Jeremiah 46-48 Fear not, O Jacob my servant

From Jeremiah 46-48

JeremiahIn today’s reading Jeremiah has resumed pronouncing judgment. You might remember from a previous post, some in Judah fled the Babylonians to Egypt against the LORD’s instructions. This time Jeremiah judges Egypt and then Moab.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comment

13 The word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:

14 “Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol;

proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes;

say, ‘Stand ready and be prepared,

for the sword shall devour around you.’

15 Why are your mighty ones face down?

They do not stand

because the Lord thrust them down.

16 He made many stumble, and they fell,

and they said one to another,

‘Arise, and let us go back to our own people

and to the land of our birth,

because of the sword of the oppressor.’ (Je 46:13-16)

Egypt herself will be taken over by the Babylonians. Their mighty warriors will be slain. Their defeat will be the work of the LORD. Jeremiah prophesies about the Judeans who fled to Egypt. They will seek to return to their own homeland because the Babylonians have caught up with them.

17 Call the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,

‘Noisy one who lets the hour go by.’

18 “As I live, declares the King,

whose name is the Lord of hosts,

like Tabor among the mountains

and like Carmel by the sea, shall one come.

19 Prepare yourselves baggage for exile,

O inhabitants of Egypt!

For Memphis shall become a waste,

a ruin, without inhabitant. (Je 46:17-19)

Jeremiah says to the Egyptians they need to be prepared to be exiled from their own land themselves. Jeremiah even goes so far as to say they need to pack some baggage for where they will be taken. They will leave behind them a ruin.

20 “A beautiful heifer is Egypt,

but a biting fly from the north has come upon her.

21 Even her hired soldiers in her midst

are like fattened calves;

yes, they have turned and fled together;

they did not stand,

for the day of their calamity has come upon them,

the time of their punishment.

22 “She makes a sound like a serpent gliding away;

for her enemies march in force

and come against her with axes

like those who fell trees.

23 They shall cut down her forest,

declares the Lord,

though it is impenetrable,

because they are more numerous than locusts;

they are without number.

24 The daughter of Egypt shall be put to shame;

she shall be delivered into the hand of a people from the north.” (Jer 46.20-24)

Jeremiah uses various imagery to describe Egypt’s defeat and the sheer numbers of the Babylonians.

25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: “Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. 26 I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their life, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, declares the Lord. (Je 46:25–26)

Jeremiah summarizes the judgment that will come upon the leaders of Egypt including their gods. The trust people put in them will be shown to be misplaced. Then Jeremiah predicts their eventual restoration. Then he turns his attention to Israel, his own people.

27 “But fear not, O Jacob my servant,

nor be dismayed, O Israel,

for behold, I will save you from far away,

and your offspring from the land of their captivity.

Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,

and none shall make him afraid.

28 Fear not, O Jacob my servant,

declares the LORD,

for I am with you.

I will make a full end of all the nations

to which I have driven you,

but of you I will not make a full end.

I will discipline you in just measure,

and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Je 46:27–28)

Despite all the judgments of the LORD on Israel and the nations around them. The LORD still has good purposes for his people. They are told not to fear. They won’t be destroyed. He will save them and bring them back to the land. He will be with them and judge the nations who conquered them. The LORD will discipline his people and punish them, but he will not forget them.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.

Many nations were punished by the LORD during those times. The LORD kept his promise to do so. Eventually the Jews were allowed to return to their land, but not after the LORD saved them as we have read in Esther and will read in Daniel.

Story of Jesus

Jesus predicted that many nations would be in conflict near the end times. He called them ‘birth pains’.

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Mt 24.3-14)

Like Jeremiah, Jesus predicted the downfall of many nations. He did not forget his own people. They would not have an easy time  either. But he promised they would be saved. He commanded that during these times they preach ‘this gospel of the kingdom’. I believe he is referring to his own life, deeds and sayings, culminating in his own death and resurrection. When their work is complete, the end will come.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.