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44
Judgment for Idolatry
1This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis,#44:1a Hebrew Noph. and in southern Egypt#44:1b Hebrew in Pathros. as well: 2“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. 3They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known.
4“Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ 5But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. 6And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today.
7“And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. 8Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. 9Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? 10To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you.
11“Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! 12I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. 13I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. 14Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.”
15Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt#44:15 Hebrew in Egypt, in Pathros.—answered Jeremiah, 16“We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! 17We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! 18But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.”
19“Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!”
20Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, 21“Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 22It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. 23All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord. You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.”
24Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord, all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. 25This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’
26“But listen to this message from the Lord, all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. 28Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs!
29“‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord, ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ 30This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar#44:30 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar. of Babylon.’”
44
1 The word that came through Jeremiah to all the Jews who were living in the land of Egypt, living at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros, saying:
2 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You yourselves have seen all this evil that I have led over Jerusalem and over all the cities of Judah. And behold, they are desolate to this day, and there is no inhabitant in them,
3 because of the wickedness which they have done, so that they provoked me to wrath, and because they went to offer sacrifice and worship to strange gods, which neither they, nor you, nor your fathers knew.
4 And I sent to you all my servants, the prophets, rising in the night, and sending, and saying: 'Do not choose to do this abominable word, which I hate.'
5 But they did not listen, nor did they incline their ear, so that they would convert from their evil, and so that they would not sacrifice to strange gods.
6 And so my indignation and my fury was fanned and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. And they have been turned into desolation and devastation, just as it is this day.
7 And now, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against your own souls, so that, among you, man and woman, child and infant would pass away from the midst of Judah, and so that no remnant at all would be left behind of you?
8 For you have provoked me by the works of your hands, by sacrificing to strange gods in the land of Egypt, into which you have entered in order to live there, and so that you would perish and become a curse and a disgrace before all the nations of the earth.
9 How could you have forgotten the evils of your fathers, and the evils of the kings of Judah, and the evils of their wives, and your own evils, and the evils of your own wives, which they have done in the land of Judah and in the regions of Jerusalem?
10 They have not been cleansed, even to this day. And they have not feared, and they have not walked in the law of the Lord and in my precepts, which I have given before you and before your fathers.
11 For this reason, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face upon you for evil. And I will disperse all of Judah.
12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, who had set their faces so that they would enter into the land of Egypt and live there, and they will all be consumed in the land of Egypt. They will fall by the sword and by famine. And they will be consumed, from the least, even to the greatest. By sword and by famine shall they die. And they will be an oath, and a wonder, and a curse, and a disgrace.
13 And I will visit against those who are living in the land of Egypt, just as I have visited against Jerusalem: with the sword, and with famine, and with pestilence.
14 And there will be no one who escapes, of those who remain among the remnant of the Jews, those who have gone to sojourn in the land of Egypt. And they wish to be returned to the land of Judah, for they lift up their souls so that they might return and live there. But there will be no one who may return, except those who will flee."
15 Then all the men, knowing that their wives were sacrificing to strange gods, and all of the women, a great multitude of whom were standing there, and all of the people who were living in the land of Egypt at Pathros, responded to Jeremiah, by saying:
16 "Concerning the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not heed you.
17 But we will continue to do every word which proceeds from our own mouth, so that we sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and we pour out libations to her, just as we and our fathers have done, our kings and our leaders, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For we were filled with bread, and it was well with us, and we saw no evil.
18 But since the time that we ceased to offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and to pour out libations to her, we have been in need of all things, and we have been consumed by the sword and by famine.
19 But when we offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her, do we make cakes for her worship and offer libations to her without our husbands?"
20 And Jeremiah spoke to all the people, facing the men, and facing the women, and facing all the people who had responded this word to him, saying:
21 "Was this not the sacrifice that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your leaders, and the people of the land, which has been called to mind by the Lord and which has entered into his heart?
22 And the Lord could no longer bear this, because of the evil of your intentions, and because of the abominations that you have done. And so, your land has become a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, and it is without an inhabitant, even to this day.
23 This is because you have sacrificed to idols, and you have sinned against the Lord. And you have not heeded the voice of the Lord, and you have not walked in his law, and in his precepts, and in his testimonies. It is for this reason that these evils have happened to you, just as it is today."
24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women: "Listen to the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt:
25 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You and your wives have spoken it with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying: 'Let us perform our vows that we have made, so that we may offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and pour out libations to her.' You have fulfilled your vows and accomplished their works.
26 Because of this, listen to the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who live in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the Lord, that my name will never again be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in the land of Egypt, saying: 'As the Lord God lives.'
27 Behold, I will be vigilant over them for harm, and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will be consumed, by the sword and by famine, until they are thoroughly consumed.
28 And a few men, who will flee from the sword, will return from the land of Egypt into the land of Judah. And all the remnant of Judah, who had entered into the land of Egypt so as to live there, will know whose word will be completed, mine or theirs.
29 And this will be a sign to you, says the Lord, that I will visit against you in this place, so that truly you may know that my words will be completed against you for harm."
30 Thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will deliver Pharaoh Hophra, the king of Egypt, into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of those who are seeking his life, just as I delivered Zedekiah, the king of Judah, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, his enemy and the one who was seeking his life."