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Jeremiah 46-48   Listen Podcast

Prophecy against Egypt (Jeremiah 46)

1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the nations.
2 Against Egypt. ¶ Concerning the army of Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, which was by the River Euphrates in Carchemish, and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
3 “Order the buckler and shield,
And draw near to battle!
4 Harness the horses,
And mount up, you horsemen!
Stand forth with your helmets,
Polish the spears,
Put on the armor!
5 Why have I seen them dismayed and turned back?
Their mighty ones are beaten down;
They have speedily fled,
And did not look back,
For fear was all around,” says the LORD.
6 “Do not let the swift flee away,
Nor the mighty man escape;
They will stumble and fall
Toward the north, by the River Euphrates.
7 “Who is this coming up like a flood,
Whose waters move like the rivers?
8 Egypt rises up like a flood,
And its waters move like the rivers;
And he says, “I will go up and cover the earth,
I will destroy the city and its inhabitants.’
9 Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots!
And let the mighty men come forth:
The Ethiopians and the Libyans who handle the shield,
And the Lydians who handle and bend the bow.
10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts,
A day of vengeance,
That He may avenge Himself on His adversaries.
The sword shall devour;
It shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood;
For the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice
In the north country by the River Euphrates.
11 “Go up to Gilead and take balm,
O virgin, the daughter of Egypt;
In vain you will use many medicines;
You shall not be cured.
12 The nations have heard of your shame,
And your cry has filled the land;
For the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty;
They both have fallen together.”
13 ¶ The word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would come and strike the land of Egypt.
14 “Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol;
Proclaim in Noph and in Tahpanhes;
Say, ‘Stand fast and prepare yourselves,
For the sword devours all around you.’
15 Why are your valiant men swept away?
They did not stand
Because the LORD drove them away.
16 He made many fall;
Yes, one fell upon another.
And they said, “Arise!
Let us go back to our own people
And to the land of our nativity
From the oppressing sword.’
17 They cried there,
“Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is but a noise.
He has passed by the appointed time!’
18 “As I live,” says the King,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts,
“Surely as Tabor is among the mountains
And as Carmel by the sea, so he shall come.
19 O you daughter dwelling in Egypt,
Prepare yourself to go into captivity!
For Noph shall be waste and desolate, without inhabitant.
20 “Egypt is a very pretty heifer,
But destruction comes, it comes from the north.
21 Also her mercenaries are in her midst like fat bulls,
For they also are turned back,
They have fled away together.
They did not stand,
For the day of their calamity had come upon them,
The time of their punishment.
22 Her noise shall go like a serpent,
For they shall march with an army
And come against her with axes,
Like those who chop wood.
23 “They shall cut down her forest,” says the LORD,
“Though it cannot be searched,
Because they are innumerable,
And more numerous than grasshoppers.
24 The daughter of Egypt shall be ashamed;
She shall be delivered into the hand
Of the people of the north.”
25 ¶ The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says: “Behold, I will bring punishment on Amon of No, and Pharaoh and Egypt, with their gods and their kings—Pharaoh and those who trust in him.
26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of his servants. Afterward it shall be inhabited as in the days of old,” says the LORD.
27 “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob,
And do not be dismayed, O Israel!
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your offspring from the land of their captivity;
Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease;
No one shall make him afraid.
28 Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the LORD,
“For I am with you;
For I will make a complete end of all the nations
To which I have driven you,
But I will not make a complete end of you.
I will rightly correct you,
For I will not leave you wholly unpunished.”

Let me remind you again that Jeremiah is not written chronologically. Since we've already seen the leaders of Judah running to Egypt after the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) (Jeremiah 42, see notes) and the assassination of Gedaliah (Jeremiah 41, see notes), one might assume Jeremiah is prophesying in that context. Actually, the ransacking of Egypt by the Babylonians didn't take place until around 568 B.C., but the event described here in chapter 46 is the defeat of Pharaoh Neco in 604 B.C. by Babylon's army. This is the same Pharaoh that had attacked and killed Josiah in 608 B.C. The Battle of Carchemish in 605/604 B.C. took place up in Syria (in Carchemish) near the Euphrates River. Egypt was aligned with Assyria at the time, and they both were trying to thwart the expanding Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar soundly defeated the Egyptian/Assyrian army there.

So, to add perspective, Neco's army was defeated in 604 B.C. on foreign soil, but Babylon did not invade Egypt at that time; that did not happen until 568 B.C. Jeremiah's prophecy of Jeremiah 44 (see notes) concerns the events of 568 B.C. after the remnant of Judah had fled to Egypt for safety. This prophecy against Egypt in this chapter 46 concerns Neco's loss to Nebuchadnezzar (604 B.C.), which was prophesied by Jeremiah during the reign of Josiah.

The prophecy ends with an encouraging word of return and restoration to the Jews who had been scattered the previous year (605 B.C.), seen in verses 27-28.

27 “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob,
And do not be dismayed, O Israel!
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your offspring from the land of their captivity;
Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease;
No one shall make him afraid.
28 Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the LORD,
“For I am with you;
For I will make a complete end of all the nations
To which I have driven you,
But I will not make a complete end of you.
I will rightly correct you,
For I will not leave you wholly unpunished.”

This prophecy promises Israel's future return to their homeland after the Babylonian exile which began in 605 B.C. The deported Jews did return to Jerusalem in 535 B.C. as seen in Ezra 1 (see notes). You will also note in verse 28 that God promises to "make a complete end of all the nations To which I have driven you." That's bad news for Babylon. The Medo-Persian army will be coming in the not-too-distant future to give them their due.

Gaza's always been a hot spot (Jeremiah 47)

1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza.
2 ¶ Thus says the LORD:
“Behold, waters rise out of the north,
And shall be an overflowing flood;
They shall overflow the land and all that is in it,
The city and those who dwell within;
Then the men shall cry,
And all the inhabitants of the land shall wail.
3 At the noise of the stamping hooves of his strong horses,
At the rushing of his chariots,
At the rumbling of his wheels,
The fathers will not look back for their children,
Lacking courage,
4 Because of the day that comes to plunder all the Philistines,
To cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper who remains;
For the LORD shall plunder the Philistines,
The remnant of the country of Caphtor.
5 Baldness has come upon Gaza,
Ashkelon is cut off
With the remnant of their valley.
How long will you cut yourself?
6 “O you sword of the LORD,
How long until you are quiet?
Put yourself up into your scabbard,
Rest and be still!
7 How can it be quiet,
Seeing the LORD has given it a charge
Against Ashkelon and against the seashore?
There He has appointed it.”

It's just interesting how that Gaza is still today a hotspot for violence in the Mideast. Why? Location, location, location - it just happens to be prime real estate on a major highway (so to speak). Located right there in southwest Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, if you're headed down to Egypt, you're probably going to choose to pass through Gaza to get there.

We simply don't know when Gaza was overrun by Pharaoh of Egypt. We aren't told in this prophecy which Pharaoh. Perhaps this prophecy was fulfilled when Pharaoh Neco would have passed through on his way to Carchemish in 609 B.C. That's the same time at which Josiah resisted Neco and was subsequently killed in II Kings 23:29-30 (see notes). After Neco's defeat in Carchemish (chapter 46, see above), he would have passed through Gaza on his way back home. Perhaps little ol' Gaza served as a consolation prize after his defeat by the massive Babylonian army in 605/604 B.C. could have been neither of these occasions. All we know is that it happened at the hand of the Egyptians. Since Judah's two kings following Josiah (Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim in II Kings 24:1-7/II Chronicles 36:1-8, see notes) were both victimized and abused by Pharaoh Neco, this prophecy against Gaza was surely fulfilled during that time frame.

Prophecy against Moab (Jeremiah 48)

1 Against Moab. ¶ Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
“Woe to Nebo!
For it is plundered,
Kirjathaim is shamed and taken;
The high stronghold is shamed and dismayed—
2 No more praise of Moab.
In Heshbon they have devised evil against her:
“Come, and let us cut her off as a nation.’
You also shall be cut down, O Madmen!
The sword shall pursue you;
3 A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim:
“Plundering and great destruction!’
4 “Moab is destroyed;
Her little ones have caused a cry to be heard;
5 For in the Ascent of Luhith they ascend with continual weeping;
For in the descent of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
6 “Flee, save your lives!
And be like the juniper in the wilderness.
7 For because you have trusted in your works and your treasures,
You also shall be taken.
And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity,
His priests and his princes together.
8 And the plunderer shall come against every city;
No one shall escape.
The valley also shall perish,
And the plain shall be destroyed,
As the LORD has spoken.
9 “Give wings to Moab,
That she may flee and get away;
For her cities shall be desolate,
Without any to dwell in them.
10 Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD deceitfully,
And cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood.
11 “Moab has been at ease from his youth;
He has settled on his dregs,
And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
Nor has he gone into captivity.
Therefore his taste remained in him,
And his scent has not changed.
12 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“That I shall send him wine-workers
Who will tip him over
And empty his vessels
And break the bottles.
13 Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh,
As the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.
14 “How can you say, ‘We are mighty
And strong men for the war’?
15 Moab is plundered and gone up from her cities;
Her chosen young men have gone down to the slaughter,” says the King,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts.
16 “The calamity of Moab is near at hand,
And his affliction comes quickly.
17 Bemoan him, all you who are around him;
And all you who know his name,
Say, “How the strong staff is broken,
The beautiful rod!’
18 “O daughter inhabiting Dibon,
Come down from your glory,
And sit in thirst;
For the plunderer of Moab has come against you,
He has destroyed your strongholds.
19 O inhabitant of Aroer,
Stand by the way and watch;
Ask him who flees
And her who escapes;
Say, “What has happened?’
20 Moab is shamed, for he is broken down.
Wail and cry!
Tell it in Arnon, that Moab is plundered.
21 “And judgment has come on the plain country:
On Holon and Jahzah and Mephaath,
22 On Dibon and Nebo and Beth Diblathaim,
23 On Kirjathaim and Beth Gamul and Beth Meon,
24 On Kerioth and Bozrah,
On all the cities of the land of Moab,
Far or near.
25 The horn of Moab is cut off,
And his arm is broken,” says the LORD.
26 “Make him drunk,
Because he exalted himself against the LORD.
Moab shall wallow in his vomit,
And he shall also be in derision.
27 For was not Israel a derision to you?
Was he found among thieves?
For whenever you speak of him,
You shake your head in scorn.
28 You who dwell in Moab,
Leave the cities and dwell in the rock,
And be like the dove which makes her nest
In the sides of the cave’s mouth.
29 “We have heard the pride of Moab
(He is exceedingly proud),
Of his loftiness and arrogance and pride,
And of the haughtiness of his heart.”
30 “I know his wrath,” says the LORD,
“But it is not right;
His lies have made nothing right.
31 Therefore I will wail for Moab,
And I will cry out for all Moab;
I will mourn for the men of Kir Heres.
32 O vine of Sibmah! I will weep for you with the weeping of Jazer.
Your plants have gone over the sea,
They reach to the sea of Jazer.
The plunderer has fallen on your summer fruit and your vintage.
33 Joy and gladness are taken
From the plentiful field
And from the land of Moab;
I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses;
No one will tread with joyous shouting—
Not joyous shouting!
34 “From the cry of Heshbon to Elealeh and to Jahaz
They have uttered their voice,
From Zoar to Horonaim,
Like a three-year-old heifer;
For the waters of Nimrim also shall be desolate.
35 “Moreover,” says the LORD,
“I will cause to cease in Moab
The one who offers sacrifices in the high places
And burns incense to his gods.
36 Therefore My heart shall wail like flutes for Moab,
And like flutes My heart shall wail
For the men of Kir Heres.
Therefore the riches they have acquired have perished.
37 “For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped;
On all the hands shall be cuts, and on the loins sackcloth—
38 A general lamentation
On all the housetops of Moab,
And in its streets;
For I have broken Moab like a vessel in which is no pleasure,” says the LORD.
39 “They shall wail:
‘How she is broken down!
How Moab has turned her back with shame!’
So Moab shall be a derision
And a dismay to all those about her.”
40 ¶ For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, one shall fly like an eagle,
And spread his wings over Moab.
41 Kerioth is taken,
And the strongholds are surprised;
The mighty men’s hearts in Moab on that day shall be
Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.
42 And Moab shall be destroyed as a people,
Because he exalted himself against the LORD.
43 Fear and the pit and the snare shall be upon you,
O inhabitant of Moab,” says the LORD.
44 “He who flees from the fear shall fall into the pit,
And he who gets out of the pit shall be caught in the snare.
For upon Moab, upon it I will bring
The year of their punishment,” says the LORD.
45 “Those who fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon
Because of exhaustion.
But a fire shall come out of Heshbon,
A flame from the midst of Sihon,
And shall devour the brow of Moab,
The crown of the head of the sons of tumult.
46 Woe to you, O Moab!
The people of Chemosh perish;
For your sons have been taken captive,
And your daughters captive.
47 “Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab
In the latter days,” says the LORD. ¶ Thus far is the judgment of Moab.

Here's a prophecy concerning the destruction of the Moabites. Moab was the land east of the Jordan above Edom and below Ammon. Nebuchadnezzar conquered that whole region. Notice verse 42, "And Moab shall be destroyed as a people, Because he exalted himself against the LORD." There are no people today known as Moabites - just Arabians. However, it is interesting to see the millennial promise to the Moabites in verse 47, "'Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab In the latter days,' says the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab." After all, Ruth, the most famous Moabite, was David's grandma. We see in this verse that, during the reign of the Messiah ("the latter days"), a remnant will emerge once again establishing the presence of Moabites.

You will notice that the Moabite god, Chemosh, gets mentioned three times in this chapter (verses 7, 13, 46). Chemosh is mentioned altogether eight times in the Old Testament. Solomon had allowed an altar to Chemosh to be erected during his reign (I Kings 11:7, see notes). Chemosh (according to extra-biblical sources) was a fish-looking god - ugly, ugly, ugly! Special emphasis is made in this chapter that Chemosh will fail them. What else would you expect from the god of seafood?