John T. Willis

Friday, July 08, 2011

Yahweh will punish Egypt and Rebellious Judeans; Yahweh warns Baruch--Jeremiah 43:8-45:5

Jeremiah 43:8-44:30 relate two oracles of Yahweh through Jeremiah, which occurred after Johanan and his comrades forced Jeremiah and Baruch to go to Egypt after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. So the time about these events is about 585 BCE or later. Then Jeremiah 45 relates an oracle of Yahweh through Jeremiah to Baruch in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 BCE). These chapters falls into three parts.

I. Yahweh will send the Babylonians to overthrow Egypt. Jeremiah 43:8-13.
a. Yahweh tells Jeremiah to perform a symbolic act before the Judeans in Tahpanhes, Egypt. Yahweh tells Jeremiah to take large stone in his hands and bury them in the clay pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes, and let the Judeans see Jeremiah does this. 43:8-9.
b. Then Yahweh gives Jeremiah this message: Yahweh will bring Nebuchadrezzar II and his army to Tahpanhes and set his throne above these stones and spread his royal canopy over them. 43:10.
c. Yahweh declares that Nebuchadrezzar II and his army will destroy the land of Egypt by "pestilence, captivity, and the sword." [Remember that "famine, pestilence, and the sword" and three terms used for destruction in the Book of Jeremiah. See Jeremiah 15:2; 16:4; 18:21; 21:7, 9; 24:10; 27:8, 13; 28:8; 29:17; 32:36; 42:16-17]. 43:11.
d. Yahweh declares that Nebuchadrezzar II and his army will burn the idols and temples of Egypt, and the obelisks of Heliopolis. 43:12-13.

II. Yahweh through Jeremiah announces that Yahweh will punish the Judeans in Egypt because they still sin against Yahweh. Jeremiah 44:1-30.
a. Yahweh sends a message through Jeremiah for all the Judeans living in Egypt at Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis. Yahweh reminds the Judeans that Yahweh punished them severely through the Babylonians because they constantly turned to other gods and rebelled against Yahweh.44:1-6.
b. Yahweh declares that the Judeans in Egypt are still committing the same sins they committed before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. Thus, Yahweh proclaims that he will punish the Judeans because of their hardheartedness. Yahweh will punish them by "sword, famine, and pestilence." See 44:13. Note 43:11. 44:7-14.
c. The Judeans respond to Jeremiah: "We are not going to listen to you." We used to worship the queen of heaven and we prospered. When we abandoned the queen of heaven, we experienced hunger, misfortunes, and several losses. Hence, we will return to the worship of the queen of heaven. 44:15-19.
d. Yahweh through Jeremiah rebukes the Judeans for their stubbornness. Yahweh "will watch over them for harm [Hebrew evil] and not for good." 44:27. Note the recurring word play on the verb "watch," which may refer to evil or good. See Jeremiah 1:11-12; 31:27. Just as Yahweh gave Zedekiah over to Nebuchadrezzar II in 587 BCE, now Yahweh will give Pharaoh Hophra over the Nebuchadrezzar II (44:30). 44:20-30.

III. Baruch complains because he is in pain, and Yahweh assures him that Yahweh will be with him. Jeremiah 45:1-5.
a. The event recorded in Jeremiah 45:1-5 occurred in the fourth year of Jehoiakim when Jeremiah wrote his words by dictation to Baruch. 45:1.
b. Baruch complained because Yahweh had added sorrow to Baruch's pain. 45:2-3.
c. Yahweh declares through Jeremiah that Baruch must not become arrogant. Rather, Yahweh will give him his life as a prize of war in every place where he may go. 45:4-5.

Life in the time of Jeremiah was very difficult. But Yahweh sustained Jeremiah and his faithful followers faithfully. This is encouraging for us.

Share YOUR thoughts and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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