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The Lord Will Destroy the People of Judah
1The Lord told me to speak with the Jews who were living in the towns of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis in northern Egypt, and also to those living in southern Egypt. He told me to tell them:
2I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. You saw how I destroyed Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. They lie empty and in ruins today, 3because the people of Judah made me angry by worshiping gods that had never helped them or their ancestors.
4Time after time I sent my servants the prophets to tell the people of Judah how much I hated their disgusting sins. The prophets warned them to stop sinning, 5but they refused to listen and would not stop worshiping other gods. 6Finally, my anger struck like a raging flood, and today Jerusalem and the towns of Judah are nothing but empty ruins.
7Why do you now insist on heading for another disaster? A disaster that will destroy not only you, but also your children and babies. 8You have made me angry by worshiping idols and burning incense to other gods after you came here to Egypt. You will die such a disgusting death, that other nations will use the name of Judah as a curse word. 9When you were living in Jerusalem and Judah, you followed the example of your ancestors in doing evil things, just like your kings and queens. 10Even now, your pride keeps you from respecting me and obeying the laws and teachings I gave you and your ancestors.
11I, the Lord All-Powerful, have decided to wipe you out with disasters. 12There were only a few of you left in Judah, and you decided to go to Egypt. But you will die such horrible deaths in war or from starvation, that people of other countries will use the name of Judah as a curse word. 13I punished Jerusalem with war, hunger, and disease, and that's how I will punish you. 14None of you will survive. You may hope to return to Judah someday, but only a very few of you will escape death and be able to go back.
The People Refuse To Worship the Lord
15A large number of Jews from both northern and southern Egypt listened to me as I told them what the Lord had said. Most of the men in the crowd knew that their wives often burned incense to other gods. So they and their wives shouted:
16Jeremiah, what do we care if you speak in the Lord's name? We refuse to listen! 17We have promised to worship the goddess Astarte, the Queen of Heaven,#44.17 the goddess Astarte, the Queen of Heaven: The Hebrew text has “the queen of heaven,” which probably refers to the goddess Astarte. and that is exactly what we are going to do. We will burn incense and offer sacrifices of wine to her, just as we, our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders did when we lived in Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah. We had plenty of food back then. We were well off, and nothing bad ever happened to us. 18But since the time we stopped burning incense and offering wine sacrifices to her, we have been dying from war and hunger.
19Then the women said, “When we lived in Judah, we worshiped the Queen of Heaven and offered sacrifices of wine and special loaves of bread shaped like her. Our husbands knew what we were doing, and they approved of it.”
20Then I told the crowd:
21Don't you think the Lord knew that you and your ancestors, your leaders and kings, and the rest of the people were burning incense to other gods in Jerusalem and everywhere else in Judah? 22And when he could no longer put up with your disgusting sins, he placed a curse on your land and turned it into a desert, as it is today. 23This disaster happened because you worshiped other gods and rebelled against the Lord by refusing to obey him or follow his laws and teachings.
24-25Then I told the men and their wives, that the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:
Here in Egypt you still keep your promises to burn incense and offer sacrifices of wine to the so-called Queen of Heaven. 26Keep these promises! But let me tell you what will happen. As surely as I am the Lord God, I swear that I will never again accept any promises you make in my name. 27Instead of watching over you, I will watch for chances to harm you. Some of you will die in war, and others will starve to death. 28Only a few will escape and return to Judah. Then everyone who went to live in Egypt will know that when I say something will happen, it will—no matter what you say.
29And here is how you will know that I will keep my threats to punish you in Egypt. 30#2 K 25.1-7. I will hand over King Hophra of Egypt to those who want to kill him,#44.30 King Hophra … kill him: Hophra, also known as Apries, ruled Egypt from 589 to 570 b.c., when he was killed by Ahmosis II, who then became king of Egypt and ruled until 526 b.c. just as I handed Zedekiah#44.30 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3. over to Nebuchadnezzar,#44.30 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2. who wanted to kill him.
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."