the Bible itself in verse 9 tells us that Egypt – much like Judah – hired mercenary fighters to help them in battle.

9 [Come up/Advance/Go ahead and charge into battle], ye [horses/horsemen];
and [rage/drive furiously], ye [chariots/charioteers];

and let the [mighty men/warriors/soldiers] [come forth/go out/march out into battle];
the Ethiopians [Cush, where Ebed-Melech was from…] and the Libyans [Put…], that [handle/carry] the shield;
and the Lydians [Lud…], that [handle and bend/are armed with] the bow.

So, God called Egypt to this Battle in Carchemish. Egypt had many allies. They had numerous past military victories. They were the world’s superpower. And yet, God is predicting that they will fall in battle and flee in humiliation.


Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:10 | God’s Doing

Because as verse 10 states, this is God’s doing. He’s taking vengeance on this godless nation.

10 For this is the day [of/that belongs to] the Lord GOD of hosts,
a day [of vengeance, that he may avenge him of/for paying back] his [adversaries/foes]:

and the sword shall devour [them…],
[and/until] [the appetite of…] it shall be [satiate/sated/satisfied]
and [made drunk with/drink its fill of] their blood:

for the Lord GOD of hosts [hath/holds/will offer them up as] a sacrifice in the north [country/land]
by the river Euphrates.

So, in very unsettling terms, God compares the slaughter of Egypt to a sacrifice which he has prepared for himself. It would be bloody. And the result of it was that the Lord would be pleased.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:11-12 | Irreversible International Shame

And when this world superpower would be defeated in that city along the Euphrates by Babylon – this once-proud nation would experience irreversible international shame. That’s what we read in verses 11 and 12.

11 Go up into Gilead, and take [balm/medicinal ointment],
[O virgin, the daughter/You dear poor people/Defenseless people] of Egypt:

[in vain/uselessly] [shalt/have] thou use many medicines;
for thou shalt not be [cured/healed].

12 The nations have heard of thy [shame/devastating defeat],
and thy cry hath [filled/echoed throughout] the [land/earth]:

[In the panic of their flight…] for [the mighty man/warrior/one soldier] [hath/will] [stumbled/trip] [against/over] [the mighty/warrior/another],
and they [are/have] fallen [defeated…] both together.

OK, so that’s what God says about Egypt being defeated abroad in verses 2-12. And this all happened in Jehoiakim’s fourth year – Nebuchadnezzar’s first year. It all happened at the Battle of Carchemish on the Euphrates River.

This battle ensured that Babylon – rather than Egypt – would be the world’s reigning champion. And all of this was orchestrated by the God of the Bible – the one whose authority all must submit to. Because – among many other reasons – he alone can do things like he’s just prophesied would happen.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:13-26 | Egypt Judged at Home

And, now, because Egypt was just about to experience the irreversible international humiliation of being defeated by Babylon, now God can issue the second part of his message to Egypt. It’s found in verses 13-26. And it’s here that we learn what God says about Egypt being defeated – not abroad – but at home.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:13 | Intro

We start with the introduction to this section in verse 13.

13 ¶ The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet,
how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and [smite/strike/attack] the land of Egypt.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:14 | Call to Arms

And here in this message just like the last one we have God issuing a call to arms to the Egyptian army in verse 14.

14 [Declare ye/Make an announcement] [in/throughout] Egypt,
[and publish/Proclaim it] in Migdol, and publish in [Noph/Memphis] and in Tahpanhes:

say ye,

[Stand fast/Stand ready/Take your positions], and [prepare thee/be prepared/prepare to do battle];
for [the sword shall/enemy army is] [devour/destroying] [all the nations…] round about thee.

Babylon is coming and is destroying everything in its path. Therefore – God says to Egypt – get ready! They’re coming for you, too!

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:15-16 | God-Intended Defeat for Egypt

And yet, God knows that this call to arms is not going to help at all. Because the one issuing that call had himself determined that Egypt would experience defeat at the hands of Babylon, according to verses 15 and 16.

15 Why [are/will] [thy valiant men/your mighty ones/your soldiers] [swept away/face down/be defeated]?

And of course, God has rhetorical intent behind this question. He knows why Egypt will be defeated – he’s the reason behind it! He says so in the next phrase…

they [stood/will stand] not, because the LORD did [drive them/thrust them down].

16 He [The Lord…] made many [to fall/stumble],
yea, one fell upon another [in their hurry to flee]:

So, that’s God’s actions. Here’s Egypt’s reactions…

and they [Egyptian soldiers…] said [to one another…], [Arise/Get up!], and let us go [again/back] to our own people,
and to the land of our [nativity/birth], [from/because of] the [oppressing sword/sword of the oppressor/enemy who is coming to destroy us].

Now, I think that’s the mercenary soldiers speaking – those hired to fight for Egypt – since they’re speaking of returning to their native land. As in these people didn’t hail from Egypt. They were from Ethiopia or Libya or somewhere around there.

Well, the soldiers of Egypt – native and foreign – have been exposed as weak.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:17 | Ruler Exposed as Weak

But this weakness will be apparent even at the highest levels of leadership in that nation according to verse 17.

17 [They did cry there/Call],

Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a [noise/noisy one/a big noise];
he hath [passed/let pass] the [time/hour/moment] [appointed/opportune].

Now, you could wonder what this appointed time or opportune moment is that these soldiers are portrayed as saying that Pharaoh missed. Perhaps it’s saying that he let his hour of world rulership pass. Maybe they’re more focused on the recent defeat at Carchemish and they’re blaming him for that.

Whatever the case, the people are discovering that Pharaoh is much like the Wizard of Oz. Out front there’s this imposing presence – grand and impressive. But behind the screen, he’s a little weak man.

And that’s the truth about any national ruler past or present or future – IF God is against them. Donald Trump as powerful as he is – if God is against him – is ultimately just a big noise. Same with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and you name the international figure. And if God is against them – they may seem to be on top of the world, but they will be revealed some day as what they are – a big noise.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:18 | New Ruler is Strong

And for Egypt, what would make their Pharaoh look even weaker is that God was now empowering a new world ruler who appeared very strong. We see the Lord speak of him in verse 18.

18 As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts,

Surely as [imposing as…] Tabor is among the mountains,
and as Carmel [by/against the backdrop of] the sea, so shall [he/one/a conqueror] come.

That’s Nebuchadnezzar. The one who is as imposing as Tabor or Carmel – two mountains in Israel that – though they’re not the largest in the world – they do stand towering over the landscapes in which they are located.

And when it came to the ancient near east, Babylon certainly at this point would be towering over Egypt.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:19 | Exile for Egypt

And not only towering over Egypt – but Babylon would also be sending Egypt away into exile just like they would be doing to Judah. Verse 19.

19 O thou [daughter/poor dear] [dwelling in/inhabitants of] Egypt, [furnish/prepare baggage for/pack bags for] thyself to go into captivity:

for [Noph/Memphis] shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:20 | Babylon is Coming

And that exile will happen because Babylon is coming, as they’re told in verse 20.

20 Egypt is like a [very fair/beautiful] [heifer/young cow],
but [destruction/biting flies/swarms of stinging flies] cometh;
it cometh out of the north.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:21 | Mercenaries Will Flee

And when Babylon comes, Egypt’s mercenary fighters will flee. Verse 21.

21 Also her [hired men/hired soldiers/mercenaries] are in the midst of her like [fatted bullocks/fattened calves/pampered well-fed calves];
for they also are turned back, and are fled away together:

they [did/will] not stand [their ground…], because the day of their [calamity/destruction] [was/had] come upon them,
and the time of their [visitation/punishment].

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:22-23 | Serpentine Egypt Flees Before Woodsmen of Babylon

And all of the preceding thoughts lead to the next thought in verses 22 and 23 – which is that Egypt – compared to a snake – will flee before Babylon which is compared to a hoard of woodsmen.

22 The voice [thereof/of Egypt] shall [go/be] like a serpent [hiss! or gliding…];
for they [Babylon…] shall march with an army,
and come against her [Egypt…] with axes, as hewers of wood [lumberjacks…].

23 They [Babylon…] shall cut down her [Egypt’s…] forest [i.e., population…], [saith/declares/affirms] the LORD,
though it cannot be [searched/penetrated];

because they [Babylon…] are more than [the grasshoppers/locusts],
and are innumerable.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:24 | Shame for Defenseless Egypt

This will result in shame for defenseless Egypt, according to verse 24.

24 [The daughter of/Poor dear] Egypt shall be [confounded/put to shame];
she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:25-26b | Judgement on Egypt’s Gods

And God will also use Babylon’s invasion to judge and punish Egypt’s false gods. Verses 25 and 26.

25 ¶ The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith;

Behold, I will punish [the multitude/Amon, the god] of [No/Thebes] [the ancient capital of Egypt…], and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings;
even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him:

26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives,
and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon,
and into the hand of his [servants/officers/troops]:

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:26b | But…A Restoration!

But, very similar to Judah – amazingly, God promises Egypt that he will see to it that this land is populated once more, at the end of verse 26!

[and afterward/but later on] [it/Egypt] shall be inhabited, as in [the days of old/former times], [saith/declares/affirms] the LORD.

And this is what we see at this very time. The people who are there right now might not be descendants of the former Egyptians. And yet, there is no denying that Egypt is a populated land. In fact, this nation is playing a role in current events on a regular basis these days. Maranatha Baptist Seminary has at least one student from Egypt. Egypt is alive and well today – just like God promised in verse 26.

So, we’ve seen what God says about Egypt being defeated at home in verses 13-26. Before that, we saw what he said about Egypt being defeated abroad in verses 2-12.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
46:27-28 | Judah Encouraged

And those two messages lead the Lord to encourage his people Israel and Judah in verses 27 and 28.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
Don’t Fear

To begin, God is expecting his people to be reading this oracle about Egypt. Right? If not, then he wouldn’t be addressing them in this section.

But he does address them and he tells them to not fear.

27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob,
and be not [dismayed/terrified], O Israel:

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
Restoration to the Land

Why the lack of fear? Because God is going to restore Israel to their land like he’s going to populate Egypt once more.

for, behold, I will [save/rescue] thee from [afar off/far away/faraway lands],
and thy [seed/offspring/descendants] from the land of their captivity;

and Jacob shall return [to their land…], and [be in/have] [rest/quiet] and at ease,
and none shall make him afraid.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
Don’t Fear

Since there will be none to make them afraid in the future, God again in verse 28 re-issues the call to not fear.

28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD:

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
God is with Them


for I am with thee;

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
God will Destroy the Nations and Save Israel

And God’s being “with” his people ensures that while he will destroy other nations, he will not destroy Israel.

Egypt today is likely not populated with the descendants of ethnic Egyptians from 2500 years ago. That nation is populated but it’s not the same group ethnically. In that sense, that nation was “destroyed”.

But I do know a nation that is populated with the descendants of the same group that was in their land 2500 years ago. That nation is Israel. That’s because God promised the following…

for I will [make a full end of/completely destroy] all the nations whither I [have driven/scatter] thee:
but I will not [make a full end of/completely destroy] thee,

Jeremiah 46 Commentary
God Will Discipline Israel

And yet, God’s love – in addition to saving Israel and Judah and ensuring that their descendants would survive into the future – also results in him chastening them according to the last part of verse 28.

but [correct/discipline] thee in [just/due…] measure;
yet will I not leave thee [wholly/entirely] unpunished.

So, that’s the message of encouragement for Israel and Judah in verses 27 and 28.

God’s presence was and is uniquely with his people Israel to an extent that other nations – like Egypt – simply would not enjoy. Egypt would be populated once more and we see that today. But not with the same group of folks.

And so, we’ve seen in this chapter Egypt’s defeat and demotion from world super-power to basically, an empty uninhabited land – all at the Lord’s sovereign will.

Next time we’ll see a message of judgement for the Philistines in chapter 47.